Robert McKIMSON - Writer

Animator. Nationality: American. Born: Denver, Colorado, 1910. Career: 1928—worked briefly for Walt Disney and the Romer Grey studio; joined the Harman-Ising studio, and remained with the unit at Warner Bros. until 1963; 1963–76—worked for DePatie-Freleng Enterprises: television work includes series The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo , The Bugs Bunny Show , Super President , The Odd-ball Couple , Baggy Pants and the Nitwits , and Bailey's Comets. Died: In 1976.

Films as Director of Animation (selected list):


Daffy Doodles ; Hollywood Canine Canteen ; Acrobatty Bunny ; Walky Talky Hawky ; The Mousemerized Cat ; One Meat Brawl


Birth of a Notion ; Hobo Bobo ; Crowing Pains ; Horsefly Fleas


Daffy Duck Slept Here ; Hop, Look, and Listen ; Easter Yeggs ; Gorilla My Dreams ; The Shell-Shocked Egg ; The Upstanding Sitter ; The Foghorn Leghorn ; Hot-Cross Bunny ; A Lad in His Lamp ; Hurdy Gurdy Hare


Paying the Piper ; Daffy Duck Hunt ; Rebel Rabbit ; The Greyhounded Hare ; The Windblown Hare ; Swallow the Leader ; A Ham in a Role ; Boobs in the Woods


Strife with Father ; The Leghorn Blows at Midnight ; An Egg Scramble ; What's Up Doc? ; It's Hummer Time ; Hillbilly Hare ; A Fractured Leghorn ; Pop 'im Pop ; The Bushy Hare ; Dog Collared


A Fox in a Fix ; Corn Plastered ; Early to Bet ; French Rarebit ; Leghorn Swoggled ; Lovelorn Leghorn ; Sleepytime Possum ; Big Top Bunny ; The Prize Pest ; Here We Go


Who's Kitten Who? ; Thumb Fun ; Kiddin' the Kitten ; Sock-a-Doodle Do ; The Turn-Tail Wolf ; The Oily Hare ; Hoppy Go Lucky ; The Egg-cited Rooster ; The Super Snooper ; Rabbit's Kin ; Fool Coverage


Upswept Hare ; A Peck o'Trouble ; Muscle Tussle ; There Auto Be a Law ; Plop Goes the Weasel ; Cat-Tails for Two ; Easy Peckin's ; Of Rice and Hen ; Cats A-Weigh


Wild Wife ; Design for Leaving ; Bell Hoppy ; No Parking Hare ; Little Boy Boo ; Devil May Hare ; The Oily American ; Gone Batty ; Quack Shot


Feather Dusted ; All Fowled Up ; Lighthouse Mouse ; The Hole Ideal Dime to Retire


Too Hop to Handle ; Weasel Stop ; The High and the Flighty ; Mixed Master ; The Unexpected Pest ; Stupor Duck ; Half-Fare Hare ; Raw! Raw! Rooster ; The Slap-Happy Mouse ; Wideo Wabbit ; The Honeymousers


Bedevilled Rabbit ; Cheese It, the Cat! ; Fox Terror ; Boston Quackie ; Ducking the Devil ; Mouse-taken Identity ; Rabbit Romeo


Don't Axe Me ; Tortilla Flaps ; Feather Bluster ; Now Hare This ; Dog Tales ; Weasel While You Work ; Pre-hysterical Hare ; Gopher Broke


Mouse-placed Kitten ; China Jones ; The Mouse That Jack Built ; A Mutt in a Rut ; Backwoods Bunny ; Bonanza Bunny ; A Broken Leghorn ; People Are Bunny


West of the Pesos ; Wild, Wild World ; Crockett Doodle-Do ; Mice Follies ; The Dixie Fryer ; Doggone People


Cannery Woe ; Hoppy Daze ; Strangled Eggs ; Birds of a Father ; Daffy's Inn Trouble ; What's My Lion?


Wet Hare ; Fish 'n Slips ; Bill of Hare ; The Slick Chick ; Mother Was a Rooster ; Good Noose


Fast Buck Duck ; The Million-hare ; Banty Raids ; Aqua Duck ; Claws in the Lease ; A Message to Gracias


The Incredible Mr. Limpet (Lubin) (animation sequences); Bartholomew vs. the Wheel ; Freudy Cat ; Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare ; False Hare


Moby Duck ; Assault and Peppered ; Well Worn Daffy ; Suppressed Duck ; Rushing Roulette ; Tease for Two ; Chili con Corny ; Go Go Amigo


The Astroduck ; Mucho Locos ; Mexican Mousepiece ; Daffy Rents ; A-Haunting We Will Go ; Snow Excuse ; A Squeak in the Deep ; Feather Finger ; Swing Ding Amigo ; Sugar and Spies ; A Taste of Catnip ; Cock-a-Doodle Deaux Deaux


Daffy's Dinner ; Sacré Bleu Cross ; Le Quiet Squad


Bunny and Claude ; The Fistic Mystic


The Great Carrot Train Robbery ; Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too ; Shamrock and Roll ; Bugged by a Bee ; Injun Trouble


Fowl Play


Pink Davinci ; It's Pink But Is It Mink?


Mystic Pink ; The Pink Pro ; Sherlock Pink


On McKIMSON: articles—

" The Dixie Fryer ," in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

" Feather Duster ," in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

" French Rarebit, " in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

" A Mutt in a Rutt ," in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

" One Meat Brawl ," in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

" Pop 'Im Pop! " in Reid's Film Index , no. 27, 1996.

* * *

The cartoon director Robert McKimson is best known for his successful contributions to animation history by creating the mindlessly destructive beast known as The Tasmanian Devil and the voluble rooster, Foghorn Leghorn.

In the early 1930s, individual animator's work, such as McKimson's, was almost indistinguishable, although most animators see this period as a great training ground for their later careers. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising's main character was Bosko, who had as many adventures as his counterpart Mickey Mouse. The humor was as broad as the artwork, and, when Harman and Ising sold out to Leon Schlesinger, McKimson found himself animating on a new, but similar, character named Buddy. During these early years, McKimson animated for some of the best directors: Jack King, Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin, and finally Bob Clampett, a very good foundation for any director. Some of his most notable animation occurs in many of Clampett's works, in particular Bugs Bunny appearing as a ballerina in A Corny Concerto or Bugs's death scene in The Old Grey Hare . Although a great deal of the characterization of Bugs Bunny must go to Tex Avery, McKimson did design and draw the first model sheets while with Avery's unit. McKimson, who had shunned being promoted to director for seven years for the simple reason that he was "still learning," made his first film as animation director in 1946. The third cartoon he made featured his most popular character, the bombastic, blowhard rooster, Foghorn Leghorn, based on two radio characters; one, the hard-of-hearing Sheriff from Blue Monday Jamboree ; the other, Kenny Delmar's overbearing creation Senator Cloghorn from the Fred Allen Show . Raucous, noisy, and a total pain-in-the-neck, Leghorn would spend entire cartoons relieving the boredom down on the farm by irritating all and sundry, especially the luckless watchdog, with his ceaseless talking, tricks, and gadgets to upset many an applecart. Occasionally he would join forces with a weasel to help him catch the chicks that the dog was guarding.

Often criticized for using too much dialogue and not enough action, McKimson soon rectified matters by creating the fast-paced speed demon, Speedy Gonzales, and a bizarre horned, whirling-dervish of a beast who tore through mountains as though they were lumps of cake, eating everything in sight—the Tasmanian Devil. The producer Eddie Selzer disliked the character so much that he ordered McKimson to put a stop to it. He was mercifully overridden by his boss, Jack Warner, who wanted to see more of the unsightly beast.

McKimson's style is very much his own, more restrained than his contemporaries Clampett and Avery, and very much attuned to radio and television parodies. Apart from his own characters, he worked best with characters he knew and had helped develop. Bugs Bunny teamed with Daffy Duck worked extremely well, as did Sylvester and his prig of a son. The culmination of his passion for radio and TV came when Jack Benny and his cast agreed to appear in McKimson's parody The Mouse That Jack Built for just the cost of a print of the cartoon.

When Warners finally closed its doors on cartoons, McKimson floundered around until he rejoined his former associate Friz Freleng, who had formed his own company, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and was making a series of new cartoons for none other than Warners. This was the beginning of the unfortunate era of cheap and quick cartoons. McKimson was never happy with what he was given to do at DFE, but tried to do his best on a shoestring budget in the quickest possible time. His final years with DFE were spent toying with commercials and TV episodes, so that, ironically, the medium he had enjoyed ribbing so mercilessly in the 1950s had now got its revenge and had the last laugh.

—Graham Webb

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: