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I. Freleng

I. Freleng

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Also Known As: Isadore Freleng, I Freleng Died: May 26, 1995
Born: August 21, 1906 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, USA Profession: producer, director, animator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The career of animation giant Friz Freleng encompassed much of the history of his chosen medium. He entered the industry in 1927 during the silent era as an animator on the popular Oswald the Rabbit series produced by the young visionary Walt Disney. Freleng also helped usher in the sound era in cartoons--notably with the three-minute pilot film "Bosko the Talk Ink Kid" (1929)--as the chief animator during the early days of the Harman-Ising studio (which soon evolved into producer Leon Schlesinger's animation unit at Warner Brothers). After a brief but transformative stint as a director at Fred Quimby's cartoon unit at MGM from late 1937 through early 1939, Freleng entered his multi-Oscar-winning glory days at Termite Terrace (the bungalow on the Warner lot where the animation department was housed) in the 1940s and 50s. Even during the artistically diminished era of 60s and 70s Saturday morning TV cartoons, he emerged as a major player in a very different field. Freleng truly saw it all and played a substantial role in making it happen.

The career of animation giant Friz Freleng encompassed much of the history of his chosen medium. He entered the industry in 1927 during the silent era as an animator on the popular Oswald the Rabbit series produced by the young visionary Walt Disney. Freleng also helped usher in the sound era in cartoons--notably with the three-minute pilot film "Bosko the Talk Ink Kid" (1929)--as the chief animator during the early days of the Harman-Ising studio (which soon evolved into producer Leon Schlesinger's animation unit at Warner Brothers). After a brief but transformative stint as a director at Fred Quimby's cartoon unit at MGM from late 1937 through early 1939, Freleng entered his multi-Oscar-winning glory days at Termite Terrace (the bungalow on the Warner lot where the animation department was housed) in the 1940s and 50s. Even during the artistically diminished era of 60s and 70s Saturday morning TV cartoons, he emerged as a major player in a very different field. Freleng truly saw it all and played a substantial role in making it happen.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988) Sequences Director
2.
  Porky Pig in Hollywood (1986) Director
4.
  Uncensored Cartoons (1981) Director
7.
  Dog Pounded (1953) Director
8.
9.
  Canary Row (1951) Director
10.
  Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1924:
Joined United Film Ad Service in Kansas City, MO (colleagues included future luminaries Ub Iwerks and Hugh Harman)
1927:
Joined Walt Disney's studio in California to work on the Oswald the Rabbit series; left after disagreements and returned to United Film Ad Service
1928:
Joined other Disney deserters including Harman and Rudolf Ising to make a cheaper version of Oswald the Rabbit for the Charles Mintz animation unit in NYC under producer George Winkler
1928:
Formed cartoon production company with Harman and Ising; became their chief animator
1929:
Worked as an animator on "Bosko the Talk Ink Kid", a three-minute "pilot" cartoon that was one of the first "talkies"; attracted the interest of Leon Schlesinger, head of Pacific Art and Title
1930:
With Schlesinger producing and Warner Bros. distributing, began working on the first series of "Looney Tunes" created by Harman-Ising
1930:
Credited as animator on "Sinkin' in the Bathtub", the first "Looney Tunes", starring Bosko
1933:
Directing debut on "Bosko in Dutch"
1934:
Broke with Harman-Ising and worked directly for Schlesinger after the duo departed following financial/artistic disputes with the producer (date approximate)
1935:
Directed the first appearance of Porky Pig in "I Haven't Got a Hat"
1937:
Left Warner Bros. to work as an animation director for Fred Quimby's unit at MGM
1939:
Returned to Warner Bros. (date approximate)
1940:
Directed "You Ought To Be in Pictures" featuring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck at the Leon Schlesinger studio, one of the few Warner Brothers cartoons to make extensive use of live-action film
1941:
Directed "Rhapsody in Rivets", a cartoon without dialogue set to Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody"; the first of a series of musical cartoons directed by Freleng
1945:
Directed the first appearance of red moustachioed bandit Yosemite Sam (whose personality writer Michael Maltese patterned after Freleng's) in "Hare Trigger", a Bugs Bunny cartoon
1947:
Revised Bob Clampett's design of Tweety (the tiny androgynous canary) and paired him with Sylvester the Cat for "Tweety Pie"
1947:
"Tweety Pie" became the first Warner Bros. cartoon to win an Oscar for Best Short Subject (Cartoons)
1947:
Became the exclusive director of Tweety
1948:
Directed a cartoon sequence for "Two Guys from Texas", a live-action musical feature starring Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan; Bugs Bunny appears with caricatures of Carson and Morgan
1949:
Directed an animated dream sequence featuring Bugs Bunny in the Warner Brothers musical comedy "My Dream Is Yours"
1950:
Introduced the recurring supporting characters Rocky and Mugsy, a tiny but tough gangster and his large oafish sidekick, in "Golden Yeggs", a Bugs Bunny cartoon
1955:
Redisigned Robert McKimson's Speedy Gonzales and directed him in the Oscar-winning cartoon "Speedy Gonzales"
1957:
Directed the Oscar winning cartoon "Birds Anonymous"
1958:
Directed the Oscar winning cartoon "Knighty Knight Bugs"
1960:
TV debut, worked with Chuck Jones for the first time on ABC's "Bugs Bunny Show" assembling classic six-minute cartoons into unified half-hour programs using new animation and other linking devices
1963:
Left Warners after the cartoon unit closed; founded DePatie-Freleng Enterprises with Warners executive David H DePatie and leased the animation plant
1964:
Contracted to produce additional theatrical shorts starring Warners cartoon characters on about half the previous budget (dates approximate)
:
Produced animated commercials for TV
1964:
Hired by director Blake Edwards to create animated opening titles for "The Pink Panther"
:
Contracted by United Artists to produce a series of theatrical shorts starring the Pink Panther
1964:
Produced (with DePatie) and directed (with Hawley Pratt) "The Pink Phink", the first Pink Panther cartoon
:
TV series producing debut (with DePatie), "The Super Six", a Saturday morning children's cartoon
1966:
Produced (with Theodor Geisel [Dr. Seuss], Chuck Jones and DePatie) "Dr. Seuss' 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'", a classic CBS holiday special
:
DePatie-Freleng became a leading supplier of Saturday morning children's programming
:
Produced (with DePatie) "The Pink Panther" TV series on NBC
:
Animated the James Thurber-styled drawings for the fantasy sitcom "My World. . . and Welcome to It"
1981:
Feature producing and directing debut, "Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie", a compilation film
1982:
Produced the compilation feature "Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales"
1983:
Produced the compilation feature "Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island"
1991:
Exhibit of Freleng's animation cels opened at the Circle Gallery in New York
1992:
Awarded the 1,962nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 20th, the day before his 87th birthday
1993:
Final feature credit, "animated 'Pink Panther' character creator" on "Blake Edwards' Son of the Pink Panther"
1993:
Final TV credit, consultant on "The Pink Panther", a syndicated revival of the children's cartoon series featuring Matt Frewer as the voice of the colorful feline
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Honored by the American Film Institute with a major retrospective of his work in 1981.

Honored by the British Film Institute with a major retrospective of his work in 1981.

Honored with a gala tribute by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1982

Honored by the Museum of Modern Art as part of their Golden Anniversary Salute to Warner Bros. Animation in 1985.

"Live-action directors find it difficult to believe what directors at Warner Bros. cartoon division were called upon to do: pre-time and pre-edit a picture to within eight frames (one-third of a second) of its ultimate length BEFORE going to the camera or the animator. That's what we had to do, and the master of this arcane art was Friz Freleng."

--From "Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist" by Chuck Jones (NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989).

"...Actually, shooting motion pictures, including animation, and performing music are very similar indeed--one, impinging a successive series of varied sounds on the ear; the other, impinging a successive series of varied sights on the eyes. It is no coincidence then, it is just plain good sense, that Friz Freleng set down the timing of his films on musical bar sheets."

"Friz is a musician as well as an excellent draftsman, and it is not surprising that many of his films are a disarming and intricate web of music (a flurry of sounds) and animation ( a flurry of drawings). No student of animation can safely ignore the wizardry of these cartoons--if he can stop laughing long enough to seriously study their beauty."

--From "Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist" by Chuck Jones (NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989).

"The key to cartoons is creating characters people like and are comfortable with, characters with their own personalities. That's why Sylvester and Tweety were so popular and why Porky Pig was so beloved. I always tell people that Bugs Bunny is not a cartoon. He is a tall rabbit who lives somewhere in California whom I sometimes draw pictures of. He is as real a person as a real person."

--Friz Freleng (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, December 17, 1991)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lily Freleng. Survived him.

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Alan Freleng. Gag writer. Died 1943.

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