Toddy Bear by Don Christensen
Toddy Bear (Giggle Comics #71, May 1950)

Don R. Christensen was an American animation scriptwriter who worked for almost every classic US animation studio. In between he also wrote and drew comics based on their most popular creations.

Donald Ragnvald Christensen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1916 and studied at the local Minnesota School of Art. In 1936 he worked at the art department of the Minneapolis Journal. In 1937 he found employment at the Walt Disney Studios as an animator (in-betweener) and scriptwriter. Here he contributed to classic animated features such as 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1937), 'Pinocchio' (1940) and 'Dumbo' (1941). In 1941 the studio got involved in a huge strike, which caused many - including Christensen - to leave Disney and try their luck at other cartoon studios. Christensen joined Warner Brothers' animation studio where he worked as a storyboard artist for Norm McCabe and Bob Clampett. He wrote the scripts for five Looney Tunes shorts, namely 'Daffy's Southern Exposure' (1942), 'Gopher Goofy' (1942), 'The Impatient Patient' (1942) and the World War II propaganda cartoons 'Confusions of a Nutzy Spy' (1943), 'Tokio Jokio' (1943) and 'Scrap Happy Daffy' (1943).

Christensen started an additional career as a comic book artist through the Sangor Shop. From 1944 throughout the rest of the decade, he drew funny animal features for comic books published by Ned Pines, often signing with "Don Arr". These included features like 'Bruno Bear', 'Kippie', 'Marco Poodle', 'Ole Mole', 'Oompah', 'Bobo Burro', 'Robin Hood Robin' and 'Toddy Bear' for titles like Happy Comics, Barnyard Comics, Startling Comics and Goofy Comics. He did similar work with characters like 'Potsy' for Giggle Comics at the American Comics Group, and with 'Puss 'n Pooch' for Leading Comics by National Periodicals. Around 1948 he left Sangor Comics, but kept freelancing for DC. From the 1950s through the 1970s, he was writing scripts for the Dell and Gold Key comic books of Western Publishing in Los Angeles. As such he wrote numerous stories with cartoon characters by Disney ('Mickey Mouse', 'Uncle Scrooge'), Warner Brothers ('Bugs Bunny'), Walter Lantz ('Woody Woodpecker') and Hanna-Barbera.

Together with penciller Tony Strobl and inker Steve Steere he made a comic book adaptation of the Donald Duck animated short 'Donald in Mathmagic Land' (1959), and he is credited himself for drawing the 'Mickey Mouse' story 'The Disappearing Island' (1950) for a Wheaties premium give-away comic. Up until the 1970s, Christensen wrote many Disney comics for these promotional give-away books for companies like Cheerios, Apsco, Wilson Sun Glasses, Admiral and Robin Hood Flour. Christensen also penned the scripts for three space-themed comic books by Disney named 'Walt Disney's Man In Space' (1955), 'Walt Disney's Mars and Beyond' (1956) and 'Walt Disney's Man In Space: Satellites' (1959). The first two issues received a Thomas Edison Science Foundation Award for their accomplishments in explaining space technology in an entertaining fashion. In the 1960s he also wrote stories directly for The Walt Disney Company's "studio program", which were aimed at the European market.

Robin Hood Robin
Robin Hood Robin (Barnyard Comics #18, 1948)

For Dell and Gold Key Comics he wrote scripts for Russ Manning's 'Magnus, Robot Fighter'. He also made comic book adaptations of Bob Clampett's cartoon/puppet series 'Time for Beany'. He has furthermore scripted advertising features for companies like Knott's Berry Farm, Mooseheart, the Richfield Oil Company, American Dairy, General Electric, Occidental Life, Johnson Motors, Hamm's Bear and many more. Christensen is credited with writing the newspaper comics of Hanna-Barbera's 'Yogi Bear' and 'The Flintstones' for the McNaught Syndicate in 1963-1964, and also the 'Star Wars' strip for a couple of months for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in 1980. He also wrote for 'Wally the Wizard' (1985-1986), a short-lived Marvel Comics series, drawn by Howie Post. Apart from writing comics Christensen also designed puzzle pages in comic books as well as greeting cards for Buzza-Cardozo, Gartner & Bender and Sangamon. The creative centipede also penned short stories for magazines like Argosy, Detective Tales and Family Circle, while writing for radio dramas like 'Stars Over Hollywood' and 'The Man Called X'.

In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote and directed scripts for animated TV series like DePatie-Freleng's 'Super President' (1967) and 'The Houndcats' (1972), Filmation's 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' (1967) and Hanna-Barbera's 'Scooby-Doo Where Are You?' (1969), 'Yogi's Gang' (1973), 'Jeannie' (1973), 'Wait 'Till Your Father Gets Home' (1973-1974), 'The New Shmoo' (1979) - which was based on the popular character from Al Capp's 'Li'l' Abner' -, 'Casper and the Angels' (1979) and 'The Kwicky Koala Show' (1981). Christensen was a member of the Southern California Comic Artist Professionals Society and President of the Comic Art Professional Society. He passed away from heart failure at the age of 90 in 2006.

Don R. Christensen should not be confused with Don L. Christensen, also a former Disney employee but this Christensen eventually went to work for Filmation in the mid-1960s.

Fixer Fox by Don Christensen
Fixer Fox (Happy Comics #22, 1947)

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