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Selzer
Eddie Selzer
General information
Born: Edward Selzer
12 January 1893
New York City
Died: 22 February 1970 (aged 77)
Los Angeles
Cause of death: Unknown
Alternate names:
Occupation(s): Producer
Years active: 1944 - 1958
Spouse: Laura Selzer
Children: N/A

Edward "Eddie" Selzer (12 January 1893 - 22 February 1970) was an American producer, best known for succeeding Leon Schlesinger as the studio-head of Warner Brothers Cartoons.

Biography

After Leon Schlesinger sold his cartoon studio to Warner Brothers in 1944, Eddie was assigned studio head by Jack Warner. Unlike his predecessor, Eddie received no onscreen credit as producer.

Much of what is known about Eddie's life comes from Chuck Jones' biography, Chuck Amuck: The Life & Times Of An Animated Cartoonist, in which the director indicates that the producer was "an interfering bore with no sentiment or appreciation towards animated cartoons."

Some historians also claim that Friz Freleng nearly quit after an argument with Eddie, who didn't think that pairing Sylvester with Tweety Bird was an ideal decision. The argument culminated when Friz reportedly slammed his drawing-pencil on Eddie's desk, telling the producer that if he thought he knew so much about cartoons, then he should do the work instead. Eddie backed off on the issue and apologized to Friz later that evening and "Tweetie Pie", the very first Tweety/Sylvester pairing, went on to win WB's first Academy Award For Best Short Film (1947), with the duo proving to be one of the most endearing of Looney Tunes pairs.

Accepting the Short Subject (Cartoon) award for "Tweetie Pie" from Shirley Temple at the 20th Academy Awards ceremony on 20 March 1948, Selzer said:

I'll take a minute because cartoons have saved many a show before. In accepting this award, I'm naturally thrilled, but I accept it for the entire Warner Bros. Cartoon Studio. It might interest you to know that in production of this "Tweetie Pie," 85 percent of our personnel were directly connected with its construction. However, the one man who really should be up here getting this award and not me, is the director of the picture, Friz Freleng, who is in the audience. I can't pay him too great a tribute. Thank you.[1]

According to other historians, Eddie also forbade Robert McKimson from creating any future cartoons featuring Tasmanian Devil upon seeing the character's debut appearance and declaring him to be too "grotesque" to recur. It is believed that Eddie changed his mind only upon being informed by Jack Warner that Tasmanian was 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.[2]

Eddie Selzer was proud of his position as producer of the Looney Tunes series because of the joy the team's creations brought to so many. 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?"[citation needed|date={{{1}}}]


Selzer retired in 1958, and John W. Burton became the head of Warner Bros. Cartoons.

Eddie Selzer died in 1970. Upon his death, some of his five Academy Award 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 while the one for "Tweetie Pie" was given to Freleng; the remaining awards are with his family.[citation needed|date={{{1}}}]


Looney Works

See the Category:Cartoons produced by Eddie Selzer.


References

  1. Year: 1947 (20th) Academy Awards Category: Short Subject (Cartoon) Film Title: Tweetie Pie. Retrieved on 20 April 2015.
  2. "Hollywood", Peter Bogdanovich, Esquire March 1972, p. 66

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