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Bob Givens Animation Studios Interview


Bob Givens, who has given us so many iconic cartoon characters, has died at age 99 in Burbank of natural causes.


A 60-year long career that produced cartoon characters out of some of the most well-known Hollywood studios, Givens gave us Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck, Popeye and Alvin and The Chipmunks, among many others. Givens worked at Disney, Warner Bros. Cartoons, Hanna-Barbara and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. His imprint is huge on the American world of animation. 


Givens started as a freelance artist back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, in 1936. He then joined Walt Disney Studios as an animation checker on cartoons featuring Donald Duck. This position is responsible for the storyboard’s final continuity, that all dialogue is present and matched with action and all camera moves are correct and noted. The animation checker reports to the director and line producer. Here’s where he got his big break, in 1937. He joined the then groundbreaking show, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. This feature animation shaped all other animated films to come. This show was guided by the vision of a master storyteller, Walt Disney himself, 32 animators, 1032 assistants, 107 inbetweeners, 10 layout artists, 25 background artists, 65 special effects animators and 158 inkers and painters and countless production staff came together to create what we now know as a classic. This animated feature won the Grand Biennale Art Trophy from the Venice Film Festival, special awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. The film also received an honorary custom-made Oscar® which consisted of one standard Oscar® statuette alongside seven miniature statuettes representing each of the Dwarfs.


After Disney, Givens joined the team at Warner Bros Studios working under Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. In 1940 Avery requested Givens to work on the designs for a rabbit. He was brought into the Bugs Bunny animation team to give Bugs a new look, the whiskers and high cheek bones we know today. From this the first iconic Bugs Bunny was born. As Givens says in the video below, Bugs Bunny went through many refinements over the years. It was constant process to refine the look of the bunny. 


Givens was then drafted into WWII where he worked on military training films with animations director Rudolph Ising. After the War, he began work again at Warner Bros in the 1950’s with Robert McKimson and Chuck Jones as a layout artist. This person is similar to a cinematographer. They’re responsible for the shot's frame, camera angle, camera path and lighting of each key animation scene. Givens worked at Warner until 1954, after which he found work at UPA, Hanna-Barbara and DaPatie-Freleng before returning back to Bugs Bunny’s original studio. 


He also found work publishing graphics for children’s books with Western Publishing. Givens last animation was in 2001 with the Mauro Casalese, Jeff DeGrandis, Steven Dovas and Stephen Fossatti co-directed work Timber Wolf.


Bob Givens: Grand Old Man of Animation

The character designer for the first true Bugs Bunny cartoon A Wild Hare discusses his work as a layout and story artist for Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones and Robert McKimson. Wonderful stories from the golden age of Warner Bros animation. Joining Bob for this interview are Stephen Worth, Mike Fontanelli and Will Finn.


Author Bio
Kriss Perras
Author: Kriss PerrasWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Publisher & Editor
Kriss Perras owns Ruptured Media where she publishes Malibu Arts Journal. Ruptured Media is also a story development company. Kriss has been tenacious and fought authority from the very start of her career in journalism. Kriss' first story as a journalist was for her college newspaper covering George W. Bush and Steve Forbes in the Iowa Caucuses during the 2000 election. She showed up at the hotel where Bush was to speak with her editor's letter of assignment in hand. She credentialed at the press desk like every other press person. She had questions in hand she had prepared to ask the Presidential candidate. She walked into the speaking room to find the press was roped off from the candidate. Being new to election coverage, and journalism, she was disappointed. She stood next to a seasoned AP photographer on the press platform. She asked the AP photographer if she could get out from behind the ropes and ask Bush her questions. The AP photographer said, "Well, you can try." So she did. She stepped out from behind the ropes and waited in line behind the people seeking the candidate's autograph. When it was her turn, she introduced herself to Bush as a college journalist and started to ask her questions. Bush said, " Wait, are you a journalist?" She said, "Yes." Bush nodded to his Secret Service team. They promptly came over on each side of her. She was 5'6" tall and weighed 127 pounds. The Secret Service men were well over a foot taller than her and obviously guys who worked out often. They could pick her up with their pinky fingers. They quickly picked her up by her arms, carried her over the ropes and plopped her back down on the press platform as she was still asking Bush her questions. Bush to his credit said, "Please give her one of my books. The answers to her questions are in my book." So she had to read his entire book, but she indeed found the answers to her questions. She also drew political cartoons for her college newspaper and still does today. Her next big break came in 2002, still as a student, with an interview with former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski. Kriss went on in 2006 to found PCH Press, Malibu's daily newspaper. With PCH Press, she had extensive coverage of the battle against LNG and the fight against the placement of an LNG port being placed off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard, among other local news. She has covered Olara Otunnu, former United Nations Undersecretary General and Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict when he spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She covered Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman when she spoke in Los Angeles in 2006. She has interviewed Progressive David Swanson and numerous Malibu Mayors. In 2007, She founded Malibu Arts Journal magazine. Kriss built Malibu Arts Journal from the ground up. She has taken the magazine from an unknown dot com to a respected title. She earned the magazine digital distribution through Magzter and the iTunes App Store where it now enjoys broad based readership across the globe. She is a member of the national honor society Who's Who In American Universities And Colleges. Her photogrpahy has aired on CMTV channel 14 Spokane, Washington. *Photo Copyright 2017: Alan Weissman
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