Bob Givens Bob Givens
AnimatorsWard Kimball

Bob Givens Redux

A couple days ago, I wrote about Bob Givens, the 94-year-old artist who designed Bugs Bunny in his debut short A Wild Hare. While I was writing that post, I ran across a couple items related to Givens that are worth sharing. The first is a newspaper clipping from the Alhambra Post-Advocate annoucing that 18-year-old Bob Givens had been hired at Disney.

The second is an ambitious gag “bulletin” about Ward Kimball and his two assistants David Swift and Tom Oreb. The drawing, which makes fun of the trio’s lack of “mox”, is signed by Givens, who had moved over to Warner Bros. when this was drawn in October 1939, along with two WB writers Rich Hogan and Dave Monahan. Typically, gag drawings were confined to colleagues at the same studio, but there’s a reason why Warner Bros. artists are making fun of their Disney counterparts. At the time of this drawing, Givens lived with Swift (as well as Hogan and some other artists) in a rented mansion in Los Feliz. If any Cartoon Brew readers are in touch with Bob, ask him to explain the joke about “mox.” Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Barry Rivadue

    Wouldn’t “Mox” be short for “moxie?” As in, “he has a lot of moxie!” That is, nerve. Moxie was a popular soft drink way back then; maybe sold as a health tonic too.

  • There are several puns here. Sloppy Moxie Rosenbloom is a pun on Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, a boxer who was later a character actor in movies and TV. Hart, Schaeffner and Mox is a pun on Hart, Schaeffner and Marx, a men’s clothing store which is still in business. has two definitions of Mox that might fit. One is a “young homosexual male” and given the sexual attitudes of the time, questioning someone’s manhood was ripe for humor. The other definition that fits is “another common word for a very unattractive male,” which totally fits a gag about the way people dress.

    • James

      Nah, the strip uses “mox” as a positive trait.

      Ward, Swift, and Oreb are being described as “un-mox.” In other words, corny and with no sense of fashion.

  • J Lee

    Seems like a dig at Kimball, Swift and Oreb’s choice/quality of clothing, which may have led to some comment at the studio about it being part of a certain lack of Moxie on their parts not to dress for success.

    (Steve Schneider’s book on Warners notes that Kimball didn’t just make it into gag cartoons at Schlesinger’s studio, but ended up as Givens’ design model for the Indian in “Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt”. Once you know that, it’s interesting to compare that facial design to the one used in the Kimball characture for “The Nifty Nineties”, which Disney also released in1941, just after Friz Freleng’s cartoon.)

  • I am making a documentary about Fred Moore and Bob is going to be part of it. I will show him your post and get back to you with an answer.

  • I wonder how many people know David Swift assisted Ward Kimball back in the day? When “Bud” returned to Disney in the sixties to direct two movies with Haley Mills, I was on set every day.

    The title of the second film was truly lame. So we decided “Petticoats and Bluejeans” should be replaced by “The Parent Trap.”

  • Jeff Kurtti

    Floyd–Dick and Bob Sherman told a story about how almost every time the title changed on that movie, they wrote another song. “Petticoats and Bluejeans,” “For Now, For Always,” “Let’s Get Together,” “We Belong Together,” “His & Hers”…

  • Mark: Thanks for all that background info on the gag.

    J Lee: I’d forgotten about that note in Schneider’s book. Perhaps Gavin can ask Givens whether the intent was to caricature Kimball in Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt.

    Gavin: Would be really curious to hear Givens’ take on this drawing. I know that Ward could be a goofy dresser, but Swift and Oreb wore typically conservative clothes. So why were they the targets? Only Bob would know.

  • George

    How could Ward Kimball be expected to buy expensive clothing in 1938 when he’d just purchased a full sized steam locomotive?

  • ScoJo

    The paper says he’s class of ’36 but his sweater says ’37. Might mean nothing.