Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bob Clampett Hand Drawn Maps of Warner Bros. Cartoon Studio

Rob Clampett, (Bob's son) generously gave me scans of these interesting maps Bob drew of the Warner Bros cartoon studio.
I haven't totally deciphered everything on them yet. I like all the little anecdotes Bob added of where funny stuff happened and what stars peered in the windows.



I'm guessing Bob drew these to help Mike Barrier and Milt Grey for the research they were doing for a book about the WB cartoons.
Besides the historical interest in these maps, I'm also fascinated by Bob's handwriting. It's so cartoony, stylish and spirited, just like his cartoons.

Rob showed me these the other day when Eddie, Milt and I were doing interviews for an upcoming Clampett DVD he is working on. (I made him promise no DVNR!) He will be putting a lot of rare items from the Clampett collection in the supplemental section. I hope he puts on a home movie Bob took of him visiting Milt Gross' house!

34 comments:

mike f. said...

Wow - whatta memory! How the hell could he draw up such a detailed schematic of the whole operation decades after the fact, floor-by-floor and production-by-production? And not just the animation department. Clampett seems to have been minutely aware of everything that went on at the studio, including it's back history in silent & early talkie live-action films.

(Noah's Ark, which he identifies as a silent with Myrna Loy playing a slavegirl, just aired on TCM last weekend. Pretty obscure reference. Even more obscure is Larry Semon, a silent comedian who's main claim to fame today is that he used Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - separately - as comic foils before they were teamed. Jane Withers was a popular child actress that rivaled Shirley Temple for a while. Baby-boomers will remember her best as "Josephine" the Comet Plumber.)

He even remembers where he had lunch with Boris Karloff. (He referenced Karloff a couple of times in his cartoons, in What's Cookin' Doc? for instance, and there was a phony sponsor on Beany and Cecil named "Boris' Car Lot".)

This is all funny to me, because I work at Warners today with a lot of young people who couldn't even tell you who Al Jolson was, let alone which office he occupied during The Jazz Singer. (Actually, the Termite Terrace building no longer exists, and wasn't on the main lot anyway.)

K-T said...

A Bob Clampett DVD?

I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS HOW MUCH I AM BOUNCING AROUND IN EXCITEMENT THROUGH TEXT!!!!

Amir Avni said...

Wow, thanks for this treasure Robert jr!

Bob clampett's hand writing reminds me a lot of yours, John!

Elana Pritchard said...

Amazing!!!!! A bit of history for sure.

Scrawnycartoons said...

Holy Cow! That's great! He has great cartoony handwriting, like you do!

Also, did I hear Clampett DVD?!?

David Germain said...

WOW! Amazing historical stuff. Don't let those get destroyed in a fire.

I would by that upcoming Bob Clampett DVD in a heartbeat if I wasn't so financially humiliated right now. Hopefully in the near future.

JohnK said...

I should have clarified, that it will mostly be stuff the Clampetts own: Beany and Cecil, puppet shows and stuff.
; I'm not sure of the exact list yet
Maybe some pd WB cartoons.

kurtwil said...

Neat stuff for sure! Nice find, JK!

BTW, as one who has authored DVD's, it's important to know JPEG, MPEG and H264 compression codecs will add jaggies and noise halos to line art. Heavy data compression to minimize media size only makes damage worse.

One __can__ DVNR properly and avoid collateral damage, but unless one takes time and money to get it right, it's probably best just to avoid it.

Alberto said...

Bob Clampett DVD!? ...drools...

Roberto Severino said...

Whoa!!!! What a priceless treasure. It really speaks for itself and offers a nice insight on the Warner Bros. studio back in its heyday. Thanks, Robert Clampett Jr. and John for posting this.

K-T said...

Hey John this question is severely off topic but I'm curious as to what the answer is...

Who did the art for the Games Animation Ren & Stimpy box sets?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FJ77SQ7GL.jpg

https://www.hotmoviesale.com/dvds/PAR-D888124D/1/The-Ren--Stimpy-Show-Season-Five--More-of-Four.jpg

Damiano D said...

Woah, amazing memory! Detail is insane. I'm looking forward to the Bob Clampett DVD!

Steven M. said...

Really awesome map. Even more awesome is a Clampett DVD.

Tom said...

Larry Semon was a cartoonist for the New York Sun before getting into Vaudeville and then movies. He favored broad physical gags and was utterly terrified of someday running out of material. When Semon died in 1928 of pneumonia and tuberculosis after suffering a nervous breakdown egged on by bankruptcy, many storage trunks were found containing tons and tons of unused Semon-penned jokes and ideas, lest he ever run dry in his lifetime. He did not and Warners ended up storing his old props.

top cat james said...

I wish Bob had included on the map all his hidey-hole locations for avoiding Leon.

I'd love a third volume of B&C, but can we have more than ten cartoons on this set?

HemlockMan said...

Wow! Where the heck did you get that??!!

Emily Anthony said...

I'm really digging the handwriting too!

Shawn Dickinson said...

I'll be in constant anticipation for that Clampett DVD!!!

MistahB said...

Haha That 's cool! I'm quite amused with his handwriting too!

Scrawnycartoons said...

Hey, I'll still buy a Clampett DVD of Beany and Cecil cartoons and other Clampetty stuff, even without the WB shorts.

Will WB ever get off their high horses and release a Clampett DVD?

michaelamos said...

Wow - this is amazing John! I also love the little notes and details he has put on there. Thanks to you and Rob for sharing it with us.

The no DNR DVD sounds awesome too - and I sure hope that home video is on it. Please keep us updated!

Mak said...

Wooow, is that to scale? Termite Terrace is tiiiiny! Sad to hear it doesn't exist anymore. So many doodles long gone. :c

Haha, good to know I wasn't the only one pondering the handwriting. It's neat seeing cartoonists writing out stuff in their own handwriting. Do you know if there's a correlation between neat handwriting and good art skill?

Thomas said...

Kind of amazing how these maps not only show dimensions in space, but also a dimension in time, as Bob moved from one office to the next. He's been all over the place!

Yowp said...

Didn't Clampett say Jane Withers voiced some cartoons at the studio?

Interesting to see the references to Tom Armstrong and Nelson Demorest on the diagrams. Armstrong never did get a credit; he was story editor in and around 1935.

Trevor Thompson said...

I located and visited the actual Leon Schlesinger building last month and was super depressed to learn they shoot Judge Judy there now.

I was so bummed that I didn't even take any pictures.

Zoran Taylor said...

I wish my handwriting had at least as much spirit and balance as my drawing does, but it doesn't. It always looks really laboured to me. I can make (somewhat) graceful-looking lines while thinking up visual ideas, but the same does not seem to apply with words and sentences.

Yet another reason to envy Bob. Damn...

Zoran Taylor said...

I wish my handwriting had at least as much spirit and balance as my drawing does, but it doesn't. It always looks really laboured to me. I can make (somewhat) graceful-looking lines while thinking up visual ideas, but the same does not seem to apply with words and sentences.

Yet another reason to envy Bob. Damn...

Jenny Lerew said...

Typical Bob to make these so detailed. Terrific.

So, what was old WB is now that "generic" studio lot on Sunset--Sunset-Bronson? Wasn't that grand white KTLA building Warner Bros also at this time, further down the road? And what's now Warners Hollywood(near the Formosa Cafe) was the Pickford-Fairbanks/Goldwyn studio? I'm always so confused by the Warners layout over the course of the 30s-40s.

Help me out, Mike.

zmerrill said...

That would've been cool if he was an architect for a cartoon house of some sort!

Talk about sheer talent he had!

Maurice M. said...

Here's the same lot today courtesy Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Sunset+Boulevard+and+bronson,+Los+Angeles,+CA&aq=t&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=79.379181,81.474609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sunset+Blvd+%26+N+Bronson+Ave,+Los+Angeles,+California+90028&ll=34.096898,-118.317199&spn=0.002634,0.003508&t=h&z=19

Trevor Thompson said...

Can you post some of Clampett's drawings?

Trevor Thompson said...

The Schlesinger building wasn't on that corner. It's on the corner of Bronson and Fernwood.

Elana Pritchard said...

New comic

Don't Let This Happen To You

Dlove4u2 said...

tis make me nipples tingle