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.