I am guessing that there are no cartoon writers out there who have any kind of sense at all of where they come from.
When I visit with animators, the talk inevitably turns to discussions of classic cartoons and the animators who created them. Animators will argue at length about the relative strengths and weaknesses of Ward Kimball, Irv Spence or Robert McKimson.
I've thrown out over a dozen names of cartoon writers on this blog. These are the men who wrote the Mickey Mouse cartoons, the Disney features, Bugs Bunny cartoons and Huck Hound and Yogi Bear. They're the writers who built the industry we all work in.
I'm asking an honest question here...
Are there any cartoon writers who have any kind of interest in Bill Peet, Joe Grant, Warren Foster or Mike Maltese. Do you even know who these people are? If you don't, shame on you.
Animators can be no better about the history of their craft. I gave a speech at the Lion King reunion where I held up a picture of a man and asked if anyone knew who it was. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. The picture I was holding up was of Ub Iwerks, the man who created Mickey Mouse. The inventor of the multiplane camera, animation xerography and process screen technology which is still used to combine live action and animation to this day. No one knew who he was. And the picture I was holding up was pulled from the trash can at Film Roman.
If I was standing in front of a group of jazz musicians and held up a picture of Louis Armstrong, they would know who it was. Directors would recognize a photo of Alfred Hitchcock. Painters would recognize Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali.
Why do people in the animation business have such little regard for their own medium and its history? There are too many people in animation who just see it as a stepping stone to something else that they'd rather be doing.
If animation writers truly do have respect for their medium, let's hear about it. Lip service isn't good enough. Let's see some passion instead of studio politics and griping about not being loved.
Tell me about your favorite classic cartoon and the person who wrote it.
The things I like about cartoons are the writing. I can tell you about Matt and Trey, and if I sat and thought about it, probably name a lot of the people who wrote on their shows. I saw the first "Spirit of Christmas" short they made, and it made me laugh.
I can tell you about how Seth Macfarlane hand drew his pilot and sold a series.
I know who Matt Groenig is, AND I can name Simpson writers.
I can tell you how much I like Paul Dini and Alan Burnett's written work with super heroes, or how much I like Dwayne McDuffie, Stan Berkowitz and Rich Fogel's stuff now.
Batman the Animated Series, and Batman Beyond forever changed how super heroes were treated. Justice League and JLU forever washed the "ick" off Superfriends and as an avid comic book fan, I will be forever grateful.
I can tell you how much it meant to me to sit down with Mark Evanier when I first started getting involved in animation.
Moving further back, I can tell you how much I hated "Three Stooges The Animated Series" but how much I adore the old Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and classic warner brothers cartoons because it worked for adults and kids.
How I grew tired of the Flintstones and the Jetsons, but couldn't stop watching Jay Ward stuff.
I liked Super Chicken. Sue me. I liked Rocky and Bullwinkle and Roger Ramjet because there was subtext.
I know who Tex Avery is. I know who Chuck Jones is. Would I recognize a photo of Ub Iwerks? Probably not.
But I know Otto Messmer's creation, because there are things about that 1960s (ish) Felix the Cat cartoon that disturb me to this day.
You look to the artists, fair enough. I look to the writers more than artists, but that's my taste. And I'm not so ignorant as to say "Chuck Jones isn't a writer."
How about the other way around? What writers do you know and like?