Sunday Funnies: Robert McKimson

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Robert Porter McKimson Sr. (October 13, 1910 – September 29, 1977) was an American animator and illustrator, best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros. Cartoons and later DePatie–Freleng Enterprises. He wrote and directed many animated cartoon shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Hippety Hopper, and The Tasmanian Devil, among other characters.
In addition to being an animator, McKimson was a skilled horseman and polo player, a dedicated bowler, and a Master Mason. He played polo from 1932 until after the outbreak of war in 1942. His brothers Tom and Charles McKimson also worked as animators, as did two sisters, Anabel and Aylce McKimson. The younger brother, Charles, was frequently part of McKimson’s unit at Warner Bros.

McKimson’s first Warner Bros. cartoon that he finished, The Return of Mr. Hook, was released in 1945 exclusively for the US Navy.

His first theatrical short, Daffy Doodles, was released in early April 1946.

“We’ve all got a mission in life,
We get into different ruts.
Some are the cogs on the wheels,
Others are just plain nuts.
I’m just wild about Harry,
And Harry’s wild about me!
Science is some folks’ calling,
Others pilot a ship.
My mission in life stated simply is
A mustache on every lip.”

He was also well known for defining Bugs Bunny’s design in the 1943 short Tortoise Wins by a Hare.

This was one of the first DC Comics based productions by Warner Bros. before the company bought out DC in 1969. This was also during the time when DC Comics was known as National Comics Publications.

After Robert McKimson was promoted to director in late 1944, writer Warren Foster developed a story about a large rooster, a barnyard dog and the inclusion of Henery Hawk (a character created by Chuck Jones). This is the first appearance of both Foghorn Leghorn and the Barnyard Dawg.

Couldn’t find a full version w/o commentary.

Beginning with the 1949 cartoon Henhouse Henery, Foghorn would perform a verse from the Stephen Foster song “Camptown Races”, softly humming the lyrics while loudly singing the refrain “Doo-Dahh! Doo-Dahh!”, and ending the verse, again loudly, with “Ohh, Doo-Dahh Day!”

The Tasmanian Devil (also spelled Tazmanian Devil), commonly referred to as Taz, is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Though the character appeared in only five shorts before Warner Bros. Cartoons shut down in 1964, marketing and television appearances later propelled Taz to new popularity in the 1990s.

He directed every Hippety Hopper/Sylvester pairing. This cartoon also introduced Sylvester’s son, Sylvester Junior.

This was the first appearance of Speedy Gonzales, in a prototype form. Because this cartoon’s rendition of Speedy Gonzales looked rather coarse, they redesigned him for future cartoon releases.

The cartoon has been criticized for its stereotypical and insensitive depictions of Mexicans.

In June 1953, the Warner Bros. cartoon studio was shut down for a period of six months due to the 3-D fad at the time. McKimson was able to convince Warner Bros. to reopening his unit, albeit at the cost of pay cuts.  At the start of this period, McKimson animated on four of his own shorts, The Hole Idea (in fact, he was the sole animator credited on The Hole Idea).

He worked on the feature The Incredible Mr. Limpet with Hawley Pratt, taking over the role of director from Bill Tytla due to his illness.

His last Warner Bros. cartoon was Injun Trouble with Cool Cat. It was shortlisted for an Academy Award, but wasn’t nominated. Injun Trouble was also the last of the original Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoon to be produced before the Warner Bros. cartoon studio was closed. McKimson was the one person to be at the studio from the start of the Looney Tunes series through its finish in 1969, first as an animator and then as a director.

On the morning of September 27, McKimson’s doctor declared him in good health for a 66-year-old (despite having a case of emphysema after years of smoking), and, according to Friz Freleng, McKimson then referred to his family history of living past 90 and bragged, “I’m going to be around after you guys are gone!”. On September 29, 1977, while having lunch with Freleng and another co-worker, David H. DePatie, McKimson suffered a sudden heart attack and died, two weeks before his 67th birthday. At the time of his death, he had recently completed directing Misterjaw and had begun work on Baggy Pants and the Nitwits.

That’s all folks! Enjoy.

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05/14/2023 5:25 pm

Mister Limpet!

truly fabulous as always, pompano … thank you! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

05/14/2023 12:29 pm

Thanks Again for these !!! … Very Entertaining / Nostalgic / Informative … ( Looking Forwards to Walter Lance ! … ; )

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