Animation History
May 21, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Warner Club News (1957) – Part 1

Our weekly look at a slice of life at the Warner Bros. Cartoon studio – this week circa 1957. These columns may not be as filled with exciting information on the production of our favorite cartoons as we’d like, the notices of weddings, birthday notices and bowling teams do allow us an intimate view at our favorite writers, artists, directors and designers. They were real people – just like us – who had jobs and families, were stuck in traffic and had tummy aches. Except, unlike us, they also seemed to be having the time of their lives making the funniest animated cartoons in Hollywood.

January 1957

…And what better way to start the year than to screen The Three Little Bops!

February 1957

Pics of Art Davis’ grandchildren; Tom Ray joins the McKimson unit (this month) – and smashes his hand (in March).

March 1957

They must have had a screening of random recent and forthcoming releases as Else recommends Tweety and The Beanstalk, There They Go-Go-Go, and Wideo Wabbit. She’s probably aiming her recommendations at the whole of the Warner Bros. studio reading this in-house magazine – not towards the cartoon staff itself (who have probably seen these previously)…

April 1957

Wow – I just visited Art and Shirley Leonardi last week (to record a Pink Panther commentary track) – here are their wedding photos! And Willie Ito is still alive and well and still attending cartoonist events here in LA. Both of them married while working at Warners in 1957.

May 1957

Bugs Bunny once again tops the poll of most popular cartoon characters in the annual edition of FAME; Bob McKimson’s bowling team wins the championship; and a note is made in this column of an “exceptional” cartoon – What’s Opera Doc? At least the staff recognized it at the time…

June 1957

And finally in June… an abbreviated column as Mike Maltese steps in to help out as Elsa has a medical emergency…

NEXT WEEK: 1957 (part 2)


  • Wait… “Pink Panther commentary track”?

  • Washam was gone for about a year. Was he at one of the commercial houses?
    Poor Fergie didn’t last at Warners long enough to get his name on a cartoon.

    • Norm Ferguson didnt even last a full short He was assigned to the Chuck Jones unit and worked on To Itch His Own(1958) but apparently his drawings were so rough(his animation drawings were rough in general) that apparently Jones didn’t accept his footage. the scenes he worked on(he worked on about 4 scenes) were cleaned up and redone by Ben Washam. Ferguson left shortly after and died later that year. Corny Cole who was working at WB at the time in the Chuck Jones unit went into a fair bit of detail about this in Mike Barriers 1991 interview with him.

  • Ben worked for TV Spots {Creston Studios} during 1961 and ’62. He animated portions of “KING LEONARDO AND HIS SHORT SUBJECTS” and “CALVIN AND THE COLONEL”.

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