ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.1 - April 1999
John McGrew Passes Away. John McGrew, a layout artist for Chuck Jones' Warner Bros. unit from 1938 to 1943, passed away on January 11, 1999 in France at the age of 88. McGrew's contributions to the artform are often overlooked because of the short time he spent in the business, but his layouts and color stylings for The Dover Boys, The Aristo-Cat, Conrad The Sailor and Super Rabbit, among others films, were groundbreaking and revolutionary for their time. Chuck Jones has often said in interviews that McGrew helped introduce a more abstract and design-influenced background style. It was this innovation that would later inspire UPA artists in the `50s. After Warners, he joined the Navy and eventually moved to France where he had been living for the last fifty years. An accomplished fine painter in his own right, a book of his artwork was published in France last year, Un Genie Ingenu.
Pink Panther Designer Dies. Legendary Warner Bros. layout artist, Hawley Pratt, who worked predominantly under the direction of Friz Freleng, passed away March 4 at the age of 87. He was raised in New York City and ironically graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the 1930s, Pratt became an artist at Walt Disney Studios but soon found himself at Warners where he worked on all of Freleng's Oscar-winning cartoons including Tweety Pie, Speedy Gonzalez and Birds Anonymous, and was nominated for an Oscar as director of the 1966 DePatie-Freleng short, The Pink Blueprint. For the greater part of Friz Freleng's prolific career as a director, Pratt was his right-hand man providing not only the background layouts but also the character poses for all his cartoons. In addition, Pratt illustrated many Little Golden Books and Big Golden Books, and was an animation director on The Incredible Mr. Limpet along with Robert McKimson. Pratt followed Friz to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE) and is credited with designing the Pink Panther. While at DFE, Pratt directed numerous Pink Panther cartoons, the first few Roland and Ratfink films, the TV series The Super Six and many specials including The Cat In The Hat and The Lorax. Hawley Pratt retired from animation in the 1970s.
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