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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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Birth: Aug. 31, 1903 Pagoda Springs, CO
Death: Nov. 22, 1982 Chatsworth, CA


Bio Summary

Early Life/Family

Harman grew up in Kansas City, MO

Brother to artist Fred Harman


Career Outline

He began his work with Walt Disney in 1922, working (along with Rudolf Ising, Ub Iwerks, and Fritz Freling, among others) on Disney's early Laugh-o-Gram cartoons. When that company went bankrupt, Harman and partner Rudolf Ising attempted a new series based on the Arabian Nights but were unable to obtain funding. Disney rehired them when he began work for Charles Mintz, producing "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoons for distribution by Universal Studios. It was Harman who led the famous 1928 exodus from the Disney staff that resulted in Disney's loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (to producer Charles Mintz) and his creation of Mickey Mouse. Although Harman's departure from Disney had been perceived by some as a sort of betrayal, Harman said he was motivated by his disappointment with Disney's abrasive behavior as a boss. Mintz kept Harman and Ising on for another year when they, in turn, were forced out (and replaced by a young Walter Lantz). Harman, Ising, and a few other ex-Disney animators put together a pilot short, "Bosko the TalkInk Kid", which was used by producer Leon Schlesinger to obtain a contract with Warner Brothers' studios to produce animated cartoons. Harman and Ising started the Loony Toons and Merrie Melodies cartoons and produced them for several years. After an argument with Schlesinger over finances, Harman and Ising left Warner Brothers for MGM in 1933. They produced "Happy Harmonies" for MGM until they left over financial disagreements. After MGM, Harman and Ising failed at started their own studio. Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising signed a contract on October 3, 1939 to provide the major portion of M-G-M's cartoon product for the 1939-40 production season. The contract spanned seven years and under it, Harman and Ising each would head a unit producing nine pictures (cartoons) annually. Fred Quimby would continue as head of the Metro (cartooon) department, and Milt Gross would continue his work on the current (1938-39) product. In the 40s and 50s, both men did some work for Walter Lantz Studios under a contract with Universal Studios.

Comments On Style





Harman produced the first "synchronized-talking" animated short (1930) with Bosko the TalkInk Kid in "Sinkin' in the Bathtub".

Harman & Ising where the first directors of "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes" series.



Nobel Prize jury for his animated film "Peace on Earth." 1940

Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1976

Related Links

A-HAA: Media: Musical Timing Rediscovered
A-HAA: Biography: John K Interviews Bill, Joe and Friz Part One
A-HAA: Biography: John K Interviews Bill, Joe and Friz Part Two

Bibliographic References


Contributors To This Listing

Fred Cline

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