Well everybody was trying to imitate Walt [Disney], let’s face it. We were hoping to do something as good as Walt. But after a while everyone figured you can’t beat Walt. They did their own thing.
Often called “one of the great masters of comic timing”, and indeed he is. Friz Freleng is most famous for the creation of Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and the Pink Panther and one of the few who developed the personalities of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the design for Tweety and Speedy Gonzales. He started animating with Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks teaching him. He went with Harman and Ising to make their own animated pilot short to sale to Warner Bros. and their became the birth of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (both which were a variation name of Disney’s Silly Symphony).
Freleng had directed more cartoons at WB more than any other director (266) and became one of the most prolific animators of the Golden Age of Animation and the most honored and recognized, second to Chuck Jones. Freleng and Jones are the only WB directors to win Acadmey Awards (Freleng 5 awards and Jones) as well as the only ones to have their names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1963, when Warners cartoon division shut down, Freleng and David H. DePatie formed there own studio, only to create the famous Pink Panther, The Ant & The Aardvark, and more Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. Freleng and Chuck Jones have remained the best of friends throughout the years until Freleng’s death in May 26, 1995, due to natural causes 🙁
Happy Birthday to America’s favorite rabbit 😀
While Porky Pig and Daffy Duck were the top stars of the Warner Bros. Cartoons in the late 1930s, Bugs Bunny became a superstar when he first evolved and appeared. From his first appearance in 1940s “A Wild Hare” by legendary animator Tex Avery, Bugs Bunny quickly became one of the most famous and most universally beloved cartoon character in animation history, and still remains a star to this day.
While Daffy may have been the first “screwball” cartoon character of the late 30s, Bugs, himself, has proved to be one of the most influential characters in media history, with characters such as Screwball “Screwy” Squirrel and Tom & Jerry of MGM, Woody Woodpecker of Walter Lantz, The Pink Panther of Depatie-Freleng, and Chip n’ Dale of Disney, who have all became popular on their own right and are all still beloved by millions around the world.
Bugs also had an interesting evolution, not only in his design, but in personality as well. In his earlier appearance, Bugs (particular Clampett’s Bugs) was just often brash and just like messing with anyone for no reason, while Chuck Jones, and eventually Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson portrayed him as a far less brash and more meek yet savvy straight man, who, if you mess with, he’ll get back at you. Audiences accepted this Bugs more, and the directors and writers took advantage of it by creating highly aggressive and violent-tempered characters such as Yosemite Sam, the Tasmania Devil, Rocky & Mugsy and even Daffy, as the staff cited that Elmer Fudd was not too much of a threat towards Bugs, to the point where they hardly even used him in the 1950s.
Although, despite the characters widespread popularity, Bugs Bunny, himself, won only ONE Academy Award, for the short “Knighty Knight Bugs”, for all 160 cartoons he appeared in!
In the 1960s (which is widely considered the decline of quality of the Looney Tunes series and where Bugs was given his last appearance notably in 1964s “False Hare”), Bugs was given his own TV show where it started the famous and memorable “This Is It” intro, on “The Bugs Bunny Show”, directed and produced by Friz and Chuck themselves, starring three shorts from the original theatrical series, airing from 1960 to 2000, inspiring a whole new generation of animators, comedians and historians.
Of course, when, Disney was making the Silly Symphonies, he was doing post-musical shorts, and so well-done, that what we were trying to do was do a little bit of the Disney in every cartoon.
I think what he [Friz Freleng] brought to Daffy, in that period, was Daffy being thoroughly obnoxious. And I think that really was very very funny, because he wasn’t unappealing when he was doing it. And later, when Chuck hit on the “Rabbit Fire” trilogy, and the dynamic changed a little bit between Bugs and Daffy, Friz adopted that, because it seemed to get a lot of good character mileage. So now Daffy was the foil for Bugs always being the winner.