Who was the best WB cartoons director?

Discussion in 'Back To The Inkwell - Classic Cartoons Discussion' started by Kevin Mo, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Kevin Mo

    Kevin Mo @Bugssponge

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    Was it Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, Robert Clampett, Tex Avery, Ben Hardaway/Cal Dalton, Cal Howard/Cal Dalton, Norm McCabe, Frank Tashlin, Jack King, Earl Duvall, or Arthur Davis.

    My favorite has to be Friz Freleng, I love his Bugs Bunny cartoons. His cartoons have won 3 Oscars, the most for any director. Jones comes in second, with McKimson in third. clampett in 4th. 5th for me would be hardaway and Dalton. 6th davis. clampett's films were good but some of them got really wacky which kind of ruined the gags while jones and freleng were more calm with their gags.

    Idk about avery because his films weren't that good for LT/MM. his only good ones are bugs bunny and detouring America.

    What do you think? Reply below.
     
  2. A-Cecil

    A-Cecil Banned

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    Positions of directors from first to last: #1-Bob Clampett, #2-Friz Freleng, #3-Chuck Jones, #4-Robert McKimson & Arthur Davis, #6-Tex Avery & Frank Tashlin,#8- Norm McCabe, Ben Hardaway & Cal Dalton, #10- Jack King, Earl Duvall, #12-Alex Lovy, Harman & Ising

    Bob Clampett created the funniest and the wackiest Looney Tunes cartoons, especially his three Tweety cartoons. Its a pity that he left in 1946.
    Friz Freleng's cartoons are very funny, especially his Bugs Bunny and Sylvester & Tweety cartoons.
    Chuck Jones also makes some good cartoons, my favorites include the Road Runner cartoons, Chuck Jones' "Hunting Trilogy", Mouse Wreckers and Duck Amuck.
    Tex Avery's LT & MM cartoons are not as good as his MGM cartoons.
    For Frank Tashlin's LT/MM cartoons I rather reccomend his cartoons from 1940s. They are much better and funnier than his 1930s cartoons.
    LT & MM Cartoons made before 1937 can be very boring, lack humor, and quite slow paced to my tastes. The musical cartoons of the period could just bore you to death.
    The W7-era cartoons by Alex Lovy are the worst and the lamest of all. Cheap production quality, crappy animation, and weak plots hurt these cartoons the most. His cartoon "See Ya Later Gladiator" is the worst cartoon ever made.
     
  3. A-Cecil

    A-Cecil Banned

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    Positions of directors from first to last: #1-Bob Clampett, #2-Friz Freleng, #3-Chuck Jones, #4-Robert McKimson & Arthur Davis, #6-Tex Avery & Frank Tashlin,#8- Norm McCabe, Ben Hardaway & Cal Dalton, #10- Jack King, Earl Duvall, #12-Alex Lovy, Harman & Ising

    Bob Clampett created the funniest and the wackiest Looney Tunes cartoons, especially his three Tweety cartoons. Its a pity that he left in 1946.
    Friz Freleng's cartoons are very funny, especially his Bugs Bunny and Sylvester & Tweety cartoons.
    Chuck Jones also makes some good cartoons, my favorites include the Road Runner cartoons, Chuck Jones' "Hunting Trilogy", Mouse Wreckers and Duck Amuck.
    Tex Avery's LT & MM cartoons are not as good as his MGM cartoons.
    For Frank Tashlin's LT/MM cartoons I rather reccomend his cartoons from 1940s. They are much better and funnier than his 1930s cartoons.
    LT & MM Cartoons made before 1937 can be very boring, lack humor, and quite slow paced to my tastes. The musical cartoons of the period could just bore you to death.
    The W7-era cartoons by Alex Lovy are the worst and the lamest of all. Cheap production quality, crappy animation, and weak plots hurt these cartoons the most. His cartoon "See Ya Later Gladiator" is the worst cartoon ever made.
     
  4. PinkiePie97

    PinkiePie97 Moderator
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    I can't pick one. I'm going to say it's a tie between Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones.
     
  5. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Uncreative Hack

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    Despite what many will say to you... it's still Chuck.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
     
  6. Cool_Cat

    Cool_Cat Well-Known Member

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    Tex Avery. After him it's a close one between Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett.

    Freleng was really good at the music based shorts. Rhapsody in Rivets is my favorite of them.
     
  7. Kevin Mo

    Kevin Mo @Bugssponge

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    I think buddy cartoons are worse than the 1967-69 era. they have no plot.
     
  8. Kevin Mo

    Kevin Mo @Bugssponge

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    while some MM before 1939 were good like katnip college I love to singa sunday go to meetin time clean pastures some are just boring like jungle jitters and hittin the trail for hallujah land
     
  9. superdude

    superdude king of cool

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    Tex Avery

    Friz Freleng

    Frank Tashlin- 'Plane Daffy,' 'Porky's Pig Feat' and 'the Stupid Cupid' are some of the best ones.

    Robert McKimson- Great animator, often under-valued as a director.

    Arthur Davis- Considering the short run he had, his unit put up some good material. 'Quackodile Tears' is a classic and 'What Makes Daffy Duck' and 'Riff Raffy Daffy' should be.

    ---------
    Personally I always hated how Jones took zany and off-the-wall Daffy and made him a miserable a-hole who always lost to Bugs. I also disliked the angular, elongated redesigns of most of the characters.
     
  10. Pilmedium

    Pilmedium Active Member

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    Definitely Chuck Jones. His cartoons were hilarious, especially the ones with the road runner and Wile E. Coyote. Friz Freleng would have to be second. He oversaw many of the later cartoons that kept the classics rolling after the original studio shut down.
     
    #10 Pilmedium, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  11. A-Cecil

    A-Cecil Banned

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    Can't to think about it, during the late-1980s and 1990s renaissance of animation, Chuck Jones was the only animation director from the classic era to continue working on Looney Tunes cartoons, while all the others such as Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, etc. are all either retired or deceased. Jones continued working on new Looney Tunes shorts until he retired in 1996 after making the Bugs Bunny cartoon "From Hare To Eternity" which was dedicated to Friz Freleng who had passed on in 1995.
     
  12. DVDLooney

    DVDLooney Active Member

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    In my opinion, all the WB directors. Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, Tex Avery, Arthur Davis, Ben Hardaway. Friz Freleng was a great director. His WB cartoons from 1936 and on was great, and he rarely had a bad cartoon after that...but his 1930's period really bores me. His teamups with Harman and Ising are quite enjoyable, and I think his Captain and the Kids films for MGM were fine...but Friz's little 'musical' color Merrie Melodies fro the 1934-1936 years were terrible. This is once again my opinion, many people like those. I feel like a lot of people give Chuck Jones too much credit as a director. However, Chuck did make great WB cartoons like "Rabbit of Seville", "Drip-Along Daffy" and "What's Opera Doc" as well as the hunting trilogy WB cartoons featuring Bugs, Daffy and Elmer just to name a some, but what I feel about Chuck Jones has no bearing on the great cartoons he directed. Tex Avery was great as well. Unpopular opinion, but I did like some of Tex Avery WB cartoons like "Land of the Midnight Fun", "Cross-Country Detours", "Circus Today" and "Wacky Wildlife", but I do agree that they're nothing compared to his MGM cartoons. Robert McKimson and Arthur Davis, in my view, are perhaps both the most neglected talents from the "Looney Tunes" golden age. McKimson, after taking over Frank Tashlin's unit in 1945, continued to make strong, funny cartoons with Bugs, Daffy and Porky. McKimson, just like Tex Avery, caricatured Hollywood Celebrities as Dogs in "Hollywood Canine Canteen" and Abbott and Costello as Mice in the "The Mouse-merized Cat". Great cartoons. Even McKimson's 50's Sylvester, Sylvester Jr and Hippety Hopper cartoons were severely underrated in my opinion. A lot of people don't like McKimson much, and I don't know why. Come on, the guy who was practically
    THE Bugs Bunny director of the early 1950's? I guess they don't like him for his work on the post-1964 cartoons, but I actually think his are the best of those shorts, and what could he do about the budget cuts at the time? "The Hole Idea" isn't a bad cartoon, it's not his best, but it's pretty funny. In fact, McKimson's only real turkies were from the 1963-1964 years, stuff like "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare" and "Strangled Eggs". Arthur Davis, after taking over Bob Clampett's unit, after Clampett left Warner Bros, he continued Clampett's trend of wackyness, but added his own unique style to his cartoons by giving characters ridiculous sized bow ties. Lastly, I think Norm McCabe's early Daffy and Porky cartoons were entertaining. He was a short-lived director at Warner Bros, but "Daffy's Southern Exposure" was by far his best cartoon that had ever done in my view.
     
  13. TheDaveMaybe

    TheDaveMaybe Film buff, film critic, and aspiring filmmaker

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    Jones, without a doubt. He was a genius and his films were funny and brilliant.

    And as a response to superdude, Daffy had snippets of the "a-hole" personality long before Jones ever directed a Daffy short. You ever seen "You Ought to Be in Pictures"? So blaming Jones entirely for Daffy's personality change is stupid.
     
  14. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know who was the best overall, but my personal favorite is Chuck Jones. He was the fanciest, and he created Wile E. Coyote, my favorite Looney Tunes character! I also like Pepe Le Pew, Marvin the Martian and Witch Hazel, and he did some pretty fun one-shots later in his WB career, with stuff like "Nelly's Folly," "Martian Through Georgia," and ESPECIALLY "Now Hear This." I also love how he and his animators would draw Bugs Bunny from the early 50s onward, going for a more different kind of style from what the other directors were typically doing. (Jones's trademark style was starting to creep into Bugs's design in his early 50s shorts, before being more evident by 1963.) I also like how Chuck tended to make the male Looney Tunes stars give a "deadpan snarker" look.
     
  15. Nodog

    Nodog Particle Man

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    I don't really know who is my favorite, so I'll just split the directors up into different categories:

    AMAZING:

    - Friz Freleng: You've got to hand it to him, he did the most consistent work. Even in 1963, cartoons like The Unmentionables were serviceable enough. He also had a great sense of musical timing and handled Bugs Bunny very well.
    FAVORITES: She Was an Acrobat's Daughter, Rhapsody in Rivets, Buccaneer Bunny, Bugs and Thugs, Birds Anonymous

    - Chuck Jones: He was also very consistent with his work. Although he made the character designs too cute later on, and a few of his early cartoons are nothing to write home about. Also handled Bugs very well.
    FAVORITES: The Dover Boys, The Rabbit of Seville, Rabbit Fire, Duck Amuck, Now Hear This

    - Bob Clampett: His early work was good, but you could tell he didn't really care about developing Porky's character. From 1940-1941, he made a string of mediocre cartoons, but from 1942-1946, it was just plain wild laugh-riots (although a bit too sloppy sometimes), which made up for his earlier work. Handled Bugs Bunny decently.
    FAVORITES: The Daffy Doc, Porky in Egypt, A Tale of Two Kitties, Buckaroo Bugs, Book Revue

    - Frank Tashlin: Again, his early work was good, but his 40s work was better. He used lots of interesting techniques like fast cuts, used lots of perspectives, and in general has a very distinct directing style. I can't really tell from 2 Bugs Bunny cartoons (he deserved more), but from what I've seen, he handled the character great.
    FAVORITES: Cracked Ice, Wholly Smoke, Porky Pig's Feat, Nasty Quacks, Hare Remover

    GOOD:

    - Arthur Davis: A very underrated director. Good work all the way through his career and should have stayed longer. Again, hard to tell, but he handled Bugs Bunny good.
    FAVORITES: Mexican Joyride, Catch as Cats Can, What Makes Daffy Duck? The Stupor Salesman, Bowery Bugs

    - Robert McKimson: His first 10 years or so of directing were hilarious, but he sunk into a sea of mediocrity after that, sadly. Handled Bugs Bunny very great.
    FAVORITES: Daffy Doodles, The Birth of a Notion, It's Hummer Time, A Fractured Leghorn, Design for Leaving

    MEH:

    - Tex Avery: His first 3 or so years were good, but then he devolved into making spot-gag cartoons that weren't all that great. His leave for MGM was probably for the better. Handled Bugs Bunny good.
    FAVORITES: Daffy Duck in Hollywood, Hamateur Night, Thugs with Dirty Mugs, The Bear's Tale, The Heckling Hare

    - Norman McCabe: Had some interesting premises, but he always felt the need to insert war references in just about every cartoon he made for some reason. Ending his career with Tokio Jokio wasn't exactly the best way to go out, too.
    FAVORITES: Robinson Crusoe Jr., Daffy's Southern Exposure, The Ducktators, The Impatient Patient, Confusions of a Nutsy Spy

    - Jack King: Decent director, but his stories sometimes came out boring. Porky was always treated weirdly in these cartoons for some reason.
    FAVORITES: Viva Buddy (for the ending, basically), Hollywood Capers, Shanghaied Shipmates, Porky's Pet, Porky's Moving Day

    - Ben Hardaway & Cal Dalton: Hardaway just wasn't that good of a co-director. Lots of not-very-good animation in their cartoons as well.
    FAVORITES: Porky the Gob, Count Me Out, Porky & Teabiscuit, Bars & Stripes Forever, Hare-um Scare-um

    BLECH:

    - any director I didn't list here

    ???:

    - Cal Howard & Cal Dalton: All 3 of their cartoons showed promise, and I liked the loose, buttery style in them. However, I'm putting them here because I don't have enough work to judge them by.
    FAVORITES (by default): Porky's Phoney Express, Katnip Kollege, A-Lad-in Bagdad

    - Ub Iwerks: Seemed to be OK. Porky and Gabby was the better of the two he directed. Again, not enough work.
    FAVORITES (by default): Porky and Gabby, Porky's Super Service

    - Harman/Ising: Haven't seen enough of their cartoons to judge them by, but they look good.
     
  16. Lock n' Stock

    Lock n' Stock Space Koala

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    It would easily be Chuck Jones for me without question. Out of the many Looney Tunes shorts I grew up on, he seemed to be the one with the most attatched to his name.
     
  17. ToonReel

    ToonReel Active Member

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    I think it's the problem that Jones was VERY attached to formula. Once he found a shtick for a character he rarely deviated. EVER. Hence why a lot of his unit-exclusive characters ended up rather one note. Now don't get me wrong, a lot of them are GREAT cartoons, but they have a 'seen one, seen 'em all' feel a lot of the time. When Jones made his first 'Bugs vs Daffy' and 'Daffy as movie flop' cartoons, that's almost all Daffy ever did from that point on. A shame since some of his earlier 'greedy Daffy' cartoons had cool premises like Daffy Dilly or You Were Never Duckier's con-artist role.

    I think it's also that said formula tended to just be a variation of one the Looney Tunes series had already done to death by loads of other characters; another outclassed antagonist for Bugs. The jerk who picks a fight and never knows when to cut his losses. What I liked about earlier Daffy (or at least 40s era Daffy) was that his cartoons were suitably random, he could be a winner or a loser, a friend or an enemy, a troll or a well intentioned nut. With Jones' Daffy, you knew every punchline involved him acting like a jerk and getting hit. Funny but again, derivative.

    I think that's why I liked a lot of Mckimson's work since he was a pretty good mediator of the old and new formulas and thus often had the most versatile versions of the cast. His Daffy gained a lot of Jones' version's selfish ambitious qualities, but played him in lots of different situations, and wasn't afraid to revert him into the crazy little black duck of before if it made a funnier cartoon. Similarly his Bugs gained a bit of Jones' suaveness, but he could still be a bit of an obnoxious smart ass and even lose the odd cartoon like beforehand (I believe this was at McKimson's own choosing since he actually complained Jones had toned down Bugs to the point of making him bland). Also notice how Mckimson's own star, Foghorn Leghorn, despite often using the same farm backdrop, rarely kept to one same formula. They could have kept him against Barnyard or Henery non-stop but they kept trying very different foils and premises for him to bounce off of.

    The only character that felt kinda typecast in McKimson's works was Sylvester, since he kept that same Hippety Hopper formula for him with little variation, though even then he did the occasional different cartoon with him such as the Speedy series.
     
    #17 ToonReel, May 4, 2018
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  18. Kevin Mo

    Kevin Mo @Bugssponge

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    A lot of the cartoon directors relied on formula. That's what made Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies very successful. Jones had a formula for Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny pairings as well as the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner pairings. A lot of his Pepe Le Pew shorts also relied on formula.

    McKimson used formula for his Foghorn Leghorn shorts with Henery Hawk and other characters who would torture Foghorn. The Sylvester/Hippety Hopper scene relied on formula to an extreme.

    Freleng used formulas with Tweety/Sylvester pairings. Tweety never gets harmed and Sylvester always loses. It's a formula. The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam series was built on formulas. You have Yosemite Sam with his guns and then Bugs just comes and harasses him.

    The only one I say who didn't use formulas were Tex Avery and Arthur Davis. Davis directed a lot of one-shots so he couldn't have access to a formula and Avery did the travelogue shorts, which were all different from each other, although most of them were American tours.

    Clampett relied on formulas a lot through his Porky/Daffy pairings that he supervised. Most of them include Daffy teasing Porky. That's a formula.

    Also, the one-shots between 1933 (after Harman/Ising left)-1935 were pretty boring. The ones I've watched between 1931-1933 are okay. I liked the Merrie Melodies series better when they swapped to 3-hue color in 1936. "I Wanna Play House" has awesome animation and light laughs. "Plenty of Money and You" is pretty interesting and "My Little Buckaroo" is a good one-shot short with a plot that would later form Yosemite Sam/Bugs Bunny pairings.

    In fact, I liked the one-shots better than the black-and-white Looney Tunes shorts. I personally never enjoyed the black-and-white cartoons. They are the originals, but they were bland, and the animation directors were still learning their styles. There are a few exceptions: "Porky in Wackyland", "Porky's Duck", and "Hare Hunt", "You Ought to be in Pictures", "Porky Pig's Feat", and the wartime black-and-white shorts (except "Tokio Jokio") are good. Some of them I disliked: "Tokio Jokio", the one-shot black-and-white shorts between 1941-1943, and "Porky and Gabby".

    I personally think the formulas get tiring after a while, especially the Daffy/Speedy formula, (I think the downtime years of Looney Tunes,1930-1939 and 1964-1969, are still better than what is on most television today) but they are what made Looney Tunes successful.
     
  19. ToonReel

    ToonReel Active Member

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    Formulas aren't bad, but as said when done to a really linear extreme, they become less a base for a plot and characterisation and more a rehash of the same thing over and over.

    Clampett from what I heard wasn't too big on keeping to a regimented formula for too long. The Porky/Daffy pairing is a good example, since the dynamic could often change between shorts. Sometimes Daffy would heckle Porky, but in others they would be allies, or one of them would be a bit player to whatever shenanigans the other was doing.

    I don't think it helps that for the longest time, WB's attempts at reviving the franchise were just rehashing the same handful of shorts over and over. Rabbit Fire was good, but then nearly everything Daffy appeared in was just a variation of the 'Duck Season/Rabbit Season' formula and seldom any of them were remotely as good as the original. Only recently have we seen Daffy prominently doing one of his different roles like being a heckler or a con man again, and yeah, while they're rarely as good as the originals either, it at least dumbs down the repetition.
     
  20. Cool_Cat

    Cool_Cat Well-Known Member

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    It’s a really difficult decision to make, because I really don’t have a favorite. I could say for an example McKimson did the Foghorn shorts which I love and I think they’re the best example of performance by Mel Blanc, but I don’t think both Bugs Bunny and the “greedy” Daffy fit his own style.

    I’ll say my opinion on each.

    Chuck Jones: he’s the one who fits my own personality somehow. It seems to me he used cartoons as a way to describe himself, especially in the Ralph Phillips ones. He also handled Bugs Bunny very well and came up with great characters such as Marvin the Martian, Gossamer, Wile E Coyote, Pepe le Pew, etc. My favorite cartoon he directed has to be Rabbit of Seville.

    Friz Freleng: he was the one with a great music timing. He directed amazing musical shorts such as Lights Fantastic, Holiday for Shoestrings, Rhapsody in Rivets, etc. He also directed my favorite version of Bugs Bunny, especially when paired with Yosemite Sam. As for Tweety and Sylvester, the pairing worked very well but there’s one thing I don’t like about his Tweety: the original didn’t ask for help.

    Tex Avery: he was the most innovative director IMO. He was the one who realized cartoons could make people laugh and created the zany Looney Tunes style. His work at MGM is better due to the high budgets, but there are some really underrated classics you should watch, such as The Crackpot Quail, Plane Dippy, Thugs with Dirty Mugs, etc. I find less interesting his “travelogue” cartoons.

    Bob Clampett: he had a similar style to Tex Avery, but with his own touch. His early black and white cartoons, such as Porky’s Badtime Story, Porky in Wackyland, Scalp Trouble, etc were really ahead of their time, they feel more they were made in the 40s than in the 30s. He’s the one who really influenced Daffy’s “screwball” personality, and I heavily recommend many masterpieces he directed later on, such as The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, Baby Bottleneck, Wabbit Twouble, etc.

    Bob McKimson: I love his shorts when he does his own characters pretty much. While he still directed some good Bugs short, such as Hillbilly Hare, his best work is by far Foghorn Leghorn. His screwball Daffy works are also really good, especially Birth of a Notion.I also recommend many one shots he directed, such as The Hole Idea, It’s Hummer Time, A Fox in a Fix or The Shell Shocked Egg.

    Art Davis: he’s really underrated IMO. His ont Bugs Bunny short is a true masterpieces, and he directed a lot of unique one shots and his Daffy had a lot of humor. Some I recommend are Bone Sweet Bone, Mexican Joyride, The Stupor Salesman, The Rattled Rooster, Nothing but a Tooth and Holiday for Drumsticks.
     

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