Animation History
February 12, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Warner Club News (1945)

Once again we present another six months of columns devoted to the Warner Bros. Cartoon Department, written by either Warren Foster, Tedd Pierce or Michael Maltese back in the day, from the pages of Warner Bros. Studio in-house organ, Warner Club News. These are a treasure trove of information – albeit tidbits – that feed into the greater whole of the story of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and the people who made them.

January 1945 – No column – but a killer back cover celebrating the holidays with mini-photos of most of the ink and paint women – and mid-level production crew. I think I see Tedd Pierce… Where’s McKimson, Freleng, Jones, and Davis?

February 1945

Warren Foster takes over the writing chores for the column this month. Fantastic photo from the Christmas party; We learn the Benny Washham was a fry cook (at Bob’s Big Boy?), Ken Chapin was an undertaker, Friz worked in a slaughterhouse; and Clampett, Jones, Freleng and McKimson had lunch with Jack and Harry Warner!

March 1945

This one by Tedd Pierce – who mentions his role in creating The Eager Beaver, as well as mentioning how the whole staff shaped the cartoon. Phil DeGuard joins the staff; as does George Hill in story for McKimson; Rita Ventura becomes an inbetweener; and Richard Thomas becomes a Merchant Marine.

April 1945

If one were to possess but one issue of Warner Club News, this would be the one. With a cover featuring amazing photos of the key staff – and a very nice, concise piece by Maltese that explains the process of making a Warner Bros. cartoon – this one is a gem.

May 1945

Warren Foster reports on the initial production of the three Navy Hook cartoons; and what is this “World Peace” slide film he mentions – with art by Julien, Klein and Gribbroek?

June 1945

Eddie Selzer implores the staff to buy war bonds. Ted Pierce documents in print that Art Davis is starting his directorial stint by completing Clampett’s Bacall To Arms; Tedd also confirms that Gildersleeve in the latest Snafu cartoon is Hal Peary himself; …and the Chuck Jones “Flight Safety” film for the Navy?

July 1945

Maltese is back – and tells us that June Coke created dances for The Gay Anties; that the studio is delivering four cartoons a month (one per week); and that Dave Monahan is working on Snafu post-production at Fox studios in Hollywood.

Unfortunately – as mentioned last month – there are a few gaps in USC’s collection of Warner Club News. Next month we jump ahead to January 1946… but wait till you read them. You won’t be disappointed.

(Thanks, Ned Comstock)


  • Thanks for these, Jerry. Can’t beat 40s Warner.

    Tourist guide in a slaughterhouse? Ha ha. I gotta believe Foster is honing his fiction writing skills here.

  • Maltese’s lead sentence in the July 1945 edition, “shipped four composite Technicolor cartoons to New York” raises questions: What does “composite” mean in this context? Certainly not the later usage referring to Eastmancolor composite negatives derived from the three camera films (or successive exposures in the case of cartoons). Or was it just a way of referring to the dye-transfer nature of Technicolor IB prints? Why is it significant that they were shipped to New York? For some administrative purpose or for premiere exhibition? Just speculating here.

    • Paul, I read that and thought about that too.

      What I think it means is this: “composite prints” in this case, I think, means completely finished, ready to release, cartoons. Not negatives. Finished cartoon prints that may have been sent to New York to screen for execs, for trade reviews and to be processed for copyright registration. I’m assuming there was a corporate process that took place after production, after a Cartoon was completed, where it would be delivered to the company and made ready for its public release.

      And it was most likely these prints that ended up at the Library of Congress (or today at the UCLA Archive).

    • Composite means picture married with the soundtrack.

    • Ah, thanks that all makes sense. We tend to forget that Warner Bros. the company was in NYC; what was in California was the factory.

  • Though grayed out, I sorta dig that caricature of “Laura”. 😉

  • So who are the four guys caricatured on the first one? Are they the Warner brothers? (A few of them look they could be Mel Blanc.)

    No one else is probably going to agree with me on this, but I wish you were only putting up one or two of these a week , as these can take a long time to read, and I don’t always enough time to read them all. And I do want to read them all!

    • Those caricatures look like Eddie Selzer, Ray Katz, Michael Maltese… and maybe that’s Mel Blanc in the rear?

      LOL – you want LESS? You have a whole week – heck, a whole lifetime – to read these columns. Sure, I could easily take a more leisurely approach to putting these online – if that’s what people want. But, as you suspect, I don’t think so.

  • I would marry these if I could. Fantastic!

  • My father is on the Jan. 45 and the April 45 photos. So fun to see! I have an original of these and a lot of art and memorabilia of this wonderful time period at warner Brothers.
    Thanks for sharing… makes me smile!

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