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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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)