I was finally able to get around to reading Robert McKimson Jr.’s biography of his father, Robert McKimson and uncles Tom and Chuck who all spent time as animators at Warner Bros. Though the text largely focuses on Bob McKimson, for those like me that know next to nothing about Tom or Chuck it is very informative. Starting with Bob and Tom’s beginnings as assistant animators at Walt Disney Studios to their stops at Romer Grey Pictures, Harman-Ising Productions and eventually all three of them working together at Warner Bros.
The foreword was written by John Kricfalusi, of Ren and Stimpy fame, is filled with his usual enthusiasm for Bob McKimson’s animation and directorial work. If you’ve read John’s blog regularly you’ll probably know there’s no bigger champion of McKimson than him. The introduction is delivered by Darrel Van Citters and highlights Bob’s importance to the Warner Bros. cartoons look and characters.
The book as whole mostly highlights Bob’s career as and an animator and director but considering the impact the man had on probably the greatest cartoons studio ever I don’t see that as a bad thing. Bob was a superior draftsman and also animated at a fast pace. Tom’s work with Western Publishing gets it’s own chapter, which is loaded with illustrations. Starting with his time as a freelancer to his ascension to role of art director for all the comic book lines. Chuck also started working with Western Publishing after the Warner Bros. studio closed down.
I mentioned the illustrations, and this book is loaded from cover to cover. All three McKimson’s are well represented with artwork. There’s loads of model sheets, layouts, animation drawings and comic book art. A lot of which I haven’t seen reprinted anywhere else. I haven’t had time to soak it all up, but this is definitely one of the best animation related books out there. A must for Warner Bros. fans!