EDWARD SELZER (January 12, 1893 – February 22, 1970) was an
American cartoon producer and head of
Warner Bros. Cartoons
Warner Bros. Cartoons from 1944
to 1958. He served in the US Navy and fought as a Golden Gloves boxer.
He won a boxing exhibition for the Navy and was awarded with a weekend
pass. While out on leave he met a New York chorus girl named Laura
Cohn; he later married Laura and relocated to
Los Angeles where they
had two children; Phyllis and Robert.
After the studio was purchased from
Leon Schlesinger in 1944, Selzer
was assigned studio head by
Jack L. Warner
Jack L. Warner . His first cartoon was
Goldilocks and the Jivin\' Bears .
Unlike his predecessor, Selzer did not want any on-screen credit as
Warner Bros. Much of what is publicly known about
Selzer's personality and business acumen is from
Chuck Jones '
autobiography, Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated
Cartoonist. In it, Jones paints Selzer as an interfering bore with no
appreciation of animated cartoons. They later developed a mutual
respect and understanding of one another, remaining friendly until
Friz Freleng nearly resigned after butting heads with Selzer, who did
not think that pairing Sylvester the cat and
Tweety was a viable
decision. The argument reached its crux when Freleng reportedly placed
his drawing pencil on Selzer's desk , furiously telling Selzer that if
he knew so much about animation, he should do the work instead. Selzer
backed off the issue and apologized to Freleng that evening. Tweetie
Pie , the very cartoon that first paired Sylvester and Tweety
together, went on to win Warner Brothers' first Academy Award for
Animated Short Film , in 1947, with
Tweety and Sylvester proving to be
among the most endearing duos in
Warner Bros. cartoons. Accepting the
Short Subject (Cartoon) award for
Tweetie Pie from
Shirley Temple at
the 20th Academy Awards ceremony on 20 March 1948, Selzer said:
In accepting this award, I'm naturally thrilled, but I accept it for
Warner Bros. Cartoon Studio. It might interest you to know
that in production of this "Tweetie Pie," 85 percent of our personnel
were directly connected with its construction. However, the one man
who really should be up here getting this award and not me, is the
director of the picture, Friz Freleng, who is in the audience. I can't
pay him too great a tribute. Thank you.
Selzer also forbade
Robert McKimson from producing any future
cartoons with the Tasmanian Devil in them after seeing the Devil\'s
premiere short and deeming the creature far too grotesque to be a
recurring character. Selzer changed his mind and allowed further
Tasmanian Devil cartoons only upon discovering from Jack Warner that
Taz was in fact a massive hit with audiences.
Selzer's edict that "camels aren't funny" inspired
Friz Freleng to
disprove him by making
Sahara Hare , a cartoon in which much of the
comedy arises from
Yosemite Sam 's attempts to control his dim-witted
Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese created
Bully for Bugs in direct
response to Selzer's declaration that there was nothing funny about
Eddie Selzer was proud of his position as producer of the Looney
Tunes series because of the joy the team's creations brought to so
many. Although he loudly (and indelicately) declared that there was
nothing funny about a skunk who spoke French, he proudly accepted the
Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1949 – for For
Scent-imental Reasons , a
Pepé Le Pew
Pepé Le Pew cartoon.
One day seeing a group of animators laughing over a storyboard he
stormed into the room and demanded: "What in the Hell does all of this
laughter have to do with the making of animated cartoons?"
Selzer retired in 1958, and John Burton became the head of Warner
Bros. Cartoons .
Eddie Selzer died in 1970. Upon his death, some of his five Academy
Award Oscar statues for the winning cartoons he produced were
distributed to the crews behind the cartoons; the one for 1957's Birds
Anonymous was given to voice artist
Mel Blanc while the one for
Tweetie Pie was given to Freleng; the remaining awards are with his
* ^ "Year: 1947 (20th) Academy Awards Category: Short Subject
(Cartoon) Film Title: Tweetie Pie". http://aaspeechesdb.oscars.org.
Retrieved 20 April 2015. External link in website= (help )
* ^ "Hollywood", Peter Bogdanovich, Esquire March 1972, p.