Warner Bros. Cartoons , Inc. was the in-house division of Warner Bros. Pictures during the Golden Age of American animation. One of the most successful animation studios in American media history, Warner Bros. Cartoons was primarily responsible for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon short subjects. The characters featured in these cartoons, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner, are among the most famous and recognizable characters in the world. Many of the creative staff members at the studio, including directors and animators such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Tex Avery, Robert Clampett and Frank Tashlin, are considered major figures in the art and history of traditional animation.

The Warner animation division was founded in 1933 as Leon Schlesinger Studios, an independent company which produced the popular Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated short subjects for release by Warner Bros. Pictures. In 1944, Schlesinger sold the studio to Warner Bros., who continued to operate it as Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. until 1963. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were briefly subcontracted to Freleng's DePatie-Freleng Enterprises studio from 1964 until 1967. The Warner Bros. Cartoons studio briefly re-opened in 1967 before shutting its doors for good two years later.

A successor company, Warner Bros. Animation, was established in 1980. That company continues to produce Looney Tunes-related works, in addition to television shows and feature films centering around other properties. The classic Warner Bros. animation studio is sometimes referred to as "Termite Terrace", a name given to the temporary headquarters Tex Avery and his animators were assigned to during Avery's first year as a Looney Tunes director.

1930-1933 Harman-Ising Productions

Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising originated the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated short subjects in 1930 and 1931, respectively. Both cartoon series were produced for Leon Schlesinger at the Harman-Ising Studio on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, with Warner Bros. Pictures releasing the films to theaters. The first Looney Tunes character was the Harman-Ising creation Bosko, The Talk-ink Kid. Despite the fact that Bosko was popular among theater audiences, he could never match the popularity of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, or even Max Fleischer's Betty Boop. In 1933, Harman and Ising parted company with Schlesinger over financial disputes, and took Bosko with them to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. As a result, Schlesinger set up his own studio on the Warner Bros. lot on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

1933 - 1944: Leon Schlesinger Productions

The Schlesinger studio got off to a slow start, continuing their one-shot Merrie Melodies and introducing a Bosko replacement named Buddy into the Looney Tunes. Disney animator Tom Palmer was the studio's first senior director, but after the three cartoons he made were deemed to be of unacceptable quality and rejected by the studio, former Harman-Ising animator Isadore "Friz" Freleng was called in to replace Palmer and rework his cartoons.[4] The studio then formed the three-unit structure that it would retain throughout most of its history, with one of the units headed by Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, and the other by Earl Duvall, who was replaced by Jack King a year later.

In 1935, Freleng helmed the Merrie Melodies cartoon I Haven't Got a Hat, which introduced the character Porky Pig.[5] Hardaway and King departed, and a new arrival at Schlesinger's, Fred "Tex" Avery, took Freleng's creation and ran with it. Avery directed a string of cartoons starring Porky Pig that established the character as the studio's first bonafide star.[5] Schlesinger also gradually moved the Merrie Melodies cartoons from black and white, to two-strip Technicolor in 1934, and finally to full three-strip Technicolor in 1936. The Looney Tunes series would be produced in black-and-white for much longer, until 1943.

Because of the limited spacing conditions in the Schlesinger building at 1351 N. Van Ness on the Warner Sunset lot, Avery and his unit - including animators Robert Clampett and Chuck Jones - were moved into a small building elsewhere on the Sunset lot, which Avery and his team affectionately dubbed "Termite Terrace." [6] Although the Avery unit moved out of the building after a year, "Termite Terrace" later became a metonym for the classic Warner Bros. animation department in general, even for years after the building was abandoned, condemned, and torn down. During this period, four cartoons were outsourced to the Ub Iwerks studio; however, Iwerks struggled to adapt his style to the type of humor that the Looney Tunes had developed by this time, and so Clampett took over as director (using Iwerks' staff) for the last two of these outsourced cartoons. Schlesinger was so impressed by Clampett's work on these shorts that he opened a fourth unit for Clampett to head, although for tax reasons this was technically a separate studio headed by Schlesinger's brother-in-law, Ray Katz.

From 1936 until 1944, animation directors and animators such as Freleng, Avery, Clampett, Jones, Arthur Davis, Robert McKimson, and Frank Tashlin worked at the studio. During this period, these creators introduced several of the most popular cartoon characters to date, including Daffy Duck (1937, Porky's Duck Hunt by Avery), Elmer Fudd (1940, Elmer's Candid Camera by Jones), Bugs Bunny (1940, A Wild Hare by Avery), and Tweety (1942, A Tale of Two Kitties by Clampett). Avery left the studio in 1941 following a series of disputes with Schlesinger, who shortly after closed the studio for two weeks due to a minor strike similar to the more known one that occurred at Disney; this time Schlesinger lost nearly all of his employees of the Avery unit. Clampett and several of his key animators took over Avery's former unit, while Clampett's own position as director of the Schlesinger-Katz studio was taken by Norm McCabe; McCabe in turn lasted barely a year before being drafted, and Frank Tashlin returned to the studio to replace him. By 1942, the Schlesinger studio had surpassed Walt Disney Productions as the most successful producer of animated shorts in the United States.[7]

1944 - 1963 Warner Bros. Cartoons.

In 1944, Schlesinger sold his studio to Warner Bros., which renamed the company Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc., and Edward Selzer (who by Jones' and Freleng's accounts had no sense of humor or appreciation of cartoons), was appointed by Warner Bros. as the new head of the cartoon studio after Schlesinger retired. In September 1944 Frank Tashlin left, and in May 1945, Robert Clampett left. Tashlin's unit was taken over by Robert McKimson, while Clampett's unit was taken over by Art Davis. Although inheriting most of their staffs, these units have been the least known among the four, apart from having lower budgets than Jones and Freleng. In 1948 the studio moved to a larger building on the Sunset Boulevard lot. Davis' separate unit was dissolved in 1949, and he became an animator for Freleng.

Among the Warner Bros. cartoon stars who were created after Schlesinger's departure include Pepe Le Pew (1945, Odor-able Kitty by Jones), Yosemite Sam (1945, Hare Trigger by Freleng), Sylvester (1945, Life with Feathers by Freleng), Foghorn Leghorn (1946, Walky Talky Hawky by McKimson), Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner (1949, Fast and Furry-ous by Jones), and Speedy Gonzales (1953, Cat-Tails for Two by McKimson). In later years, even more minor Looney Tunes characters such as Freleng's Rocky and Mugsy, Jones' Marvin the Martian and McKimson's Tasmanian Devil have become significantly popular.[8]

After the verdict of the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. anti-trust case in 1948 ended the practice of "block booking", Warner Bros. could no longer force theaters into buying their features and shorts together as packages; shorts had to be sold separately. Theater owners were only willing to pay so much for cartoon shorts, and as a result by the late-1950s the budgets at Warner Bros. Cartoons became tighter. Selzer forced a stringent five-week production schedule on each cartoon (at least one director, Chuck Jones, cheated the system by spending more time on special cartoons such as What's Opera Doc, less time on simpler productions such as Road Runner entries, and had his crew forge their time cards). With less money for full animation, the Warner Bros. story men — Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce, and Warren Foster — began to focus more of their cartoons on dialogue. While story artists were assigned to directors at random during the 1930s and 1940s, by the 1950s each story man worked almost exclusively with one director: Maltese with Jones, Foster with Freleng, and Pierce with McKimson.

With the advent of the 3-D film craze in 1953, Warner Bros. shut its cartoon studio down in June of that year, fearing that 3-D cartoon production would be too expensive (only one Warner Bros. cartoon was ever produced in 3-D, Jones' Lumber Jack-Rabbit starring Bugs Bunny). The creative staff dispersed (Jones, for example, went to work at Disney on Sleeping Beauty, Maltese went to Walter Lantz Productions, and Freleng went into commercial work). Warner Bros. Cartoons re-opened five months after its close, following the end of the 3-D craze. In 1955, the staff moved into a brand new facility on the main Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. KTLA television took over the old studio location on Van Ness; the old Warner Sunset Studios is today called Sunset Bronson Studios.

Also in 1955, Warner Bros. sold its library of black and white Looney Tunes to Guild Films. The package consisted of 191 cartoons which began showing on television that year.[9]

By late 1957, Selzer had retired, and veteran Warner Cartoons production manager John Burton took his place with his first cartoon project "Hare-Less Wolf" that was made in 1957 and released in 1958. Warner Bros. also lost its trio of staff storymen at this time. Foster and Maltese found work at Hanna-Barbera Productions by 1959, while Pierce worked on a freelance basis with writing partner Bill Danch. By 1961 John Dunn and Dave Detiege, both former Disney men, were hired to replace them.

Several cartoons had been cancelled out of theaters at this time of period.  In November 1959 Arthur Q. Bryan died from heart failure, that same period he was voicing Elmer Fudd for the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Person to Bunny" that was supposed to be released that year. By 1960, the cartoon was withheld and cancelled out of theaters when Edward R. Murrow already left Person to Person by 1959 and was later replaced by Charles Collingwood that same year. It remarked that one of the first times a cartoon was originally cancelled from theatrical release.

During Burton's tenure, Warner Bros. Cartoons branched out into television. The Bugs Bunny Show was a package program featuring three theatrical Warner Bros. cartoons, with newly produced wraparounds to introduce each short. The program remained on the air under various names and on all three major networks for three decades, finally ending its long broadcast run on ABC in 2000. All versions of The Bugs Bunny Show included edited versions of Warner Bros. cartoons released after July 31, 1948, as all of the Technicolor cartoons released before that date were sold to Associated Artists Productions in 1956.

David H. DePatie became the last executive in charge of the original Warner Bros. cartoons studio in 1961 with several other cartoons cancelled originally from theaters when John W.Burton retired in 1960 after Lighter Than Hare was released . D" Fightin' Ones and "The Rebel Without Claws" both directed by Friz Freleng ,were originally cancelled by late 1961 when half of the production was half way made by Burton who had already retired a year ago .

In 1962, Chuck Jones moonlighted to write the script for a UPA-produced feature titled Gay Purr-ee. When that film was picked up by Warner Bros. for distribution in 1962, the studio learned that Jones had violated his exclusive contract with Warners and he was terminated in July. Most of Jones' former unit subsequently re-joined him at Sib Tower 12 Productions to work on a new series of Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM..Freleng left the studio in November 1962, four months after Jones' termination, to serve as story director for the feature Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! at Hanna-Barbera.

In mid-1962, at the height of television popularity and decline in moviegoing, DePatie was sent to a board meeting in New York, and he was informed that the cartoon studio was going to be shut down. DePatie completed the task by May 1963. The final cartoon to be released from the studio was Wooden Under Where, directed by Pill Monroe and Richard Thompson, while The final cartoon project to be made then released a year later was Senorella and The Glass Hurache. final project at the studio before it closed for good was making the animated sequences, directed by McKimson, for the 1964 Warner Bros. feature The Incredible Mr. Limpet. With the studio closed, Hal Seeger Productions in New York had to be contracted to produce the opening and closing credits for The Porky Pig Show, which debuted on ABC in 1964. This marked one of the first times that the Looney Tunes characters were animated outside of the Los Angeles area.
1964 - 1967: DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and Format Productions

David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng started DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1963, and leased the old Warner Bros. Cartoons studio as their headquarters. In 1964, Warners contracted DePatie-Freleng to produce more Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, an arrangement which lasted until 1967. The vast majority of these paired off Daffy Duck against Speedy Gonzales, and after a few initial cartoons directed by Freleng, Robert McKimson was hired to direct most of the remaining DePatie-Freleng Looney Tunes.

In addition to DePatie-Freleng's cartoons, a series of new shorts featuring The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote was commissioned from an independent animation studio, Herbert Klynn's Format Productions. Veteran Warner animator Rudy Larriva, who had worked for years under Road Runner creator Chuck Jones, assumed directorial duties for these films, but even with the Jones connection Larriva's Road Runner shorts are considered to be mediocre by critics. McKimson also directed an additional two Road Runner shorts with the main DePatie-Freleng team, which are more highly regarded than Larriva's efforts.

After three years of outsourced cartoons, Warner Bros. decided to bring production back in-house. DePatie-Freleng had their contract terminated (they subsequently moved to new studios in the San Fernando Valley), and Format was commissioned to produce three "buffer" cartoons with Daffy and Speedy (again, directed by Rudy Larriva) to fill the gap until Warner Bros.'s own studio was up and running again.
1967 - 1969: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Animation

The new cartoon studio was to be headed by studio executive William L. Hendricks, and after an unsuccessful attempt at luring Bob Clampett out of retirement, former Walter Lantz Studio and Hanna-Barbera animator Alex Lovy was appointed director at the new studio. He brought his longtime collaborator, Laverne Harding to be the new studio's chief animator, and brought in Disney animator Volus Jones and Ed Solomon who also started at Disney as an assistant, which contributed to make cartoons from this era of the studio stylistically quite different from the studio's "Golden Age" (aside from the budget limitations, possibly to mirror the later introductory title cards that preceded the featurettes as well, which also could've been the source of inspiration for the transition of direction in the animation styles, and vice versa), down to being Hanna-Barbera or Filmation knock-offs (though for good measure, Lovy also brought in animator Ted Bonnicksen and layout artist Bob Givens, both veterans of the original studio). Shortly after the studio opened, Warner Bros. was bought out by Seven Arts Associates, and the studio renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts.

Initially, Lovy's new team produced more Daffy and Speedy cartoons, but soon moved to creating new characters such as Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse, and even occasional experimental works such as Norman Normal (1968). Despite the latter gaining a cult following after its release, Lovy's cartoons were not well received, and many enthusiasts regard them (particularly his Daffy-Speedy efforts) as the worst cartoons ever produced by the studio.

After a year, Alex Lovy left and returned to Hanna-Barbera, and Robert McKimson was bought back to the studio. He focused on using the characters that Lovy had created (and two of his own creation: Bunny and Claude). The studio's classic characters appeared only in advertisements (as for Plymouth Road Runner) and cartoon show bumpers. McKimson's films of the era have more adult-oriented humor than Lovy's. However, in 1969 Warners ceased production on all its short subjects and shut the studio down for good when Warner Bros.-Seven Arts was acquired by the Kinney National Company. The back catalog of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts would remain a popular broadcast and syndication package for Warner Bros. Television well into the 2000s, by which time it had reacquired the pre-August 1948[10] shorts it sold to a.a.p. in 1956.


With Warners' own animation studio closed, the studio had to resort to outside producers whenever new Looney Tunes-related animation was required. In 1976, Chuck Jones, by this time the head of his own Chuck Jones Productions studio, began producing a series of Looney Tunes specials, the first of which was Carnival of the Animals. In 1979, Jones produced new wraparound footage for a compilation feature of Looney Tunes shorts entitled The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie. The success of this film spurred Warner Bros. to establish its own studio to produce similar works, and Warner Bros. Animation opened its doors in 1980.

Under the supervision of Friz Freleng, three new compilation features were produced: The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Bugs Bunny's Third Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, and Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island. Later in the decade, the concept of compilation films was revived by writer-directors Greg Ford and Terry Lennon, and new short subjects were produced for theatres.

Warner Bros. Animation continues sporadic production of Looney Tunes-related specials and TV series to this day, the most recent being the Saturday morning action series Police Academy: The Animated Series and Loonatics Unleashed. The studio's main focus is on original and licensed television programming; in this field, Warner Bros. Animation has had major successes with Looney Tunes-esque shows such as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, DC Comics-licensed shows such as Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, and shows based upon other properties such as ¡Mucha Lucha! and Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo (Hanna-Barbera was acquired by Warner Bros. after the 1996 Time Warner-Turner merger). The studio briefly delved into feature animation production from 1994 to 2003, although Space Jam (1996), a live-action/animation combination film starring National Basketball Association star Michael Jordan opposite the Looney Tunes characters, remains the studio's only financially successful feature. The abandonment of feature film animation was mainly due to the poor box office performance of the feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
Mouse and Garden is a Looney Tunes cartoon released on July 16, 1960. The Academy Award-nominated cartoon features Sylvester and Sam Cat (voiced by Daws Butler).
Goldimouse and the Three Cats  is a 1959 Looney Tunes directed originally by Robert McKimson animated cartoon. This was early made in 1958 and early shown in 1959 with McKimson's unit working in the cartoon by that time Friz Freleng and his unit redesign the cartoon and was later shown in theaters in 1960.

It is one of few cartoons where storyboard man Michael Maltese did the storylines for cartoons from the Freleng unit for the first time since the late 1940s and the only Freleng directed Sylvester cartoon to costar Sylvester Jr. (redesign from Robert McKimson's version of the cartoon).

This cartoon was included the 1982 feature film Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales.


As the cartoon opens, a narrator (voiced by June Foray) introduces us to the Three Cats: Sylvester (father cat), Mrs. Sylvester (mother cat), and Sylvester Jr. (baby cat alias "Spoiled Brat" as Sylvester calls him). As Sylvester samples his porridge, it's so hot that he leaps out of his chair while screaming and fans his mouth. Mrs. Sylvester, after sampling her porridge, complains hers is too cold. Sylvester Jr., on the other hand, only complains on why they're having to eat porridge instead of mice like other cats. Sylvester suggests that they go for a walk in the woods to wait for the porridge to cool down (commenting "Now where have I heard that before?").

During the walk, Sylvester Jr. complains about having mice instead of porridge, only to be scolded by Sylvester. As the family walks across a bridge over a river, Sylvester warns everyone that some of the boards are loose, of which, he steps on one of them and falls into the river.Back home, while the porridge is cooling, Goldimouse (a mouse with curly blonde locks and also voiced by June Foray) enters the house through a tiny door, spies the porridge, and devours it.

Afterwards, Goldimouse feels sleepy (she even states this after the narrator mentions it). Once in the bedroom, Goldimouse tries the beds: Sylvester's is so hard that it flattens her butt when she jumps on it and Mrs. Sylvester's is so soft that she sinks right through it when she jumps in it. Sylvester Jr's bed is just right, so Goldimouse takes it and goes to sleep.

Later on, Sylvester and his family return from their walk (Sylvester Jr. still griping) and discover Goldimouse's handiwork. While going through the whole "Somebody's been eating my porridge" and "Somebody's been sleeping in my bed" bit, Sylvester Jr. is relieved that his porridge is all gone and that the intruder in his bed is a mouse. When he says this, Goldimouse wakes up, freaks out at the sight of Sylvester Jr., and turns to Sylvester for help, but realizes he too is a cat when Sylvester Jr. begs him to put Goldimouse on the plate and escapes out the tiny door. Sylvester tries to point out that Goldimouse got away, but changes his mind when Sylvester Jr. starts throwing a tantrum (at which Sylvester mutters "Spoiled Brat Cat!"). Sylvester tries to get Goldimouse out of the mousehole, but she clubs Sylvester multiple times, causing Sylvester Jr. to put a paper bag over his head to hide his shame.

Straight afterwards, Sylvester takes a bow and arrow (with the intent of making "MouseShishkabob"), but only shoots himself into the hole instead. Sylvester Jr. calls for Mrs. Sylvester to bring in the toilet plunger, with which they manage to get Sylvester out (only for it to be stuck to Sylvester's butt afterwards), but Sylvester Jr. isn't grateful that his father is out. Sylvester then tries a hollowed out bamboo stick with which to blow a dart into the hole, but Goldimouse jumps the gun and blows through the other end so the dart comes out through Sylvester's tail, making Sylvester Jr. call Mrs. Sylvester for some band aids. Then, from up on a roof support, Sylvester lowers a fold out cage (with a piece of cheese with a stick of dynamite in it) and (using a match on a string) lights the fuse on the dynamite, but Sylvester Jr. calls out for Mrs. Sylvester, making Sylvester fall into his own trap and get blown to bits. Before Sylvester Jr. can say what he wants, Mrs. Sylvester brings in the bandages again.Soon afterwards, to show that the "wheels in his head are still clicking," Sylvester builds a better mousetrap (which is a mallet over a fake hole rigged to hit Goldimouse the second she exits the fake hole).

After Sylvester sets up the trap, Sylvester Jr. feels for sure that this plan is doomed to fail as well and announces that he's changed his mind about having mice and would rather have porridge instead, but Sylvester assures him that they will never have to eat porridge ever again. Sure enough, the smell of cheese lures Goldimouse out of the tiny door, but she avoids going through the fake hole in the trap and heads straight for the cheese (she even says "Cheese! I just love cheese! Rally I do!" in the style ofKatharine Hepburn). Sylvester catches sight of this and chases Goldimouse straight to the trap, but when Goldimouse goes through the fake hole, it activates the mallet, which hits Sylvester over the head.Later, while Mrs. Sylvester and Sylvester Jr. sit in armchairs and read books,

Sylvester is seen passing the doorway, bringing materials (consisting of wood and explosives) for his next trap. Although what Sylvester is working on is never shown, Mrs. Sylvester and Sylvester Jr. know that it's going to backfire like the others and so, without a word (and with their eyes closed) and not putting down their books, just get up and walk outside to the bomb shelter out back. Once the pair are in the bomb shelter, Sylvester's trap goes off, obliterating the house in the process (during the explosion, Mrs. Sylvester reaches out to catch a vase shaken loose from the mantelpiece by the explosion and puts it back without even looking).

Sylvester then opens the door of the bomb shelter, looking worse for the wear (indicating that the trap failed and that Goldimouse has escaped her fate). Thinking that Sylvester finally got Goldimouse, Sylvester Jr. begs if he got him his breakfast (without mentioning if it's Goldimouse) and Sylvester answers the question by hitting Sylvester Jr. over the head with a bowl of porridge. After calling his son "Spoiled Brat" one more time, Sylvester decides he's had it with this family and walks out on them. Sylvester Jr. samples the porridge and complains "Eyeech! Porridge? What a father!" as the iris out closes out the cartoon.
Here Today, Gone Tamale is a 1958 Looney Tunes cartoon release on television in 1959. Michael Maltese wrote the cartoon in 1958 when he retired from Warner Bros. to Hanna Barbera the cartoon first aired on television.