|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 who was 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 was unable to take any on-screen credit as producer. 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.
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.
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 camel. 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 of his position as producer of the Looney Tunes series because of the fame afforded to him. 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.
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.