Daffy Duck
Still from 'The Great Piggy Bank Robbery', 1946. 

Bob Clampett was one of the main animators at Warner Bros. in the 1930s and 1940s, and the designer of such famous characters as 'Porky Pig', 'Daffy Duck' and 'Tweety'. Born in San Diego, California, Clampett showed an early talent for drawing, and he developed an interest in films and puppetry in his teens. Some of his early amateur cartoon drawings were printed in the LA Junior Times in 1925, and also in his highschool yearbook. His full-page comic about the nocturnal adventures of a pussycat, was later published in color in a Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Yearbook comic by Bob Clampett
From Clampett's comic for his yearbook.

After some stints at the art department of King Features Syndicate and his aunt's doll factory before joining the Harman-Ising Studios in 1931. It was at this company, that produced animated shorts for Warner Bros., that his talent really came to blossom. He was an animator and director on the 'Merrie Melodies' and 'Looney Tunes' series, and worked alongside some of the biggest names in the industry, including Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Frank Tashlin, Bob McKimson and Friz Freleng.

A Tale of Two Kittie
'A Tale of Two Kitties' (1942), directed by Bob Clampett, featured the introduction of Tweety.

Clampett was especially known for his wild and energetic style, with influences by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Some of the best showcases of his style are classic shorts like 'Porky in Wackyland' (1938), 'Wabbit Twouble' (1941), the Dr. Seuss adaptation 'Horton Hatches the Egg' (1942), 'The Wacky Wabbit' (1942), 'Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid' (1942), 'The Hep Cat' (1942), 'Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs' (1943), 'A Corny Concerto' (1943), 'Falling Hare' (1943), 'What's Cookin' Doc?' (1944), 'Russian Rhapsody' (1944), 'The Old Grey Hare' (1944), 'Draftee Daffy' (1945), 'Book Revue' (1946), 'Baby Bottleneck' (1946), 'Kitty Kornered' (1946) and 'The Great Piggy Bank Robbery' (1946).

He left Warner Bros. in 1945 and went to work for television, developing the puppet show 'Time for Beany' (1949-1955) and its animated follow-up 'Beany and Cecil' (1959-1969). Clampett has been a major influence on many comic artists and animators, including 'Ren & Stimpy' creator John Kricfalusi, although he also received considerable criticism from former Warner colleagues like Chuck Jones, for his "self-promotion" and claims for being the creator of 'Bugs Bunny' and 'Porky Pig'. Robert Emerson Clampett died of a heart attack on 2 May 1984 in Detroit, Michigan, shortly before his 71st birthday. 

In 2000 Clampett's classic short 'Porky in Wackyland' was added to the National Film Registry for being "culturally, aesthetically and historically important." 

Beany and CecilBeany and Cecil
Dell Publishing published five Beany and Cecil books from 1962, with art by Willy Ito, among other artists.

Bob Clampett posts on John K's blog

Series and books by Bob Clampett in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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