Ben Hardaway

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J. B. Hardaway
Born Joseph Benson Hardaway
(1895-05-21)May 21, 1895
Died February 5, 1957(1957-02-05) (aged 61)
Nationality American
Occupation storyboard artist, animator, voice actor, gagman, writer and director

Joseph Benson "Ben/Bugs" Hardaway (May 21, 1895 – February 5, 1957) was a storyboard artist, animator, voice actor, gagman, writer and director for several American animation studios during the The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He was sometimes credited as J. B. Hardaway, Ben Hardaway, Buggsy Hardaway and B. Hardaway.[1]

He started his animation career working for the Kansas City Film Ad Service. He later worked for the Walt Disney Animation Studios and the Ub Iwerks Studio. He was hired by the Leon Schlesinger studio as a gagman for the Friz Freleng. He was promoted to director for seven Buddy animated shorts. Afterwards he resumed working as a gagman and storyman.[2] Storymen started receiving film credits in 1937. His writing credits include Daffy Duck & Egghead and The Penguin Parade.[2]

While at the Schlesinger/Warner Bros. studio studio during the late 1930s, Hardaway served as a storyman, and co-directed several Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts with Cal Dalton during Friz Freleng's three-year exodus to MGM. Leon Schlesinger needed replacements for Freleng, and Hardaway's previous experience in the job resulted in his promotion.[2] In 1938, Hardaway co-directed Porky's Hare Hunt, the first film to feature a rabbit. This as yet unnamed, embryonic rabbit had been created by Bob Clampett after a weekend of drawing (which is described in great detail in the interview published by Michael Barrier in the now defunct magazine Funnyworld issue #12 {1970}).[3]

A new drawing of a redesigned rabbit had been requested by the story department as described by Virgil Ross, the animator of A Wild Hare in an interview published in Animato magazine issue #19.[4]

Animator Ben "Bugs" Hardaway inadvertently christened him when "his casual sketch of a proposed rabbit character" was labeled "Bugs's Bunny" by a fellow employee, as described in the Encyclopædia Britannica.[5]

When Freleng returned to Warner Bros. in 1939, Hardaway was demoted back to storyman,[6] while Tex Avery eventually created his own rabbit which would later replace Hardaway's Rabbit.[3] In 1940, Hardaway joined the staff of Walter Lantz Productions, where he helped Walter Lantz in creating the studio's most famous character, Woody Woodpecker. Hardaway wrote or co-wrote most of the stories for the 1940-1949 Woody Woodpecker shorts, as well as supplying Woody's voice during this period as well.[3] (Mel Blanc voiced Woody for the woodpecker's first three cartoon appearances: Knock Knock, Woody Woodpecker, and The Screwdriver.)

Hardaway was also the writer for "The Adventures of Pow Wow" cartoon series that aired as part of the Captain Kangaroo TV show.

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