The Warner Bros Studio Like so many others, Warner Bros. animation studio began its career emulating, and stealing staff members from, Disney. However, in the mid 1930s, the Warners had ousted their Disney-esque members and brought in new blood. This freshening-up took Warner Bros. down a path all their own, creating character's like Daffy Duck to Pepe LePew. By the 1940s, the Warner's passed Disney behind in shorts and began a rule that ran the animation industry for over twenty years. The studios first employees, Hugh Harmon, Isadore Freleng and Rudolf Ising all had roots in Disney, and all left Disney about the same time. Each had expected a job with Universal to help produce Oswald the Rabbit shorts, but Universal pulled the plug, leaving the artists with no place to go. In answer, the out of work animators formed their own company and went to work creating cartoons. Their first production was "Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid", which they pitched to a company called Pacific Art and Title, thereby finding a backer for their ventures. The trio then signed a contract with Warner Bros. to produce a series named Looney Tunes, a parody of Disney's Silly Symphonies title. "Sinking in the Bathtub" was the first Looney Tune, created in 1930. The animation is about Bosko and his girlfriend Honey. Since the Warner Bros. entered this venture to promote their music, this first cartoon was simply used as a backdrop to the music. Altogether, this cartoon comes off as pleasantly entertaining, yet a direct take-off from Mickey and Minnie Mouse. In addition, many of the gags are straight from other Disney produced cartoons. Bosko became the main feature of the Warner Bros. animation studio's endeavours for a few years. While never quite as popular as Mickey and Minnie, Bosko and Honey held their own. The studio's next launch was with another Mickey Mouse-like character. This time it was a fox named Foxy, but he dissapeared from films after a few skits. Warner Bros. then commisioned a monthly series, again with the intent to showcase their music. This time, the name of the series was to be Merrie Melodies. The cartoons produced for this series were well recieved, but lacked any real staying power. Throughout the next four years, the studio produced more of the same work, of which each piece, taken on its own, is good, but when taken as a whole, the pieces blend into one monotonous whole. Part of the problem was Hugh Harmon's incessent need to follow in Disney's footsteps. This, unfortunately, but not unpredictably, led to a serious stagnation of creative talent. In essence, there was almost no forward progress at the Warner Bros. studio during this time. At this time, there became a rift between the animators and the higher-ups over budget problems. As a result, the animators left, taking Bosko with them and Warner Bros. hired new talent, such as Jack King and Tom Palmer. Friz Freleng eventually returned to the fold, just in time to help revamp Palmer's animations, which had not been approved by Warner Bros. To replace Bosko, the new crew inevented Buddy, who basically amounted to a white Bosko in all aspects, accept Buddy had even less of a personality. Chuck Jones, an in-betweener, moved up to animator during the Buddy years, but he couldn't help Buddy, who eventually died two years later. Freleng decided to focus on the Merrie Melodies, which didn't do so well, because they were still mired in the creative stagnation of before. At this time, Tex Avery joined the Warner Bros. staff. He, Jones and a few others were put into a group, moved to a small shack on the Warner Bros. lot and given free reign to develop something new and creative. What the group wound up creating was a whole new style of cartoon design. "Gold Diggers of '49" was the first result of their efforts. In this cartoon, a version of the current Porky the Pig gets introduced, and a new era was launched in Warner Bros. where cartoons were no longer just cute, but funny as well. A little while later, Jones and Clampett left for Ub Iwerks studio for a brief jaunt as a favor to Iwerk, but shortly returned back to Warner. Back on familiar ground, the pair began the production of new Porky Pig cartoons. They introduced a new method of showing speed in animation, one that hadn't been done anywhere before, not even at Disney. Avery also added the use of cartoon character interaction with the animators, as he used at MGM studios. In addition to the new methods, two new members were added to the crew: composer Carl W. Stalling and radio performer Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc soon became the studio's leading voice expert and one of the main reasons for a majority of the cartoon's successes. Porky the Pig took the role of Warner Bros. main character as a fat young adult pig with a childlike innocence. Porky also became the signature speaker of the studio's sign-off phrase "That's all, folks!" Through most of the 1930s, Porky reigned supreme. The next characters to enter the scene were Daffy Duck and Egghead. Daffy began his career in "Porky's Duck Hunt." Daffy is portrayed as a rather insane duck whose main role is to act, well, daffy. Sadly, Avery dropped Daffy to focus on Egghead, a human like character who later eveloved into Elmer Fudd. Daffy was later revived to partner Porky in the cartoons. The two are the main characters in "You Ought to be in Pictures" which combines live action footage with animation. At the same time, Jones was working on "Tom Thumb in Trouble" and"Joe Glow the Firefly", both pieces about tiny characters. Also at the same time, another character, Bugs Bunny was entering the Warner Bros. realm with his first appearance in "Porky's Hare Hunt." He, like Daffy, began as a total nutcase who drove Porky crazy. The creation of Bugs Bunny is generally credited to Bugs Hardaway. Elmer Fudd arrived on the scene as a hunter of Bugs Bunny. In "A Wild Hare", Bugs finally gets refined into a more logical, less insane, but equally mischevious character. This cartoon sees the first time Bugs says his catch phrase "What's Up, Doc?" The early 1940's brings the development of Bugs, Daffy, Porky and Elmer and a refinement of the Warner Bros. style. Also in the early 1940s, Tex avery left the studio and Norman McCabe took over and produced a bunch of war time cartoons portraying Adolf Hitler and Moussilini with Looney Tunes as the main characters. By this time, Daffy and Bugs had taken over the studio and Porky was taking a back seat. In 1944, the Warner Bros. studio, as it had always been loosely known, bought out Leon Schliesinger, the original investor, and offcially became the Warner Bros. Studio. However, the studio had little contact with their chief executive, Jack L. Warner or any of the other brothers. In fact Jack couldn't even remember the name of anyone in the studio. At this time, the studio was releasing 26 cartoons a year. In the mid to late 1940s, Sylvestor the Cat and Tweety entered the scene through Clampett and Freleng. In fact, they were such a hit that they won an Academy Award. Concurrently, Chuck Jones was creating Pepe LePew and Robert McKinso n was creating Foghorn Leghorn, the loud and brash rooster, Sylvestor's son, a kangaroo named Hippety Hopper and the Tasmanian Devil. In the mid-1940s Yosemite Sam was created, as a foil to Bugs Bunny. Between 1946 and 1956, Chuck Jones gained recognition as one of Warner Bros. star animators. He was quickly joined by Michael Maltese, a terrific writer. During this time, some of the best Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck work was produced. "Duck Amuck" is an unusually creative piece in which Daffy is constantly trying to keep up with changing scenery and plots, as well as being erased. Marvin the Martion is introduced in 1953. In 1948, Jones initiated the Road Runner series, pitting Wile E. Coyote agaisnt the Road Runner. This series was different from the others in that there is no dialogue and the location was always in the desert. Until Warner's closed the studio in late 1953, the animators continued to pump out a plethora of engaging characters and entertaining cartoons. In 1953, the Warner's closed the studio predicting that 3D cartoons would soon take over the market and they could not afford the expense of producing 3D. The majority of the staff was laid off, Chuck Jones even worked at Disney, until four months later when Warner decided to reopen the department. Fortunatley, the 3D craze died down. The 1960s saw a decline in the quailty of the Warner Bros. studio animations. Stalling retired, Foster and Maltese left for Hanna Barbera. Bold, bright colors became the norm, often overwhelming the characters. The large orchestra score was now a thing of the past. In an attempt to add life back into the studio, Jones and Freleng introduced the "Bugs Bunny Show." Even though this helped bring back some zest, it failed to bring back the entertainment value of its predecessors. Warner's last years of production are dragged down by weariness and dullness. New ideas and characters basically ceased. When Warner Bros. finally closed the door on its cartoon studio, everything that had once made the studio so ethralling was long since petered out. However, this was not the death of Warner Bros. animation. Freleng and a Warner Bros. executive leased the studio to start their own business. Within a year, another Warner executive decided it would be a good idea to reopen their cartoon department. Now, they hired the company run by Freleng in their old studio on the Warner Bros. lot to produce cartoons for them. This new endeavour produced more than 60 cartoons, all of which were pretty bad. Road Runner and Daffy Duck were given new roles that didn't fit in with their characters. Yet, despite the poor quality of the films, they did well enough for Warner to reopen the studio under direct control of Warner and not the Freleng enterprise. For a few years, the reopened studio put out some o.k. cartoons, but nothing spectacular. In 1969, with no new talent joining the studio, Warner decided on a final shutdown of the studio. Maybe not. In the late 1970s, Warner Bros. brought the cartoon studio back to life, giving Chuck Jones permission to bring the Looney Tunes characters back to life. These new cartoons were aired on prime tim t.v. and they did very well. Eventually new life was given to the old characters and the cartoon studio was again a huge success with Freleng, Blanc and Maltese back on the projects. Freleng retired in the mid-1980s and various key players died, but the Warner Bros. animation studio was now here to stay, and even expanding into the commercial markets. Warner Bros. Animation This website was created by Sandra Singler (email@example.com).