That’s Earl Kress (above left) with me at the Van Eaton Galleries in May 2010.
My friend, animation writer and Hanna-Barbera historian par excellence, Earl Kress passed away early this morning, succumbing to liver cancer. He had just turned 60 years old.
Earl’s credits are so numerous – I don’t know where to begin. For theaters he worked on story for Disney’s The Fox and The Hound, and the great Looney Tunes short Little Go Beep. In comic books, Earl penned many stories for Hanna-Barbera as well as The Simpsons for Bongo Comics and Looney Tunes for DC. The list of his television credits is too large to recount here (check IMDB), but highlights include various episodes of Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Tom & Jerry Tales – not to mention a pilot I produced called Hornswiggle.
He was also a devoted animation historian, and he produced several DVD and CD compilations that are indispensable: His Rhino Records’ Pic-a-nic Basket of Cartoon Classics and Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound FX are important preservations of these classic television soundtracks. His expertise made Warner Home Video’s Hanna Barbera DVDs as great as they could be: The Flintstones – Seasons 2, 4, 5 and 6, Top Cat – The Complete Series, Wacky Races, Huckleberry Hound – Volume 1, Yogi Bear – The Complete Series and Magilla Gorilla – The Complete Series. Without Earl, The Flintstones laser disc that John K. organized would not have been half as good.
Earl also served as a Vice President of the Animation Guild and was a founding member of the Writers Guild Animation Caucus.
But of course, Earl was more than a great writer and historian – he was a true friend and a great lunch buddy. He really helped me out on more than one occasion, eagerly sharing his knowledge and film collection when I needed help on several of my books regarding Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera. His work on Hornswiggle and several other projects we did together was top notch, and thoroughly professional. That’s what he was – a top professional and one of the good guys – make that one of the best guys – in the business.
I’ll mourn his loss. This is a very sad day. He will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, my friend.
POST SCRIPT: Internet radio program Stu’s Show aired a tribute to Earl Kress on Monday with Mark Evanier and I sharing our memories. It is available to download at no cost for the next two weeks. Scroll down near the bottom of Stu’s main page to locate the link.