Category: merrie melodies

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Of course, when, Disney was making the Silly S…

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.

Remember the “June Bugs” Bugs Bunny marathon o…

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Happy 110th Birthday Mel Blanc  (1908 – 1989)

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AKA “The Man of A Thousand Voices”

Mel Blanc is without a doubt, the most influential and most recognizable voice actor of all-time (next to June Foray, of course). He has done voices for Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, MGM, Walter Lantz, Chuck Jones Enterprise and Disney. Voiced over 300 characters, and is arguably one of the key success to the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons.

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The Bob Clampett unit (and a couple of interlopers) at the Schlesinger cartoon studio, in a photo probably taken in 1942. Phil Monroe is at top left; the others standing are, from left, Melvin “Tubby” Millar, Frank Powers, Virgil Ross, Tom McKimson, Warren Foster, Bill Melendez, Bob Clampett, unidentified, Lou Lilly, Warren Batchelder, Michael Sasanoff (leaning forward), Bob North, and I. Ellis. Kneeling, from left: Harry Barton, Don Christensen, Cornett Wood, Rod Scribner, Earl Klein, and Bob McKimson. As to why Millar and Christensen were in the photo, since they were not in Clampett’s unit at the time, Clampett said the photo was not strictly a unit photo; to quote my paraphrase of what he told me in a 1979 phone conversation, “It was a case of guys coming back from lunch and someone saying, ‘C’mon, get in the photo.’ ” Photo courtesy of Bob Clampett.

Happy 123rd Birthday Ben “Bugs” Hardaway (1895…

The guy who gave his nickname to Bugs Bunny, directed two cartoons (along with Cal Dalton) with the prototype Bugs (or Happy Rabbit) and Chuck Jones directed a couple of more as well (though, like many of his shorts during that period, they were quite Disney-equse). Ben, along with Cal Dalton, were given a directional position after Friz Freleng left Warners to MGM for a short while (due to their lavish budgets and salary), and Ben decided to “put a rabbit suit on Daffy Duck”. 

After he left Warners, due to Freleng’s return, he went to Walter Lantz and created Woody Woodpecker. 

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Happy 134th Birthday Leon Schlesinger (1844 – …

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The producer of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series from the start of 1929 up until 1944 when he sold his studio and the cartoons.

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The directors and animators have been known to poke fun at him consistent, with his slight lisp being the inspiration for Daffy Duck (and possibly Sylvester?) and (according to Bill Melendez) Porky Pig being caricatured after Leon. He was also known for wanting to spend little money (though Bob Clampett notably went over budget), had almost no knowledge of how animation works and was more interested in horse races (which gave the staff as much freedom as they pleased), and for being “terribly lazy” as Chuck says.

In 1944, he sold the Leon Schlesinger studio to Warner Bros. for $336,000 (with “Buckaroo Bugs” being the last cartoon he producer) and was replaced by Eddie Selzer (with “Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears” being the first cartoon he produced), who is notorious for having no sense of humor whatsoever (similar to Fred Quimby of MGM) and lacked as much knowledge and appreciation for animation as Leon did, (and also did not want any onscreen credit in the cartoons). 

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In 1949, on Christmas Day, Leon died of a viral infection 🙁

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