Animation History
June 18, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Warner Club News (1959) – Part 1

You know you really love Warner Bros. cartoons if you read these columns each week and imagine yourself back in the 1950s, working at the studio and enjoying all the gossip written about here. I’m one of those who do. I know, I know – some of this stuff is so “off-topic” as to what we care about – but these “What’s Up, Doc?” columns bring the artists to life as real people, and we get a good feel for the animators, writers, inkers, painters – and even receptionists – who actually brought these cartoon classics into the world.


1959 may not have been a banner year for Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, but at least in this first column we find out about Ben Washam’s $5 loaf of bread. And in the cute “Ode To St, Nick” a question emerges: Was “Beep Beep” the studio’s actual ‘character name’ for The Road Runner?


Phil DeGuard came up with a clever idea for flash bulbs, The Mouse That Jack Built is released – and Art Leonardi and Willie Ito become fathers! Happy Father’s Day, gents!

MARCH 1959

APRIL 1959

The staff is proud that Knighty Knight Bugs has been nominated for an Oscar – and crossing their fingers for a win. Michael Maltese is noted as an “ex-Warnerite” at a stag party held at Sorrento’s.

MAY 1959

Nice little bio of Mel Blanc. One question: It says Mel does the voice of The Cisco Kid on Television. Did he? Or did she mean on radio? And even then…wasn’t he the sidekick, Pancho?

JUNE 1959

NEXT WEEK: 1959 Part 2


  • How long was Bill Hurtz at Warners? His name pops up in the April column.

    • I don’t know. He worked under Bob McKImson on the Bell Science special “The Thread of Life”.

  • We also see that Speedy’s last name is felt to rhyme with “gollies,” in true Anglo-pronounced Spanish of the time. But then, these folks lived where the city was Laws Sang-less, the district was called Los Feel-lus and the bay San Pee-dro. On a related note, we’re currently watching the Republic serial “Zorro’s Fighting Legion” (on laserdisc!), populated with such characters as “Mig-well” and “Man-you-ell.”

  • They would actually use the “not a creature was stirring, not even Speedy Gonzales”, or a variant of that gag in 1979’s “The Fright Before Christmas”.

  • It seems that Helene Fauquier was a real favorite of the studio, she got involved in EVERYTHING! Jerry Eisenberg must have really liked her too, judging from some of Elsa’s comments. Jerry also seemed to be accident-prone when it came to driving cars, as well. He probably drives better now.

  • I had no idea that Alexander “Sandy” Walker was at the studio at this time! I generally remember him as an animator from the 1930s. I wonder what exactly his job function was?

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