Part 2

Animated Films
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Flowers and Trees - 1932Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies:

Beginning in the 1930s, feature films were often preceded by obligatory cartoon shorts, showcasing a rapidly-developing film technique. While working on the development of Mickey Mouse shorts, Disney also began a new venture - called Silly Symphonies - an ambitious, innovative and groundbreaking series of stand-alone animations with musical accompaniment.

He used the series of 75 shorts (that lasted 10 years from 1929 until 1939) to experiment with different processes, techniques, characters, stories, and technologies to be later used in his full-length feature animations. They won a total of seven Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Subject (see chart below). There were numerous imitators, including Warner Bros' Merrie Melodies (see below).

Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies (1929-1939)
A Selection
Title Screen Title (Year) Notable:
The Skeleton Dance (1929)
  • a landmark first film in Walt Disney and Carl Stalling's Silly Symphonies series
  • released on August 22, 1929
  • a night-time graveyard dance of skeletons
El Terrible Toreador (1929)
Springtime (1929)
Hell's Bells (1929)
The Merry Dwarfs (1929)
  • released September 7, 1929
  • released October 24, 1929
  • released October 30, 1929
  • released December 16, 1929
Flowers and Trees (1932)
  • released on July 30, 1932
  • the first animation in the series to be released in color
  • also, the first commercially released animation to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process
  • the 29th of Disney's short Silly Symphonies
  • with anthropomorphic characters
  • the winner of the first Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject; it was Disney's first Academy Award - the first of Walt's 32 personal Academy Awards
King Neptune (1932)
  • released on September 10, 1932
  • Disney's tale about the King of the Sea - Neptune
Babes in the Woods (1932)
  • debuted on November 19, 1932
  • Disney's first fairy-tale adaptation, based upon the Hansel and Gretel story by the Brothers Grimm
The Three Little Pigs (1933)
  • released on May 27, 1933
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
  • the popular, influential Depression-Era fable with its optimistic hit theme song: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? (based upon the tune of Happy Birthday) that became a Depression-era anthem
  • one of the earliest films displaying 'personality animation' - each of the three pigs had a distinctive personality
The Wise Little Hen (1934)
  • released on June 9, 1934
  • based on the fairy tale The Little Red Hen
  • marked the first appearance of Donald Duck (see below)
The Tortoise and the Hare (1935)
  • released on January 5, 1935
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
  • a version of the classic Aesop fable about slow-poke Toby Tortoise and speedy Max Hare
Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935)
  • released on June 29, 1935
  • based on old nursery rhyme
  • while wooing Jenny Wren, love-struck Cock Robin appeared to be killed, but a criminal bird court determined he was merely wounded by Cupid's arrow
Music Land (1935)
  • debuted on October 5, 1935
  • with various allegorical locales: the Land of Symphony, the Sea of Discord, the Isle of Jazz
Three Orphan Kittens (1935)
  • released on October 26, 1935
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
  • about three kittens (black Tuffy and his two sisters: golden Fluffy and smoky Muffy)
  • followed by sequel More Kittens (1936)
The Country Cousin (1936)
  • released on October 31, 1936
  • based on the Aesop Fable: The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
The Old Mill (1937)
  • released on November 5, 1937
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
  • the first to use Disney's multi-plane camera to provide an illusion of spatial depth and movement
  • one of the greatest cartoons of all-time
Ugly Duckling (1939)
  • released on April 7, 1939
  • Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Subject
  • a version of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Ugly Duckling
  • the 75th and final entry in the Silly Symphonies series
  • it was the only short in the series that was a remake of an earlier episode from 1931

Other Disney Cartoon Characters:

The cartoon character Pluto was first introduced (unnamed) in 1930 in the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Chain Gang (1930) and named Rover (Minnie Mouse's dog) in The Picnic (1930). It took another Mickey Mouse short, The Moose Hunt (1931) before he attained his familiar name. The 1931 cartoon was also famous for having Pluto's only spoken line of dialogue - to Mickey: "Kiss." Eventually, Lend a Paw (1942), with Pluto in the lead role, won an Oscar for Best Short Subject: Cartoon. Goofy debuted as an extra in Mickey's Revue (1932). [Recently, he was featured in his own full-length film, A Goofy Movie (1995).]

A sailor-suited, web-footed Donald Duck was introduced in 1934 in Silly Symphony's The Wise Little Hen (1934) (with his brief opening words "Who--me? Oh no! I got a bellyache!"), and then in Orphan's Benefit (1934) (this also marked Donald's first appearance in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, and with Goofy - of course, this was the first time that all three characters appeared together). Mickey Mouse (and Minnie Mouse) first appeared together for their screen debut in Steamboat Willie (1928), but Mickey's official debut was in The Band Concert (1935) (made in color). Donald's female partner, Daisy (first named "Donna Duck") was introduced in Don Donald (1937), and made her first official appearance (speaking like Donald) in Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940).

Debut Cartoons of Major Disney Characters

The Chain Gang (1930)

Pluto (unnamed)
a yellow-orange color, medium-sized, short-haired bloodhound dog with black ears

The Moose Hunt (1931)

(named for the first time)

Mickey's Revue (1932)

a tall, anthropomorphic black dog with a Southern drawl, who typically wore a turtle neck and vest, with pants, shoes, white gloves, and a tall hat

The Wise Little Hen (1934)

Donald Duck
an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet, who typically wore a sailor shirt and cap with a bow tie

Don Donald (1937)

Daisy Duck
(known as "Donna")

a white duck with an orange bill, legs, and feet; she usually had sultry lavender eye shadow, long distinct eyelashes, and a skirt of ruffled feathers; also with a V-necklined blouse, a head bow matching her heeled shoes and a single bangle on her wrist

Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940)

Daisy Duck

(first official appearance)

Columbia Pictures Cartoons: Krazy Kat

Krazy KatColumbia Pictures became involved in the world of animated films when the studio began distributing Mickey Mouse and other shorts from The Walt Disney Studios. Even before it set up its own animation studio in 1934, it had been producing a long-running series of black and white cartoons, beginning in 1929 (in 1935 they became Technicolored), featuring the character of Krazy Kat. Krazy Kat was based on the 1913 newspaper comic by George Herriman, that ran until 1944 when the comic artist died. In particular, several of the IFS/Bray Krazy shorts in the first few years of Krazy Kat's appearances in cartoons were adapted from comic strips.

Krazy Kat, of an ambiguous gender, was an obstinate black cat who had an infatuation for his evil rival, Ignatz Mouse (who often threw bricks at Krazy). The third component of a love triangle was a dog named Offissa Bull Pupp, a police officer. Over the years, Krazy more and more resembled the more popular Felix the Cat and later, Mickey Mouse.

History of Krazy Kat

Krazy Kat - Bugologist (1916)

Love's Labor Lost (1920)

Searching for Santa! (1925)

Ratskin (1929)
International Film Service
(1916 – 1917)
26 Theatrical Cartoons
Bray's Goldwyn-Bray Pictographs
(1920 – 1921)
10 Theatrical Cartoons
Winkler Pictures
(1925 – 1929)
99 Theatrical Cartoons
Columbia Pictures
(1929 - 1939)
97 Theatrical Cartoons

The cartoon Kat had been established as early as 1916 by Hearst's International Film Service, Inc. with their Introducing Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse (1916). In 1918, Krazy Kat was acquired by Bray's Goldwyn-Bray Pictographs until 1921. Then, after a short break, Winkler Pictures took over from 1925 until 1929, and then Columbia acquired the series. Columbia Pictures' first Krazy Kat cartoon (the first one released with sound) was Ratskin (1929), followed by Canned Music (1929), while Columbia's last Krazy Kat cartoon was Krazy's Shoe Shop (1939).

Terry Toons:

After leaving Fables Studio (created by newspaper cartoonist Paul Terry in 1921 for his Aesop's Film Fables series), Terry set up his own Terry Toons animation studio in New Rochelle, NY in 1929. [Note: The Fables Studio was renamed Van Beuren Studios in 1929.] Terry (as producer/writer) and partner Frank Moser (as director) began producing cartoons by 1930 (until 1935) that were first distributed by Fox Pictures, and then by Paramount Pictures. The early cartoons that came from the "budget" studio were cheapy made and rushed to print, and the studio was infamously known for resisting the new technologies of sound and color.

The titles of their first 25 films in the early 1930s were all food items, such as: Caviar (1930), Pretzels (1930), Spanish Onions (1930), Indian Pudding (1930), Roman Punch (1930), Hot Turkey (1930) - and many more.

Their first star in the 1930s was Farmer Alfalfa, a familiar grizzly-farmer character that had appeared in some of Paul Terry's earlier cartoons (in Bray Studios from 1916-1923 and for the Aesop's Film Fables series from 1922-1929), and now reappeared in Terry Toons' cartoons (a major period from 1930-1937). His first Terry Toons cartoons were French Fried (1930) and Golf Nuts (1930). Among others, four additional minor cartoon series (with new characters) were also released in the mid-to-late 1930s:

  • 13 Puddy the Pup cartoons (from 1935-1942) - a white dog with a black eye patch, who first appeared in The Bullfight (1935)
  • 10 Kiko the Kangaroo cartoons (from 1936-1937) - a fun-loving, mischievous marsupial who appeared first in a Farmer Alfalfa cartoon, The Prize Package (1936)
  • 48 Gandy Goose cartoons (from 1938-1955), a goose that sounded like comic actor Ed Wynn, first seen in Gandy the Goose (1938)
  • Sour Puss cartoons, about 2 1/2 dozen titles (from 1939-1955), a cantankerous Jimmy Durante-like cat, first appearing in The Owl and the Pussycat (1939), and first paired with Gandy the Goose in G-Man Jitters (1939)

Puddy the Pup

Kiko the Kangaroo

Gandy Goose

Sour Puss

Terry Toons had to wait until the 1940s to really find success. The most famous and valuable cartoon character from Terry Toons (and 20th Century Fox) was Mighty Mouse, a Superman-like mouse superhero that first debuted as a prototype "Super Mouse" in the short The Mouse of Tomorrow (1942).

Memorable Terry Toons Animations and Characters:
Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle


The Mouse of Tomorrow (1942)

The Wreck of the Hesperus (1944)

The Talking Magpies (1946)

Messed Up Movie Makers (1966)
The debut cartoon of Mighty Mouse, known as "Super Mouse"
The first instance of the use of a new name: "Mighty Mouse"
The debut cartoon of two prototypes for Heckle & Jeckle
The last theatrical cartoon of Heckle & Jeckle

Mighty MouseIn a couple of years, the more recognizable Mighty Mouse was born and renamed properly in an appearance in his 8th film, The Wreck of the Hesperus (1944). He became known for his yellow costume, red cape, and his anthem song, with the words "Here I come to save the day!" Ultimately, Mighty Mouse appeared in 80 theatrical films between 1942 and 1961. Later, CBS-TV took the Mighty Mouse cartoons and packaged them into a very popular Saturday morning television show called Mighty Mouse Playhouse, beginning in late 1955 and lasting for a record eleven years until 1967. Mighty Mouse was the first cartoon character ever to appear on Saturday mornings.

The other most famous of Terry Toons characters were Heckle & Jeckle, two identical black, large yellow-billed, wise-cracking crows (or magpies) who first appeared in the mid-40s in Paul Terry's The Talking Magpies (1946). Their debut appearance was actually in a Farmer Alfalfa cartoon, where the pair were depicted as a squabbling married couple. Their last animated cartoon theatrical film appearance was in Messed Up Movie Makers (1966), their 52nd short.

Leon Schlesinger: The Early Days at Warners and the Character of Bosko

Bosko The TalkInk KidWarners' producer of cartoons, Leon Schlesinger (from 1930-1944) (and Leon Schlesinger Productions) released a 5-minute pilot film named Bosko The TalkInk Kid (1929) - the first synchronized talking animated short/cartoon (as opposed to a cartoon with a soundtrack), with a little black boy character named Bosko who actually spoke dialogue. The Bosko pilot was drawn by two ex-Disney animators -- Hugh Harman (1903-1982) and Rudolf Ising (1903-1992), who along with animator Friz Freleng, produced and directed the first cartoons for Warner Bros.

In the pilot, Rudolf Ising sat at his drawing board and sketched the character of Bosko, an African-American boy that interacted with him. At the end of the cartoon, just before Bosko was sucked back into the inkwell, he said, "Well, so long, folks! See yah all later!" - the origination of the later famous "That's all, folks!" end title. The Bosko pilot short was the impetus for the birth of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes (see more below).

[Note: The character of Bosko slightly resembled its major competitor at the time - Disney's Mickey Mouse. Many of the studios also had similar characters, such as Lantz' Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (see above) or Columbia's Krazy Kat, and even Warners' Beans the Cat. Also, Bosko was a cartoonish adaptation of Al Jolson’s character in The Jazz Singer (1927).]

The Ascendancy of Warner Bros:

Looney Tunes

The First Official Looney Tune - Bosko

Opening Screen

Sinkin' in the Bathtub (1930)

Bosko: "That's all, folks!"

The earliest talking 'Looney Tune' was the black and white comedy short Sinkin' in the Bathtub (1930), released on May 30, 1930. It again featured Bosko in the starring role, and also included the song later popularized by Tiny Tim: "Tiptoe Through the Tulips." And it was notable as the first non-Disney animated cartoon with a pre-recorded soundtrack (like the pilot), seen with synchronized speech and dancing. Unfortunately, Bosko's character helped contribute to the accusation that racial and ethnic stereotypes were being promoted. Bosko ended the film with the first spoken instance of "That's all, folks!"

Ultimately, Bosko was the star of over three dozen Looney Tunes shorts released by Warner Bros. from 1930-1933. His final Looney Tunes WB cartoon was Bosko's Picture Show (1933) - the first film to target Hitler. Controversy plagued the short in one scene, when Bosko shouted out what seemed to be a profanity ("The dirty f--k!"), although the swear word could have been "fox" or "mug." Some interpreted it as Harman's and Ising's farewell to Warner Bros' chief Schlesinger when they departed for MGM (see more below).

Merrie Melodies

Following their success with Looney Tunes in the early 1930s, Warners expanded with a lively new series called Merrie Melodies (produced by Leon Schlesinger, and also headed up by Harman and Ising, although assisted by Bob Clampett). The original idea for the new Merrie Melodies cartoon series was to feature music from the soundtracks of current Warner Bros. films, without recurring characters.

The first three Merrie Melodies introduced a mouse-like male character named Foxy, created by animator Rudy Ising. The first Merrie Melodie was Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931), released on August 31, 1931. The second and third shorts were Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! (1931) (animated by Isadore Freleng & Max Maxwell) and One More Time (1931) (Foxy's last cartoon appearance). At the end of each of the three shorts, Foxy came out from behind a bass drum and said to viewers: "So long, folks!" - another example of the familiar ending: "That's all folks!" The Merrie Melodies were mildly popular, and even achieved an Academy Award nomination in their second year for the cat-and-mouse tale It's Got Me Again! (1932) - it became the first Warner Bros. cartoon nominated for an Academy Award.

The First Three Merrie Melodies - Foxy
Harman-Ising Cartoon Production

Foxy: "So long, folks!"

Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931)

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! (1931)

One More Time (1931)

Competition from MGM:

Happy Harmonies (1934-1938)

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were made with Harman-Ising until near mid-1933, but then there was a major change when they split with Schlesinger Productions and Warner Bros. and ventured off to MGM. Harman and Ising took with them the copyrights to their characters and cartoons.

By 1934 at MGM, Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising had created a new Happy Harmonies series of cartoons, eventually producing a total of 37 films in the series by 1938. The last Happy Harmonies short was The Little Bantamweight (1938).

Some of the early shorts in the series again starred the character of Bosko, who was soon modified to resemble an African-American boy:

  • The Discontented Canary (1934) - the first MGM cartoon
  • The Old Pioneer (1934) - the first title named with the Happy Harmonies label
  • A Tale of the Vienna Woods (1934)
  • Bosko's Parlor Pranks (1934) - the first appearance of Bosko in a color cartoon
  • Toyland Broadcast (1934)
  • Hey-Hey Fever (1935) - the last appearance of the original Bosko before modification
  • Run, Sheep, Run! (1935) - the first appearance of the new Bosko
  • Circus Daze (1937) - the last short with the Happy Harmonies label
  • Little Ol' Bosko in Bagdad (1938) - the last Bosko cartoon short

The Reinvention of Warner Bros.

From 1933-1935, Warner Bros. was forced to invent and introduce new characters for its future cartoons - Buddy, Beans the Cat, Porky, twin singing puppies Ham and Ex, Little Kitty, and Oliver Owl (see more below), hoping that one or more of them would stand out and become popular. Producer Leon Schlesinger began assembling more staff for Warners, including Friz Freleng and Disney animator Jack King (famous for The Three Little Pigs) to begin creating new Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Friz Freleng headed the Merrie Melodies productions, while Jack King took over the Looney Tunes series.

New Looney Tunes WB Characters - Buddy (1933-1935) and Beans (1935-1936)


Opening Title - 1933

Buddy's Day Out (1933)

"Buddy" Our Hero

Buddy: "That's all, folks!"


Opening Title - 1935

Buddy the Gee Man (1935)

Buddy: "That's all, folks!"


Opening Title - 1935

A Cartoonist's Nightmare (1935)

Beans: "That's all, folks!"


Opening Title - 1936

Westward Whoa (1936)

Ending Title Screen

For a couple of years, Looney Tunes were forced to rely on a new main character - Buddy, a Bosko-like young boy character. The first Looney Tune cartoon to feature Buddy was Buddy's Day Out (1933), followed quickly by a number of others (from 1933-1935). At the end of the cartoons, Buddy would wave and say: "That's all, folks!"

  • Buddy's Beer Garden (1933), Buddy's Show Boat (1933), Buddy the Gob (1934) (the first supervised by Friz Freleng), Buddy and Towser (1934), Buddy's Garage (1934), Buddy's Trolley Troubles (1934), Buddy of the Apes (1934), Buddy's Bearcats (1934), Buddy's Circus (1934), Buddy the Detective (1934), Viva Buddy (1934) (with a surprise appearance by the four Marx Bros.), Buddy the Woodsman (1934), Buddy's Adventures (1934), Buddy the Dentist (1934), Buddy's Theatre (1935), Buddy's Pony Express (1935), Buddy of the Legion (1935) (Chuck Jones received his first credit as animator of a Warner Bros. cartoon), Buddy's Lost World (1935), Buddy's Bug Hunt (1935), Buddy in Africa (1935), Buddy Steps Out (1935), and Buddy the Gee Man (1935) - the last Buddy cartoon

However, a new popular character began to emerge - Beans the Cat, a "Mickey Mouse-like" feline whose first solo appearance was in the next film in the series: A Cartoonist's Nightmare (1935). Beans ended his first film with the same familiar farewell: "That's all folks!" As Beans' popularity decreased within a year or two, he was soon to be supplanted by the character of his supporting co-star Porky Pig. Beans' last cartoon (and his last short with Porky and puppies Ham and Ex) was Looney Tunes' Westward Whoa (1936) - it marked the last appearance of Porky in the "Beans" series.

During this time, the first color (Cinecolor, not Technicolor) WB Merrie Melodies was released, Honeymoon Hotel (1934). WB's first three-strip Technicolor short was Flowers for Madame (1935).

The Classic Warners' Cartoon Characters:

Beginning in 1935, Warners' hired a new third full-time director of animation, Fred 'Tex' Avery who was recruited from Lantz (see more below) to join Jack King and Friz Freleng. The trio would soon be creating some of the best-loved cartoon characters and animations of all time. They worked in a run-down back lot building known as 'Termite Terrace.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies produced cartoons that directly imitated or copied their major competitor, Disney's Silly Symphonies. Animators at Warner Bros. studios began to challenge the style, form and creative content of Disney's pastoral animations in the early 1930s and after. Their cartoons were characterized as being more hip, adult-oriented, and urban than the comparable Disney cartoons of the same period. They also came up with innovations in their cartoons, such as their first full-color Looney Tune short The Hep Cat (1942).

The Merry Melodies' two-strip (red-green) Technicolored I Haven't Got a Hat (1935), directed by Isadore Freleng, featured a number of anthropomorphic animals, including Beans the Cat and a secondary stuttering character known as Porky Pig (in his film debut). This short launched Porky Pig's career. Bob Clampett was also involved with the animation team - his first screen credit was for the Freleng-directed Shake Your Powder Puff (1934), and he played a role in the creation and development of the cartoon characters of Porky Pig (and later Bugs).

Avery's first WB cartoon created with the 'Termite Terrace' unit was Looney Tunes' Gold Diggers of '49 (1935) featuring Beans the Cat (in his third appearance), and also starring Porky Pig (redesigned) in his second short. As his popularity declined, Beans the Cat was gradually being replaced by Porky, and completely disappeared in 1936.

The first cartoon in the Porky Pigs series was Looney Tunes' Plane Dippy (1936), with a short final cameo by Beans. The very pig-like Porky was again redesigned by Avery in his fourth directed film featuring Porky, now made to look more cartoonish (smaller and rounder) in Looney Tunes' Porky the Rain-Maker (1936), notable for having an off-screen narrator. Porky's first appearance with Daffy Duck was in Porky's Duck Hunt (1937), when Mel Blanc took over his voice. And Porky first encountered an early version of Bugs Bunny in Porky's Hare Hunt (1938). In Looney Tunes' Porky in Wackyland (1938), Porky hunted the last elusive and zany Do-Do bird in Wackyland, populated with surrealistic, Salvador Dali-inspired characters. [Note: The cartoon was remade eleven years later (in Cinecolor) and released as a Merrie Melodies short, Dough For The Do-Do (1949).]

Early Merry Melodies' and Looney Tunes' Character: Porky Pig

1935 Warner Bros. Productions Title Screen

1935 Merrie Melodies'
Title Screen

1935 Warner Bros. Productions Title Screen

1935 Looney Tunes'
Title Screen

1936 Warner Bros. Productions Title Screen

1936 Looney Tunes'
Title Screen

1938 WB-Vitaphone Opening Title Screen

Looney Tunes' Title Screen

I Haven't Got a Hat (1935)

1935 Ending Screen:
"That's all, folks!"

Gold Diggers of '49 (1935)

1935 Ending Screen -
Beans: "That's all, folks!"

Porky the Rain-Maker (1936)

Ending Title Screen

Porky in Wackyland (1938)

1938 Ending Screen -
Porky: "(Ble, ble, ble) That's all, folks!"

From 1935 onward until the early 40s, Avery was responsible for much of the manic, satirical, absurdist, extra-violent, crude characters and corny gags and slapstick of numerous productions. Avery's animations, often designed for adult audiences, were often noted for 'pushing the envelope' of acceptable taste.

That's All Folks!Looney Tunes became known for closing with the familiar Porky Pig end tag: "That's All Folks!" In 1936, composer Carl W. Stalling (who was the musical director of Warners' animation department for over two decades) chose "Merrily We Roll Along" (used most often for Merrie Melodies) and "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" (used most often for Looney Tunes) as the distinctive theme songs for Warners' cartoons.

Warners' New Animated Characters: Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny

Along with his famed animating staff - Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones, Tex Avery created two more of the greatest stars for Warners: Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny (with his famous catchphrase: "What's up, Doc?") (Through most of these years, voice artist Mel Blanc provided the voice for all the starring WB characters: Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzalez, and many others.)

Animated Milestones for Daffy Duck

Porky's Duck Hunt (1937)

Porky's Hare Hunt (1938)

Daffy Duck & Egghead (1938)

You Ought To Be in Pictures (1940)

Daffy Duck's first appearance was in Tex Avery's Looney Tunes' Porky short, Porky's Duck Hunt (1937) (Bob Clampett animated the crucial scenes), remade the next year as Looney Tunes' Porky's Hare Hunt (1938). The name Daffy Duck (derived from the name of famed baseball player Dizzy Dean's brother Daffy) was used for the first time in the title of Avery's second, remade Merrie Melodies' duck-hunt picture Daffy Duck & Egghead (1938) - this was also the first Daffy Duck cartoon in color. [Note: Egghead was the prototype for the character of Elmer Fudd - see below.] The black and white Looney Tunes' You Ought To Be in Pictures (1940) directed by Friz Freleng was a hybrid live-action/animated spoof satire of emerging, fast-talking, trouble-making star Daffy who convinced Porky to quit his job at Warners by ending his cartoon contract with studio head Leon Schlesinger.

Animated Milestones for Bugs Bunny

Porky's Hare Hunt (1938)

A Wild Hare (1940)

Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941)

Buckaroo Bugs (1944)

A prototype of Bugs Bunny debuted with co-star Porky Pig in Porky's Hare Hunt (1938) as a wiseguy hare (named Happy Rabbit). Bugs first said his famous line ("Eh, what's up, Doc?" voiced by Mel Blanc) during his fourth appearance in the Oscar-nominated Tex Avery and Merrie Melodies' cartoon, A Wild Hare (1940) - the first true or "official" Bugs Bunny cartoon with Elmer Fudd as a rabbit hunter (and noted for Elmer's first use of his 'wabbit' voice). Elmer Fudd's most-recognizable, redesigned appearance was in Chuck Jones' and Merrie Melodies' Elmer's Candid Camera (1940) where he appeared with Bugs Bunny (identified properly on a title card) in his fourth appearance. Bugs finally received his properly-identifiable name by his fifth cartoon, Merrie Melodies' Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941) (Chuck Jones' first Bugs Bunny cartoon). And then Bugs made his official debut as a starring, top-billed Looney Tunes cast member in Buckaroo Bugs (1944).

At Warners after Avery's departure in 1942, Chuck Jones furthered the character development of both Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig. He was also responsible for Elmer Fudd, who first appeared in Merrie Melodies' Elmer's Candid Camera (1940) (although the name "Elmer Fudd" had first been applied in WB cartoons to the Egghead character in Merrie Melodies' A Feud There Was (1938)). Jones provided the famous Looney Tunes' Hunting Trilogy of cartoons about 'wabbit-season'/'duck-season' in the early 50s, with Bugs Bunny, hunter Elmer Fudd, and the hapless Daffy Duck. Rabbit Fire (1951) was the first film to feature a feud between Bugs and Daffy.

Hunting Trilogy (1951-1953) - Bugs vs. Elmer Fudd
Rabbit Fire (1951)
Rabbit Seasoning (1952)
Duck! Rabbit. Duck (1953)

Other Looney Tunes' and Merrie Melodies' Animated Characters:

Animated Milestones for Yosemite Sam and Speedy Gonzales

Hare Trigger (1945)

Along Came Daffy (1947)

Speedy Gonzales (1955)

Friz Freleng also introduced the characters of hot-tempered, red-haired, short-statured Yosemite Sam (who first appeared in Merrie Melodies' Hare Trigger (1945)), Bugs' gun-slinging arch-enemy known for saying "Great horny-toads!" There were only two cartoons in which Sam did not battle against Bugs Bunny, including Looney Tunes' Along Came Daffy (1947), where Sam's antagonist was Daffy instead. Also, Speedy Gonzales - "The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico" first appeared 'officially' as a redesigned incarnation in Freleng's and Merrie Melodies' Speedy Gonzales (1955), an Academy Award-winning Best Animated Short Film. The short brought together Speedy with Sylvester (see below) for the first time.

Animated Milestones for Tweety and Sylvester

A Tale of Two Kitties (1942)

Life with Feathers (1945)

Tweetie Pie (1947)

Scaredy Cat (1948)

The character of Tweety (Bird), who preceded his feline predator, originated by Bob Clampett, first appeared as a flesh-colored or pink baby birdie (with no feathers) named Orson in Merrie Melodies' A Tale of Two Kitties (1942). Sylvester's first film was Merrie Melodies' Life With Feathers (1945) although he was unnamed - it was an Academy Award-nominee for Best Animated Short Subject. Freleng brought lisping cat Sylvester (known for his trademark: "Thufferin' Thuccotash!") and yellow Tweety (Bird) (with the trademark: "I tawt I taw a puddy tat!") together in a series of Friz Freleng-directed films from 1947-1964. Their first film together (in which a mute Sylvester was called "Thomas" - a reference to the 'tom-cat' in MGM rival Tom & Jerry cartoons, and Tweetie finally was a real canary with feathers) was Merrie Melodies' Tweetie Pie (1947) - it brought the Warner Bros. cartoon department its first Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject. Sylvester finally received his name in the Merrie Melodies' Porky cartoon Scaredy Kat (1948).

The Pink PantherFriz Freleng (and David DePatie) also created the cool, bluesy 'The Pink Panther' animation with a pink feline character for the opening credits of The Pink Panther (1963). The first of a series of theatrical cartoons based upon the pink character was titled The Pink Phink (1964), and it won Freleng (and DePatie) the Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject. In 1969, he successfully transitioned the character to television as The Pink Panther Show. One of his most famous cartoons was a jazzy version of the original The Three Little Pigs titled Three Little Bops (1957).

Freleng-directed cartoons won several Oscars over the years: Tweety Pie (1947), Speedy Gonzalez (1955), Birds Anonymous (1957), and Knighty Knight Bugs (1958).

Chuck Jones:

Chuck Jones was best known for his work from 1933 onwards with Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, starring Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny. He also created the Road Runner series with the Road Runner ("Meep, Meep" or "Beep, Beep") (known as Accelerati Incredibulis) and Wile E. Coyote (known as Carnivarious Vulgaris), debuting together in Looney Tunes' Fast and Furry-ous (1949). The setting for the cartoons was always the American Southwest, with the hapless Coyote devising various vain schemes to catch the non-combative, speedy Road Runner - who zoomed along the winding roads through the desert. Intended to be a one-time only appearance, their popularity called for another cartoon produced 3 years later, Merrie Melodies' Beep, Beep (1952), and then followed by a continuing series of cartoons for many years. Before they were paired together a second time, Coyote had also appeared in five cartoons opposite Bugs Bunny, beginning with Looney Tunes' Operation: Rabbit (1952) and ending with Hare-Breadth Hurry (1963).

Animated Milestones for The Road Runner Series

Fast and Furry-ous (1949)

Operation: Rabbit (1952)

Beep, Beep (1952)

Chuck Jones also developed more minor animated characters such as Pepe Le Pew, Inki, Marvin Martian, Michigan J. Frog (see below), Gossamer, and Charlie Dog. As Disney did with Fantasia (1940), Jones fused classical music (Rossini's Barber of Seville, Mendelssohn's Wedding March, and a visual gag about Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro) into the cartoon form in one of his best animations - Rabbit of Seville (1950), featuring Elmer Fudd and Bugs as opera singers.

Duck Amuck - 1953The comic Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies masterpiece Duck Amuck (1953), inducted into the National Film Registry in 1999, has been widely considered Jones' best cartoon short. In the self-reflective animation, a tormented Daffy Duck struggles against the malicious, off-screen animator himself (revealed at the end as Bugs Bunny, although Jones admitted he was the culprit), as his character is redrawn, and the props, soundtrack, and backgrounds are changed as Daffy's chances as an emerging cartoon 'star' are sabotaged.

One Froggy Evening - 1955Another of Jones' most famous cartoons was the renowned One Froggy Evening (1955) - about a singing/dancing frog (in retrospect named Michigan J. Frog) who was unearthed from a condemned building's cornerstone. A construction worker - who pursued a fortune with the talented croaker, was dismayed when the Frog would only perform for him and not for an audience or talent agency. The cartoon was noted for a lack of spoken dialogue, and a rich collection of ragtime era songs - Steven Spielberg once noted that it was "the Citizen Kane of animated film". [Years later, a look-alike Michigan J. Frog would become the mascot of Warner Bros. new television network channel.] The animation was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2003.

What's Opera, Doc? - 1957An additional Jones' masterpiece was the 7-minute parody What's Opera, Doc? (1957) - featuring Bugs' nemesis Elmer Fudd (as a Teutonic warrior-knight), a cross-dressed Bugs Bunny (as "Brunhilda"), and music from Richard Wagner's 18-hour opera Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 1992, What's Opera, Doc? became the first-ever animated film to be inducted into the National Film Registry. At its conclusion, as the Tannhauser Overture plays, Elmer walks away with a lifeless Bugs in his arms, who perks alive and memorably quips: "Well, what did you expect in an opera -- a happy ending?"

Gay-Purree - 1962Jones also contributed script and character designs to UPA's Gay Purr-ee (1962), one of the last animations produced by the innovative studio. Similar to Disney's Lady and the Tramp (1955) (and Disney's later effort The AristoCats (1970)) and The Wizard of Oz adventure tale about a country girl, this full-length animated classic featured the voices of Judy Garland (as young feline heroine Mewsette who set off for Paris in the Gay 90s), Robert Goulet (as country bumpkin beau, Jaune-Tom in pursuit), and Hermione Gingold (as cathouse manager Madame Rubens-Chatte), and original songs by Wizard of Oz composers Harold Arlen and E.Y. (Yip) Harburg.

Jones' main period of work in cartoon shorts was from 1938 to 1961. Then, he opened his own company, Chuck Jones Enterprises, in 1962, producing nine 30-minute animated films. As animation studios were closing down, he slowly began to move into television and the production of features. From 1963-1971, Jones headed the MGM animation department. His The Dot and the Line (1965) was an Academy Award winner for Best Short Subject: Cartoon. One of Jones' greatest accomplishments was directing (as chief animator) the popular half-hour animated holiday TV special Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), a Peabody Award winner, with horror actor Boris Karloff providing the voice of the Grinch. Jones also directed/produced other Seuss classics, including Peabody Award-winning Dr. Seuss: Horton Hears a Who! (1970) and Dr. Seuss: The Cat in the Hat (1972).

For Chuck Jones' first and only feature-length film, he adapted the children's fantasy novel The Phantom Tollbooth (1970), based on Norton Juster's classic children's book, about a young boy who traveled through a mysterious tollbooth into a magical world, with educationally-oriented numbers and words kingdoms, such as Digitopolis and Dictionopolis. His next project was executive producing an animated, Oscar-winning made-for-TV half-hour short subject A Christmas Carol (1971) with Alastair Simm reprising his 1951 film role as the voice of Scrooge - the only version of Dickens' tale to win an Oscar.

Later, he developed The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979), a compilation of eleven shorts including his own two masterpieces mentioned above, and an 11-minute Road Runner montage-compilation consisting of 31 gags from 16 cartoons. One of his final works was an original cartoon short in Peter Hyams' satirical view of TV titled Stay Tuned (1992) in which an American suburban couple (John Ritter as Roy and Pam Dawber as Helen) became transformed into cartoon mice. He also directed an animation segment for the feature film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

With a 60 year career, and about 300 animated films, three of Chuck Jones's animated shorts (cartoons) won Academy Awards. Jones was also nominated twice as co-writer/director for Best Animated Short Subject for Beep Prepared (1961) and Nelly's Folly (1961). Jones was presented with an Honorary Oscar in 1996 "for the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than a half century."

Three Academy Awards for Chuck Jones' Animations/Cartoons
for Scent-imental Reasons (1949)
So Much for So Little (1949)
The Dot and The Line: a romance in lower mathematics (1965)
  • Best Animated Short Subject (presented to producer Edward Selzer) with Chuck Jones - director
  • Pepe Le Pew's sole Oscar nomination/win
  • Best Documentary: Short Subject (presented to producer Edward Selzer), with Chuck Jones - director and co-writer
  • A US Government film on the importance of infant healthcare
  • Best Animated Short Subject (presented to director/co-producer Chuck Jones - his only award as a producer)

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