Robert McKimson (1910-1977) was an animator and director who is most known for his work at Warner Bros. on the Looney Tunes series. His "Hillbilly Hare" is generally regarded as a classic outing for Bugs Bunny.McKimson was an animator at Termite Terrace from almost the beginning, and had a knack for detail. For an example of his work, see the start of "What's Cookin', Doc?" when Bugs performs all the celebrity impersonations. He also was one of the animators on the classic short "A Corny Concerto" directed by Bob Clampett. There's a professionalism to the animation, and the graceful movement emphasizes Bugs's likeability. He also drew the definitive Bugs Bunny model sheet in 1943 (which ironically he didn't use himself when he began directing; see below). McKimson's versions of the classic Warners characters generally seem rounder and fatter than most of the other directors' (though it was Bob Clampett who introduced the infamous "Fat Elmer"), with rather small eyesnote , at least in his earlier period.McKimson took his first shot at directing on a Wartime Cartoon in 1945, the obscure "The Return of Mr. Hook"; his main directorial debut is generally considered to be the 1946 short "Daffy Doodles", taking over Frank Tashlin's unit (Tashlin had left the studio in 1945). For almost fifteen years (1950-1964), he, Chuck Jones, and Friz Freleng were the main directors at Termite Terrace, and due to the post-1948 television package that many networks used during the '70s-early '90s, McKimson's work, like the other two directors, was often seen on TV.Despite these merits, as well as directing the third most shorts out of all the directors (141 total), McKimson isn't recognized as much as the other two "big" directors at WB. Part of this may be the fact that he never had a feature length compilation film that highlighted his work; Chuck Jones had one film and Friz Freleng had three (it should be noted that two of Friz's movies featured McKimson's cartoons, however). Part of this may also be due to his post-1955 shorts, which featured slower timing, simpler animation, and less interesting direction than his pre-1955 output. (Explanation: WB briefly closed in 1953 and temporarily laid everybody off. Unlike Jones and Freleng, McKimson basically had to restart his unit from scratch when WB reopened its cartoon unit, so that certainly put him at a disadvantage for a while, not least because his new unit was mostly made up of the animators that Jones and Freleng didn't want.) He also gave few interviews before his death, which made it difficult to get an insight into his directing methods and philosophies. (Luckily, a recently-posted vintage interview on Michael Barrier's website somewhat rectifies that)McKimson created Foghorn Leghorn, Hippety Hopper (a recurring adversary of Sylvester whom he mistook for a giant mouse), and the Tasmanian Devil. In all three cases, he directed every outing for those characters, just as Chuck Jones directed every Pepe le Pew cartoon. McKimson also technically created Speedy Gonzales, though it was Friz Freleng's version which everyone knows and remembers today. Even as late as 1968, McKimson was creating new characters in the hope that they would catch on and become series. His Bunny and Claude (a parody of Bonnie and Clyde) and Rapid Rabbit are examples of this. He also directed two Road Runner cartoons (Rushing Roulette and Sugar and Spies, among 14 not directed by Jones).After WB closed its animation department for the final time, McKimson went back to work for DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, where he directed many Pink Panther shorts.McKimson died of a heart attack in 1977 while having lunch with Friz Freleng and David H. DePatie. Only a few days earlier, his doctor told him he was healthy and could expect to live a long time. He bragged to Freleng that he would outlive him.Unfortunately, he never lived long enough to see animation respected as an art form, which debatably occurred starting in The Eighties and brought fame to Freleng, Jones and Tex Avery (and eventually Clampett, too).
Robert McKimson's cartoons provide examples of: