Warner Bros. animation art collectors now have a book to call their own. Heidi Leigh reviews this new work by Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald.
Warner Bros. Limited Edition Animation art collectors have a pictorial reference book at last! It's a big one too. If you don't have a coffee table, get one for Warner Bros. Animation Art; The Characters. The Creators. The Limited Editions, distributed by Simon & Schuster. All 245 pages are specially priced at $60.00 from now until the new year, at which time the price will increase to $75.00.
Beautiful Color Images
Silk-screened images of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Tweety grace the very dramatic cover that actually is a cel. Page two and three fold out to reveal a 30" full -color reproduction of a limited edition by Bob Clampett entitled Corny Concerto from the 1943 short titled the same. The colors are stunning, and more than 300 color reproductions of limited editions make this book an irresistible and essential addition to any cartoon fan's library.
The text is almost as colorful as the images. Authors Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald have as much trivia in their heads as any of the other Looney Tunes. They have definitely done some homework for the "Chronology: 1930 to the Present" portion of the book. I never knew exactly why Tex Avery quit in 1941but now I do! Beck and Friedwald are both noted historians in the field of Warner Bros. cartoons and have written a number of books including "Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies," the reference bible for vintage trivia.
Warner Bros. Animation Art presents the history of Hollywood animation and the Warner Bros. Studio itself, the famous characters, their creators and the limited editions. All of this information will practically turn a novice into a savvy collector. A visual index of every limited edition and sericel, from the very first piece "Duck Dodgers Group" in 1977 through 1997, is another reason to own this book. In fact, the only thing that this history of funny business is missing is an undertone of hilarity. The text is eloquent and dignified, but a bit dry. Perhaps it was edited by a corporate officer who forgot about the funny part?
A chapter written by Ruth Clampett is a breath of fresh air. She answers questions about the technical production of limited edition cels, and itemizes all of the reasons to fall in love with animation art. Ruth has been producing animation art since the early Eighties, and her knowledge and admiration for the art form has placed her in the top ranks of the art department at Warner Bros.
Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Warner Bros. Studio with the first comprehensive historical and pictorial reference book for Warner Bros. contemporary animation art collectors and fans alike. That's all folks!
Warner Bros. Animation Art: The Characters, The Creators, The Limited Editions. by Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald. Beaux Arts Editions, 1997. 245 pages, illustrated. Hardcover, $60.00 (limited time); ISBN: 0-88363-360-4.
Heidi Leigh is an animation art collector and dealer with Animazing Gallery in New York.