Friends, a couple of days ago I was asked on a Facebook group to pick my favorite era of animation – which I honestly found kind of hard to do. Besides the horror genre, in my youth my go to entertainment of choice was animation, whether that be the classic The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Popeye, Pink Panther, or Looney Tunes series. On the other hand I also grew up watching long blocks of syndicated series like Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, The Flintstones, and Jonny Quest. To say nothing of the massive amount of Saturday Morning cartoons and weekday animated series such as The Transformers, G.I. Joe, DuckTales, or Batman: The Animated Series to name just a very few. I believe you can see why I was having such a hard time pinning down my favorite era of animation, right?
In the end I decided to answer the question with my favorite era was around the Golden Age of Warner Bros. produced Looney Tunes shorts – which covered the years from 1944 until 1964. It was from 1935 until around September of 1941 that Tex Avery acted as one of three animation Directors for what would become known as Warner Bros. Cartoons. Working with the likes of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Sid Sutherland, and Virgil Ross in the ‘Termite Terrace’ studio – they would introduce the World to Daffy Duck in Porky’s Duck Hunt in ’37 and none other than Bugs Bunny in the 1940 theatrical short entitled A Wild hare!
By the time 1965 rolled around, the legendary Tex Avery had worked at MGM from ’41 until ’53 – creating the character of Droopy as well as Screwy Squirrel (A kind of mashing up of both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) and George and Junior. I really love the work that Avery did at MGM because it kind of feels like he was let off his chain so to speak – showing why he was one of the greatest Gag-men in the animation industry. In fact you might remember a couple of months back when we shared the news that Warner Archive released The Tex Avery Screwball Classic Volume 1.
Things had sort of come full circle for Tex Avery when in 1965 he Directed some Kool-Aid television commercial featuring Bug Bunny (Mel Blanc) and Elmer Fudd (Hal Smith). The animation was handled by Rod Scribner and Ben Washam – both iconic animators had worked with Avery and Jones while at Warner Bros. Cartoons. I seriously find this animated television ad to be extremely charming and of great interest is how Fudd almost gets the upper hand on Bugs.
Thank to Jerry Beck of the always amazing Cartoon Research site – there is yet another Tex Avery Directed Kool-Aid commercial for you to check out. Remember what I said about how Fudd almost had the upper hand in that last ad – while Bugs might win the competition in this Winter Olympics themed commercial, it is Elmer Fudd who has the last laugh.