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Creator / Jon McClenahan

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Meet Jon McClenahan.

"Jon McClenahan is one of the greatest animators alive today. You've just never heard of him because today's American animator is about as employable as a typewriter ribbon salesman. Which is a shame, really."
Peter Paltridge on Jon McClenahan

Jon McClenahan is an American animator, hailing from Chicago, Illinois.

Jon's career in animation began in 1980, when after four years as a meat-truck driver, he was told of a job opening at Hanna-Barbera's Australian offices. He and his family left for Sydney promptly to work at the studio. He started as an inbetweener, eventually climbing the ladder to direct the animation for animated adaptations for The Berenstain Bears and Teen Wolf.

His employment at HB Southern Star Studios (as it was called) ended in August 1987, when the studio was consolidated and sold off. After some time at Cioni Artworks, Jon started StarToons, his studio, located in Chicago. During this time, he did some of his best known works, including Tiny Toon Adventures (some Kennedy Cartoons animated episodes, and some of his own), Taz-Mania, and, ultimately, Animaniacs, for which he did most of the Slappy Squirrel shorts.

However, after completing work on the first season of Animaniacs, StarToons began sliding into a downwards spiral. Jon planned with one of his former background painters, an Indian named Uttam Kumar, to start an Indian animation house for StarToons (which was to be the first of its kind) only for Kumar to be found out as having undergone a Faceā€“Heel Turn during that time. Later, after a management change at Warner Bros. Animation (his client for nearly all of StarToons' work), Jon tried to get on good terms with new president Sander Schwartz, only to be accused of shipping the work to an overseas studio just because it was so different from what StarToons usually did. This was the death knell to StarToons, and Jon McClenahan was on his own again.

After a brief stint at Germany's Munich Animation, he became a director at Midway Games until 2006. After that, he had a two-year stint at Star Farm Productions.

Now, since 2008, Jon McClenahan once again has his own company, named Mack Hammer Productions, which mainly does storyboards and character designs for miscellaneous shows. However, he keeps a low profile, and he posts on the ToonZone forums as Jonny Mack. His most recent credit can be found in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

Interviewed a few years back on Platypus Comix (which is where the page quote comes from).

Dudley The Dinosaur

Dudley the Dinosaur is Jon McClenahan's most well known creation, a mascot for the American Dental Association. Dudley was the nation's first bilingual (English and Spanish) kids' public service campaign. He has starred in many commercials, beating Smokey The Bear as the most well-known public service campaign character, and ads have been in and out of production since 1991. The most recent short was Dudley's Grade School Musical, released in 2012 and co-produced by Jon's Mack Hammer Productions. Besides directing and animating it, he also voiced one of the characters.

Dudley is not the only series of commercials that StarToons worked on, though; they did a Tiny Toons cereal commercial in 1991, and here's a reel of other commercials they've done.

Shows worked on by Jon McClenahan:

  • Tiny Toon Adventures (sequences in 17 episodes by Kennedy Cartoons, sequences in one Encore Cartoons episode, and three full episodes using his StarToons studio: "Henny Youngman Day" (with Luk Film), "Thirteensomething", and "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" (with Rainbow Animation Korea))
  • Darkwing Duck (sequences in three episodes by Kennedy Cartoons: "Jurassic Jumble", "Whiffle While You Work" and "Dry Hard")
  • McGee and Me! (animated sequences in three episodes: "In the Nick of Time","The Blunder Years", and "Beauty And The Least")
  • Taz-Mania (the intro sequence, plus two full episodes List )
  • Animaniacs (27 shorts) List  (bumpers and wraparounds) List 
  • Britannica's Tales Around The World (1 episode)List note 
  • Secret Adventures (animated sequences)
  • Fat Cats (a pilot for the What A Cartoon! Show)
  • Road Rovers (storyboards)
  • Histeria! (12 episodes) List 
  • The Crippled Lamb
  • Little Dogs on the Prairie (one of their last assignments, as the copyright dates it to 2000/2001)

Not animated by StarToons but similar in style:

  • Little Go Beep (directed by Spike Brandt, a former StarToons staffer, and also animated by many ST alumni. As such, the short carries Jon's style)

Tropes associated with Jon McClenahan:

  • Animated Adaptation: The 1999 short film "The Crippled Lamb" is a Direct to Video adaptation of the Christian children's book by Max Lucado. The film was popular during the Christmas seasons for some churches to show during a sunday school classes around the seasons in the late 90s/early 2000s.
  • Animation Bump: Mainly due to the bounciness and expressiveness of his work.
  • Credits Gag: Once, as a joke, he submitted "Max McClenahan" as a staff member in the credits. Why is it a joke? Max is his dog.
  • Depending on the Artist: Was more evident in StarToons's work for Animaniacs, due to a larger animation staff.
  • Old Shame: Jon isn't proud of his early Hanna-Barbera work, like Laverne and Shirley in the Army and The All-New Popeye Hour and although at the time he was glad to have animated on Jetsons: The Movie, he was embarrassed after seeing the final product calling it the worst animated film he'd ever seen.
  • Signature Style: Jon's animation style, with its emphasis on strong held poses and snappy movements, is so distinctive that it's easy to pick out (see Jetsons: The Movie). It's even evident in episodes of shows that he storyboarded/directed but his studio didn't actually animate- see certain episodes of Animaniacs (such as "Soccer Coach Slappy") and Pinky and the Brain (such as "Brainania").

Alternative Title(s): Dudley The Dinosaur, Jonny Mack, Star Toons