Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ed Benedict , 1912-2006

This looks like a caricature of Ed. So does the guy in Tex Avery's Field and Scream.

It's amazing to me that a guy with such a crusty exterior can make drawings this cute!

Well I have some really sad news today. Ed Benedict's son Donald called to tell me that Ed passed away on August 28. He was 94.

Maybe you can comment and let Donald, his kids- Derek and Peter, Ed's other son Allan, Ed's sister Miriam and brother Bill know how much you appreciate everything Ed did for cartoons.

Ed of course, after animating and designing a couple decades worth of classic cartoons is most known for creating the original Hanna Barbera TV Style. Ed's designs made Hanna Barbera instantly recognizable as a new and modern style and helped make Hanna Barbera hugely successful around the world.

These frame grabs are from the original 1960 season of the Flintstones. Ed did all the character and background layouts. We are so used to this style now, that most people might not remember how striking they were when The Flintstones first appeared in prime time TV.

By the way, these background paintings are great, aren't they? I think they are painted by Art Lozzi. I wish I knew more about the guy. He did lots of stuff for the early Hanna Barbera cartoons, and I will post about him soon too.

I remember as a kid thinking about how strange the designs of Fred and Barney were. They were futuristic even though they were cavemen. Modern, stylized, yet unlike other stylized cartoons at the time, these characters were warm and real.

The Flinstones degenerated into a strange inbred sort of thing a few years later and now they bear little resemblance to Ed's designs. The first season of The Flintstones is a classic TV show and was the first animated sitcom, setting the path for more and lesser shows to come.

I have a million funny stories about Ed. I first met him in the mid 80's when Lynne Naylor, Bob Jaques and I went on a trek to northern California to meet him. He was a super curmudgeon who couldn't believe anyone even knew who he was, let alone loved his cartoons. We brought up tapes of his work for Tex Avery, his Hanna Barbera cartoons and he was completely disgusted by them! But then he demanded copies of them all so he could write me letters telling me everything that was wrong with them.

Over the last couple decades I kept visiting him and rifling all his files of fantastic cartoon drawings he did for cartoons, commercials and comic strips. He also would show me lots of photos he took of the MGM studios in the 1950s. He would point to an animator and tell me all about him. "See that guy with the suave mustache? That's Ken Muse, a nice guy, a real slick operator. Couldn't draw worth a crap! Hanna loved him cause he could really 'pump out the footage'! But a good guy to go bowling with, one of the guys." (By the way the animation in this clip is by Ken Muse! Ken really watered down Ed's designs and poses-I remember recognizing his style as a kid and thinking of him as the 'bland animator'.)

Ed had a great collection of Golden Books and magazine illustrations and we would pour over them and he'd give me all kinds of design theories.

Every time we visited we would watch old cartoons. Ed loved UPA and Disney (he pronounced it "Dissney".) He didn't think anyone else did anything else worthwhile and we had some great arguments. He would sometimes put his fists up and threaten to beat some sense into me. He had a huge pointy tuft of grey hair sticking out of his chest and it would stand erect and fill with blood when he was in scrapping mode.

It's funny, 'cause he would crab all weekend about everything and then when we'd leave he'd be all choked up, which would always kill us. He was the soft-hearted curmudgeon.

I showed him a bunch of Clampett cartoons and he was amazed at how wild and inventive they were. "Damn ugly though!"

He could still draw really well into his eighties and I got him to do many background layouts for Boo Boo Runs Wild and Day In The Life Of Ranger Smith. After we finished the cartoons and brought them up to show him, he stared at me for about five minutes getting madder and madder. He said, "Well there was some funny stuff and really inventive things in there, but why in Hell can't you draw on model?!"

Ed and his wife Alice (who passed away a few years ago) used to watch Ren and Stimpy together and actually became big fans of it to my surprise and delight.

Ed is one of the true giants of animation. I think he was the greatest character designer in the whole history of the medium.

He was a wonderful guy to boot and always lots of fun to hang out with. I had an awful day yesterday after I got the news. I sure am gonna miss him.

Uploaded by chuckchillout8

I have lots of interviews I did with him on tape. I need someone to transcribe them though. Anyone out there do that? Preferably in LA.


sofiarlllññ said...

that's a sad loss***btw this my first time im posting here, but im a huge Ren&Stimpy fan...this might annoyyou, or maybe not...however u rock!!

benj said...

Sad news:/
Ed Benedict was a true genius, that's for sure!!!

My condolences to Donald,Derek and Allen, Miriam, Bill and every Ed's fans out there.

benj said...

BTW, thanks John. You told me who was Ed Benedict back then.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Those layouts you posted are amazing.

I would also like to express my condolences, this is a tremendous loss. Ed Benedict was truly a legend, and one of a kind. There are no other designers like him ever in animation.

Patrick said...

You continue to educate!!! Thanks and Sorry for the loss of your friend!

Rafael Leopoldo said...

Very cool your cartoon in another post.

Danne8a said...

A truely sad loss.
I grew up watching all of Eds designs growing up and thinking about them always brought a smile to my face.
My condolences to Eds family and friends.
Ed Benedict, you will be missed.

Tony C. said...

John, thanks for pointing out these unsung geniuses of the medium. I love hearing about the famous guys (Jones, Clampet, etc.), but it's nice to find the individuals that really changed the art form, but rarely get the praise they deserve. I would love to read more about these hidden giants. It's a shame that we are losing so many right now. Here's to Ed.

Peggy said...

Ninety four years isn't a bad run. His designs helped change the face of cartoons, turning "limited animation" from the weird artsy domain of UPA to something that made it easy to make fun-looking animation at an affordable speed.

His H-B look became one of the defining styles of an age of animation, and is still being drawn from today - is there a single show on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon that doesn't owe a huge debt to his shapes?

As to transcribing the audio - might I suggest harnessing the power of the Internet and finding some space to put mp3s of your tapes online, and letting any fan who wants to have a go download them and transcribe some parts? I'm initially thinking a wiki for people to dump their transcriptions into - this way someone might start on one, get bored, put up what they have, and let another fan come along and continue.

This assumes you don't mind having it spread around, of course.

I don't have room on my own server for this, but I might be able to get space from a friend or two. Or maybe just use

Max Ward said...

Wow, that is a damn shame. Ed Benedict's designs seem to have influenced TV animation a whole lot. I'm sorry to hear about Ed's death, tell his family I am sorry too.

NARTHAX said...

At least Ed got some long-overdue acclaim during the last decade or so, in those mass-produced Hanna-Barbera signed Flintstones cels.

Shawn said...

It was a pleasure reading those stories. Sounds like Ed was a great guy!

I'm sorry to hear about the loss. Ed Benedict was a true artist. Nearly every television cartoon made after 1960 had some sort of Benedict's influence. The industy owes a lot to him. You're lucky to have known such a brilliant man.

Looking forward to learning more about him.

Anonymous said...

truly sad news. i grew up watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons dubbed in spanish. it was always the "look" of the characters that entranced me. i spent lots of time drawing in front of my TV set back then. when i got older it was thanks to guys like you, John, that i learned about the men who made the cartoons that inspire me to this day to draw. we mourn the loss of a true genius.

lastangelman said...

Wow, I just downloaded the first season of The Flintstones from iTunes a couple of weeks ago. Without a doubt, the first season is the best in every aspect. Never saw the original opening sequence until now. John, you were privileged to have this man's friendship and curmudgeonly respect. You have my deepest sympathies.

Anonymous said...

Ed Benedict was a great artist (and like many other artist, my personal favorite designer). It’s sad that he’s gone but I’m glad he isn’t suffering anymore. The last time I spoke to him he complained just how much he hated being old. He was funny, opinionated, and a true individual, I don’t know what I can add to this discussion except attesting to what John has written here. He had a way of yelling at you without insulting you… it was very rare and he thought everything was up for debate. I remember when I first called and told him my name he argued for 15 minutes about how it wasn’t a real name and my parents should be ashamed of themselves (as I was typing that I couldn’t help but laugh). I think he will live on in the one way that matters, with the work and stories he left behind. He was great!

Jason White said...

Ed Benedict is amazing! I love finding out about these great artists!

Nadreck said...

He will definitely be missed, and I'm sure regardless of whether he would say it out loud, he would have appreciated your kind words and thoughts about him.

Requiescat in pacem.

David Germain said...

Why couldn't have all the great Golden Age animation artists been given that elixer used in Death Becomes Her so that they could create great works forever??? Oh well, I guess as long as their art is still made available to the public and any aspiring young artists, they'll never truly die.

I would have loved to have met Ed Benedict at least once. I wonder what he thought of Chuck Jones' stuff.

Anonymous said...

I first learned about Ed's work right here. An amazing talent who we will continue to learn from. A long, productive, life which has enriched all of us. Bless the man.

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

Wow...this news hit me like a kick in the solar plexus.

So many of the greats are gone. At least Ed Benedict knew he was appreciated before he passed. So many of them passed without being given the respect they deserve.

Jenny said...

I'm sorry, John...I know you hope he went out easy(if there is such a thing)--and to make it to 94! Fantastic.
I'd never heard the name Ed
Benedict until I heard it in tandem with discussions of your work in '89, but of course that was just putting a name to the great designs and stuff in all those cartoons that I already knew
...I love that he infuriated you with his leanings Disneywise! You did a great thing to look him up and give him an idea of how important an artist he is...and give him some appreciation both
with your friendship and through your own work. Men like that come one at a time, never repeated.
It's a huge loss, but what riches he left us slobs.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

He was really a genius, we just take his style for granted now, but after reading your posts I realize how much he really pioneered.

It's great that you got to know him so well. My condolences to his family, and to you as his friend.

Ian Trout said...

That was a beautiful remeberance of the guy.

Thad K said...

My condolences to the Benedict family and all of his fans for their loss.

You guys can see one of the cartoons Ed did the layouts for for Mike Lah at my blog.

-jabajaw- said...

This is sad news.I just recently researched old ed benedict charcters as research when designing my character for a class.I always liked the character design she did since a child watching cartoon network, but didnt know who he was until John came to sf to sho wus some cartoons a few months ago and told us that Ed did the backgrounds for boo boo runs wild.I instantly put him as my favorite character designer.His shit was perfect.So orignial, and so appealing.The god thing is that his character are still alive even today.

Kevin Langley said...

Very sad news. My condolences to his family. Ed's work has influenced so many people whether they knew who he was or not, from his MGM work and his great designs for Hanna Barbera.

Kevin Langley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-jabajaw- said...

Deputy Droopy!!1Fuuny!!I cry from laughter when I watch it.I cry also because that was as good as it gets.

Brian O said...

My sympathy to the Ed Benedict family. His influence has and continues to inspire others.

It would be to the benefit of the entire industry to have the Ed Benedict interviews transcribed and available to the public.

Brian O said...


On a side note, those are wonderful recollections you shared here. My sympathy to you, as well, for the loss of your friend.

Ryan G. said...

Hey John, sorry about your pal. We've all got his cartoons to remember him by..

william wray said...

A titan. I'm lucky to have a few of his drawings. some I got for a song, others I traded amazing things for. To bad a book didn't come out on him.

Thanks for these John and look foward to the interviews.

Tougi said...

Aside from the last post about Ed, this is probably all I've ever heard about him. I haven't put the attention and focus into cartoons that I know many of the people here have, so I'm not terribly familiar with many cartoonists (I'm learning, though), so I sadly didn't know too much about Ed until now, which is a shame, because looking through the pictures on this site, I can see that he truly was responsible for some of the greatest work in cartoons. It's too bad that so few cartoonists get any real recognition, because I'm sure that if more people knew what Ed contributed to our lives, we could have let him know that there are people who love his work and do appreciate it.

As for the people who reading this who did know him personally, well...I never know what to say in this sort of situation. I'm sorry? My condolences? Regardless of the words I use, I think you understand what I mean. I'm upset by the news and I'm an outsider to all of this, so know that I really mean that.

JIM ENGEL said...

Clearly he didn't see the value in his own work for H-B, and clearly the rest of us DID.

The FLINTSTONES were great, but it's his animal characters that REALLY brightened my childhood, and added fuel to my inner cartoonist's to Ed(whether he'd like it or not), Huck, and YOGI!

Matt Taylor said...


I was sorry to hear about Ed. Always sad news when the greats pass on, or anyone from the animation community for that matter. Usually it's a call from my dad letting me know. Almost like a family member had passed on, he gets about as sad, maybe sadder, than I.

I live in L.A. and I'd love to help transcribe the past interviews. You can contact me at I can let you know more about who I am and why I'd like to help.


sam e. a.k.a. firecrouch said...

Thank you for letting us know about such a big loss. Ed Benedict is a true creator in the sense that his style is something that's hard to describe in words. For me at least. It's one thing to say his designs were cute, simple yet not simple at the same time. It's one thing to say his cartoons give off a whole different feeling compared to those that came before, but to say how and why requires more thought than simply the joy you get from his work. That's true genius in my book. For me, whenever I learn about a famous Japanese cartoonist and his or her great works, I always try to find out why he or she is considered a pioneer. Can we expect an ASIFA tribute to Ed Benedict?

I don't really care said...

So long, Ed,

Thanks for helping to make my childhood.

When I was five, I had this conversation:

ME: "Ma, why does Yogi Bear keep running past the same tree?"

MA: "You should be glad he has any trees to run by at all."

I have always tried to live by these words. It's difficult because I don't know what they mean.

Nate Birch said...

Well that's sad news, although 94 is an impressive run.

I remember even as a small child loving the early Hanna-Barberra designs. I copied and was inpsired by them from a young age even though I knew nothing about who created them.

That's part of the reason I liked Ren and Stimpy so much when it first came out...a lot of the characters are like Ed Benedict designs turned up a few notches.

Anyways, here's to Ed!

BrianB said...

Beautiful post John. Sounds like quite the man, and undeniably quite the artist as well. He won't be forgotten anytime soon.

GG said...

I never knew this was Ed's work. Great stuff to be remembered. I know his family will miss him.

R said...

I can't really add to that.. Ed was a genius alright. For such simple designs, they always said so much.

Pedro Vargas said...

When I was a kid I used to draw the Flintstones, Quickdraw McGraw, Yogi, and other H-B characters a whole bunch. I've always loved this style of designing and never knew who designed them. I knew about him in a Toonheads show and was blown away that he himself actually worked in your Yogi cartoons. I never knew too much about him, but his drawings inspired me so much when I was younger. It really is a sad loss.

I give my sympathy to the Benedict family and to you John. He will be missed in the animation world.

fabiopower said...

Sad news, John...And your tribute is very touching.
you had the luck and the honor of to know it him and to talk with him.

Joel Bryan said...

That's heartbreaking. One thing about our heroes... they're always leaving us behind. My friend Chuck and I used to watch "The Flintstones" all the time, even as 20-somethings and just marvel at the ideas and designs.

But I didn't even know who Ed Benedict was until you started talking him up here, so that was quite an education. And all that time, I was a fan and didn't realize it.

Thanks for posting this, and thanks to Ed Benedict for doing such cool stuff.

el-ed said...

fabuloso! big ed!

Jeff said...

That last image is a killer, John. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this.

Some guy with a pen said...

Mr. Benedict, your passing truly saddens me. Like Eisner and Toth, you were very much an inspiration on not only the way I choose to draw, but also on the way i choose to see the world. I want you to know that no matter what great beyond that you choose to call your home next, that here, there are still those of us that will miss you and your work, and continue to raise other children on it, as we were. Know that the way that you chose to illustrate and design, hell to see and interpret the world around us, that is being passed on. As I look at my 3 year old daughter and wonder what sort of a future this world holds for her, I am proud to know that one of the things I can give to her and raise her on is a bright, cheery and magnificently beautiful way to see the world, through your cartoons. She makes me happy and you would be happy to know as well, that she prefers to watch the Flinstones, Yogi Bear, and many of the shows that you'd worked on over the years, to today's animation.
You've secured my future and that of my future generation's, as well as many other people's out there in this world, whether they'd like to admit it or not, and for that you can rest well.
You will be sorely missed, Sir.

RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

I never go a chance to meet Ed, even though his cartoons helped shape the way I draw. Sounds like an amazing person. He'll be missed. My condolences to his family.
And Thank you John, for making me aware of just why all those cartoons I watched as a kid looked so good.

Diana and Kelly said...

We appreciate and love Mr. Benedict's works. His spirit will live on through the children (and older folks) who continue to watch his creations. I know many other young 'uns, like my own, pause the tivo to try to copy what they see of his on the tele.

I, too, would also like to help transcribe his interviews.

Robert Hume said...

Wow, that's interesting that a man who helped to innovate limited animation, and who contributed so much to stylizing and popularizing the medium also believed that Disney animation was the best thing out there.
I do love the art work. Please post more of his sketches if you can John! :)

ronji said...

I live in LA and I'd be happy and honored to transcribe interviews.

ronjila AT gmail DOT com


Cap College Lifer said...

Ed will always be the top character designer. He was amazing and didn't take crap from anyone. On the bright side, he lived to see how his work influenced new generations of artists....unlike so many other animation greats. Rest peacefully, Mr. Benedict.

Charecua on the Rocks! said...

Oh my God! Those are really sad and bad news, I've always been kind of a lurker in your blog, but this time I felt compelled to drop a comment showing my condolences. Mr. Benedict was a true inspiration for me and for a lot of artists... to die while he was sleeping, whithout regrets or guilts is a privilege for very few persons. I'm truly sorry. Rest in peace and long live to bold lines!

Cheer up.

Kris said...

Wonderful post, John. I never knew much about Ed Benedict and had always kind of wondered where the designs for the Flintstones and other H-B cartoons came from--so different from anything done before. It's sad that I only started to learn about Ed and his groundbreaking designs after his death, through posts on CartoonBrew and other animation blogs.

He was a great designer and gave me a lot of happiness as a kid (I liked the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Quickdraw McGraw best). His work will never be forgotten. Please give his family my condolences.

mike f. said...

It’s the end of an era. The end of THE era, really – Ed worked during the golden age of damn near everything. Another genius from the greatest generation has gone and left the building - and we are diminished.

Only Ollie Johnston and Joe Barbera are left now, and I just got an email from someone at Warner Bros. named Marc Melocchi, who tells me that Joe is in a wheelchair and unable to communicate at all.

Creative artists like Ed Benedict are irreplaceable. We still have hip-hop and South Park to entertain the idiots, but as for the real fans - we know the world sucks just a little bit more. I’ll sure miss that generation of giants.

mike f. said...

...My previous post was so downbeat that I just had to add something.

To this day it's impossible for me to look at Ed's original drawings of Yogi Bear or Barney Rubble or Deputy Droopy without smiling.

I damn well mean it, literally impossible!

What a legacy he left behind, and what a debt we owe him. Thanks, Ed!

Freckled Derelict said...

Thanks for the post.
A sad loss.. his characters are amazing.

John I can transcribe your interviews if you still need someone too.

Eric C. said...

To the family of Ed Benedict. I am very sorry to hear about his passing. I was just started to learn about him. His art is amazing, and possibly a huge inspiration of my drawing style without even knowing it.
Here's some examples.
I will honor him in my work, and bless what he has done for the animation industry.
I also want to thank my second idol John Kricfalusi for bringing this to not only my attention but all of us young cartoonists and historians.
Thank you Ed for your inspiration and god bless.
He is surely with the best artists in God's Heaven now. Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, the list goes on.
With my Sympathy,
_Eric Crooks

Mike G. said...

John, Your tribute to Ed Benedict would stand as a great eulogy to the man. I too, was influenced by his style as a very young boy. I know how corney it sounds, but your observations and experiences with HB cartoons/stylings, mirror my own. I've been drawing F.Flintsone and other H.B. characters since I was old enough to control a pencil.

Laura T said...

I have known Ed and his family for a few years now. We were very close and I will miss our many phone conversations and visits very much. I have a wall of personalized gifts from him and they will forever be charished. I care for his grandsons Pete and Derek very much and hope they will stay in my life along with my sons Justin and Casey. I met many od Eds catoon friends and love the imprint Ed has left in my life. I love and miss you Ed. Laura T

greg oakes said...

i'm sad to her of his passing. my condolences to his family and friends. you were a very fortunate soul to have known such a man. what an influence he was on us all, whether we knew it or not. we'll still have his life's work to remind us of him. what a legacy! no doubt a hard act to follow.


Jack Ruttan said...

What a wonderful artist. So happy to hear about him through your blog. So sad to hear he's left us. Still, a great legacy.

Charlie J. said...

terrible loss. He was the greatest designer of all time.

andrew r said...

Ed's drawings aren't just good designs, they're utterly hypnotizing in how the simple shapes align together (The four guys in suits for example). All the bulbous drawings from Warners and Disney didn't have that effect. He wielded simplicity like a deadly weapon.

Sketch said...

Damn, truly sad news. Ed Benedict truly did some great designs in animation and inspired alot of great cartoonists. My condolences to Ed's family.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Those backgrounds look better than I've ever seen them. What interesting color and what challenging shapes! The characters look great!

I'm truly sorry to hear about Ed's passing. He was irreplacable.

Brian Goss said...

That's terrible news. What a loss.

This man designed Quick Draw of my favorite characters of all time...also worked on Deputy Droopy, one of my favorite Tex Avery toons.

And I dearly loved the first season of the Flinstones.

He made a difference. A positive difference in my life, particulary my childhood - helping to make it a happy experience. And he's very much cherished.

David Germain said...

I just got an email from someone at Warner Bros. named Marc Melocchi, who tells me that Joe is in a wheelchair and unable to communicate at all.

Sounds like the beginning signs of a stroke. Mr. Barbara might not be with us much longer.

I missed my chance to do something for Ed on my blog but I'll be damn good and ready to do something for Joe.

ronald m carter said...

I have a question: did Ed work on the Jetsons as well?

C. A. M. Thompson said...

I think Ed Benedict designed all the characters on The Jetsons except Astro who was designed by Iwao Takamoto. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, though.

lisa said...

Don't forget about his grandchildren. My brother Mike and I, and my cousins, Derek and Peter. We will miss him too.

Jorge Garrido said...

>>Only Ollie Johnston and Joe Barbera are left now, and I just got an email from someone at Warner Bros. named Marc Melocchi, who tells me that Joe is in a wheelchair and unable to communicate at all.

How was he able to direct that Tom & Jerry cartoon lat year? It must have been recent.

Ed was the funniest character designer ever. His modern design is infinately superiopr to UPA's or anyone else's 50's style designs. Heaven must have the best cartoons because it seems the greatest artists are there.

My condolences to Ed's family and friends.

>We still have hip-hop and South Park to entertain the idiots, but as for the real fans - we know the world sucks just a little bit more.

I'm an idiot?

mike f. said...

To Jorge Garrido:

Jorge Garrido said...


debrajh said...

Hi John. Ed Benedict was my Uncle. I talked to him on his birthday 8/23. We had a great visit and covered many topics in the hour+ that we talked. He said he was mentally 30-35 years old and still "enjoyed looking at dames legs and wanted to get in an Astin-Martin and haul ass up PCH." He'd told me of your visits in the past and how very much he enjoyed them. From your comments I can tell you knew him well. I think your tribute is awesome and am enjoying reading the comments that have been made. I will miss our late night calls and sending him chocolate chip cookies and fruitcake. So long Uncle Ed, I love you, Debe

jerseykid said...

Hi John,

As is often true, we don't get to intimatley know someone as talented as Ed Benedict until after they pass. I can tell you that when I started to trek down the list of links and find the sites and blogs paying tribute to Ed I realize just how much of my childhood was spent enjoying character's like Fred Flinstone, Yogi, Tomcat etc, thanks to Ed. Now, forty some odd years later to get some behind the scenes info thanks to your close relationship with Ed is nostalgic and like finding buried treasure. What's also so special to me is your respect to those talented artists that have gone before you and the fusion that takes place when you and someone as talented as Ed get together. BTW, I am an avid fan of Ren and Stimpy and my hat's off to you also for giving me such quality cartooning and an excuse to be a kid once more in my late forties, John. Thank you both. Christopher

debrajh said...

Hi John,
Don't know a thing about blogs so I hope you get this soon. Donald called to tell me that "This Week with George Stephanopolous" is doing a piece on EB. That's tomorrow, Sunday 10/15 @8AM PST.
Hope you get this in time.
Niece of Ed Benedict,

rodineisilveira said...

Hello, Johnny K.!

This first overture from The Flintstones (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1960-66) is a true show!
The great attractives of it are: the artwork done by the legendary Ed Benedict (rest in peace) and the Kenneth Muse's fresh animation. Both are familiar to me.
Ed Benedict was a genius in terms of animation artwork.
And his artwork will continue to be eternal for all those who grew up watching the Hanna-Barbera classical cartoons.
Here's my tribute to Ed Benedict.

From a devoted HB-fan,

Rodinei Campos da Silveira (from São Paulo, Brazil)



Scott said...

Enjoyed reading about the life and career of Ed Benedict, a substantial talent whose work I've enjoyed for years without really digging after the man behind it.

However, it sounds as though Ed could've co-starred with the late Alex Toth on a show called "Curmudgeons Say The Darndest Things," as both men seemed to have a penchant for ripostes blatantly contrary to what was obvious to everyone else. I'm referring to Ed's comment about Ken Muse: "nice guy, couldn't draw worth a crap."

I doubt that the thousands of animation students who have studied Muse's Tom & Jerry work frame-by-frame -- their mouths agape at the secondary and tertiary follow-thrus and overlaps, the construction so utterly faultless that the characters seem almost jarringly human, the complex lines so subtle that they seem to have been drawn with French curves -- would tally with Ed's assessment of Muse's ability. Irv Levine was a very fine assistant, but no amount of clean-up or inbetweening can account for the absolute perfection that is Muse's work on the series, and there is little question but that Muse probably handled some sequences solo (straight-ahead).

Ken Muse didn't do crazy like Spence, didn't do scruffy and goofy like Patterson, didn't do round and cute like Barge, and didn't go a million miles off model like Lah or Burness when they filled in. But as the lead personality animator on the same two characters for almost two decades, he created an amalgam of all of these, in a smooth and elegant way all his own. Rarely were important waist-up or close-up holds not assigned to him.

Sure, he came from Disney, you could plainly see that. But the fact is that Muse out-Disneyed the Disney men to an extent which has probably not been seen before or since. When people recall the Tom & Jerry series as being unusually well-drawn and animated, nine times out of ten they have in mind Muse's footage (the other time they're thinking of Patterson or possibly Zander). How could it be otherwise, making tens of thousands of drawings of the same cat and mouse for all those years?

Now, if Ed was referring to Muse's work on the shows he was designing for, such as The Flintstones, then it's entirely possible that Muse was uninspired. Coming off some of the best funny animal personality animation ever done, Muse may not have regarded H&B's illustrated radio programs, including The Flintstones, as "worth a crap," and thus delivered accordingly. If not commendable on his part, certainly understandable.

My opinion is that Benedict and his designs were the real stars of whatever show he worked on, along with the voice artists and, usually, Hoyt Curtin. Animators fared poorly between time and money constraints, and if one such as Carlo Vinci managed to eke out some life from those oh-so-limited movements, then all glory to him.

Ed Benedict was without question a skilled draftsman and one hell of a designer. I just don't want to see his credibility diminished by the, frankly silly, comment he was said to have made about Ken Muse. Both men deserve our appreciation these many years later for their beautiful work in a medium they loved. Thanks for your insightful tribute, John.


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