Frank Tashlin

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Frank Tashlin
Frank Tashlin.jpg
Born
Francis Fredrick von Taschlein

(1913-02-19)February 19, 1913
DiedMay 5, 1972(1972-05-05) (aged 59)
Other namesFrank Tash
Tish Tash
Occupation(s)Animator, comics artist, children's writer, illustrator, screenwriter, film director
Years active1929–1972
Employer(s)Fleischer Studios (1929-1930)[1]
Van Beuren Studios (1930-1933)
Ub Iwerks Studio (1934-1935)
Warner Bros. Cartoons (1933-1934, 1936-1938, 1942-1944)
Walt Disney Productions (1938-1941)
Screen Gems (1941-1942)
Spouse(s)
(m. 1936; div. 1949)

(m. 1953; div. 1966)
Children2[2]

Frank Tashlin (born Francis Fredrick von Taschlein, February 19, 1913 – May 5, 1972), also known as Tish Tash and Frank Tash,[3] was an American animator, cartoonist, children's writer, illustrator, screenwriter, and film director. He was best known for his work on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated shorts for Warner Bros., as well as his work as a director of live-action comedy films.

Animator and brief career as cartoonist[edit]

The Chow Hound, Private Snafu cartoon directed by Frank Tashlin in 1944

Born in Weehawken, New Jersey, Tashlin drifted from job to job after dropping out of high school in New Jersey at age 13.[4] In 1930, he began working for John Foster as a cartoonist on the Aesop's Fables cartoon series, then worked briefly for Amadee J. Van Beuren, but he was just as much a drifter in his animation career as he had been as a teenager. Tashlin joined Leon Schlesinger's cartoon studio at Warner Bros. as an animator in 1933, where he was known as a fast animator. He used his free time to start his own comic strip in 1934 called Van Boring, inspired by former boss Van Beuren, which ran for three years.[5][6] He signed his comic strip "Tish Tash," and used the same name for his cartoon credits (at the time it was considered extremely unprofessional to use anything except one's birth name among animators, but Tashlin was able to get away with this due to the anti-Germanic feelings of that era). Tashlin was fired from the studio when he refused to give Schlesinger a cut of his comic strip revenues. He joined the Ub Iwerks studio in 1934.[3] He moved to Hal Roach's studio in 1935 as a writer.

He returned to Schlesinger in 1936 as an animation director, where his diverse interest and knowledge of the industry brought a new understanding of camerawork to the Warners directors. "He used all different kinds of camera angles, montages, and pan shots, vertical and horizontal."[7] He directed 16 or 17 shorts from 1936 to 1938. He was making $150 a week. At one point he had an argument with studio manager Henry Binder and resigned. In 1938, he worked for Disney in the story department, where he made 50 dollars a week.[7]

Afterward, he served as production manager at Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems animation studio in 1941. He effectively ran the studio and hired many former Disney staffers who had left as a result of the Disney animators' strike. He launched The Fox and the Crow series, one of the better products of the studio. He was fired over an argument with the executives of Columbia.[8]

Tashlin rejoined the Warner directors of "Termite Terrace" in 1942.[8] One of his directorial efforts was Porky Pig's Feat (1943).[8] He stayed with the studio during World War II and worked on numerous wartime shorts, including the Private Snafu educational films. Shortly after he left Warner Bros. in late 1944, he directed some stop-motion puppet films for John Sutherland in 1946.[1] Robert McKimson took over his unit after his departure from the studio.

His only Bugs Bunny shorts were The Unruly Hare and Hare Remover. The latter was also his last credit at Warner Bros.[9]

Martha Sigall described him as "Here today, gone tomorrow. Now you see him, now you don't. That was Frank Tashlin, who would be working at Leon Schlesinger's one day, and, suddenly, gone the next day."[10]

Film director and writer[edit]

Tashlin moved on from animation in 1946 to become a gag writer for the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, and others, and as a screenwriter for stars such as Bob Hope and Red Skelton. His live-action films still echo elements of his animation background;[3] Tashlin peppered them with unlikely sight gags, breakneck pacing, and unexpected plot twists.

Tashlin began his career directing feature films when he was asked to finish directing the 1951 film The Lemon Drop Kid starring Bob Hope.

Beginning with the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It, with its satirical look at early rock and roll, Tashlin had a streak of commercial successes with the Martin and Lewis film Hollywood or Bust in 1956, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? in 1957, which, like 1956's The Girl Can't Help It, starred actress and Playboy model Jayne Mansfield, and six of Jerry Lewis' early solo films (Rock-A-Bye Baby, The Geisha Boy, Cinderfella, It's Only Money, Who's Minding the Store?, and The Disorderly Orderly).

Moreover, in the 1950s Tashlin came to the approving attention of French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, in reviews that the director dismissed as "all this philosophical double-talk." Also, the broad, colorful satire of Madison Avenue advertising in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? earned the film a place on the National Film Registry in 2000. In 2014, his stop-motion animation short The Way of Peace was also added to the Registry.

In the 1960s, Tashlin's films lost some of their spark, and his career ended in the latter part of that decade, along with those of most of the stars with whom he had worked. His final film was The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell starring Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller in 1968.

Author[edit]

Tashlin wrote and illustrated three books, The Bear That Wasn't (1946), The Possum That Didn't (1950), and The World That Isn't (1951).[9] These are often referred to as "children's books" although all contained satirical elements; The Bear That Wasn't was adapted as an animated cartoon by Tashlin's former Warner Bros. colleague, Chuck Jones, in 1967.[3] Another children's story which Tashlin wrote in 1949 was recorded by Spike Jones: How the Circus Learned to Smile. Tashlin also wrote and self-published an instructional booklet entitled How to Create Cartoons (about cartoon drawing, not animation) in 1952.

Death[edit]

Tashlin died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being stricken with a coronary thrombosis three days before at his Beverly Hills home. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Filmography[edit]

Cartoon shorts[edit]

Year Title Notes
1936 Porky's Poultry Plant First animated short with Warner Bros in the first stage
Little Beau Porky
Porky in the North Woods
1937 Porky's Road Race
Porky's Romance
Porky's Building
Porky's Railroad
Speaking of the Weather
The Case of the Stuttering Pig
Porky's Double Trouble
The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos
1938 Porky at the Crocadero
Now That Summer Is Gone
Porky the Fireman
Have You Got Any Castles?
Porky's Spring Planting
The Major Lied 'Til Dawn
Wholly Smoke
Cracked Ice
Little Pancho Vanilla
You're an Education Last animated short with Warner Bros in the first stage
1941 The Fox and the Grapes First animated short with Screen Gems and Columbia
The Tangled Angler
1942 A Hollywood Detour
Under the Shedding Chestnut Tree
Wacky Wigwams
Woodman, Spare Me That Tree Last animated short with Screen Gems and Columbia
1943 Porky Pig's Feat First animated short with Warner Bros in the second stage
Scrap Happy Daffy
The Goldbrick
The Home Front
Puss n' Booty Last black and white Looney Tunes cartoon
1944 I Got Plenty of Mutton
Swooner Crooner
The Chow Hound
Brother Brat
Plane Daffy
Booby Hatched
The Stupid Cupid
1945 The Unruly Hare
Behind the Meat-Ball
Tale of Two Mice
Nasty Quacks Uncredited
1946 Hare Remover Uncredited; last animated short with Warner Bros
1947 The Way of Peace Also writer
1967 The Bear That Wasn't Story only

Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1946 A Night in Casablanca No Uncredited No Script revisions
Monsieur Beaucaire No Uncredited No Script revisions
1947 Variety Girl No Yes No Co-written with Monte Brice, Edmund Hartmann and Robert L. Welch
1948 The Fuller Brush Man No Yes No Co-written with Devery Freeman
One Touch of Venus No Yes No Co-written with Harry Kurnitz
The Paleface No Yes No Co-written with Edmund Hartmann
1949 Miss Grant Takes Richmond No Yes No Co-written with Devery Freeman and Nat Perrin
Love Happy No Yes No Co-written with Mac Benoff
A Woman of Distinction No Yes No Additional dialogue
1950 The Good Humor Man No Yes No
Kill the Umpire No Yes No
The Fuller Brush Girl No Yes No
1951 The Lemon Drop Kid Uncredited Yes No Co-written with Edmund Hartmann and Robert O'Brien
My Favorite Spy No Uncredited No Script revisions
1952 The First Time Yes Yes No Co-written with Jean Rouverol, Hugo Butler and Dane Lussier
Son of Paleface Yes Yes No Co-written with Joseph Quillan and Robert L. Welch
1953 Marry Me Again Yes Yes No
1954 Red Garters No Uncredited No Script revisions
Susan Slept Here Yes Uncredited No Script revisions
1955 5 Against the House No Uncredited No Script revisions
Artists and Models Yes Yes No Co-written with Hal Kanter and Herbert Baker
1956 The Lieutenant Wore Skirts Yes Yes No Co-written with Albert Beich
The Scarlet Hour No Yes No Co-written with Alford Van Ronkel and John Meredyth Lucas
The Best Things in Life Are Free No Uncredited No Script revisions
The Girl Can't Help It Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Herbert Baker
Hollywood or Bust Yes Uncredited No Script revisions
1957 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Yes Yes Yes
1958 Rock-A-Bye Baby Yes Yes No
The Geisha Boy Yes Yes No Co-written with Rudy Makoul
1959 Say One for Me Yes Uncredited Yes Script revisions
1960 Cinderfella Yes Yes No
1961 Snow White and the Three Stooges No Uncredited No Script revisions
1962 Bachelor Flat Yes Yes No Co-written with Budd Grossman
Gigot No Uncredited No Script revisions
It's Only Money Yes No No
1963 The Man from the Diner's Club Yes Yes No Co-written with William Peter Blatty
Who's Minding the Store? Yes Yes No Co-written with Harry Tugend
1964 The Disorderly Orderly Yes Yes No
1965 The Alphabet Murders Yes No No
1966 The Glass Bottom Boat Yes No No
1967 Caprice Yes Yes No Co-written with John Kohn
1968 The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell Yes Yes No

Sources[edit]

  • Sigall, Martha (2005). "The Boys of Termite Terrace". Living Life Inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of Animation. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781578067497.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Interviews/Tashlin/tashlin_interview.htm
  2. ^ "FRANK TASHLININ, MOVIE DIRECTOR". The New York Times. 1972-05-09. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  3. ^ a b c d "Frank Tashlin - Lambiek Comiclopedia".
  4. ^ Lenburg, Jeff. Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-winning and Legendary Animators, p. 333. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006. ISBN 9781557836717. Accessed April 28, 2017. "Tashlin, Frank b: February 19, 1913, Weehawken, New Jersey; d: May 5, 1972, Hollywood, California."
  5. ^ For examples, see http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2008/09/obscurity-of-day-van-boring.html
  6. ^ Facebook fan page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Van-Boring-He-Never-Says-a-Word/108739165850755
  7. ^ a b Sigall (2005), p. 71
  8. ^ a b c Sigall (2005), pp. 71–72
  9. ^ a b Sigall (2005), p. 73
  10. ^ Sigall (2005), p. 70

External links[edit]