"In thirty seconds of a Bob Clampett cartoon, there are more ideas, original drawings, sound ideas, than in 20 of anybody else's cartoons. They are amazing."—John Kricfalusi, gushing about his mentor.
If it was Tex Avery who modernized the cartoon gag and Chuck Jones who brought subtlety and stylization to new levels in animation, then it was certainly Robert "Bob" Clampett who brought back the old fashioned, distorted rubberhose of the previous era and early 1930's to modern times. One of the most popular directors of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoon shorts made by Warner Bros. during The Golden Age of Animation (second only to Chuck Jones in popularity), Bob Clampett was nothing short of a mischief maker, being both a real life version of Bugs Bunny, in addition to being a real life Daffy Duck. (pre-Chuck Jones Flanderization Daffy Duck, mind you.)
Being inspired by the strange works of artist Salvador Dali, as well as the other animation studios like Disney and Fleischer and even newspaper comic artists like Milt Gross, Clampett eventually began working at the Warner Bros. distributed animation unit of Leon Schlesinger, after failing to get a job at the Disney studios. (Disney had wanted to hire him, due to Clampett's excellent drawing skills, but they had all the animators they needed.) There, Clampett and his soon to be mentor, Fred "Tex" Avery, went to work in a crumbling wooden shack assigned to them, not far from the main Schlesinger lot. There, they discovered they were not alone -- specifically, said shack appeared to have an infestation of termites. Still, being comfy there, the duo blessed upon the place the affectionate nickname Termite Terrace, which would soon become the unofficial name for the entire Looney Tunes animation studio as a whole.
In 1941, Avery left the studio...but Clampett, having learned quite a thing or two from him, began experimenting with his own style of animation -- a very wacky, surreal one which combined the early principles of rubberhose animation from The Silent Age of Animation, with the more modern, higher quality principles and art productions of a Disney short. The results were some of the finest cartoons ever made in general, let alone by the Warner Bros. animation unit.
Oh, and he's also the father of Tweety Bird and reinvented Porky Pig as a character into an adventurer who got into all sorts of fantastic tales like Porky in Wackyland for many, many black & white shorts.
After leaving Warner Bros. in 1945, Clampett started his own animation studio and created Beany and Cecil.
Clampett is also the all-time favorite cartoonist of John Kricfalusi, who frequently cites him and his shorts for fantastic use of the medium of animation.
Warner Bros. Filmography
1937: All entries are Porky Pig shorts.
- Porky & Gabby: Allegedly directed by Ub Iwerks, but Bob claimed that he and Jones actually co-directed it, with Ub merely doing the layouts. First Looney Tunes short outsourced to the Iwerks studio.
- Porky's Super Service: Same as above. Second Iwerks Looney Tune.
- Porky's Badtime Story 7-24: A Porky Pig and Gabby Goat cartoon. Third of the four Looney Tunes outsourced to the Ub Iwerks studio. Clampett's official directorial debut.
- Get Rich Quick Porky 8-28: Final Iwerks outsourced Looney Tune.
- Rover's Rival 10-09
- Porky's Hero Agency 12-04
1938: All entries are Porky Pig shorts.
- Porky's Poppa 1-15
- What Price Porky 2-26
- Porky's Five and Ten 4-16
- Injun Trouble 5-21: This short would later be remade in color as "Wagon Heels".
- Porky's Party 6-25
- Porky & Daffy 8-06: First teamup of Porky Pig and Daffy Duck.
- Porky in Wackyland 9-24: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- Porky's Naughty Nephew 10-15
- Porky In Egypt 11-05
- The Daffy Doc 11-26: A Daffy and Porky teamup, although Porky is a victim to him. Clampett and Chuck Jones grew to hate this short due to it using an Iron Lung as a gag prop.
1939: All entries are Porky Pig shorts.
- The Lone Stranger and Porky Pig 1-07
- Porky's Tire Trouble 2-18
- Porky's Movie Mystery 3-11
- Chicken Jitters 4-01
- Kristopher Kolumbus Jr. 5-13
- Polar Pals 6-03
- Scalp Trouble 6-24: A Porky and Daffy team-up.
- Porky's Picnic 7-15
- Wise Quacks 8-05
- Porky's Hotel 9-02
- Jeepers Creepers 9-23
- Naughty Neighbors 10-07: Proto-Bugs cameo
- Pied Piper Porky 11-04
- The Film Fan 12-16
1940: All entries are Porky Pig shorts.
- Porky's Last Stand 1-06
- Africa Squeaks 1-27
- Ali-Baba Bound 2-10
- Pilgrim Porky 3-16
- Slap-Happy Pappy 4-13
- Porky's Poor Fish 4-27
- The Chewin' Bruin 6-08
- Patient Porky 8-24
- Prehistoric Porky 10-12
- The Sour Puss 11-02
- The Timid Toreador 12-21: Directorial debut of Norm Mccabe, who co-directed this short wiht Bob.
- Porky's Snooze Reel 1-11: Co-directed by Norm Mccabe.
- Goofy Groceries 3-29: Clampett's first Merrie Melodies short, and first oneshot cartoon. Uses the staple "Things come to life in a store" formula. First Clampett cartoon in color.
- Farm Frolics 5-10: Second Merrie Melodies outing.
- A Coy Decoy 6-07: A Porky Pig and Daffy Duck short.
- Meet John Doughboy 7-05: A Wartime Cartoon parodying then state of the art war weaponry. Porky Pig appears as the narrator.
- We, The Animals Squeak 8-09: A Porky Pig short.
- The Henpecked Duck 8-30: A Daffy Duck short.
- The Bug Parade 10-11: Initially directed by Tex Avery, but Clampett finished it.
- The Cagey Canary 11-22: Initially directed by Avery, finished by Clampett.
- Wabbit Twouble 12-20: Clampett's first Bugs Bunny cartoon. Originally planned by Tex Avery, but finished by Clampett--this was supported by the fact that he and Clampett planned the cartoon together.
- Porky's Pooch 12-27: Debut of Charlie Dog (or a prototype of him in any instance). Starring Porky Pig.
- Aloha Hooey 1-31: Started by Avery, finished by Clampett.
- Crazy Cruise 3-14: Started by Avery, finished by Clampett.
- Horton Hatches the Egg 4-11: An adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story, with Clampett's humor injected into it.
- The Wacky Wabbit 5-02: Second Clampett Bugs Bunny short.
- Nutty News 5-23
- Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid 7-11: Third Bugs Bunny short he directed. Debut of Killer / Beaky the Buzzard.
- Wacky Blackout 7-11: A oneshot Wartime Cartoon, parodying wartime instrutional films.
- Eatin' On the Cuff 8-22: Features usage of the Roger Rabbit Effect. Clampett's final black and white cartoon.
- The Hep Cat 10-03: First Looney Tunes short in color. A oneshot cartoon.
- A Tale of Two Kitties 11-21: Debut of Tweety Bird.
- Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs 1-16: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons--and one of the Censored Eleven. A jazzy, deranged parody of Disney's Snow White.
- Tortoise Wins By A Hare 2-20: A follow up to the Tex Avery short "Tortoise Beats Hare".
- The Wise Quacking Duck 5-01: A Daffy Duck short.
- Tin Pan Alley Cats 7-17: One of the Censored Eleven. Features Stock Footage of Porky in Wackyland, but in color.
- A Corny Concerto 9-25: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. A parody of Disney's Fantasia.
- Falling Hare 10-30: A Wartime Cartoon, featuring a famous encounter Bugs Bunny has with a gremlin.
- An Itch In T Ime 12-04: An Elmer Fudd short, featuring a mischevious flea irritating his dog.
- Fighting Tools: One of two Private Snafu shorts that he directed.
- What's Cookin' Doc? 1-08: A Bugs Bunny short, featuring Stock Footage from "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt".
- Tick Tock Tuckered 4-08: Shot For Shot Color remake of "Porky's Badtime Story", but with Daffy Duck replacing Gabby Goat.
- Russian Rhapsody 5-20: A Wartime Cartoon, with Adolf Hitler having an airplane encounter with a colony of singing gremlins.
- Hare Ribbin' 6-24: A Bugs Bunny short. Notable for having an infamous alternate ending, in which Bugs murders the dog that was chasing him. This footage was restored for Vol. 5 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series as the "director's cut" of the cartoon.
- Birdy and the Beast 8-19: Second appearance of Tweety Bird.
- Buckaroo Bugs 8-26: The only short where Bugs Bunny is flat out portrayed as a villain.
- The Old Grey Hare 10-28: A Bugs Bunny short.
- Booby Traps: Second of two Private Snafu shorts that he directed.
- Draftee Daffy 1-27: A Daffy Duck Wartime Cartoon.
- A Gruesome Twosome 6-09: Third appearance of Tweety Bird.
- Wagon Heels 7-28: Color remake of Injun Trouble.
- The Bashful Buzzard 9-05: Second appearance of Beaky Buzzard.
- Book Revue: 1-05: One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. A ruthless parody of the "Things come to life in a store" genre of cartoons, and is cited as the short that put the final nail of the coffin of the already Deader Than Disco genre of cartoon.
- Baby Bottleneck 3-16: A Porky and Daffy cartoon.
- Kitty Kornered 6-08: A Porky Pig cartoon, featuring a prototype of Sylvester.
- The Great Piggy Bank Robbery 7-20: A Daffy Duck short, and No. 16 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- Bacall To Arms: 8-03: A oneshot short started by Clampett, but finished by Art Davis (both uncredited).
- The Big Snooze 10-05: Last released Clampett cartoon. A Bugs Bunny short.
- The Goofy Gophers 1-25: Planned by Clampett, but finished by Art Davis.
Tropes Associated With Bob Clampett:
- Animation Bump: Shorts directed by Clampett had some of the most fluid, well drawn animation to ever come out of the Warner Bros. cartoon studio.
- Blatant Lies: Clampett got into a lot of trouble in his waning years for trying to take credit for the ideas and creations of the other staff at the studio.
- Depending on the Artist: Clampett gave his animators far more leeway in deviating from the model sheets and animating in their individual styles than his contemporaries. As a result, his cartoons are some of the easiest to pick out individual artist styles from.
- Deranged Animation: Clampett was quite possibly the undisputed KING of this trope, even when compared to the works of Max and Dave Fleischer! It's easy to see why John Kricfalusi (and a lot of other animation show runners and directors who brought back Deranged Animation in the 1990s, particularly those who worked on The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog) loves the man.
- Everything's Better with Bob
- The Rival: To fellow animator Chuck Jones.
- "Seen It All" Suicide: A frequent gag in many Looney Tunes cartoons, but especially Clampett's. Notable examples include "Horton Hatches the Egg", "An Itch in Time", and "The Sour Puss". A variant also occurs in "Tortoise Wins By a Hare" (the gangsters shoot themselves after Bugs reveals he's the rabbit).
- Unintentional Period Piece: Much of the humor in Bob's cartoons is rooted in 40's Pop Culture, so like with Tex Avery's cartoons, one might need a good understanding of the time period to get some of the jokes.