To recap: this season has already brought two must-have books – J.B. Kaufman’s Snow White history, The Fairest One Of All and Charles Solomon’s lavishly illustrated survey of Charlie Brown animation, The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation. But the season isn’t over and I’ve received four more eagerly anticipated hardcovers – each one strongly recommended and worth every cent of their suggested retail price.
First up, “I Say, I Say… Son! A Tribute To legendary Animators Bob, Chuck and Tom McKimson by Roberet McKimson Jr., with a forward by John Kricfalusi and an introduction by Darrell Van Citters. Wow! This is a surprise and a real treat. Poor Robert McKimson never got the attention and adoration his fellow directors Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng did. Thankfully, his champions have created this celebration of of all things McKimson – and that includes the incredible contributions of his siblings, Charles and Tom, who all together contributed more to the look and feel of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies than almost anyone else.
Robert McKimson’s son has put together a delicious volume of art and history that’s way overdue. John K. starts it off with a great seven-page Foreword explaining his admiration for the McKimson brothers work (images in this section include an original John K. drawing of Foghorn Leghorn meeting Stimpy!); and Darrel Van Citters does likewise in his informative intro. The meat of the book is the incredible art and photos that follow from the McKimson family estate. Bob Jr’s text takes us from his fathers earliest experiences at Disney and the Romer Grey studio to the earliest days at Harman-Ising. Absolutely gorgeous pencil art of Bosko (from Schlesinger) and Binko (from Romer Grey) highlight this section. Rare paintings, staff photos, the U.S. copyright registration for Bugs Bunny (!), model sheets, layout sketches, coloring book art… incredible stuff. A chapter on Tom McKimson’s work at Western Publishing and Bob’s later career at UPA, DePatie Freleng and back at Warners in 1969 tie up any and all loose ends. A thorough, competent, visually delightful job – exactly what you’d expect from someone named McKimson. Bravo, I love it!