Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Bob Clampett

Bob Clampett

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bob Clampett'
Start a new discussion about 'Bob Clampett'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Robert Emerson "Bob" Clampett (May 8, 1913 – May 2, 1984) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 animator
Animator
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence; the images are called frames and key frames. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. Usually, an...

, producer
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

, director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, and puppeteer
Puppeteer
A puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object, such as a puppet, in real time to create the illusion of life. The puppeteer may be visible to or hidden from the audience. A puppeteer can operate a puppet indirectly by the use of strings, rods, wires, electronics or directly by his or...

 best known for his work on the Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

animated series from Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

, and the television shows Time for Beany
Time for Beany
Time for Beany was an American television series, with puppets for characters, which aired locally in Los Angeles starting in 1949 and nationally on the improvised Paramount Television Network from 1950 to 1955...

and Beany and Cecil
Beany and Cecil
Beany and Cecil was an animated cartoon series created by Bob Clampett, who had previously worked for Warner Bros.. As a puppet show entitled Time for Beany, it originally aired in 1949, with the animated series first appearing in Matty's Funday Funnies in 1959, later renamed Matty's Funnies with...

. Animation historian Jerry Beck
Jerry Beck
Jerry Beck is a well-known animation historian, with ten books and numerous articles to his credit. He is also an animation producer, an industry consultant to Warner Bros., and has been an executive with Nickelodeon and Disney....

 lauded Clampett for "putting the word 'looney' in Looney Tunes."

Early career


While living in Hollywood as a young boy, Clampett and his mother Joan lived next door to Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 and his brother Syd. Clampett also recalled watching his father play handball at the Los Angeles Athletic Club with another of the great silent comedians, Harold Lloyd. From his early teens Clampett showed an interest in animation
Animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

 and puppetry
Puppetry
Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance which involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 30,000 years BC. Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects...

. The young Clampett designed the first Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

 doll for Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

. As Clampett would later claim in interviews, Disney was impressed with the young artist, and promised him a job. However, a lack of space at Disney's tiny Hyperion studio prevented Clampett from taking the position. Clampett attended both Glendale High School and Hoover High School in Glendale California but left Hoover a few months short of graduating in 1931. He secured a job at the studio of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising where he worked on the studio's Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

and Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies is the name of a series of animated cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures between 1931 and 1969.Originally produced by Harman-Ising Pictures, Merrie Melodies were produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions from 1933 to 1944. Schlesinger sold his studio to Warner Bros. in 1944,...

series, including Lady, Play Your Mandolin!
Lady, Play Your Mandolin!
Lady, Play Your Mandolin! was the first Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Rudolf Ising of Harman and Ising. It was originally released in August 1931.-Overview:...

(which is, indeed, the very first Merrie Melodie cartoon). In his first years at the studio, Clampett mostly worked for Friz Freleng
Friz Freleng
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was an animator, cartoonist, director, and producer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros....

, under whose guidance Clampett grew into an able animator. In 1935, he designed the studio's first major star, Porky Pig
Porky Pig
Porky Pig is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He was the first character created by the studio to draw audiences based on his star power, and the animators created many critically acclaimed shorts using the fat little pig...

, who appeared in Freleng's film I Haven't Got a Hat
I Haven't Got a Hat
I Haven't Got a Hat is a 1935 animated short film, directed by Isadore Freleng for Leon Schlesinger Productions as part of Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies series. Released by Warner Bros. on March 9, 1935, the short is notable for featuring the first appearance of several Warner Bros. cartoon...

.

Clampett moved to Tex Avery
Tex Avery
Frederick Bean "Fred/Tex" Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, voice actor and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He did his most significant work for the Warner Bros...

's unit that same year, and the two soon developed an irreverent style of animation that would set Warner Bros. apart from its competitors. Working apart from the other animators in a dilapidated wooden building, Avery and Clampett soon discovered they were not the only inhabitants. They shared the building with thousands of tiny termites. They christened the building Termite Terrace, a name eventually used by fans and historians to describe the entire studio.

They were soon joined by animators Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio...

, Virgil Ross, and Sid Sutherland, and worked virtually without interference on their new, groundbreaking style of humor for the next year. It was a wild place with an almost college fraternity-like atmosphere. Animators would frequently pull pranks such as gluing paper streamers to the wings of flies. Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger was an American film producer, most noted for founding Leon Schlesinger Productions, which later became the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio, during the golden age of Hollywood animation.-Early life and career:...

, who rarely ventured there, was reputed on one visit to have remarked in his lisping voice, "Pew, let me out of here! The only thing missing is the sound of a flushing toilet!!"

Clampett about this time pressured studio head Leon Schlesinger to give him a chance as a director, and was finally given that chance on an animated sequence for the Joe E. Brown
Joe E. Brown (comedian)
Joseph Evans Brown was an American actor and comedian, remembered for his amiable screen persona, comic timing, and enormous smile. In 1902 at the age of nine, he joined a troupe of circus tumblers known as the Five Marvelous Ashtons which toured the country on both the circus and vaudeville...

 film When's Your Birthday?
When's Your Birthday?
When's Your Birthday? American film directed by Harry Beaumont. While original prints of this film had a cartoon sequence in Technicolor directed by Bob Clampett and Leon Schlesinger, most prints have the sequence in black-and-white.- Plot summary :Dustin Willoughby When's Your Birthday? (1937)...

(1937), animating signs of the zodiac. This led to what was essentially a co-directing stint with fellow animator Chuck Jones for the financially ailing Ub Iwerks
Ub Iwerks
Ub Iwerks, A.S.C. was a two-time Academy Award winning American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, creator of Mickey Mouse, and special effects technician, who was famous for his work for Walt Disney....

, whom Schlesinger subcontracted to produce several Porky Pig shorts. These shorts featured the short-lived and generally unpopular Gabby Goat as Porky's sidekick. Despite Clampett and Jones' contributions, however, Iwerks was the only credited director.

Clampett was promoted to director in late 1937, and his black and white cartoon unit redesigned Porky to the cuter version we know today. Clampett soon after entered his golden age. His cartoons grew increasingly violent, irreverent, and surreal, not beholden to even the faintest hint of real-world physics, and his characters have been argued to be easily the most rubbery and wacky of all the Warner directors'. Clampett was heavily influenced by the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 surrealist artist Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

, as is most visible in Porky in Wackyland
Porky in Wackyland
Porky in Wackyland is a 1938 animated short film, directed by Robert Clampett for Leon Schlesinger Productions as part of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes series....

(1938), wherein the entire short takes place within a Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

-esque landscape complete with melting objects and abstracted forms. Clampett and his work can even be considered part of the surreal movement, as it incorporated film as well as static media.

Over the next nine years, Clampett created some of the studio's funniest and most outrageous cartoons, including The Daffy Doc
The Daffy Doc
The Daffy Doc is a 1938 Looney Tunes cartoon starring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. This cartoon was producedby Leon Schlesinger, and released by Vitaphone and Warner Bros.- Plot :...

, Porky in Egypt
Porky in Egypt
-Introduction:Porky in Egypt is a 1937 cartoon in the Looney Tunes series that stars Porky Pig. It deals with Porky trying to take a tour in Egypt to visit the pyramids there.-Plot:...

, Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid
Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid
Bugs Bunny Gets The Boid is a 1942 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Bob Clampett, produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, and released to theatres by Warner Bros. Pictures. It marks the first appearance of Beaky Buzzard in a Warner Bros...

, A Tale of Two Kitties
A Tale of Two Kitties
A Tale of Two Kitties is an American cartoon, released in 1942, notable for the first appearance of A yellow canary, who would come to be known as Tweety. It was directed by Bob Clampett, written by Warren Foster, and features music by Carl W. Stalling. It was also the first appearance of Babbit...

(which introduced Tweety Bird), A Corny Concerto
A Corny Concerto
A Corny Concerto is an American animated cartoon short produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. It was directed by Bob Clampett, written by Frank Tashlin, animated by Robert McKimson and released as part of the Merrie Melodies series on September 25, 1943...

, two cartoons of the censored eleven Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs is a Merrie Melodies animated cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, and released to theatres on January 16, 1943 by Warner Bros...

and "Tin Pan Alley Cats
Tin Pan Alley Cats
Tin Pan Alley Cats is a 1943 animated short subject, directed by Bob Clampett for Leon Schlesinger Productions as part of Warner Bros.' Merrie Melodies series...

", Russian Rhapsody, and The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is a Warner Brothers Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short, produced in early 1945, and released in 1946. It was directed by Robert Clampett, and features Daffy Duck in Clampett's penultimate Warner cartoon and final Daffy Duck cartoon, produced shortly before he left...

. The Big Snooze
The Big Snooze
The Big Snooze is a 1946 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon directed by an uncredited Bob Clampett, his final cartoon for Warner. Its title was inspired by the 1939 book The Big Sleep, and its 1946 film adaptation, also a Warner release. The Big Snooze features Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, voiced as...

was his final cartoon with the studio, and one for which he did not get screen credit (only one of three he directed pitting Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

 and Elmer Fudd
Elmer Fudd
Elmer J. Fudd/Egghead is a fictional cartoon character and one of the most famous Looney Tunes characters, and the de facto archenemy of Bugs Bunny. He has one of the more disputed origins in the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon . His aim is to hunt Bugs, but he usually ends up seriously injuring...

). It was largely Clampett's influence that would impel the Warners directors to shed the final vestiges of all Disney influence and enter the territory they are famous for today. Clampett was also famous for doing some brief voices or sound effects in some of the cartoons, the most famous being ending his most famous cartoons with his own joke on impersonating the Warner Bros. zooming in shield sound effect (otherwise known as "Bay-woop!").

When Tex Avery departed in 1941, Avery's unit was taken over by Clampett, while Norman McCabe
Norman McCabe
Norman McCabe was an American animator who enjoyed a long career which lasted into the 1990s.-Early career:...

 took over Clampett's old unit. Clampett finished Avery's remaining unfinished cartoons. When McCabe joined the armed forces, Frank Tashlin
Frank Tashlin
Frank Tashlin, born Francis Fredrick von Taschlein, also known as Tish Tash or Frank Tash was an American animator, screenwriter, and film director.-Animator:...

 rejoined Schlesinger as director, and that unit was eventually turned over to Robert McKimson
Robert McKimson
Robert "Bob" Porter McKimson, Sr. was an American animator, illustrator, and director best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros., and later DePatie-Freleng Enterprises...

. Clampett left in 1946; his unit was taken over by Arthur Davis. While the generally accepted story was that Clampett left over matters of artistic freedom, Davis remembered that Clampett was fired by then-cartoon studio executive Eddie Selzer
Eddie Selzer
Edward "Eddie" Selzer was an American film producer, most noted for been the producer of Warner Bros. Cartoons from 1944 to 1957....

, who was far less tolerant of him than Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger was an American film producer, most noted for founding Leon Schlesinger Productions, which later became the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio, during the golden age of Hollywood animation.-Early life and career:...

. Clampett's style was becoming increasingly divergent from those of Freleng and Jones, the other unit directors, and this is thought by some to be the primary reason for his departure. The Warners style that he was so instrumental in developing was leaving him behind. Warner Bros. had recently bought the rights to the entire Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies studio from Schlesinger, and while his cartoons of 1946 are today considered on the cutting edge of the art for that period, at the time, Clampett was ready to seek new challenges.

Later career


Clampett worked for a time at Screen Gems
Screen Gems
Screen Gems is an American movie production company and subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group that has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation....

, then the cartoon division of Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

, as a screenwriter and gag writer. In 1947 Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures
Republic Pictures was an independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1934 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action....

 incorporated animation into its Gene Autry
Gene Autry
Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

 feature film Sioux City Sue. It turned out well enough for Republic to dabble in animated cartoons; Bob Clampett directed a single cartoon, It's a Grand Old Nag, featuring the equine character Charlie Horse. Republic management, however, had second thoughts due to dwindling profits, and discontinued the series. Clampett took his direction credit under the name "Kilroy
Kilroy was here
Kilroy was here is an American popular culture expression, often seen in graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle—a bald-headed man with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with the fingers of each hand clutching the wall—is widely known among U.S...

".

In 1949, Clampett turned his attentions to television, where he created the famous puppet show Time for Beany
Time for Beany
Time for Beany was an American television series, with puppets for characters, which aired locally in Los Angeles starting in 1949 and nationally on the improvised Paramount Television Network from 1950 to 1955...

. The show, featuring the talents of voice artists Stan Freberg
Stan Freberg
Stanley Victor "Stan" Freberg is an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer, and advertising creative director whose career began in 1944...

 and Daws Butler
Daws Butler
Charles Dawson "Daws" Butler was a voice actor originally from Toledo, Ohio. He worked mostly for Hanna-Barbera and originated the voices of many famous animated cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound.Daws Butler trained many working actors...

, would earn Clampett three Emmys
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

. Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

 and Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 were both fans of the series. In 1952, he created the Thunderbolt the Wondercolt television series and the 3D prologue to Bwana Devil
Bwana Devil
Bwana Devil is a 1952 drama based on the true story of the Tsavo maneaters. It was written, directed, and produced by Arch Oboler, and is considered the first color, American 3-D feature. It started the 3-D boom in the U.S. film making industry from 1952 to 1954...

featuring Beany and Cecil. In 1954, he directed Willy the Wolf (the first puppet variety show on television), as well as creating and voicing the lead in the Buffalo Billy television show. In the late 1950s, Clampett was hired by Associated Artists Productions
Associated Artists Productions
Associated Artists Productions was a distributor of theatrical feature films and short subjects for television. It existed from 1953 to 1958. It was later folded into United Artists. The former a.a.p. library was later owned by MGM/UA Entertainment and then Turner Entertainment. Turner continues...

 to catalog the pre-August 1948 Warner cartoons it had just acquired. He also created an animated version of the puppet show called Beany and Cecil
Beany and Cecil
Beany and Cecil was an animated cartoon series created by Bob Clampett, who had previously worked for Warner Bros.. As a puppet show entitled Time for Beany, it originally aired in 1949, with the animated series first appearing in Matty's Funday Funnies in 1959, later renamed Matty's Funnies with...

, which began its run on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 in 1962 and was on the network for five years.

In his later years, Bob Clampett toured college campuses and animation festivals as a lecturer on the history of animation
Animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

. In 1975 he was the focus of a documentary entitled Bugs Bunny: Superstar
Bugs Bunny: Superstar
Bugs Bunny: Superstar is a 1975 Looney Tunes documentary film, narrated by Orson Welles and produced and directed by Larry Jackson.The film includes nine Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons which were previously released during the 1940s :* What's Cookin' Doc? * The Wild Hare Bugs Bunny:...

, the first documentary to examine the history of the Warner Bros. cartoons. Clampett, whose collection of drawings, films, and memorabilia from the golden days of Termite Terrace was legendary, provided nearly all of the behind-the-scenes drawings and home-movie footage for the film.

Clampett died of a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 on May 2, 1984 in Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

, just six days before his 71st birthday, while touring the country to promote the home video release of Beany & Cecil cartoons. He is buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Controversy


Though Clampett's contribution to the Warner Brothers animation legacy was considerable and inarguable, he has been criticized by his peers as "a shameless self-promoter who provoked the wrath of his former Warner's colleagues in later years, for allegedly claiming credit for ideas which were not his." Chuck Jones particularly disliked Clampett, and made no mention of his association with him in either his 1979 compilation film The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (in which Jones lists himself and other Warners directors) or his 1989 autobiography Chuck Amuck. Some of this animosity appears to have come from Clampett's perceived "golden boy" status at the studio (Clampett's mother was said to be a close friend of cartoon producer Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger
Leon Schlesinger was an American film producer, most noted for founding Leon Schlesinger Productions, which later became the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio, during the golden age of Hollywood animation.-Early life and career:...

), which allowed him to ignore studio rules that everyone else were expected to follow. In addition, Mel Blanc
Mel Blanc
Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc was an American voice actor and comedian. Although he began his nearly six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros...

 (the great voice actor who had worked with Clampett at the same studio for ten years) also accused Clampett of being an "egotist who took credit for everything."

Beginning with a magazine article in 1946, shortly after he left the studio, and increasing as years went on, Clampett repeatedly referred to himself as "the creator" of Bugs Bunny, often adding the side-note that he used Clark Gable
Clark Gable
William Clark Gable , known as Clark Gable, was an American film actor most famous for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic film Gone with the Wind, in which he starred with Vivien Leigh...

's carrot-eating scene in It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night
It Happened One Night is a 1934 American romantic comedy film with elements of screwball comedy directed by Frank Capra, in which a pampered socialite tries to get out from under her father's thumb, and falls in love with a roguish reporter . The plot was based on the story Night Bus by Samuel...

as inspiration for his "creation." However, a viewing of the early Bugs cartoons of the late 1930s and early 1940s clearly demonstrates that the character was not "created" as a whole at one time, but rather evolved in terms of personality, voice, and design over several years through the efforts of Tex Avery
Tex Avery
Frederick Bean "Fred/Tex" Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, voice actor and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He did his most significant work for the Warner Bros...

, Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio...

, Friz Freleng
Friz Freleng
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was an animator, cartoonist, director, and producer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros....

, Cal Dalton
Cal Dalton
Cal Dalton was a cartoon director at Warner Brothers. Dalton's first commercial animation work was on an animated short version of The Wizard of Oz that was produced by Ted Eshbaugh's independent animation studio in 1933. Afterwards, Dalton left to work at the Warner Brothers animation studio,...

 and Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, Robert McKimson, Sr.
Robert McKimson
Robert "Bob" Porter McKimson, Sr. was an American animator, illustrator, and director best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros., and later DePatie-Freleng Enterprises...

, and Mel Blanc
Mel Blanc
Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc was an American voice actor and comedian. Although he began his nearly six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros...

, in addition to Clampett's contributions.

In the 1979 compilation feature film The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie is a 1979 Looney Tunes film with a compilation of classic Warner Bros. cartoon shorts and animated bridging sequences, hosted by Bugs Bunny...

, Clampett is not mentioned when Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

 refers to his "several fathers." As the feature was compiled by Jones (along with Friz Freleng
Friz Freleng
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was an animator, cartoonist, director, and producer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons from Warner Bros....

), the complete omission of Clampett is not surprising. (The other two directorial fathers Bugs claims to have had are Avery, who directed A Wild Hare
A Wild Hare
A Wild Hare is a 1940 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies animated short film. It was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, directed by Tex Avery, and written by Rich Hogan. It was originally released on July 27, 1940...

, his first official short, and McKimson, who is the least known of the three best-known Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes is a Warner Bros. animated cartoon series. It preceded the Merrie Melodies series and was Warner Bros.'s first animated theatrical series. Since its first official release, 1930's Sinkin' in the Bathtub, the series has become a worldwide media franchise, spawning several television...

/Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies
Merrie Melodies is the name of a series of animated cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures between 1931 and 1969.Originally produced by Harman-Ising Pictures, Merrie Melodies were produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions from 1933 to 1944. Schlesinger sold his studio to Warner Bros. in 1944,...

directors, but drew the definitive Bugs Bunny model sheet. Depending on the source, number one could be either Jones or Freleng.)
Animator and cartoon historian Milton Gray, who was a friend of Clampett, has disputed several of Jones's claims about Clampett, attributing them to jealousy. He goes on to say that much of the credit Clampett took was deserved, since he was instrumental in ensuring the early success of Warner Bros. studios.

Other Warner Bros. peers such as musical co-ordinator Carl Stalling
Carl Stalling
Carl W. Stalling was an American composer and arranger for music in animated films. He is most closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts produced by Warner Bros., where he averaged one complete score each week, for 22 years.-Biography:Stalling was born to Ernest and...

 and animator Tex Avery
Tex Avery
Frederick Bean "Fred/Tex" Avery was an American animator, cartoonist, voice actor and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He did his most significant work for the Warner Bros...

 stood by Clampett during his talks on the cartoon industry in the 1960s and 1970s.

Legacy


Since 1984, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award is given each year at the Eisner Awards.

Further reading

  • Barrier, Michael. (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-195-03759-6.
  • Maltin, Leonard. (1980). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-070-39835-6.

External links