Animation History
May 7, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Warner Club News (1956) – Part 1

Receiving the Oscar in March 1956, “Speedy Gonzales” won for best cartoon short of 1955

January 1956

More information on what went on in deciding which cartoon to submit to the Academy for an Oscar nomination – Speedy Gonzales got the nod. And some nice shots of the brand new Cartoon Department building on the lot.

February 1956

Selzer is taking bets on an Oscar nomination for Speedy Gonzales – and Corny Cole loses a tennis match!

March 1956

Tennis seems to have taken the place of square dancing as a recreation sport for the crew; a beautiful photo of Chuck’s 18-year old daughter, Linda, to announce her engagement to Robert Kausen; and newcomer Art Leonardi gets hired as an inbetweener!

April 1956

Tree-Cornered Tweety and Gee Whiz-z-z are screened for the staff – only a month before their official release.

May 1956

Corny Cole exhibits his fine art at Chouinard… and Speedy Gonzales wins the Oscar. Friz picked up the award (because Selzer had laryngitis).

June 1956

And finally, it seems bowling is quickly replacing tennis at the studio sport… and wearing old caps is becoming a fad – photo of Mike Maltese, Ken Harris, Willie Ito, Abe Levitow and others in the new “club”, below!

NEXT WEEK: 1956 (part 2)


  • What a Great collection of articles. Vintage!!!!

  • The most interesting squib in the lot may be the conversation involving Selzer, Jones and Maltese. It sounds like Selzer decided to play straight man to Maltese. The impression Chuck Jones left everyone is that Selzer was a humourless managerial mole.
    It appears Keith Darling left the studio for maybe a year and later returned. I wonder if he worked at one of the commercial studios.
    And where was Sandy Walker for 20 years after leaving Warners in the mid-30s?

  • Always great to read these behind-the-scenes glimpses.
    I see Eddie Selzer put his daughter to work helping write the column. The tidbit about Phyllis’ mom designing her clothes brings up the question: was fashion designer and shade-thrower extraordinaire “Mr. Blackwell” – born Richard Selzer – related to Eddie? (According to Stuart Jerome in his hilarious book “Those Crazy, Wonderful Years When WE Ran Warner Bros.”, “DIckie” Selzer was, like Jerome, a uniformed studio go-fer on the WB lot in the ’40s.)

  • “Speedy Gonzales” winning isn’t surprising given that, among others, Sylvester, not Daffy as a decade later, under DePatie-Freleng, is the villain. Great article.

  • Ben Washam’s departure is noted early. His last pre-departure credit would be “Ali Baba Bunny” (9 February 1957). He would return in a year or so and reappear in opening credits starting with “To Itch His Own” (28 June 1958).

    • It appears he was only on a month-long leave or absence. We’ll never know the reason now.

    I’m a 50 yo Black Man and, to me, this man OBVIOUSLY had to be a BROVA.
    Calls for an article tackling the history of Black employment in every aspect of Animation, does it not?

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