|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2009)|
January 12, 1893
New York City
|Died||February 22, 1970
Edward "Eddie" Selzer (January 12, 1893 – February 22, 1970) was an American film producer, most noted as the producer of Warner Bros. Cartoons from 1944 to 1957.
After the studio was purchased from Leon Schlesinger in 1944, Selzer was assigned studio head by Jack Warner. Unlike his predecessor, he did not take any on-screen credit as producer. Much of what is 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 sentiment or appreciation towards animated cartoons.
Some historians also claim that 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, a wise decision on two fronts: Warner Bros. did not lose the talents of Freleng to a competing studio, and 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.
According to some film historians, 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. It is believed that 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.
It was also believed that it was Selzer's edict that "camels aren't funny" that 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 camel. Some film historians also claim Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese created Bully for Bugs in direct response to Selzer's declaration that there was nothing funny about bullfighting.
Eddie Selzer was proud to take from his position as producer of the Looney Tunes series because of the fame afforded to him by his association with the Looney Tunes characters. According to some film historians, 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 cartoon.
Some film historians also claim that 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?"
Eddie Selzer died in 1970. Upon his death, the 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.