THE KANSAS CITY STAR
August 20, 1946
A Director, for Warner Bros. Studio, the Master of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck Renews Friendship Here.
One of a half-dozen cartoonists who left Kansas City in the early ’20s to become animators and producers of pen and ink motion pictures, Isadore (Fritz [sic]) Freleng, returned to his “home town” this week for a visit.
As a director in the Warner Brothers cartoon studio, Freleng created the popular “Looney Tune” series and now controls the antics of such “Merry Melodies” characters and Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck.
When Freleng lived here at 4543 Mercier street, he attended Westport high school. Some of his cartoons appeared in school publications during his 1919 to 1923 high school career. To earn pocket money he caddied at the Kansas City Country club and recalls that one of his fellow mashie-toters was now-famous professional golfer Jug McSpaden.
“After school I worked at Armour & Co. as a visitor’s guide for a while, then went out to United Film Service, Inc., at 2449 Charlotte street as an animator.”
It was here that Freleng became acquainted with Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse; U.B. Iwerks, creator of “Flip the Frog”; Fred Harmon, originator of the “Red Ryder” strip; Hugh Harmon, his brother, who, with Rudy Ising, another United man, later made the “Harmon-Ising” musical cartoons.
Disney was the first of the Kansas City group to strike out for Hollywood. Later, the others followed, all becoming Disney animators. In 1931, Freleng became associated with Warner Brothers, where he has been ever since.
Another Kansas Citian in the Warner office is Carl Stalling, musical director of the animated cartoon section, who formerly played the organ at the Isis theater here.
“Bugs Bunny, the most popular character of ‘Merry Melodies,’ was created as a combined result of several directors and artists,” Freleng said. “I began Porky Pig in a ‘bit’ part in my third picture. He’s jumped to stardom since.”
Musicals, of the “Rhapsody in Rivets” and “Three Pigs in a Polka” type, whre the action of the characters is timed to the exact note of some well-known piece of music instead of to a set rhythmic tempo, are a Freleng innovation.
Friends at the Warner studio term Freleng the original “worry wart” because of his pessimistic view of each new picture. The slightly-built, balding, blue-eyed man assures everyone that “this is my worst, and probably last, cartoon.” So far, the strips happily have proved Freleng wrong.
Spelling mistakes or factual mistakes are from the original.