Can't believe this almost slipped by my radar, but 100 years ago today the field of filmed animation was born. Émile Cohl, working class son of a rubber salesman and seamstress, wound up creating "Fantasmagorie"-- the very first filmed animation feature in history.
Done in chalk on a blackboard, the film is obviously primitive, but like cave drawings, it set the mold for later innovation by guys like Disney, Avery and Lasseter.
To read more about Cohl (a name he actually adopted, it wasn't his given name), there's a Wikipedia article and this succinct but moving biography.
To view the film and additional commentary, check out this post at Current.com.
Now imagine going from chalk to photorealistic CG animation in just 100 years-- and think about the next 100!