Warner Bros. Studio Directory
Founded by four brothers- Polish immigrants originally named Hirsz (Harry), Aaron (Albert), Szmul (Sam), and Itzhak (Jack) Wonskolaser- the theatrical dynasty began with the three older brothers playing films to miners in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1903. By 1904, the brothers were distributing films in Pittsburgh, and later the East coast.
By 1918, two brothers (Sam and Jack) had moved west and begun producing their own films, opening the first Warner Bros. studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Warner Brothers Pictures was officially incorporated on April 4, 1923.
Whe studio showed som initail sucess with an adaption of Broadway's "The Gold Diggers" and with dog-star Rin Tin Tin, but it was not until they brought in Broadway actor John Barrymore that the studio gained it's first real star. Flush with their new successes, the Warners bought the pioneer Vitagraph Company which gave the company a nation-wide distribution system. By the end of 1924, Warner Bros. was arguably the most successful independent studio in Hollywood.
Over the objections of Harry Warner, it was Warner Bros. Studios that pushed sound films. The road to sound proved rocky, with Warner Bros. almost in ruin after the abortive release of "Don Juan" in 1926. But following the release "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, sound was here to stay, and Warner Bros. was the king of sound.
By 1930, Warner Bros. had an animation division, of sorts. Headed by ex-Disney atists Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, the Harman and Ising Studio produced a series of musical cartoons for producer Leon Schlesinger, who in turn sold the shorts to Warner. Harman and Ising developed Bosko, and he starred in the first Looney Tunes cartoon, Sinkin' in the Bathtub in 1930. By 1931, Harman and Ising created an answer to Disney's popular Silly Symphonies series with a sister series titled Merrie Melodies.
Harman and Ising had a dispute with Leon Schlesinger in 1933, causing them to take off to MGM, and taking Bosko with them. Schlesinger took over production of the cartoons with his own animation studio, Leon Schlesinger Productions. To replace Bosko, Schlesinger created Buddy for the Lonney Tunes series, while Merrie Melodies continued to be animated adaptions of popular songs off the era. Buddy never took off the way Bosko did, and it was not until 1936 and Porky Pig that Schlesinger had a character he could tie his Looney Tunes series to. But the studios biggest sucess- and biggest star- would not appear until 1940 when Tex Avery created Bugs Bunny in "A Wild Hare."
By 1940, Schlesinger hired a whole stable of new- thinking directors, ready to break out of the stoic mold of Disney formula cartoons. This new crop of directors included Charles "Chuck" Jones, Robert "Bob" Clampett, Isadore "Friz" Freleng (an old friend of Walt's from Kansas City), Art Davis and Fred "Tex" Avery. These directors pushed the Warner Bros. cartoons in a more fast-paced, irreverent style that contrasted greatly with the product of most every other studio. By 1942, the Schlesinger studio had surpassed even Walt Disney Studios as the most successful producer of animated shorts in the United States.
In 1944, Warner Bros. bought Schlesinger out of his contract and studio, and brought Termite Terrace in house as Warner Bros. Cartoons. Warner's animation division never got the attention that the live-actions units got. The company foisted a poor producer on the unit in Eddie Selzer. Jack Warner thought so little about his animation division tha he was once quoted as saying that Mickey Mouse was a product of his studio.
In the early sixites, Warner Bros. spun off production of the two animated short series... ironically to much the same people who had been doing them in house. By 1969, Warner Bros. terminated all short production at the studio, and the animation division was offically dead.
Though production on those two series ended in the early 1960's, Warner Bros. continues on today in Television, and, through various corporate acquisitions, is the parent company of both classic TV cartoon producer Hanna-Barbera Studios and TV newcomer Cartoon Network Studios.
From here you can find cast and crew lists for all the Warner Bros. classic animated cartoons or current television cartoons, see pictures of the cartoon title cards or original release posters, and browse the complete episode guides for the Warner Bros. series. Have fun as you stroll through a bit of Warner Bros. Cartoon Animation History.
Official Warner Bros. Studio Site
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