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A special effect intended to show live-action, flesh-and-blood performers interacting with animated (usually ink-and-paint) characters within the context of a work of fiction. If the story is a comedy
, and it usually is, the characters tend to be Genre Savvy
and recognize each other as belonging to either category. This is one of the oldest special effects in Hollywood (the 1914 animated film, Gertie The Dinosaur
, actually had creator Winsor Mc Cay
interacting with animated Gertie in real time on a vaudeville stage
), and has been done several times with varying degrees of realism, though it was probably perfected by the 1988 Disney
film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
A sub-category of this trope is any story where cartoon characters are real and exist independently from "real" human beings (which may or may not be set in Toon Town
). Since this is such a visual idea, it's not very common in forms of media that lack a visual aspect, although the odd duck does exist.
A subtrope of Medium Blending
, and an extended version of Rotoscoping
Compare Animated Actors
, Refugee From TV Land
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- While most Orangina commercials feature all CGI characters, they have some that include live-action humans, like this one.
- Those e-surance commercials in which famed pink-haired superspy and nerd heartthrob Erin Surance "draws" various customers to their auto insurance.
- Many cereal mascots frequently hang out with live-action kids.
- Several commercials for Cartoon Network 's old Cartoon Cartoons show have the characters that originated from the block interacting with the real world, such as this intro, entitled "Cartoon Cartoons: Always On The Run"
- The American Express extended spots featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Superman.
- A NSPCC advert uses this trope to dramatic (and very disturbing) effect.
- A Japanese commercial for Lotte Gum, featuring Haruhi Suzumiya characters.
- The Honda commercials featuring Mr. Opportunity do this often
- A French car commercial featuring The Simpsons.
- A Burger King one show the opposite.
- It's not so much a commercial, but a 1991 PSA encouraging children to read starring Fievel Mousekewitz was aired after a showing of ET. Fievel suddenly appears in the live-action home of a family that just finished watching the aforementioned movie and tells them all about how great reading is, while various celebrities hi-jack the family's TV, all the while the family acting like it's an Unusually Uninteresting Sight. The animation was cheaply lifted straight out of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, and what Fievel is saying doesn't even match up with his mouth movements.
- Also done (arguably much better) in a commercial for Fievel Goes West on VHS. This time they bothered to use original animation.
- Michigan J. Frog appears in commercials for the WB block starting in the 90's.
- The Team Rocket trio's Meowth does this in a Japanese commercial for Pokemon Yellow.
- Many of the commercials for the Jak And Daxter trilogy as well as the racing game it later spawned, Jak X: Combat Racing, had the title characters interacting with live-action people.
- Betty Boop did a commercial for Hypn˘se alongside Daria Werbowy.
- There were a series of Pretty Cure commercials for the Japanese restaurant "Joyfull" where the characters interact with diners eating there.
- Some Japanese commercials for shoujo anime such as Ojamajo Doremi and Shugo Chara! have people dressed like the characters talking to the animated characters.
- Phineas And Ferb made a special guest appearance in a commercial for the Los Angeles Marathon.
- Homer and Bart Simpson receive this treatment in this 1990 Fall promo for Fox.
- The Transformers did this several times in the later toy commercials and this shoe commercial.
Anime & Manga
- The opening of Excel Saga briefly features Excel, Hyatt, Nabeshin, and a few other characters running through a real-world environment. However, they do not interact with any live-action performers.
- Twilight Of The Cockroaches is a rare Japanese example of the first type of Roger Rabbit Effect. A live-action character lives in an apartment with a society of anime roaches.
- The wall calendars for Yotsuba&! feature Yotsuba drawn into color photographs, sometimes interacting with real people.
- "Mom" in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
- Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri's second opening and ending sequences feature the live-action singers with the animated characters whom they represent.
- A storyline from Astro City features an animated lion character, Loony Leo, coming to life and discovering the ups and downs of Hollywood stardom.
- Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crewnote , inhabitants of the DC Universe's Earth-C, a World of Funny Animals. Occasionally, they lend a hand to characters such as Superman and the Teen Titans.
- Dorothy, a Photo Comic adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, mixes photos of human models with illustrated creatures and environments for the Oz scenes.
- Howard The Duck
- The Warren Strong episodes of Tom Strong.
- A section of the second volume of the comic book Promethea by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III is done with photographs of the action rather than drawings.
- An issue of a Superman comic had Mr. Mxyzptlk step out of the comic as it was being drawn and discuss the storyline with the staff of DC Comics. The sequence was done with photographs of the actual staff in their actual office, with a still-toony Mxyzptlk composited in.
- Issue #8 of Count Duckula (Marvel, based on the Cosgrove-Hall TV cartoon) has Duckula conversing with a live Geraldo Rivera on the cover. The Geraldo in the body of the story is drawn.
- Technically, most Intercontinuity Crossover in fanfictions between live-action and animated series are these. How it is treated vary widely, though. Most frequently, it's not mentioned at all or Handwaved.
- This Toon Round, one of the side-continuities of This Time Round. In one Round Robin, it's stated that a Toonside character interacting with the regular Outside setting must be carrying his own laws of physics around with him to exist at all.
- Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf and the sequels, not-quite-sequels, spiritual successors, and short stories it spawned, (not to mention a much more famous film adaptation) featuring an alternate 1947 Hollywood where the animated stars are just as real as the live-action film stars. Sadly out of print, these books are hard to get a hold of, but one of the short stories is available for free at Mr. Wolf's website. Interestingly, unlike the movie, the book presents the Toons as comic-strip characters (talking via speech balloons, for instance) rather than animated cartoons. If memory serves, one scene has Eddie attempting to reattach Roger's nose first with tape and then glue.
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel The Crooked World implies this — the Planetville du jour is inhabited by cartoon characters. However, none of the protagonists seem to notice that the people they're interacting with are strangely coloured, although they do notice they're generally odd-looking and don't seem to work according to the normal laws of reality, biology, and so on, and the (ridiculous-looking) cover features a cartoon of the Doctor, so it's not clear exactly what is going on.
- In Simon R. Green's Shadows Fall, cartoon creatures are among the many inhabitants of the titular town of fictional and legendary beings. When the town is invaded by outsiders, some find out just how dangerous it is to fight semi-mutable creatures that always bounce back when injured...
- Walking With Dinosaurs has CGI (or sometimes puppet) dinosaurs on live-action backgrounds, complete with footprints, splashes in water, kicking up dust, and even urinating. Also, sometimes live-acted animals interact with animated ones, like animated Australopithecus watching live-acted vultures.
- Back in 1968, Hanna-Barbera released a short-lived series called The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which featured live-action actors as Huck, Tom Sawyer, and Becky Thatcher, being pursued through various cartoon milieux by an animated Injun Joe. For the live-action intro, Injun Joe was played by Ted Cassidy (a.k.a. Lurch from The Addams Family). The series occasionally attempted some ambitious effects, such as having the human characters dance around their animated partners, first in front then behind.
- Out Of Jimmys Head
- Lizzie Mc Guire used a cartoon of the title character to represent her thoughts.
- The Cold Open for one episode of The Drew Carey Show had Daffy Duck trying to apply for a job at Winfred Lauder.
- Similarly, a brief gag on Night Court features Wile E. Coyote as a defendant.
- The ''Disneyland'' anthology show often had Walt Disney interacting with his cartoon creations. A perfect example is a 1956 episode entitled "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck", in which Donald Duck struggles through a typical day at the Disney Studio. Along the way, he meets the Mouseketeers, the voice of Donald himself Clarence Nash, and of course Walt Disney.
- A Hanna-Barbera TV special based on Jack And The Beanstalk has a live-action Jack and Gene Kelly (again) going up the beanstalk into an animated world.
- Vague example: The BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has animated characters coexisting with live-action, but there was no distinction intended — the animation effect was apparently due to Japanese influence on the production, leading to odd scenes like live-action characters riding a dragon that was animated sometimes, and a practical effect in other shots. It's a bit jarring.
- A similar example somewhere between television and movie, is the original Superman Serials in which characters would become animated when flying, and return to live actors once on the ground.
- The Dancing Baby in Ally Mc Beal.
- On one episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, as Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion question how to put down dead budgies, one of Terry Gilliam's cut-out animations from the previous link strolls by (it's really a blow-up on a large piece of board being carried around). The two old ladies greet it with a hearty "Good morning, Mrs. Cut-Out!" This was only one of many invocations, as the animations were often required to link together the live-action sketches.
- Pumuckl: The kobold protagonist of a German children's TV series. Everything else is live-action; Pumuckl is animated.
- Done in an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned gets occassional help from The Fairly OddParents; justified since it's an episode about daydreams and they're just hallucinations.
- Beavis and Butt-Head once appeared "live" at the MTV Music Awards via this technique.
- They appeared to beside David Letterman in the Late Show set, as guests promoting their film. The use of a foul vocabulary by this pair managed to annoy Dave, as seen in this clip.
- Speaking of Dave, when The Simpsons Movie came out, Homer was brought in to do the Top Ten List.
- The same honors want to Peter and Stewie Griffin.
- The Argentinian soap Mi familia es un dibujo tells the misadventures of a family in which a pregnant woman has cartoon cravings in the last months of her pregnancy and then gives birth to a readheaded, freckled and hyperactive cartoon boy (!). It even spawned three movies! More information in the other wiki (in Spanish).
- The Saturday Night Live segment "Cluckin' Chicken" is this.
- Stewie Griffin from Family Guy makes a cameo apparence in an episode of Bones. Not just on a screen, but in the interrogation room itself! He's in fact an hallucination from Booth, who suffers from a brain tumor.
- The Powerpuff Girls once made an animated appearance on Donny & Marie.
- On the live-action game show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, Carmen and all of her crooks are cartoon characters. Greg Lee's "father" Gus lampshaded it in one episode.
: Listen, son, I've been meaning to talk to. Are you aware that this, uh, "Carmine Santiago"
lady you've been chasing around is... she's a cartoon, son. She's not a real person. You're aware of that. Greg
: Dad, that's how the show works. Gus Lee
: As a matter of fact, all the crooks are cartoons! And to put them in jail, you just pull on a chain that's connected to nothing! That is ridiculous!
- Angelica Pickles once appeared as a guest on The Rosie O'Donnell Show.
- The live broadcast of the Academy Awards sometimes has cartoon characters as presenters. They almost always present the Best Animated Short award, although there's been exceptions (Woody Woodpecker for the Special Achievement Award to Walter Lantz, Beavis and Butt-Head presenting Best Sound Effects, Edna Mode for Best Costume and Ted for Best Sound Editing/Mixing). For the Best Animated Feature awards, the characters from the nominated films are sometimes shown sitting in the audience.
- If those weren't enough, Donald Duck co-hosted the 1957 ceremony!
- A few Mr. Show episodes do this. The "Biosphere" sketch features David Cross, after unsuccessfully trying to pick up woman scientists, interacting with Limited Animation animals, trying to get advice. Also, to get David out of a cult, Tom Kenny reveals who he'll meet when he goes to heaven, all of who are animated. Also the Disney-esque birds in the Intervention link that fly along with a singing John Ennis.
- A music video for The Apples in Stereo song "Signal in the Sky (Let's Go!)" features the band members playing their song in a cardboard recreation of the city of Townsville while The Powerpuff Girls fly around in the background beating up a guy dressed as the orange fish monster with the many eyes. You know the one.
- The video for "Opposites Attract" famously has Paula Abdul dueting with MC Skat Kat, a cartoon cat. Continued in the video for MC Skat Kat's single "Scat Strut".
- The video for "Breathless" by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds has cartoon foxes, rabbits, and other animals running around.
- The video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" has Gabriel next to stop-motion characters. Blending was actually made more believable by stop-motion animating Peter Gabriel himself as well.
- The video got A-ha's "Take On Me" featured a pencil-sketch character "drawing" a live-action woman into his life.
- Gorillaz occasionally interact with live-action performers; during a concert, their computerised selves performed alongside Madonna. Within the canon, it varies as to whether they know they're cartoon characters; 2D once said he's pleased to be a cartoon character because "Paternity suits don't stick 'cos I don't have any DNA." (Apparently they do stick when the mother is another cartoon character, as shown by the existence of 2D's numerous illegitimate children.) Murdoc also shrugged off a potential murder charge after the El Manana The Plan in which he used the crashing windmill to kill off a stalker of his, on the grounds that "I don't even have fingerprints." Murdoc claims Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the actual band creators, are their producer and photographer/video producer, respectively (although, as he further stated, "it's all bull because Damon mostly sits around playing his banjo or looking up 'ethnic instruments' on Google, and Jamie's mainly designing his beard"). Then there's this◊, to prove the point visually. There was also the interview with Franz Ferdinand that had a "photoshoot" with both band's members.
- Vocaloid: Hatsune Miku did this during her during her "live-action" concert in Los Angeles. Each time a member of her band was introduced, she would turn to them, smile, and wave. In fact, the entire concert was an example of this. A virtual diva in the real world? Sweet!
- The smooth jazz band The Rippingtons once did a music video for their song "Tourist in Paradise", in which an animated version of the band's trademark anthropomorphic mascot, the Jazz Cat, interacts with the members and some chicks on a beach.
- They also did a video for "Curves Ahead", which has the Jazz Cat performing alongside the band members and snowboarding with them.
- The French pianist Richard Clayderman has a clip, "Smiling Joey", where for some reason he's at his piano in a boat floating down a river while various animated woodland critters are playing the parts of the orchestra.
- Disney's Princess Ke$ha.
- A.B. Quintanilla III Y Los Kumbia All Starz - Speedy Gonzalez
- German Punk Band Die Arzte filmed a Video starring Lara Croft.... watch it here
- As Gertie The Dinosaur was originally a vaudeville act with a man performing live on stage with a cartoon character, it fits here. Let The Other Wiki explain:
McCay would stand on stage in front of a projection screen, dressed in a tuxedo and wielding a whip. He would call Gertie, who appeared from behind some rocks. He then instructed her to perform various tricks, similar to a circus act. He would appear to toss a prop apple to her — McCay palmed the apple while Gertie caught an animated copy of it...
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl, insofar as Solid Snake can be considered a normal human being. Or, for that matter, Link, Samus, and any other "normal" human characters. And the coexistence of Link and Toon Link. Sort of an odd case. In Melee, one of the Event Matches pits you against what the game calls the "realistic" characters, presumably contrasted with the "cartoony" characters. But the supposedly realistic characters include the anthropomorphic animal Fox. Go figure. To be fair, Fox & friends are space aliens who just happen to look like a bunch of Funny Animal cartoon characters. And the Final Destination stage's changing background is meant to show the characters actually traveling from the video game world to the real world.
- Go! Go! Hypergrind!
- Toonstruck, wherein the real world animator Drew Blanc (played by Christopher Lloyd) gets sucked into the toon world.
- Similarly, Comix Zone for the Sega Genesis.
- Consider the mere existence of a Pirates Of The Caribbean world in Kingdom Hearts II. It is a bit jarring, because it's done in a more realistic, grittier style than the anime/cartoon styles of the rest of the game. it's even Lampshaded. The protagonists are baffled upon landing on Port Royal and immediately comment that the world looks different. The same game also includes a world inspired by TRON, though the only live-action-style characters in that world are Tron himself and Sark. And perhaps because everything is blue and shiny, it meshes a bit better than Pirates.
- One TV special with Backyard Sports characters had Chuck Downfield (animated) talking with live-action NFL stars.
- Cosmic Osmo has a framed photo of himself with Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies.
- Nicktoons MLB features both Nickelodeon characters and real MLB players.
- Some of the Garrys Mod Animations that have realistic characters interacting with cartoonish characters (i.e. Left 4 Dead characters interacting with Team Fortress 2 characters) could count as this.
- Videos in which the Left 4 Dead characters interact with characters from other Valve games (not just TF2) also count as this, since the other Valve games exist as games in the L4D universe.
- Poker Night At The Inventory... sort of. The game features the normal 3D for characters such as Max and The Heavy, while using cel-shading for Strong Bad and Tycho.
- Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing: The realistic Jacky, Akira, Ryo Hazuki, and B.D. Joe race against the cartoonish Sonic the Hedgehog and friends, Aiai, Billy Hatcher, and more. They can also get Squashed Flat, hit with flying boxing gloves and missiles, and have other cartoonish things happen to them. Beat may also count since he comes from a realistic-type game but with stylish graphics.
- And now real-life racer Danica Patrick joins the party in All-Stars Racing Transformed.
- Sam Sprinkles, from Zebra Girl, comes from an alternate dimension inhabited by cartoon animals (literally; they are the cartoons of the main ZG universe). In the process of saving his dimension, he ends up trapped in Sandra's.
- Love Me Nice takes place in a Who Framed Roger Rabbit-like world where toons are a whole different species with Rule of Funny bred into the blood (it's apparently regarded as the toon equivalent of nigga behavior, judging by an argument Mac and Claire have on the subject), and cartoons are live productions made with toon actors. There's even a "Toon Quarter" (outside which items like bottomless handbags are contraband), but it's implied to be more like a toon ghetto.
- The Platypus Comix story True Believers portrays such comic characters as Spider-Man as actual people, and such editors as Joe Quesadilla as both their bosses and their gods (any possible comic-world occurrence they write down instantly happens to the characters).
- A bizarre example in "Sonichu" in which Chris-chan inserts photographs of himself to replace his drawn self in order to destroy an evil expy of 4chanů with the powerof rock and roll.
- The premise of Greystone Inn, in which some of the stars of the Show Within a Show are living cartoons.
- Older Than Television: Winsor Mc Cay's animated short, Gertie The Dinosaur, despite being one of the oldest animated films, successfully used this trope in live performances. McCay set up a projector on a vaudeville stage and interacted with the animated Gertie, commanding her to do tricks, tossing her a pumpkin (he palmed the real one while she caught an animated one), and ending the show by climbing into her mouth and being carried away. All this in 1914. Sheesh!
- Looney Tunes
- The cartoon You Ought to Be in Pictures.
- Bob Clampett's Eatin' on the Cuff ends with a live-action narrator getting his pants eaten by a cartoon moth.
- Zig-zag: The 1941 cartoon Porky's Pooch used live photographs as backgrounds.
- The short "The Mouse That Jack Built" features an animated mouse version of Jack Benny running by his real life counterpart.
- Done in Behind the Scenes segments of the original Woody Woodpecker Show. However, Woody is only shown animated against static photo backgrounds, and is never seen interacting with Lantz or anything else.
- Even earlier than the original Woody Woodpecker show, Walter Lantz briefly tried this out with an Oswald The Lucky Rabbit short, and used this even earlier in his Silent Age Dinky Doodle shorts.
- The Disney series Bonkers is similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, treating cartoon characters as actors. The title bobcat is a washed-up cartoon star working as a cop in the "real world". If you're wondering how they pulled that off in pure animation, "Real" things and people were painted in a shade darker than "Toon" people and objects, as well as having a much more subdued range of motion and especially reaction. Humans were also drawn with five fingers, which becomes a plot point in one episode. The characters seemed to be aware that different physics applied to 'toon characters, and even referred to them like an ethnic minority.
- Disney's Alice Comedies.
- Max and Dave Fleischer's Out Of The Inkwell shorts. This and the Alice Comedies are especially notable for being one of the first attempts at playing around with animation/live-action blending.
- Briefly in the opening of Jackie Chan Adventures.
- Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi features an episode in which the live-action J-Pop stars sit on a couch with their animated manager, while the animated versions of the girls wonder who those two women are and who would want to watch them.
- The Fairly OddParents
- Infrequently done for comic effect on SpongeBob SquarePants when the characters go on land. In one episode, they were all portrayed as crude puppets. In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, part of the climax even involves Spongebob and Patrick receiving help from an Adam Westing David Hasselhoff.
- During the first year of Kids' WB!, the stars of the sitcoms on The WB appeared in promotional spots and bumpers depicting them hanging out at the animated version of the Warner Bros. studio lot (as seen on Animaniacs).
- Many of Tex Avery's cartoons used live action:
- TV of Tomorrow has live action for all the televised images.
- Who Killed Who starts with an onscreen presenter introducing a murder mystery, and in the end the murderer is unmasked and revealed to be the very same presenter.
- Se˝or Droopy ends with Droopy sitting on the lap of '50s actress Lina Romay.
- In Three Little Pups, the dog-catcher swears he'll "go into television" if his final scheme to catch the dogs doesn't work. It doesn't, and as the cartoon ends he shows up in the (live-action) western the dogs are watching.
- The Peanuts special It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown has Snoopy's brother Spike becoming infatuated with the live-action title character (played by Charles Schulz's daughter, Jill).
- Phineas And Ferb
- The Disney Channel's music video of "It's On" from Camp Rock 2, in which the characters are depicted dancing with the network's live-action stars.
- The spin-off Take Two with Phineas and Ferb has the title characters hosting a talk show where they interview real-world celebrities.
- The Simpsons
- "Homer│", one of the Three Shorts of Treehouse Of Horror VI in , ends with 3D Homer being transported into the real world (if you can call Los Angeles real). "Ooh! Erotic cakes!" If you pay attention to the people around him, they seem very well aware that the strange, yellow man walking down the sidewalk isn't normal. None of them seem to do anything more than stare, however.
- Also Treehouse of Horror XI, "The Terror of Tiny Toon", has Bart and Lisa trapped inside a TV with Itchy and Scratchy trying to murder them. At one point Homer changes the channel and they end up ruining a scene for Regis and Kathy Lee.
- In March of 1959 Cambria Productions came up with the show Clutch Cargo, which used the then cutting-edge idea of combining animated characters with live-action mouths superimposed onto their faces, called "Synchro Vox", this show had the distinction of horrifying its target audience and inducing more childhood nightmares than H. R. Giger could ever dream of. Cambria struck again a year later with Scott McCloud: Space Angel and also prepared a pilot based on the comic strip Moon Mullins (which did not get optioned as a series). Both used the Synchro-Vox technique.
- South Park has a two-parter featuring giant, real-life guinea pigs "rampaging" through town.
- In a truly bizarre example of this trope, in the late 40's, when Columbia Pictures was making live action Superman serials, in order to save money on the flight effect, they actually had Superman turn into a cartoon version of himself when he flew!
- NBC's preview of the Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel shows in 1965 had the titular characters conversing with their creators, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
- CBS's ill-fated attempt to mimic Disney's Wonderful World of Color was 1956's CBS Cartoon Theater in which Dick Van Dyke hosted and interacted with Terrytoons characters (who appeared on a TV set).
- On the 100th episode of Arthur, the segment inbetween the two parts has the animated characters being interviewed by a live Larry King.
- In the Family Guy episode "Brian Writes a Bestseller", Brian appears on the real set of Real Time with Bill Maher sitting with Maher, Dana Gould and Arianaa Huffington.
- The whole premise of Space Ghost Coast To Coast is an animated talk show where Space Ghost would interview live-action people via TV screen.
- Archie's Fun House shows Archie and friends performing for a live-action audience of children.
- Similar to the Archie example, the Animaniacs episode "You Risk You Life" had Yakko doing a game show in front of live action people.
- Sit Down Shut Up zigzags this trope. The backgrounds are live photographs, but the characters are animated.
- Robot Chicken used this to insert Playboy model Robin Bain into 2001: A Space Odyssey.