Remembering Bob Clampett, Innovative Warner Brothers Cartoon Animator

Bob Clampett, one of the true pioneers of American animation, who had directed Warner Brothers cartoons (and helped design characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig) and had massive success with the children’s program Beany and Cecil, died 30 years ago today on May 2, 1984.

Although not one of the more readily household names when it comes to rattling off animation legends (legends like Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Walter Lantz, and Walt Disney among others), Bob Clampett nonetheless took a stranglehold on the genre, infusing it with a wide array of visual absurdities only rivaled by the eclectically demented works of the aforementioned Tex Avery. For Clampett, anything BUT tradition and playing it safe were the true orders of the day. While many of his colleagues at Warner’s during his tenure there (during the 1930s and 1940s) decried Clampett’s alleged plagiarism and a propensity to steal ideas, Bob Clampett still nonetheless carved his niche in a steel block of titanium as some of his cartoons still hold up as not only the best Warner Brothers had to offer — and that’s saying a lot considering the overflowing wellspring of talent that emanated from there — but also some of the best the entire animation field itself had to offer.

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