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Creator / Robert McKimson

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Robert Porter "Bob" McKimson Sr. (October 13, 1910 September 29, 1977) was an American 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 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" (which was strictly a cartoon meant for the troops to see and not the general public); 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 note  He also gave few interviews before his death, which made it difficult to get an insight into his directing methods and philosophies. Luckily, a vintage interview on Michael Barrier's website, along with a biography written by Robert McKimson Jr. released in 2012, rectify 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. McKimson also created Speedy Gonzales (inspired on a pair of Mexican brothers he played polo with who were very friendly and excitable and, despite most outward opinions, was not meant to be a stereotype of all Mexicans), who was later finalized by Friz Freleng and Hawley Pratt as the sombrero-donning speedster we know today. Even as late as 1968, McKimson was creating new characters in the hope that they would catch on and become recurring (which, sadly, didn't happen, as the era of theatrical cartoons was waning, thanks to television). His Bunny and Claude (a parody of Bonnie and Clyde) and Rapid Rabbit and Quick Brown Fox (a Spiritual Successor to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner) characters are examples of this. He also directed two Road Runner cartoons ("Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies"), among 14 not directed by Jones (11 were directed by Rudy Larriva and are despised and/or forgotten about by amateur and professional theatrical cartoon fans alike, and one was directed by Freleng), as well as the bumpers for The Road Runner Show and new material for The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show.

McKimson was the only animator from the Looney Tunes glory days to come back for the brief revival and sad end of the animation unit in the late 1960s; he directed the very last Looney Tunes short: a Cool Cat cartoon called "Injun Trouble (1969)". After WB closed its animation department forever, McKimson went back to work for De Patie 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 '80s and brought fame to Freleng, Jones and Tex Avery (and eventually Clampett, too).



  • The Return of Mr. Hook: An obscure Wartime Cartoon, which was his directorial debut.


  • Daffy Doodles: His debut for a mainstream audience.
  • Hollywood Canine Canteen
  • The Mouse-Merized Cat
  • Walky Talky Hawky — debut of Foghorn Leghorn
  • Acrobatty Bunny






  • Sleepy Time Possum
  • Corn Plastered
  • Big Top Bunny
  • A Fox in a Fix
  • The Prize Pest
  • Leghorn Swoggled
  • Hare We Go
  • French Rarebit
  • Lovelorn Leghorn
  • Early to Bet


  • Thumb Fun
  • The Super Snooper
  • Fool Coverage
  • Who's Kitten Who?
  • The Turn Tale Wolf
  • Kiddin' the Kitten
  • The Egg-Cited Rooster
  • Oily Hare
  • Sock a Doodle Do
  • Rabbit's Kin


  • Cats A-Weigh
  • Easy Peckin's
  • Upswept Hare
  • Muscle Tussle
  • Cat-Tails for Two
  • Plop Goes the Weasel
  • There Auto be a Law
  • Of Rice and Hen
  • A Peck O' Trouble




  • Too Hop to Handle
  • Stupor Duck
  • The Unexpected Pest
  • Wideo Wabbit
  • Weasel Stop
  • Slap-Hoppy Mouse
  • The High and the Flighty
  • Half Fare Hare
  • The Honey-Mousers
  • Raw! Raw! Rooster
  • Mixed Master



  • Pre-Hysterical Hare
  • Now Hare This
  • Weasel While You Work
  • Tortilla Flaps
  • Don't Axe Me
  • Dog Tales
  • Gopher Broke
  • Feather Bluster


  • Mouse-Placed Kitten
  • China Jones
  • The Mouse That Jack Built
  • A Mutt In a Rut
  • Backwoods Bunny
  • The Cat's Paw
  • Bonanza Bunny
  • A Broken Leghorn
  • People Are Bunny


  • Wild Wild World
  • Mice Follies
  • West of the Pesos
  • The Dixie Fryer
  • Doggone People
  • Crockett-Doodle-Do


  • Birds of a Feather
  • Strangled Eggs
  • Cannery Woe
  • What's My Lion?
  • Hoppy Daze
  • Daffy's Inn Trouble


  • Mother Was A Rooster
  • Wet Hare
  • The Slick Chick
  • Bill of Hare
  • Fish and Slips
  • Good Noose


  • The Million Hare
  • Claws in the Lease
  • Fast Buck Duck: Co-directed with Ted Bonnicksen, one of his animators
  • Banty Raids
  • Aqua Duck



  • Moby Duck
  • Go Go Amigo
  • Chili Con Corny
  • Suppressed Duck
  • Tease For Two
  • Rushing Roulette
  • Well Worn Daffy




  • Bunny and Claude: We Rob Carrot Patches


  • The Great Carrot-Train Robbery
  • Fistic Mystic
  • Rabbit Stew and Rabbits, Too!
  • Shamrock and Roll
  • Bugged by a Bee
  • Injun Trouble: The last cartoon ever released by the original Warner Bros. cartoon studio. Should not be confused with the 1938 Bob Clampett cartoon of the same name.

Robert McKimson (and his cartoons) provide examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: He was among few members of Termite Terrace that could stand Bob Clampett, even if he confirmed in an amused way to interviewers that almost all the stories about him were true.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Tex Avery nicknamed him "McKimp".
  • Animation Bump: Any scene animated by him tends to be some of the best animation ever done at the studio. Take for instance the realistic human animation of Uncle Sam in Chuck Jones' "Old Glory" or Tom's father in "Tom Thumb In Trouble"; he did not use rotoscope to animate them! Bugs' death scene in "A Wild Hare" is another standout scene of his. His artwork in general tends to be so solid, that it alone makes it rather easy to spot his scenes.
  • Art Evolution: Besides what was mentioned in the intro paragraphs, his first few shorts still had the visual "feel" of a Frank Tashlin cartoon, no doubt due to inheriting Tashlin's unit after he left the studio.
  • Aside Glance
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Cat's Paw", Sylvester is talking to his son about which birds to catch:
    Sylvester: It seems like the smaller and more helpless looking they are, the tougher and scrapper they turn out to be. I just hope we can find a small one around here. (to audience) An anemic sparrow would suit me just fine.
  • Cassandra Truth: The repeated premise of the Hippety Hopper cartoons. Nobody believes Sylvester when he tries to tell them that he saw a giant mouse (although unbeknownst to him, Hippety was a kangaroo).
  • Composite Character: McKimson was noted for evolving to the revised personalities of recurring characters at a much slower pace than Jones and Freleng, resulting in something of a blend of both the initial and modern depictions. This is particularly noticable with Daffy Duck, who gained some of the pompousness and wit akin to Jones' version but still maintained shades of his original hyperactive trickster role into the late fifties. McKimson by his own admission wasn't fond of the later Flanderized characterisations (especially Bugs), and tried to dial them back whenever he could.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: McKimson often adhered to the same Comically Lop Sided Rivalry formula as the other Warner directors, though not as cleanly. Being a World of Ham conveyer, few of his characters were completely Immune to Slapstick. His Porky vs Daffy and Foghorn vs Barnyard bouts in particular were usually played more as Escalating Wars (even if Porky and Barnyard respectively still usually won ultimately). Most of the rare instances Bugs or Speedy suffered slapstick and humiliation instead of just administering it were also McKimson directed.
  • Deranged Animation: In his 1946-1949 cartoons especially. Things toned down a bit starting in the '50s, but thanks to Rod Scribner (a former Clampett animator) returning to the studio, there were still flashes of this.
  • Disability Superpower: Kind of? In the early 30s, he was involved in a near fatal car accident from which he made a quick recovery. Upon returning to work, he would find himself animating between 50 and 70 feet (that's over a hundred-thousand frames) a day, more than he was ever capable of before his accident. And nobody knew why.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "Early To Bet" involves a cat going through Rube Goldberg-style punishments just for losing to a dog at a sadistic game of cards.
  • Executive Meddling: McKimson was ordered by producer Eddie Selzer not to make any more Tasmanian Devil cartoons after the first one. However, thanks to fan feedback and orders from Jack Warner, McKimson was allowed to make more Taz cartoons.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Hinted at in "The Hole Idea", when the devil actually throws Calvin Q. Calculus's wife out because she's so unpleasant.
  • It Runs in the Family: All three McKimson brothers worked in animation: Bob was both an animator and director, Tom was a background artist/layout artist/animator during the '40s, and Charles was an animator during the late '30s-mid '50s, later working for Bob (and animating in much the same style as his brother). Their mother was also a talented artist.
  • Limited Animation: Bartholomew Versus the Wheel
  • Mickey Mousing: As with all Looney Tunes composed by Carl Stalling or Milt Franklyn.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: "Rabbit Stew and Rabbits, Too!" Also "Swallow the Leader" is mostly dialog-free, aside from the opening narration and a couple lines from the cat.
  • Morton's Fork: In most Hippety Hopper shorts, Sylvester falls victim to a Cassandra Truth scenario, with his son Junior failing to believe his stories of getting overpowered by a "giant mouse", and shaming his father into going back and dealing with the seemingly ordinary rodent. There are times Hippety is exposed to Junior however, in such cases he gets excited by the discovery and pressures his father to catch it anyway (most of these instances follow right after Sylvester exaggerating his mousing capabilities to his son, leading the latter to believe he could easily catch one of such size).
  • Motifs: Moreso than the other two major directors, many of McKimson's cartoons had a unique father/son dynamic; in addition to his Sylvester and Sylvester Jr. cartoons, Foghorn acted as a surrogate father figure to Egghead in many shorts. And Bugs acts a surrogate father figure to Shorty in Rabbit's Kin.
  • Odd Couple: Daffy and Porky in the shorts he directed.
  • Parody Episode: McKimson was fond of these, especially in the late '50s.
    • "The Honey-Mousers", "Cheese It! The Cat", and "Mice Follies", three cartoons parodying The Honeymooners.
    • "The Mouse That Jack Built", a parody of The Jack Benny Program, except the characters are mice.
    • "Boston Quackie", a parody of "Boston Blackie" starring Daffy Duck in the titular role.
    • "China Jones", a parody of "China Smith". Once again, Daffy stars.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: As an animator for Bob Clampett, he was the Blue to Rod Scribner's Red.
  • Signature Style: As animator for Bob Clampett, he was known for his very graceful, professional animation; he was often called upon for scenes where the characters were closer to the camera because of his talent for character acting. As director, his characters often had half-shut/relaxed eyes, especially compared to Jones and Freleng's units. Bartholomew Versus the Wheel is the only exception.
  • Shrinking Violet: Most accounts describe Bob himself as very mild mannered and passive. This was apparently a key reason there are so few interviews and accounts from him, and why he turned down on-camera participation in Bugs Bunny Superstar.
  • The Unfavorite: McKimson generally got the lesser animation staff in most of his later cartoons, with any exceptional talent usually going to Freleng's and Jones' units instead. Eddie Selzer claimed to him this was because, being an advanced animator, he thought he could manage them better, though McKimson admitted to feeling like a third wheel.
  • Workaholic: Had a positive reputation in the animation industry as a hard worker; on his first day at Warner Bros., for example, he got right to work at 8 o'clock. He also consistently completed twice the amount of required footage per day, and did it professionally to boot!
  • World of Ham: Subtlety was not something Rob was interested in—his characters are constantly shouting, pushing and shoving each other, or flailing their arms around like there's no tomorrow. His creation Foghorn Leghorn is probably the hammiest character in the whole Looney Tunes series.
  • World of Jerkass: His cartoons tend to have a cynical worldview. Almost all of his characters—even his interpretation of Bugs—are grumpy, middle aged curmudgeons, with the main contrasts in the different characters' personalities being how smart or how stupid the various curmudgeons were. Ironically, Rob himself was by all accounts a soft-spoken, conservative and pleasant fellow in real life.

Alternative Title(s): Bob Mc Kimson