(1913-1972) was a prominent animator, writer, and director of both cartoons and live action films. His most notable work was done for the Leon Schlesinger cartoon studio
during The Golden Age of Animation
, having three seperate stints at the place.
Initially, Tashlin cut his teeth working for Paul Terry
as an animator on the Aesops Film Fables
series of cartoons, only to quickly drift off to another animation stint at Van Beuren Studios
. Finally, in 1932, he found work at the then-rising Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
cartoon studio, working as an animator, while working on a short lived comic strip in his spare time called Van Boring, the name being obvious jab at his previous boss. When Leon tried to swindle Frank into giving him a cut of the comics profits, Frank told him to shove it and promptly lost his job as a result. Once again adrift, he did a brief stint at the Ub Iwerks
cartoon studio in 1934, only to leave in 1935 to be a writer on Hal Roach's Our Gang
series of live comedies. During this time, he learned quite a bit about live-action film-making, including film-camera techniques.
In 1936, Leon managed to lure Tashlin back to his studio, giving him a position as a director there, right during a time when Tex Avery
was starting to take the studio away from its Disney
roots in favor of faster paced, more cartoony shorts. Frank jumped right in, getting off to a good head start with "Porky's Poultry Plant", where he adapted live action style fast-cutting and dynamic camera angles into his cartoons, giving them a cinematic, energetic feeling lacking from Tex Avery
and Friz Freleng
's cartoon shorts. Despite this, he wasn't particularly happy due to him being stuck working on Porky Pig
cartoons, which Tashlin later admitted was his least favorite character.
However, he left the studio again, with his crew being handed over to Chuck Jones
, while he to work for Disney
in 1938 to 1940, where he began story work on Walt's proposed Mickey Mouse
feature, which would later evolve into the Mickey and the Beanstalk segment of Fun and Fancy Free
In 1941, he found work at Columbia Cartoons
, where he directed three short cartoons, one of them being the first of Columbia's star series The Fox And The Crow
—the short in question, "The Fox and the Grapes" was the first cartoon to use a "blackout gag" format, which director Chuck Jones
would cite as an influence on his Road Runner
He would once again return to Warner Bros.
in 1943, this time bringing a stylized, magazine-like angular designs to his new shorts. Some of these later shorts of his had noticeable sexual themes, particularly "Plane Daffy" (which had a femme fatale character named Hata Mari, whose blond hair and top-heavy hourglass figure would be a reality in the form of Jayne Mansfield
) and "Stupid Cupid". It's been said that the difference between Bob Clampett
's cartoons and Frank Tashlin's cartoons in terms of risqué humor is that Tashlin was more polished and subtle while Clampett was broader, wilder, and more adolescent.
After his cartoon career ended, Tashlin went on to direct and write for many live action films, most famously the Jayne Mansfield
comedies The Girl Can't Help It
and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
, and numerous Jerry Lewis
movies. His films are notable for including live-action versions of cartoon gags, such as the near-sexual reactions of every man who sees Jayne Mansfield's character walk by in The Girl Can't Help It
(such as the ice melting in the ice truck and the milkman's bottle of milk popping and spilling over). He also wrote five books: "The Bear That Wasn't" (1941), "How The Circus Learned to Smile" (1949, "The Possum That Didn't" (1950) and "The World That Isn't" (1951) and a self-help cartooning book "How to Create Cartoons" (1952). He even briefly returned to animation in 1967, adapting one of his children's books "The Bear That Wasn't" into an MGM
animated short, directed by his former colleague Chuck Jones
(which Tashlin didn't like).
To get a more deep idea of Tashlin as a person and his history at Warners, an interview of him has been posted by Micheal Barrier here.
- Redskin Blues: A Van Beuren Tom & Jerry short he animated for.
- Hook & Ladder Hokum: A Van Beuren Tom & Jerry short. His first directorial effort.
- I've Got to Sing a Torch Song: Presumably his first animation stint.
- Buddy's Beer Garden: Animator.
- Honeymoon Hotel: Animator.
- Porky's Poultry Plant: First credited directorial effort at the studio.
- Little Beau Porky
- Porky in the Northwoods
- Porky's Road Race
- Porky's Romance
- Porky's Building
- Porky's Railroad
- Speaking of the Weather: First Merrie Melodies short he worked on. The short is one of three parodies of the "Things come to life in a store" genre of cartoons that was prevalent during the 30s.
- The Case of the Stuttering Pig
- Porky's Double Trouble
- The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos
- Porky at the Crocadero
- Now That Summer Is Gone
- Porky the Fireman
- Have You Got Any Castles?: Second of three "Things come to life in a story" parodies.
- Porky's Spring Planting
- The Mayor Lied Down 'Til Dawn
- Wholly Smoke
- Cracked Ice
- Little Pauncho Vanilla
- You're An Education: Last short he directed at his second Warner Bros. stint.
- Mr. Duck Steps Out: A Donald Duck short. He did not direct, but wrote the story.
- The Great Cheese Mystery: First Columbia Cartoon he worked on. Did not direct, but wrote the story.
- The Fox and the Grapes
- The Tangled Angler
- A Hollywood Detour: Directed it.
- Under The Shedding Chestnut Tree: Supervised this and the following Columbia shorts.
- Wacky Wigwams
- Concerto in B Flat Minor
- Dog Meets Dog
- Wolf Chases Pigs
- A Battle for a Bottle
- Cinderella Goes to a Party
- Bulldog and the Baby
- Old Blackout Joe
- Song of Victory
- Red Riding Hood Rides Again: Was the producer.
- Porky Pig's Feat: First short upon his return to WB.
- Scrap Happy Daffy
- The Goldbrick: One of Private Snafu shorts he directed.
- The Home Front:
- Puss N' Booty: Last black & white Looney Tunes short. Animator Shamus Culhane is rumored to have done uncredited work for the short.
- A Corny Concerto: Directed by Bob Clampett, but he wrote the story.
- I Got Plenty of Mutton: A one-shot cartoon that would be the inspiration for Chuck Jones' Pepe Le Pew cartoons
- Swooner Crooner: Footage from his cartoon would be recycled for a cartoon sequence of the film "Two Guys From Texas".
- The Chow Hound: Private Snafu
- Brother Brat
- Plane Daffy
- Booby Hatched
- The Stupid Cupid
- The Unruly Hare: One of two Bugs Bunny shorts he directed.
- Behind the Meat-Ball
- Tale of Two Mice
- Nasty Quacks
- Hare Remover: Second of two Bugs Bunny shorts he directed, but was uncredited.
- The Lady Said No
- Choo Choo Amigo
- Daffy Ditties: Pepito's Serenade
- The Lemon Drop Kid: Helped finish directing it.
- The First Time
- Son of Paleface
- Susan Slept Here
- The Face is Familiar: An episode of G.E. True Theater TV series.
- The Lieutenant Wore Skirts
- The Honest Man: An episode of G.E. True Theater TV series.
- The Girl Can't Help It
- Hollywood or Bust
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
- Rock-A-Bye Baby
- The Geisha Boy
- Bachelor Flat
- It'$ Only Money
- The Man From The Diner's Club
- Who's Minding The Store?
- The Bear That Wasn't: An animated short based off of his book, directed by Chuck Jones.
- The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell
Tropes Associated With Frank Tashlin:
- Big Name Fan : His films had an incredible influence on the French New Wave who loved his Genre-Busting style and visual invention. Paul McCartney and John Lennon loved his film The Girl Can't Help It as did several other rock stars of the 1960s.
- Disowned Adaptation: He hated Chuck Jones' adaptation of "The Bear That Wasn't", as he felt the story's message got muddled.
- Genre-Busting : His feature films were radical and innovative comedies. The Girl Can't Help It was a pioneer in the rock musical genre, and gave audiences around the world their first glimpses of favorite rock acts of the 50s.
- Hotter and Sexier: The Private Snafu cartoon "Censored", which features a topless woman. The one time Cartoon Network aired the cartoon, the scenes were cropped to conceal the nudity.
- Jump Cut: Tashlin's cartoons often had very fast timing, with some scenes lasting only a few frames.
- Recycled Premise: His feature Rock-a-Bye Baby features a hapless man (Jerry Lewis) in comical situations while babysitting, very much like his Porky Pig short Brother Brat.