Saturday, April 1, 2023

Where We Made "Animaniacs"

The Imperial Bank Building in Sherman Oaks, CA, where we made Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid, Batman: The Animated Series, Road Rovers and Histeria. These paintings of our home base were made by Alfred Gimeno's crew. (They loved their Godzilla, especially Paul Trandahl!)

Sunday, April 10, 2022


Norm McCabe had one of the longest histories of any director and animator to work at Warner Bros. Animation, from his early days on "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" with the Leon Schlesinger Termite Terrace team in the 1930s  all the way to his work on "Tiny Toons," "Taz-Mania," "Animaniacs," "Freakazoid" and "The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries" at the Warner Bros. Animation offices in Sherman Oaks, CA, in the 1990s.   

Norm's career at Warner Bros. lasted over 65 years!

Starting as an inbetweener in 1932 at Schlesinger's, Norm was animating on the Warner Bros. shorts by 1936, receiving his first on-screen credit for "Porky In The North Woods" (Tashlin, 1936).  


Over the next five years, Norm went on to animate on more than 50 Warner Bros. cartoon shorts, working for directors Frank Tashlin and Bob Clampett.  Among the greatest of the shorts Norm animated is the beloved classic "Porky in Wackyland" (Clampett, 1938).  


Norm was given his own unit at Schlesinger's in early 1941, and for the next three years, Norm directed about a dozen Looney Tunes.  Among my favorites of these are "The Impatient Patient" (Daffy Duck, 1942), "Daffy's Southern Exposure" (1942) and "The Daffy Duckaroo" (1942).  Being cartoons made in the early 40s, they all include lots of  WW2 references. 


In the 60s, 70s and 80s, Norm worked for just about every animation company in town.

Norm returned to Warner Bros. in the late 80s, and worked steadily at Warner Bros. Animation from 1989 to 1998, where he slugged boards and timed exposure sheets. 

In 1991, I managed to talk Norm into directing an episode of "Tiny Toon Adventures" entitled "Lifeguard Lunacy."   

It was around this time that Norm came to me with the first draft of a memoir he had written.   He asked me to hang onto it, and hoped that some day, if anyone was interested,  I would share it with others.   

I told him I was honored...and I would be happy to share it.

Well, "some day" has arrived.   

It's time to share it.   

So, here's Part One of Norm McCabe's Memoir...

I'd be glad to share more if there are a bunch of you interested in Norm and his career and his memoirs.   Let me know.  Please feel free to make comments!  




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Slappy Squirrel Animation Smear -- "Bumbie's Mom"

Here's a beautiful animation smear of Slappy Squirrel from Jon McClenahan, Barry Caldwell and the Startoons crew in Chicago.  

The series:  Animaniacs.  The episode:  "Bumbie's Mom."  

At the local multiplex, Slappy's nephew Skippy is enjoying the movie -- "Bumbie" -- until there's an onscreen gunshot and it appears that Bumbie's mom has been killed by a hunter.  Skippy burst into tears, waking Slappy from a sound sleep and resulting in the one frame Slappy smear featured below.  

Spoiler Alert:  The episode has a happy ending.  

Startoons's brilliant creative team animated and produced many of the very best Slappy and Skippy Squirrel cartoons during the entire Animaniacs run (1993-1998).   The Startoons Slappy cartoons include:  "Slappy Goes Walnuts," "Guardin' the Garden," "Critical Condition," "...And Justice For Slappy," "Scare Happy Slappy," "Soccer Coach Slappy" and "Bully for Skippy," among others.   All feature the brilliant voice performances of Sherri Stoner as Slappy and Nathan Ruegger as Skippy Squirrel.  And many of the Slappy cartoons are written by Sherri, as well as John P. McCann, Earl Kress, Nick Hollander, Nick Dubois and me...   

Saturday, January 23, 2021

"Will You Wear A Mask? I Ask" performed by Mark Hamill

Check out the video of my rhyming picture book "Will You Wear A Mask?  I Ask"...a fun 4-minute video for the whole family! 

Narrated by Mark Hamill!   

And please wear a mask!  

You can find the video here: 


Saturday, August 22, 2020

"WILL YOU WEAR A MASK? I ASK" -- Book at Amazon




Hey folks!  Just published a fun little rhyming picture book about wearing a mask during this COVID-19 pandemic.  It's entitled "Will You Wear A Mask?  I Ask" and it's fun for the entire family.   

You can find it for sale at Amazon... 



Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Our Dog Hunter: Have Cone, Will Still Eat Dinner

Dinnertime for our dog Hunter (the inspiration for "Road Rovers") -- the very picture of perseverance.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Clip from "The Premiere of Platypus Duck"

Here's a clip from the first cartoon I made -- "The Premiere of Platypus Duck."   Made it in college.  The music is composed and performed by Parker MacDonell, and that's Parker singing as well.   The entire cartoon is 11 minutes long.  

This 50-second clip was drawn mainly in colored pencil, with some inked lines on paper.  This sequence covers evolution from the dawn of time to the present day, as we see the platypus evolve.

The clip is below these images.  


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Outtake from "Animaniacs" -- "Drive Insane"

Here's a short clip from the unreleased, unedited and unexpurgated "blooper reel" of the "Animaniacs" episode entitled "Drive-Insane."


Friday, August 16, 2019

Animation Smears, Wild Takes and Strong Poses from "Woodstock Slappy"

Animation Lesson:


1.  Here are some in-between smears that intensify the acting and animation in "Woodstock Slappy."

Slappy leans in on Skippy with a smear face stretch.    


Slappy makes a fast, single-frame gestures toward the stage... 


Slappy uses her arms to beseech Skippy to answer the question that's driving her crazy:   "Who's on stage?"

Skippy stretches up then goes down into a squash and freaks out as Slappy sings along with her accordion.


2.  Some wild takes from "Woodstock Slappy." 

Slappy wakes up to the song stylings of a screaming Janis Joplin... 



3.  And here are some excellent strong poses and acting from director Audu Paden and his brilliant crew of artists, story-boarders and animators on "Woodstock Slappy,"  helped by some great vocal performances by Sherri Stoner, Nate Ruegger and the rest of the cast.