To start off this blog: a classic 1933 stop-motion short film by Władysław Starewicz (a.k.a Vladislav Starevich). Don't miss the rubbish creatures in Part 2.
From the Władysław Starewicz Home Page:
Wladyslaw Starewicz' childhood passion for entomology led his career: he began producing short documentaries in Moscow around 1909-1910, beginning with a documentary about insects in Lithuania. In his spare time, he experimented with stop-action films using beetles, which he articulated by wiring the legs to the thorax with sealing wax! This, of course, led to his big breakthrough, released by the Van Kanjonkov Studio of Moscow: "The Battle of the Stag Beetles", the first puppet-animated film.
The Russian Revolution caused Wladyslaw to emigrate. He fled to Paris, France, arriving in 1920, where he became known as Ladislas Starevich. He settled in a villa in Fontenay-sous-Bois, where he spent the rest of his life producing surreal, lyrical animation. With great patience and attention to detail, he wrote or adapted the stories; designed and built the puppets, sets and costumes; articulated every movement; and shot each film frame-by-frame, often without continuity notes. After 1924, his daughter, Irene (aka Nina Starr), assisted with and appeared in many of his films. Fiercely independent, Starewicz rejected lucrative offers from American animation studios, rather than relinquish creative control.