Monday, November 12, 2007

The whole thing just gets wierder

About a year ago I sent an email of the drawing to an animation enthusiast named Thad Komorowski.

He sent several replies that were mostly positive and supportive of the theory that I've put forth. Recently he posted a comment on an animation history forum calling me, "that crazy guy trying to pass of a drawing as proof that Hardaway created Bugs Bunny". The emails follow in their entirety, I could forward any of them if their origins are at all in doubt.



From July 19 2006

"Chris,What a wonderfully done piece! There are a few errors(mostly spelling, and the citing of Tortoise BeatsHare as a Disney cartoon).Hearing this from you, and from Bob Hardaway andMartha Sigall, I now have no doubt that Ben Hardaway originally created Bugs Bunny. Have you seen "Hare-Um Scare-Um"? It's a film Hardaway did in 1939. It is, in my opinion, a very crude, seriously in-need-of-fine-tuning, version of "A WildHare". For whatever it's worth, my view of Bugs always worked like this... Ben created the character and sparked some of his everlasting personality into it. But Avery totally fine-tuned Bugs Bunny making him into a more winning character (mainly in terms of the design and making him less obnoxious). I am sure you are aware that Hardaway also had his credit for his other big-time creation, Woody Woodpecker stolen by Walter Lantz. If it means anything, I wouldn't go to Steve Worth for any information. I can't say I was surprised by him dismissing your case. At heart, I know we're all geeks, but Steve is a super-geek. I don't think he works and lives off selling art and stuff on eBay. His mission in life isto correct every animation fact and rewrite animation history (usually in favor of Grim Natwick or ArtBabbitt). And also, a bit of fair warning (and please keep this part between us) but stay clear of Milton Gray on this matter as well. He is a very intelligent historian, but he is the biggest sycophant of Bob Clampett in the historian field. (I'd say world, but we all know John Kricfalusi gets that title). He will sugar-coat any event in Clampett's favor.When I showed Milt the Film Dope filmography I spoke to you about (where Clampett not only took credit forco-writing Avery's films, but also creating YosemiteSam and Sylvester!), he not only said he saw nothing wrong with it, but he also called me an asshole for saying that Clampett was a credit-grubber! When you enter into animation history like I do, you learn how dark and pathetic some people can be. You are doing good work, Chris, and I would keep up talking with Jerry Beck and Larry Loc about it. You might try getting in touch with Mike Barrier about it. I have forwarded your piece to my friend, Tim Cohea(aka "Sogturtle"), who will no doubt find it immensely interesting. Also, out of curiosity, how did you get my phone number? Not that I mind, but I don't think I've had it posted anywhere before. Please keep me up to date with any further discoveries. Best,Thad K."



July 19 2006

If it was Genevieve Komorowski, then that was my grandma. Regards to the shorts : There was a sequel to "TheTortoise and the Hare" (1934). It was "Toby TortoiseReturns" (1936). I'll check it tonight if there's any"Speedy" reference. Cecil Turtle definitley calls Bugs "Speedy" several times in the short. Keep in mind Jones' "Elmer's Pet Rabbit" was released very shortly before this, identifying the character as"Bugs Bunny" in the opening credits. I know your pain of trying to get the truth out in regards to animation history. I tried doing the same about exposing Bob Clampett as a brilliant director, but a compulsive liar awhile ago, but Milt Gray got wind of it and put an end to it, threatening to damn my reputation if I dare say anything negative about Saint Clampett. Right now I am working on a project to get the truth out on a very pretentious fellow (who IS still withus), so I'd rather concentrate on that rather than someone who actually did put out good cartoons. Best of luck, and I will get back to you re: TobyTortoise Returns. If you need copies of any cartoons, let me know, I have a pretty complete collection of Warner shorts.Best,Thad K.



July 19 2006

Chris,I just watched both Disney shorts "The Tortoise andthe Hare" and "Toby Tortoise Returns". No characteris referred to as 'Speedy' in either short.Cecil Turtle definitley calls Bugs 'Speedy' in Avery's"Tortoise Beats Hare".Best,Thad K.



July 22nd 2006

Chris,I'd be happy to host an essay on the drawing on my blog. I'll give a fuller response when I get back from work tonight. Did you show the drawing to Martha Sigall? What did she say? She'd know better than Steve Worth. I am absolutely certain that that piece was done by a Warner artist, FOR WORK. It's way too professional to be some kind of card to Jones. Best,Thad K.



July 22nd 2006

Chris,OK here's my full reply.Mel Blanc embelished his career just like Jones andClampett (though not nearly as bad as the latter). I believe he claimed to come up with Porky Pig's voice(which he didn't, Joe Doughtery was his first voice).But the difference is that he's giving someone ELSE credit for this creation. That's what makes me think it's something that speaks in Hardaway's favor.You mentioned speaking with Martha Sigall... Have you shown Martha the drawing? If anyone would know, it'd be her. Let's do a little more research on the drawing (askMartha, like I said), and I'll help you write up an essay on this case. I will post it to my blog and let others see what they think of it. Does that sound like a plan? Best,Thad K.



July 22nd 2006

It just has too fine a draftsmanship to be from any other studio. Someone at Warners did that drawing, because NOBODY at any other studio drew rabbits like that, before or after Bugs. And I've seen Bugs Bunny ripoffs from various studios, and they don't even come close to THAT drawing. It's professional too, as the ink line is too strong to be for leisure.Best,Thad K.



July 22nd 2006

It LOOKS like Hardaway's work to me, but I'm not an expert at these things, and guys like Mark Kausler would probably know. The drawing is definitley of Bugs Bunny I know. I was going to suggest you sending me a check to cover printing costs of running your piece in APATOONS (aprivate publication I belong to, as do Leonard Maltin,Mike Barrier, Jerry Beck), but I'm wary of informing Milton Gray (who is also in the group) of this. He'd find some way to attribute the drawing to Clampett. It might be worth the risk, since most of those guys are pretty knowledgeable, and we are barred fromtelling anyone outside the group the contents of the magazine.Best,Thad K.



July 22nd 2006

Well Mark's reply is fairly decent. I haven't talked with Mark much, but he's an expert in animation (and one of the best animators alive today) and I tend to believe anything he says. I do not like Barrier or Worth's tone toward you. Barrier is getting a little ruder in his old age (both he and Milt Gray are pushing retirement age). He pissed off Art Babbitt's daughter recently really badly. Steve Worth doesn't know shit (he's pushing 500pounds).What I'm afraid all will dismiss (and maybe myself,sorry) is the time-frame for the image you're claiming though. That drawing is by a Warner employee, but if it was definitley done good into production of A WildHare. What I suggest is just keep trying with different people to find out what it is. I would run it in Apatoons, and I would send you a copy of MY zine (I'mnot allowed to send the other people's sections/zines). I would then forward any reactions to you.Best,Thad K.



Oct 21st of 2007

Virgil was a sweet guy and was very open and honest about his co-workers. I think he was one of the many animators who just viewed it as a job they were lucky enough to have. So yeah, his word could be trusted.~Thad



And then Nov 4th 2007 I happened upon a post from Thad on an unrelated thread , this latest comment sure seems diffeent than the previous comments.

Originally Posted by Thad Komorowski
Wow, this is crazier than that guy trying to pass off his rabbit drawing as proof Ben Hardaway created Bugs Bunny.




Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thad Komorowski's thoughts on the Bugs' Bunny

I've received a variety of responses regarding my theory of Bugs' Bunny but the recent comments from Thad Komorowski are just downright wierd.

I showed him the drawing about a year ago and he responded with several emails which were positive and supportive.

July 19 of 2006 he wrote;



Chris,What a wonderfully done piece! There are a few errors(mostly spelling, and the citing of Tortoise BeatsHare as a Disney cartoon).Hearing this from you, and from Bob Hardaway andMartha Sigall, I now have no doubt that Ben Hardawayoriginally created Bugs Bunny.Have you seen "Hare-Um Scare-Um"? It's a film Hardawaydid in 1939. It is, in my opinion, a very crude,seriously in-need-of-fine-tuning, version of "A WildHare".For whatever it's worth, my view of Bugs always workedlike this... Ben created the character and sparkedsome of his everlasting personality into it. ButAvery totally fine-tuned Bugs Bunny making him into amore winning character (mainly in terms of the designand making him less obnoxious).I am sure you are aware that Hardaway also had hiscredit for his other big-time creation, WoodyWoodpecker stolen by Walter Lantz.If it means anything, I wouldn't go to Steve Worth forany information. I can't say I was surprised by himdismissing your case.At heart, I know we're all geeks, but Steve is asuper-geek. I don't think he works and lives offselling art and stuff on eBay. His mission in life isto correct every animation fact and rewrite animationhistory (usually in favor of Grim Natwick or ArtBabbitt).And also, a bit of fair warning (and please keep thispart between us) but stay clear of Milton Gray on thismatter as well. He is a very intelligent historian,but he is the biggest sycophant of Bob Clampett in thehistorian field. (I'd say world, but we all know JohnKricfalusi gets that title). He will sugar-coat anyevent in Clampett's favor.When I showed Milt the Film Dope filmography I spoketo you about (where Clampett not only took credit forco-writing Avery's films, but also creating YosemiteSam and Sylvester!), he not only said he saw nothing wrong with it, but he also called me an asshole forsaying that Clampett was a credit-grubber!When you enter into animation history like I do, youlearn how dark and pathetic some people can be. Youare doing good work, Chris, and I would keep uptalking with Jerry Beck and Larry Loc about it. Youmight try getting in touch with Mike Barrier about it.I have forwarded your piece to my friend, Tim Cohea(aka "Sogturtle"), who will no doubt find it immenselyinteresting.Also, out of curiosity, how did you get my phonenumber? Not that I mind, but I don't think I've hadit posted anywhere before.Please keep me up to date with any further discoveries.Best,Thad K.



And again on the 19th;



Regards to the shorts : There was a sequel to "TheTortoise and the Hare" (1934). It was "Toby TortoiseReturns" (1936). I'll check it tonight if there's any"Speedy" reference. Cecil Turtle definitley callsBugs "Speedy" several times in the short. Keep inmind Jones' "Elmer's Pet Rabbit" was released veryshortly before this, identifying the character as"Bugs Bunny" in the opening credits.I know your pain of trying to get the truth out inregards to animation history. I tried doing the sameabout exposing Bob Clampett as a brilliant director,but a compulsive liar awhile ago, but Milt Gray gotwind of it and put an end to it, threatening to damnmy reputation if I dare say anything negative aboutSaint Clampett.Right now I am working on a project to get the truthout on a very pretentious fellow (who IS still withus), so I'd rather concentrate on that rather thansomeone who actually did put out good cartoons.Best of luck, and I will get back to you re: TobyTortoise Returns. If you need copies of any cartoons,let me know, I have a pretty complete collection ofWarner shorts.Best,Thad K.



Again on the 19th;



Chris,I just watched both Disney shorts "The Tortoise andthe Hare" and "Toby Tortoise Returns". No characteris referred to as 'Speedy' in either short.Cecil Turtle definitley calls Bugs 'Speedy' in Avery's"Tortoise Beats Hare".Best,Thad K.



And on the 22nd;



Chris,I'd be happy to host an essay on the drawing on myblog. I'll give a fuller response when I get backfrom work tonight.Did you show the drawing to Martha Sigall? What didshe say? She'd know better than Steve Worth.I am absolutely certain that that piece was done by aWarner artist, FOR WORK. It's way too professional tobe some kind of card to Jones.Best,Thad K.



Again on the 22nd;



Chris,OK here's my full reply.Mel Blanc embelished his career just like Jones andClampett (though not nearly as bad as the latter). Ibelieve he claimed to come up with Porky Pig's voice(which he didn't, Joe Doughtery was his first voice).But the difference is that he's giving someone ELSEcredit for this creation. That's what makes me thinkit's something that speaks in Hardaway's favor.You mentioned speaking with Martha Sigall... Have youshown Martha the drawing? If anyone would know, it'dbe her.Let's do a little more research on the drawing (askMartha, like I said), and I'll help you write up anessay on this case. I will post it to my blog and letothers see what they think of it. Does that soundlike a plan?Best,Thad K.



Another from the 22nd;



It just has too fine a draftsmanship to be from anyother studio. Someone at Warners did that drawing,because NOBODY at any other studio drew rabbits likethat, before or after Bugs. And I've seen Bugs Bunnyripoffs from various studios, and they don't even comeclose to THAT drawing.It's professional too, as the inkline is too strong tobe for leisure.Best,Thad K



From the 22nd;



Thanks. It LOOKS like Hardaway's work to me, but I'mnot an expert at these things, and guys like MarkKausler would probably know. The drawing isdefinitley of Bugs Bunny I know.I was going to suggest you sending me a check to coverprinting costs of running your piece in APATOONS (aprivate publication I belong to, as do Leonard Maltin,Mike Barrier, Jerry Beck), but I'm wary of informingMilton Gray (who is also in the group) of this. He'dfind some way to attribute the drawing to Clampett. It might be worth the risk, since most of those guysare pretty knowledgeable, and we are barred fromtelling anyone outside the group the contents of the magazine.Best,Thad K.



And from October of this year after I posted the Virgil Ross interview wherein Virgil clearly describes the Hardaway drawing as having been chosen from among many;



Virgil was a sweet guy and was very open and honest about his co-workers. I think he was one of the many animators who just viewed it as a job they were lucky enough to have. So yeah, his word could be trusted.~Thad


Some months after all of these comments he posted a comment calling the theory of Hardaway's involvment in the character's personality development "crazy".
When I asked him about the sudden and complete change of view he responded,"I changed my mind".
This sounds, to me, like the same disingenuous avoidance of the facts as displayed by Jerry Beck.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blanc's obituary

Mel Blanc's Obituary
This is the obituary of Mel Blanc that ran in the "Los Angeles Times" July 11, 1989. There are a number of interesting facts and stories about him contained within.
Mel Blanc, the voice of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble, Daffy Duck and countless other animated vertebrates, died Monday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
He was 81 and had been hospitalized since May 19 suffering from heart disease and related medical problems, said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.
With Blanc when he died at 2:30 p.m. were his wife Estelle and son Noel, who now does most of his father's voices.
Known as "The Man of 1,000 Voices," Blanc was virtually never seen on the silver screen during the golden era of Merrie Melodies cartoons. Yet the myriad permutations of his acrobatic vocal cords have remained instantly recognizable by children of all ages around the globe for more than 50 years.
Among the many lines he repeatedly uttered that arguably rival those of Shakespeare in terms of familiarity, if not intellectual depth: "Eh . . . what's up, Doc?" through the lips of the wiseacre hare, Bugs Bunny; "I tawt I taw a putty tat," from the tart-tongued canary Tweety, and "SSSSSsssuffering SSSSSuccotash," courtesy of Sylvester the sloppy cat. Not to mention Woody Woodpecker's signature laugh ("Hee, hee, heh, hah, ho. Hee, hee, heh, hah, ho"); both the laconic train conductor ("Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc-a-monga") and sputtering Maxwell auto of Jack Benny radio and TV show fame, and, of course, the stutter-strewn meanderings of Porky the wistful pig.
Over time, Blanc's reknowned "voice characterizations" became nearly as much a part of his own life as breathing. In his later years, Blanc would often recount the scene as he lay in a coma at UCLA Medical Center following a nearly fatal 1961 car collision.
Bugs Bunny Invoked "They say that while I was unconscious, the doctor would come into my room each day and ask me how I was and, nothing. I wouldn't answer him. So one day he comes into my room, he gets an idea, and he says, 'Hey, Bugs Bunny! How are you?' And they say I answered back in Bugs' voice. "Ehh, just fine, Doc. How are you?"
The doctor then said, " 'And Porky Pig! How are you feeling?' and I said, 'J-j-j-just fine, th-th-th-thanks.' "So you see, I actually live these characters." For days following the head-on Sunset Boulevard collision, Blanc hovered near death. But like his dynamic cartoon characters -- who so often slammed into walls and shrugged their shoulders or were blasted by dynamite and proceeded to calmly wipe the gunpowder off their noggins -- Blanc, after 21 days, finally awoke, picked himself up and went back to work.
Although his lines were primarily written by others, Blanc's performances, like those of the Three Stooges and Marx Brothers, gave life and technicolor to a spirit of wise-aleckness in an era of gray flannel suits and proper manners.
"For the majority of us, the sassiness of our childhood, muttered alone in bed or nursed in sullen silence at the dinner table, had a secret champion in the voices of Mel Blanc," wrote Times comedy columnist Lawrence Christon in 1984.
Blanc, commenting on the personality of Bugs, put it in his own words: "He's just a stinker. In other words, he's more or less of the suppressed desire of what men would like to do that don't have guts enough to do."
Melvin Jerome Blanc was born May 30, 1908, in San Francisco, where his parents managed a ladies' ready-to-wear apparel business.
Even as a youngster, he displayed his one-of-a-kind vocal gift, regaling his classmates and teachers with the piercing laugh he would later develop into Woody Woodpecker's signature call.
"(In) high school, I used to laugh down the hall and hear the echo coming, you know. . . . So that's the Woody Woodpecker laugh," he once told an interviewer.
Blanc, whose family moved to Portland, Ore., shortly after his birth, turned immediately to show business following his graduation from high school in 1927. But for the first five years, he made his living with musical instruments rather than the magic of his vocal cords. An accomplished bassist, violinist and sousaphone player, Blanc played in the NBC Radio Orchestra and conducted the pit orchestra at the Orpheum Theatre in Portland.
In 1933, he married Estelle Rosenbaum, and soon after the couple began hosting a daily one-hour radio show in Portland called "Cobwebs and Nuts." Since management would not spring to hire additional actors, Blanc invented an entire repertory company.
"They wouldn't allow me to hire anybody else because they were too damn cheap," he once said. " . . . It taught me these many, many voices. This went on for two years. Finally my wife said to me, 'You want to continue with the show or do you want to have a nervous breakdown?' "
Opting for sanity, Blanc, accompanied by his wife, moved to Los Angeles, where he toiled as a character actor on radio shows while repeatedly seeking an audition with Leon Schlesinger Productions, the cartoon company that produced the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Bros.
Oral Test Passed At Schlesinger, Blanc was rebuffed several times by the same production supervisor. But the man finally died. So after more than a year of knocking on the door as persistently as Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner, Blanc was offered an oral test by the supervisor's successor.
The audition was rather unorthodox -- at least for anyone other than a cartoon voice.
"One of the (directors) said, 'Can you do a drunken bull?' So I had to think for a moment and I said, 'Yeah,' . . . I'd shound, hic, like I was a little loaded, hic, and looking for the, hic, sour mash."
Blanc did better than the Coyote ever did. He got the job, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Blanc's first major memorable role was that of Porky Pig, which he was offered in 1937 after studio officials decided that the porcine personality, who was originally introduced in 1935, needed a face-lift.
"Leon called me in and asked me if I could do a pig -- a fine thing to ask a Jewish kid," Blanc recalled. "The guy they were using actually had a stutter and used up yards of film. But I could stutter and ad lib in rhythm."
Bugs Bunny followed a year later. "They originally wanted to call Bugs Bunny the Happy Hare. But the writer was called Bugs Hardaway and had a snappy way about him. He'd say things like, 'Hey, what's cookin?' I said, 'Let's use it. It's modern.' That became 'What's up, Doc?' Bugs was a tough little stinker; that's why I came up with a Brooklyn accent. I always worked on creating a vocal quality to match the characters."
Blanc, indeed, was proud of his voices, proclaiming to interviewers: "I created every voice that I do (except Elmer Fudd). "I will not imitate. I think imitation is stealing from another person."
In the case of Porky, Blanc claimed to have visited a pig farm and "wallowed around" for two weeks in order to "be real authentic."
90% of Warner's Stable In time, Blanc provided the voices for more than 90% of Warner's stable of cartoon characters. For most of them, he helped develop the distinctive personas in tandem with such giants of the field as animator-directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones and Robert McKimson.
"I create the personality when they tell me what the story is and so on," he once explained. "Sylvester was sloppy. Tweety was a baby with a baby's voice. Daffy was egotistical."
Before signing an exclusive cartoon contract with Warners, Blanc also worked free lance for Walter Lantz, for whom he developed the laugh of Woody Woodpecker, and for Walt Disney. Unfortunately, his 16 days of work on Disney's Pinocchio wound up on the cutting room floor, except for a single hiccup by a cat named "Giddy."
It was one of the few cases in which Blanc was not successful. Blanc, in fact, eventually became the first voice specialist to earn over-the-title credits on cartoons.
Blanc later credited those credits with untapping a steady stream of radio work on such shows as Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly and Jack Benny.
On the Benny show, Blanc began with a growl -- a bear growl. The bear was named Carmichael, and he guarded Benny's vault.
"Well, I did the bear growl for six months, and that's all I did was just the bear growl. Finally I said to him, 'You know, Mr. Benny, I can also talk.' "
Benny quickly submitted, tabbing Blanc to do the train station announcer, a parrot who called Benny a cheapskate, a harried retail salesman, Benny's exasperated violin teacher Prof. LeBlanc, and Cy from Tijuana, who answered most queries, "Si."
When Benny went to TV, Blanc made the transition too, doing on-camera stints in his character roles. Blanc also had bit parts in several movies and starred in his own forgettable comedy CBS Radio network show in 1946, in which he played the owner of a fix-it shop.
In 1960, Blanc turned to made-for-TV cartoons, providing voices for a Saturday morning Bugs Bunny show and for two of the characters on "The Flintstones" -- Barney Rubble and the pet dinosaur, Dino. For a time following his 1961 accident, Blanc taped his part at home with a microphone suspended over his bed.
In the following years, further TV cartoon roles included Secret Squirrel, Mr. Cosmo G. Spacely on "The Jetsons," Hardy Har Har on "Lippy the Lion" and Droop-a-long on the "Magilla Gorilla Show."
Over time, though, the quality of cartoons deteriorated as animation costs rose and writing values changed, Blanc reflected. "They're not as funny as they used to be, and they seem like they're just slapped together now," Blanc said in 1975. " . . . They're playing too much just to the children, not enough to the adults . . . (and) they're just not as animated as they should be."
By that time, Blanc had diversified, forming his own production company, along with his son Noel. Since the early 1960s, the firm has produced commercials for such products as Kool Aid, Raid and Chrysler cars and for nonprofit agencies including the American Cancer Society. In 1988, Blanc performed a bit part as Daffy Duck in the wildly successful film feature, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Blanc also kept busy during his later years with his favorite hobby, collecting antique watches. His voluminous collection, insured for $150,000 as far back as 1972, contained items dating to 1510.
Over the years, Blanc received a slew of awards from civic organizations, many of which he was a member. Among the plaudits were United Jewish Welfare Fund Man of the Year and the Show Business Shrine Club's first Life Achievement Award.
One of Blanc's favored charities was the Shrine Hospital Children's Burn Center where the family asks contributions in his name.
In 1984, Blanc was also honored by the Smithsonian Institution. During an informal ceremony in Washington, he revealed, "In real life, I sound most like Sylvester -- without the spray." Blanc also disclosed what he considered some of his more demanding challenges -- Bugs Bunny imitating Elvis Presley and a Japanese native imitating Bugs Bunny.
"You know, my wife talks to me a lot about retiring," he once told an interviewer. "I say to her, 'What the hell for?' I never want to stop. When I kick off, well, I kick off."
Or, as Porky said over those many years: "Thaaaaaat's all folks!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hobo Gadget Band character model


This character model for the Hobo Gadget Band released in 1939 looks strikingly similar to the rabbit.
Here's a sample of the work of the Hardaway/Dalton team, it seems to me that the two artists have different and distinct styles. Dalton uses a wider eyed "cutsie" look.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

This drawing is the birth of Bugs Bunny

There are several compelling characteristics that forced me to the conclusion:

The initials – The person generally credited with the creation of the character is "Joseph Benson Hardaway". He was also known as Ben or Bugs. Bugs was a nickname used for a tough guy at the time, such as Bugsy Malone or Bugsy Seigel. Naturally, I was intrigued, the B. and H. seemed to make sense, but what was the initial in the middle? (I’ll elaborate later)

The appearance and quality - In my view, and in the opinion of Bob Hardaway, and Martha Sigall, it just looks like Bugs. (Bob Hardaway is the living son of Bugs Hardaway. I’ve spoken to him a few times. I mailed him a hard copy of the picture. He called me immediately after he received the picture and said, "Well, it’s definitely Bugs"). It is, in my unprofessional view, aged and hand inked. It looks professional. It seems to me to be very precisely drawn in a medium that is very unforgiving. The ink line has been described as, "definitely pro". There are no corrections.
Martha sent me an email on 7-26-2006. She told me she wouldn’t mind if I were to share her email with others, (it follows in its entirety)


‘Hi, Chris,
I printed out your email and received your Fedex photos. I agree with you that the Bugs Bunny that says, "Hiya, Chuck," is definitely from the Bugs Hardaway, Cal Dalton unit. I do not think that the "Hiya, Chuck," refers to Chuck Jones. I do think that it does refer to Chuck McKimson who was an animator on "Tortoise Beats Hare." And, as you said, in that cartoon, Bugs was referred to as "Speedy." Chuck McKimson enlisted in the Army and was sent to Fort Dix in New Jersey, in the Animation Unit. It's my opinion that this picture was sent to him. Whether the cartoon was done by Bugs or Cal, I'm sure it was drawn by someone at Warner Bros.
The picture you sent me from a book you got in a library was Steve Schneider's book entitled, "That's All, Folks." I have that book and checked your picture against the one in that book. I think that the drawing of Bugs is the same style as the characters from Schneider's book. So, in my opinion, you are absolutely right.
It was good hearing from you again and I wish you the best of luck with your project.
Martha"


The board that it is drawn on has a particular maker’s mark. There is one reference to the same maker’s name on the Internet that I’ve been able to find, without a picture. "Royal Crest - Illustration Board" is on the back of a military artist’s work from the late 20’s.The label is in blue ink on a dark background so it is hard to see from some angles. It has a crest and reads, "Royal Crest Illustration Board Hurlock Bros. company Inc. –3436 38 Market St. Philadelphia USA.

There is an inscription to Chuck. (HI’YA CHUCK). Prior to the email from Martha Sigall, I had theorized that the inscription was directed to Chuck Jones. Martha suggests that the inscription references Charles McKimson. Charles was also known and credited as Chuck Mckimson. He joined his brothers at Warner Brothers in 1937. http://lambiek.net/artists/m/mckimson_tom.htm
His early credits http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0571780/ begin in 1939 and end in 1941, he is not credited again until 1947. Obviously, off to war.
Easter Yeggs (1947) (animator)
Hobo Bobo (1947) (animator)
Tortoise Beats Hare (1941) (animator)
Holiday Highlights (1940) (animator)
A Gander at Mother Goose (1940) (animator) Land of the Midnight Fun (1939) (animator)

The name on the hat is "Speedy". I believe that in the 1941 Warner release "Tortoise beats Hare", one of the tortoises refers to the rabbit as Speedy. I believe that Charlie Thorson had worked on the character for Disney previously (One of Hardaway’s co workers at the time). Disney released a very similar cartoon in 1936 "The tortoise and the Hare". Hardaway, Thorson, and Jones came from Ub Iwerks, the animator for Walt Disney. Hardaway had worked for Disney as far back as Disney’s first venture "laugh-o-grams" in Kansas City and earlier. Hardaway was also a close personal friend of Ub Iwerks who by most accounts created Mickey Mouse for Walt Disney. (The two of them seem to have experienced a similar professional fate.)
Speedy was a working name for the rabbit character at the time. The character was known at the Termite Terrace as Bugs’ Bunny before it was introduced to audiences as Bugs Bunny later in 1941. The Frank Tashlin interview by Michael Barrier (toward the end) also describes the linkage between Bugs and Disney. http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Interviews/Tashlin/tashlin_interview.htm

The physical characteristics place the piece in a specific period of time. This has three toes as the previous had two. This fur is gray and white as opposed to the earlier all white. The legs are short relative to the longer legs that the character developed under Tex Avery’s direction after 1941. The tail on the early rabbit was round as a cotton ball, the tail that developed under Avery was upturned and sharper, this tail is between the two. One of the well-known model sheets have notations that fit as though they are describing this piece. (Keep the neck short, long hands and fingers, large flat feet, legs thickest at the ankle).

The character study of The Hobo Gadget Band attributed to the Hardaway/ Dalton team bears a striking resemblance to the rabbit. All have hats, all are smoking, all have extra long whiskers and two of them share the unusual shoulder treatment. They certainly appear to be from the same hand.
The history of the personality of the character changes direction. Hardaway reportedly left Warner Bros. in March of 1939. I don’t know the specifics but by some accounts the separation was less than amicable. Chuck Jones says in his book, "Hardaway’s character was more of a Daffy in a Rabbit suit…he had nothing to do with it…his character was a scared little bunny that was skittish and would crouch…etc." He goes on to say, "the character that evolved stood upright, was confident, and looked you in the eye. This bunny wasn’t going anywhere." (It sounds to me as though he’s describing this piece.) Jones also says in his 1969 interview that he can’t remember the chronology of when the rabbit got a personality but it was before the 1940 film. I can’t help but think it odd that he remembers so many other details yet this very important one is a blur. It would seem reasonable that if Hardaway left on negative terms that his contribution could be downplayed. The literature describes Hardaway as he arrived at Walter Lantz as a disgruntled former Warner Bros.…. Etc. Tex Avery is quoted, in the Michael Barrier book, as having said "I practically stole it", "It’s a wonder I wasn’t sued". Barrier thinks Avery was referring to Max Hare, I say he was referring to Bugs Hardaway’s bunny. Of the two previous Warner Bros. rabbit cartoons at least the first was only co-directed by Hardaway. I mean to infer that the previous character was inherited, not necessarily his baby. This piece, in my view, represented his vision for the direction of the character. There is a blog memorializing Dave Monohan linked from CartoonBrew http://www.reelserviceshawaii.com.. This site includes a taped conversation describing an interview that took place. Hardaway interviewed Monohan and introduced him to Dalton. Monohan describes the interview and offers his observations on the personalities of Hardaway and Dalton. He describes Dalton as the "nutty guy" and Hardaway as the "un-funny guy" that didn’t laugh, the straight man. This difference in personalities seems to me to mirror the difference in personality of the character before this character model and after.
The history of the suspected artist must be considered. Hardaway had a military career with the 129th battalion D Battery in WW1 where he served as gunnery Sergeant. The D Battery performed admirably in at least two documented battles. This group was comprised of less than 200 particularly rambunctious men with a reputation of going through commanders, they were known as the "DizzyD". When I first spoke with Bob Hardaway, he was surprised that I knew of the "DizzyD". Bob informed me that his father was among those that were gassed by the Germans and that Bugs was damaged as a result. The officer that was finally able to manage the D Battery successfully was Harry Truman.
Hardaway also worked from 1922 to 1933, involving ink and pen, before joining Warner Bros. I find it hard to believe that someone who rose up through the ranks to become a Director would not be proficient at the nuts and bolts of his craft, as Jones suggested.

I sat looking at the image on my computer and holding the Adamson book, "Fifty Years and only one gray hare" open in my lap, trying to figure out who else these initials could fit. I came to realize that because of the precision strokes of the piece and the lack of corrections that the initial must be exactly as the artist intended it to be, but what is it? It looks like a backward D. I glanced again over the short bio of Hardaway, and then it hit me. The group of less than 200 men with whom he had been through combat and survived was known as the "Dizzy D". Could the initial be a backward D? Could that represent the group and experience at the core of his identity? These initials uniquely fit Hardaway; I have yet to find another artist to whom they could apply. I have yet to find any art or signature or initials attributed to Hardaway. I emailed the picture to Eric O. Costello, of the Warner Bros. Cartoon Companion. Mr. Costello told me that he has a copy of a civil service application filled out and signed by Bugs Hardaway. He emailed me that the handwriting looks the same to him, I have not seen the application. (I have since writing this obtained a copy of this and more from the Truman Library.
The IMDB lists Hardaway. http://www.imdb.com. His work is credited with five different versions of his name. Four of the versions have B.H. as the initials; he didn’t prefer his given first name. Some have dismissed the initials as not appropriate. They wouldn’t seem appropriate on the surface, yet a deeper understanding of the artist reveals that they apply uniquely to Joseph Benson Hardaway.

The attitude and personality that the piece suggests, and that the character adopted, seem to more closely mirror the purported traits of Hardaway than any of the others associated with the characters’ creation. He is described on more than one occasion by Mel Blanc, as a "hipster" that would use phrases that inspired, "what’s up Doc". In fact, Blanc is quoted as having suggested that the character be named after the person who drew the first picture, Bugs Hardaway. http://www.pursam.org/teemings/issue12/calmeacham.html
(The article linked above also touches on many of the items mentioned herein;
The possessive apostrophe, the transition from silly to composed, Speedy, the contraction ‘ya, etc.)
The best-known tag lines associated with the character are inextricably linked to Hardaway. Blanc describes the "what’s up Doc?" as deriving from language commonly used by Hardaway who "had a snappy way about him".
http://one_foggy.tripod.com/blancobit.html. At least one web site states that the line, "of course you know this means war", is Hardaway’s voice. This line was first used and recorded by Hardaway in 1938.
Another biography of Blanc reinforces that the inspiration for the personality of Bugs came from Hardaway. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=43645
Every recollection of the birth of the character involves the possessive apostrophe, Bugs’ Bunny. It is generally regarded that Hardaway created the character and inked the first drawing of what would evolve from Bugs’ Bunny to Bugs Bunny. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9095426?query=hare&ct=eb (the Warner Bros. bio of the character has changed over the years that I’ve been researching)) Hardaway is the namesake of the character. This is the only character named after its creator. He co-directed an earlier version, but a tobacco chewing tough guy, who had seen combat and survived, would seem an unlikely candidate to design a, "scared little rabbit". This piece is his vision for the character. This is Bugs Hardaway in a rabbit suit, better yet; this is Bugs Hardaway of the "Dizzy D" in a rabbit suit. He envisioned a character that was confident and relaxed when confronted with danger, hardened, and a wiseacre to the end, as the name implies. This is Bugs Hardaway’s bunny, this is Bugs’ Bunny.

Bob Hardaway – Son of Joseph Benson "Bugs" Hardaway
I’ve spoken with Bob about three times over the phone. I found his number on the Internet. He is an accomplished musician and lives in the house that his father purchased near Hollywood in the thirties. He was very friendly and didn’t seem anxious to hang up on me. Bob said that he can use email but he has trouble with attachments, so I mailed a copy of it to him. As soon as he received the mail he called me. The first thing he said was, "it’s definitely Bugs". He also said that although he doesn’t possess anything that is signed the same way, he believes it likely to be from the hand of his father. He went on to tell me several things.
He relayed a conversation he had with Mel Blanc (I think it was at the funeral of his father). Mel told him that as the studio was looking for a direction for the personality of the character several drawings were offered by those involved. Mel said that it was the Hardaway drawing that was chosen. I’m convinced that this is the real reason that all the stories of the inception of the character describe the possessive apostrophe, Bugs’ Bunny.
Bob also elaborated on the wartime experiences of his father. He was surprised to hear that I knew of the "Dizzy D". He informed me that Bugs had seen combat on several occasions and had been gassed by the Germans which eventually led to thyroid disease and his premature death. I mention this because it seems to me that these sorts of experiences would impact an individual for a lifetime. It seems reasonable to me that his military experience could become a central permanent part of his self-identity.

Who created Bugs Bunny?




I found an artwork about 10 years ago. It is obviously hand drawn with india ink and watercolor on a thick artist board. I was immediately struck by the clean line and the quality of the work.
I own several original editorial and political cartoons and as I've done with those I began to research who would have created this work, when, and why.
I've come to the conclusion that this was drawn by Hardaway in the last quarter of 1938 or the first quarter of 1939. I'll spell out my reasoning and references over the course of the next few days, as time allows. I reason this to be the Hardaway drawing that inspired the calm, cool, and collected character that evolved. Still, the only major character named for its creator.
I have shared the picture with a few people involved with animation history. Most notably, Martha Sigall and I exchanged emails and spoke over the phone a few times. She agrees with my assesment. Martha is very friendly and easy to reach. I also shared it with Bob Hardaway, the son of Bugs, who told me, "it's definitely Bugs". The most virulent critic stated that the drawing bears no resemblence to any Warner Bros character past or present. (This from a person professing to be an expert with regard to early Warner Bros animation). He had apparently never seen the Hobo Gadget Band.