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.