Add a cover

General information  

Links  

Alias  

  • Leon Schlesinger Productions

Ratings

This media has not been rated yet.
Be the first one!

To rate this media or to interact with your friends, create a free mediatly account. You'll also be able to collaborate with our growing community and make it you digital entertainment center.

Friends who like

Sign up to see which of your friends like this.

Linked media  

Linking media

Mediatly © 2013

Mediatly, The multimedia social network

Discover new movies and TV shows to watch, novels or comics to read, music to hear and games to play thanks to your friends. It's fast, free, simple and enjoyable!
To start discover a new world, Sign up for free

  
Warner Bros. Cartoons (1930)

Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc.

Type :  

  Summary  

Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. was the in-house division of Warner Bros. Pictures during the Golden Age of American animation. One of the most successful animation studios in American media history, Warner Bros. Cartoons was primarily responsible for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon short subjects. The characters featured in these cartoons, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, are among the most famous and recognizable characters in the world. Many of the creative staff members at the studio, including directors and animators such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Tex Avery, Robert Clampett, and Frank Tashlin, are considered major figures in the art and history of traditional animation.

The Warner animation division was founded in 1933 as Leon Schlesinger Productions, an independent company which produced the popular Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated short subjects for release by Warner Bros. Pictures. In 1944, Schlesinger sold the studio to Warner Bros., who continued to operate it as Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. until 1963. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were briefly subcontracted to Freleng's DePatie-Freleng Enterprises studio from 1964 until 1967. The Warner Bros. Cartoons studio briefly re-opened in 1967 before shutting its doors for good two years later.

A successor company, Warner Bros. Animation, was established in 1980. That company continues to produce Looney Tunes related works, in addition to television shows and feature films centering around other properties. The classic Warner Bros. animation studio is sometimes referred to as "Termite Terrace", a name given to the temporary headquarters Tex Avery and his animators were assigned to during Avery's first year as a Looney Tunes director.

  Biography  

 1930 - 1933: Harman-Ising Productions

Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising originated the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated short subjects in 1930 and 1931, respectively. Both cartoon series were produced for Leon Schlesinger at the Harman-Ising Studio on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, with Warner Bros. Pictures releasing the films to theaters. The first Looney Tunes character was the Harman-Ising creation Bosko, The Talk-ink Kid. Despite the fact that Bosko was popular among theater audiences, he could never match the popularity of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, or even Max Fleischer's Betty Boop. In 1933, Harman and Ising parted company with Schlesinger over financial disputes, and took Bosko with them to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. As a result, Schlesinger set up his own studio on the Warner Bros. lot on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

 1933 - 1944: Leon Schlesinger Productions

The Schlesinger studio got off to a slow start, continuing their one-shot Merrie Melodies and introducing a Bosko replacement named Buddy into the Looney Tunes. Disney animator Tom Palmer was the studio's first senior director, but after the three cartoons he made were deemed to be of unacceptable quality and rejected by the studio, former Harman-Ising animator Isadore "Friz" Freleng was called in to replace Palmer and rework his cartoons. The studio then formed the three-unit structure that it would retain throughout most of its history, with one of the units headed by Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, and the other by Earl Duvall, who was replaced by Jack King a year later.

In 1935, Freleng helmed the Merrie Melodies cartoon I Haven't Got a Hat, which introduced the character Porky Pig. Hardaway and King departed, and a new arrival at Schlesinger's, Fred "Tex" Avery, took Freleng's creation and ran with it. Avery directing a string of cartoons starring Porky Pig which established the character as the studio's first bonafide star. Schlesinger also gradually moved the Merrie Melodies cartoons from black and white, to two-strip Technicolor in 1934, and finally to full three-strip Technicolor in 1936. The Looney Tunes would be produced in black-and-white for much longer, until 1943.

Because of the limited spacing conditions in the Schlesinger building at 1351 N. Van Ness on the Warner Sunset lot, Avery and his unit - including animators Robert Clampett and Chuck Jones - were moved into a small building elsewhere on the Sunset lot, which Avery and his team affectionately dubbed "Termite Terrace" Although the Avery unit moved out of the building after a year, "Termite Terrace" later became a metonym for the classic Warner Bros. animation department in general, even for years after the building was abandoned, condemned, and torn down. During this period, four cartoons were outsourced to the Ub Iwerks studio; however, Iwerks struggled to adapt his style to the type of humor that the Looney Tunes had developed by this time, and so Clampett took over as director (using Iwerks' staff) for the last two of these outsourced cartoons. Schlesinger was so impressed by Clampett's work on these shorts that he opened a fourth unit for Clampett to head, although for tax reasons this was technically a separate studio headed by Schlesinger's brother-in-law, Ray Katz.

From 1936 until 1944, animation directors and animators such as Freleng, Avery, Clampett, Jones, Arthur Davis, Robert McKimson, and Frank Tashlin worked at the studio. During this period, these creators introduced several of the most popular cartoon characters to date, including Daffy Duck (1937, Porky's Duck Hunt by Avery), Elmer Fudd (1940, Elmer's Candid Camera by Jones), Bugs Bunny , and Tweety Bird . Avery left the studio in 1941 following a series of disputes with Schlesinger, who shortly after closed the studio for two weeks due to a minor strike similar to the more known one that occurred at Disney, this time Schlesinger lost nearly all of his employees of the Avery unit. By 1942, the Schlesinger studio had surpassed Walt Disney Productions as the most successful producer of animated shorts in the United States.

 1944 - 1964: Warner Bros. Cartoons
In 1944, Schlesinger sold his studio to Warner Bros., which renamed the company Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc., and Edward Selzer (who by Jones' and Freleng's accounts had no sense of humor or appreciation of cartoons), was appointed by Warner Bros. as the new head of the cartoon studio after Schlesinger retired. In 1945-46 Frank Tashlin, and more significantly Robert Clampett left, which merged on a new unit headed by Bob McKimson (although part of Clampett's unit was headed by Art Davis). Although inheriting most of their staffs, these units have been the least known among the four, apart from having lower budgets than Jones and Freleng. In 1948 the studio moved to a larger building on the Sunset Boulevard lot. Davis' separate unit was dissolved in 1949, and he became an animator for Freleng.

Among the Warner Bros. cartoon stars who were created after Schlesinger's departure include Yosemite Sam , Sylvester , Foghorn Leghorn , Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner (1949, Fast and Furry-ous by Jones), and Speedy Gonzales (1953, Cat-Tails for Two by McKimson). In later years, even more minor Looney Tunes characters such as Freleng's Rocky and Mugsy, Jones' Marvin the Martian and McKimson's Tasmanian Devil have become significantly popular.

After the verdict of the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. anti-trust case ended the practice of "block booking", Warner Bros. could no longer force theaters into buying their features and shorts together as packages; shorts had to be sold separately. Theater owners were only willing to pay so much for cartoon shorts, and as a result by the late-1950s the budgets at Warner Bros. Cartoons became tighter. Selzer forced a stringent five-week production schedule on each cartoon (at least one director, Chuck Jones, cheated the system by spending more time on special cartoons such as What's Opera Doc, less time on simpler productions such as Road Runner entries, and had his crew forge their time cards). With less money for full animation, the Warner Bros. story men — Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce, and Warren Foster — began to focus more of their cartoons on dialogue. While story artists were assigned to directors at random during the 1930s and 1940s, by the 1950s each story man worked almost exclusively with one director: Maltese with Jones, Foster with Freleng, and Pierce with McKimson.

With the advent of the 3-D film craze in 1953, Warner Bros. shut its cartoon studio down in June of that year, fearing that 3-D cartoon production would be too expensive (only one Warner Bros. cartoon was ever produced in 3-D, Jones' Lumber Jack-Rabbit starring Bugs Bunny). The creative staff dispersed . Warner Bros. Cartoons re-opened five months after its close, following the end of the 3-D craze. In 1955, the staff moved into a brand new facility on the main Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. KTLA television took over the old studio location on Van Ness where the old Warner Sunset Studios is now called Sunset Bronson Studios.

By 1957, Selzer had retired, and veteran Warner Cartoons production manager John Burton took his place. Warner Bros. also lost its trio of staff storymen at this time. Foster and Maltese found work at Hanna-Barbera Productions, while Pierce worked on a freelance basis with writing partner Bill Danch. John Dunn and Dave Detiege, both former Disney men, were hired to replace them.

During Burton's tenure, Warner Bros. Cartoons branched out into television. The Bugs Bunny Show was a package program featuring three theatrical Warner Bros. cartoons, with newly produced wraparounds to introduce each short. The program remained on the air under various names and on all three major networks for three decades, finally ending its long broadcast run on ABC in 2000. All versions of The Bugs Bunny Show included edited versions of Warner Bros. cartoons released after July 31, 1948, as all of the Technicolor cartoons released before that date were sold to Associated Artists Productions in 1956.

David H. DePatie became the last executive in charge of the original Warner Bros. cartoons studio in 1961. The same year, Chuck Jones moonlighted to write the script for a UPA-produced feature titled Gay Purr-ee. When that film was picked up by Warner Bros. for distribution in 1962, the studio learned that Jones had violated his exclusive contract with Warners and he was terminated. Animator Phil Monroe supervised the completion of The Iceman Ducketh, the last cartoon Jones had been working on; the remainder of the Jones unit was laid off after its completion. Most of Jones' former unit subsequently re-joined him at Sib Tower 12 Productions to work on a new series of Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM. Freleng left the studio in November 1962, four months after Jones' termination, to serve as story director for the feature Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! at Hanna-Barbera; his layout artist Hawley Pratt directed the Freleng unit's final cartoon, Señorella and the Glass Huarache.

In mid-1962, at the height of television popularity and decline in moviegoing, DePatie was sent to a board meeting in New York, and he was informed that the cartoon studio was going to be shut down. DePatie completed the task by spring 1963. The final cartoon to be completed was the Bugs Bunny cartoon False Hare, directed by Robert McKimson, while Señorella and the Glass Huarache was the final cartoon to be released in 1964. The final project at the studio before it closed for good was the animated sequences, directed by McKimson, for the 1964 Warner Bros. feature The Incredible Mr. Limpet. With the studio closed, Hal Seeger Productions in New York had to be contracted to produce the opening and closing credits for The Porky Pig Show, which debuted on ABC in 1964. This marked one of the first times that the Looney Tunes characters were animated outside of the Los Angeles area.

 1964 - 1967: DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and Format Films

David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng started DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1963, and leased the old Warner Bros. Cartoons studio as their headquarters. In 1964, Warners contracted DePatie-Freleng to produce more Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, an arrangement which lasted until 1967. The vast majority of these paired off Daffy Duck against Speedy Gonzales, and after a few initial cartoons directed by Freleng, Robert McKimson was hired to direct most of the remaining DePatie-Freleng Looney Tunes.

In addition to DePatie-Freleng's cartoons, a series of new shorts featuring The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote was commissioned from an independent animation studio, Herbert Klynn's Format Films. Veteran Warner animator Rudy Larriva, who had worked for years under Road Runner creator Chuck Jones, assumed directorial duties for these films, but even with the Jones connection Larriva's Road Runner shorts are considered to be mediocre by critics. McKimson also directed an additional two Road Runner shorts with the main DePatie-Freleng team, which are slightly better regarded than Larriva's efforts.

After three years of outsourced cartoons, Warner Bros. decided to bring production back in-house. DePatie-Freleng had their contract terminated , and Format Films were commissioned to produce three "buffer" cartoons with Daffy and Speedy to fill the gap until Warner Bros.'s own studio was up and running again.

 1967 - 1969: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Cartoons

The new cartoon studio was to be headed by studio executive William L. Hendricks, and after an unsuccessful attempt at luring Bob Clampett out of retirement, former Walter Lantz Studio and Hanna-Barbera animator Alex Lovy was appointed director at the new studio. He brought his longtime collaborator, Laverne Harding to be the new studio's chief animator, and brought in Disney animator Volus Jones and Ed Solomon who also started at Disney as an assistant, which contributed to make cartoons from this era of the studio stylistically quite different from the studio's "Golden Age" (aside from the budget limitations, possibly to mirror the later introductory title cards that preceded the featurettes as well, which also could've been the source of inspiration for the transition of direction in the animation styles, and vice versa), down to being Hanna-Barbera knock-offs . Shortly after the studio opened, Warner Bros. was bought out by Seven Arts Associates, and the studio renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts.

Initially, Lovy's new team produced more Daffy and Speedy cartoons, but soon moved to creating new characters such as Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse, and even occasional experimental works such as Norman Normal . Despite the latter gaining a cult following after its release, Lovy's cartoons were not well received, and many enthusiasts regard them (particularly his Daffy-Speedy efforts) as the worst cartoons ever produced by the studio.

After a year, Alex Lovy left and returned to Hanna-Barbera, and Robert McKimson was bought back to the studio; for the most part though, he focused on using the characters that Lovy had created rather than the studio's classic characters. The new studio's cartoons remained unpopular however, and in 1969 Warners ceased production on all its short subjects and shut the studio down for good. The back catalog of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts would remain a popular broadcast and syndication package for Warner Bros. Television well into the 2000s, by which time it had reacquired the pre-August 1948 shorts it sold to A.A.P. in 1956.

 1970 - present

With Warners' own animation studio closed, the studio had to resort to outside producers whenever new Looney Tunes-related animation was required. In 1976, Chuck Jones, by this time the head of his own Chuck Jones Productions studio, began producing a series of Looney Tunes specials, the first of which was Carnival of the Animals. In 1979, Jones produced new wraparound footage for a compilation feature of Looney Tunes shorts entitled The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie. The success of this film spurred Warner Bros. to establish its own studio to produce similar works, and Warner Bros. Animation opened its doors in 1980.

Under the supervision of Friz Freleng, three new compilation features were produced: The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Bugs Bunny's Third Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, and Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island. Later in the decade, the concept of compilation films was revived by writer-directors Greg Ford and Terry Lennon, and new short subjects were produced for theatres.

Warner Bros. Animation continues sporadic production of Looney Tunes-related specials and TV series to this day, the most recent being the Saturday morning action series Police Academy: The Animated Series and Loonatics Unleashed. The studio's main focus is on original and licensed television programming; in this field, Warner Bros. Animation has had major successes with Looney Tunes-esque shows such as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, DC Comics-licensed shows such as Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, and shows based upon other properties such as ¡Mucha Lucha! and Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo (Hanna-Barbera was acquired by Warner Bros. after the 1996 Time Warner-Turner merger). The studio briefly delved into feature animation production from 1994 to 2003, although Space Jam , a live-action/animation combination film starring National Basketball Association star Michael Jordan opposite the Looney Tunes characters, remains the studio's only financially successful feature. The abandonment of feature film animation was mainly due to the poor box office performance of the feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

Show more

  Movie

  Photos    

  Videos  

  Press reviews    

  User reviews

  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Warner Bros. Cartoons", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.