Every coaster-enthusiast animation fan knows that we'd probably have no Bob Dylan, no Greenwich Village folk scene, maybe even no hippies if not for animator Harry Smith.
Not really an animator, more of trickfilmmaker -to get Deutsch on you.
The guy called "the greatest living magician" by Kenneth Anger sowed the seed of the folk revival by traveling the country and recorded traditional songs wherever he stopped. The original 78 rpm releases inspired people like Pete Seeger and the Weavers and the 1952 Folkways LP issue of The Anthology of American Folk Music led directly to the youth culture's embrace of democratic music.
Sprechen auf Deutsch, in college I interned at the Kurt Weill Foundation. I contacted them as an 18 year old wannabe Brecht scholar entralled with Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny.
In their archives I had seen references to a film version by a guy I soon learned also did the Folkways anthology (I had originally assumed it was a different person). From what I could tell the film was unfinished and somehow animated.
Turns out it was neither.
While certain rights issues prevent public performance of the film, the Harry Smith Archives restored the work -a four projector piece synched to the recording (the Lenya/Brücker-Rüggeberg I assume). These stills are taken from their documentary.
Here's a very, very, very interesting video about the restoration. (other streams, if that's funky)