Archive for the ‘big boy’ Category

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Theory: Big Boy and the Power of Licensing- A Cautionary Tale

Bobs Big Boy

In 1936, entrepeneur Bob Wian opened a small lunch stand. He had a brilliant, yet slightly devious idea for a hamburger. If he took a standard hamburger bun and sliced it down the middle twice, instead of once… and if he took a standard hamburger patty and divided it into two small patties… he could create a double-decker hamburger that appeared to be larger than the average without costing him any more to make. He named it the "Big Boy".

Bobs Big Boy

Wian hired pretty high school girls as car-hops and dressed them in short skirts and cowboy hats. But something was still missing…

Bobs Big Boy

One day, animator Benny Washam was lunching at Wian’s stand, doodling on placemats. Wian saw that he was a cartoonist and asked him to draw a caricature of Richard Woodruff, a chubby, apple cheeked boy who helped out at the stand sweeping up after school. Washam obliged, depicting the lad in oversized checkered overalls munching on a burger.

Bobs Big Boy

Ben Washam’s Original Design

Wian loved the doodle and gave Washam his lunch for free. Bennie gave the sketch to Wian to use as a mascot for the stand.

Bobs Big Boy

Bennie didn’t think any more of it for many years…

Bobs Big Boy
Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian turned the caricature into an empire, branding not only his hamburger stand, but a line of sauces and spices and a franchised chain of family restaurants that eventually covered the entire country. A cutened version of Washam’s doodle was plastered all over the menus, signage and television advertising.

Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian knew who in the family made the decisions about where to eat… It wasn’t mom and dad, it was the kids. Outside each restaurant in the chain, he placed a huge fiberglass statue of Big Boy as a beacon to attract children…

Bobs Big Boy

And cartoonists, like assistant archivists, Alex Vassilev and JoJo Baptista!

At the restaurants, Wian gave away free comic books featuring the character. Here is an extremely rare example… Big Boy comics number one from 1956. These comics were produced by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. They were written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett. Later issues featured the work of Archie comics artist, Dan DeCarlo. Adventures of the Big Boy is one of the longest continuously running comic book lines. It’s still being produced fifty years later.

Bobs Big Boy

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Bobs Big Boy

Years later, when Big Boy had become a familiar figure to the entire country, Washam admitted to his fellow artists at Warner Bros that he was the cartoonist who had created the character. They laughed and teased him, saying, "Benny, you should have been heir to a hamburger fortune, but no! Your lot in life is to toil day and night making animated cartoons!" They were joking, but there’s an element of truth in it. Never underestimate the power of a doodle. The Big Boy sketch that Washam traded away for a free meal in 1936 ended up selling millions and millions of dollars worth of hamburgers.

If you would like to see more Big Boy comics, let me know in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Biography: Ben Washam

This posting is a stub. You can contribute to this entry by providing information through the comments link at the bottom of this post. Please organize your information following the main category headers below….

Birth/Death

Birth: 17 March 1915
Death: 28 March 1984

Occupation/Title

Animator

Bio Summary

Early Life/Family

Born in Arkansas Ozarks

Education/Training

Career Outline

More often than not Chuck had him animate the last scene in a Bugs cartoon. Where Bugs says something to the audience (“Mud, spelled backwards is Dum!”) before the iris closed in. Washam is credited with inventing Daffy Duck’s phrase, “Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin!”

Designed the Bob’s Big Boy restaurant chain’s original mascot on a napkin, basing it on a young boy who worked there.

Ben Washam was also President of the Screen Animators Guild in 1948-49. He once said: Any animators union meeting that didn’t end with at least one fistfight in the parking lot was a dud!

Comments On Style

Influences

Personality

Anecdotes

“He became a truly great animator, one of the most sensitive, one of the most subtle- able to extract laughter by the quirk of a ducky eyebrow, the flick of a rabbit’s eye. He was kind and gentle as well as talented beyond belief.” -Chuck Jones, Chuck Amuck

“Benny was a wonderful teacher. On hot summer nights he would invite a couple of animation kids into his garage and teach us vintage Warner Bros timing. All for free. We called it Benny’s Class. I once asked him why he never charged for it. He said animation had been good to him so this was his way of paying it back. So now when people ask me why I teach, I say I’m paying back Benny.” -Tom Sito

Ben Washam was also President of the Screen Animators Guild in 1948-49. He once said: Any animators union meeting that didn’t end with at least one fistfight in the parking lot was a dud!

More often than not Chuck had him animate the last scene in a Bugs cartoon. Where Bugs says something to the audience ( Mud, spelled backwards is Dum) before the iris closed in.

Miscellaneous

Letter from Ben Washam to Chuck Jones (September 14, 1981)

Dear Chuck,

On my tenth birthday my father gave me a mule. It was truly love at first sight. I named him Spencer after a rifle I saw advertised in a sears, Roebuck catalog. The spring and summer that followed were the most wonderful in my memory. We rode over and through every hill and swamp in northeast Arkansas.

In the fall after the crops were in, everybody went to the county fair, especially Spencer and me. Aside from judging cows, pigs, chickens, cakes, pies and the like, stump pulling was a community favorite. The stumps were dynamited out of the ground (a few days before the fair started), then a mule was hitched to the stump. The mule that pulled the stump the greatest distance won- Spencer and me won. First prize was a Rhode Island Red Rooster and a blue ribbon with Robert E. Lee’s face painted on it with gold paint. I was so proud I kissed Spencer. Everybody laughed and my mother made me wash my face.

At this time I learned about evil. I learned evil lurks in unsuspected places and, like a spider, attacks without warning. An aunt, who later turned out to be unsavory, invited me to have a soda pop with her. Leaving Spencer eating hay and my rooster tied to a wagon wheel, we went off to the refreshment tent. Everything was fine. I even got a piece of cake. The soda pop was great- I saved half of if for Spencer.

When I returned to the wagon, Spencer was gone. I grabbed a pitchfork and went looking for the thief. After looking all over the fairgrounds they finally told me that some Yankee from Chicago gave my father fifty dollars for Spencer. My devastation was completed that evening- my mother cooked my rooster for supper.

I spent the next day planning revenge. The thought of putting a water moccasin in my father’s bed was pleasant. Then it occurred to me that anybody that mean wouldn’t be troubled by a water moccasin. By the end of the day I had concluded that I couldn’t fight them, but I could make sure that I never became one of them- so I made a vow never to become an adult, or care for an adult.

To make sure that I would never break the vow, I ate a green persimmon- eating a green persimmon was a sure way to test a person’s sincerity. Anyone who would eat a green persimmon to back up their word had to be honest. That was especially true in courtships- however, I don’t remember ever hearing of any girl eating a green persimmon.

From that time I walked into the hills and valleys of life, secure in the knowledge that I was free from adults, Yankees and unsavory aunts in particular. (It was my aunt who lured me away from Spencer with the promise of a soda pop. Deep in my heart I know that old harridan dwells in the north side of hell with all the Yankees.)

I have mellowed over the years. My vow has not been broken, only bent a little. So it is that I can tell you that you are one of the few adults I have come to love and respect.

My reason for telling you this is because I want to wish you a happy birthday and impress upon you that such a wish coming from me is no small effort.

Ben

Washam is credited with inventing Daffy Duck’s phrase, “Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin!”

Designed the Bob’s Big Boy restaurant chain’s original mascot on a napkin, basing it on a young boy who worked there.

Filmography

?Conrad the Sailor (1942) (animator) ?Fin n’ Catty (1943) (animator) ?… aka Fin’n Catty (USA: reissue title)?The Weakly Reporter (1944) (animator)
Lost and Foundling (1944) (animator)?Hare Conditioned (1945) (animator)?Fresh Airedale (1945) (animator)
Hare Tonic (1945) (animator)
Quentin Quail (1946) (animator)
Hush My Mouse (1946) (animator)?Hair-Raising Hare (1946) (animator)
The Eager Beaver (1946) (animator)
Fair and Worm-er (1946) (animator)
Roughly Squeaking (1946) (animator)
Scent-imental Over You (1947) (animator)
Inki at the Circus (1947) (animator)
A Pest in the House (1947) (animator)
Little Orphan Airedale (1947) (animator)
Mouse Wreckers (1948) (animator)
A Feather in His Hare (1948) (animator)
What’s Brewin’, Bruin? (1948) (animator)
Rabbit Punch (1948) (animator)?Haredevil Hare (1948) (animator)
You Were Never Duckier (1948) (animator)
House Hunting Mice (1948) (animator)
Daffy Dilly (1948) (animator)
My Bunny Lies Over the Sea (1948) (animator)
Scaredy Cat (1948) (animator)
So Much for So Little (1949) (animator)
Awful Orphan (1949) (animator)
Mississippi Hare (1949) (animator)
The Bee-Deviled Bruin (1949) (animator)
Long-Haired Hare (1949) (animator)
Often an Orphan (1949) (animator)
Fast and Furry-ous (1949) (animator)
Frigid Hare (1949) (animator)
For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) (animator)
Bear Feat (1949) (animator)
Rabbit Hood (1949) (animator)?The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950) (animator) ?Homeless Hare (1950) (animator)
The Hypo-Chondri-Cat (1950) (animator)
8 Ball Bunny (1950) (animator)
Dog Gone South (1950) (animator)
The Ducksters (1950) (animator)
Caveman Inki (1950) (animator)
Rabbit of Seville (1950) (animator)
Two’s a Crowd (1950) (animator)
Bunny Hugged (1951) (animator)
Scent-imental Romeo (1951) (animator)
A Hound for Trouble (1951) (animator)
Rabbit Fire (1951) (animator)
Chow Hound (1951) (animator)
The Wearing of the Grin (1951) (animator)
Cheese Chasers (1951) (animator)
A Bear for Punishment (1951) (animator)
Drip-Along Daffy (1951) (animator)
Operation: Rabbit (1952) (animator)
Feed the Kitty (1952) (animator)
Little Beau Pepé (1952) (animator)?Water, Water Every Hare (1952) (animator)
Beep, Beep (1952) (animator)
The Hasty Hare (1952) (animator)
Going! Going! Gosh! (1952) (animator)?Mouse-Warming (1952) (animator)
Rabbit Seasoning (1952) (animator)
Terrier-Stricken (1952) (animator)
From A to Z-Z-Z-Z (1953) (animator)
Don’t Give Up the Sheep (1953) (animator)
Forward March Hare (1953) (animator)
Kiss Me Cat (1953) (animator)
Duck Amuck (1953) (animator)
Much Ado About Nutting (1953) (animator)
Wild Over You (1953) (animator)
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953) (animator)
Bully for Bugs (1953) (animator)
Zipping Along (1953) (animator)
Duck! Rabbit, Duck! (1953) (animator)
Punch Trunk (1953) (animator)?Gone Batty (1954) (story)?The Cats Bah (1954) (animator)?Claws for Alarm (1954) (animator)?Bewitched Bunny (1954) (animator)?By Word of Mouse (1954) (animator)?Lumber Jack-Rabbit (1954) (animator)?My Little Duckaroo (1954) (animator)?Baby Buggy Bunny (1954) (animator)?A Hitch in Time (1955) (animator)?Ready.. Set.. Zoom! (1955) (animator)?Rabbit Rampage (1955) (animator)?Knight-Mare Hare (1955) (animator)?Two Scent’s Worth (1955) (animator)?Guided Muscle (1955) (animator)?One Froggy Evening (1955) (animator)?90 Day Wondering (1956) (animator)?Bugs’ Bonnets (1956) (animator)?Broom-Stick Bunny (1956) (animator)?Rocket Squad (1956) (animator)?Heaven Scent (1956) (animator)?Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z (1956) (animator)?Rocket-bye Baby (1956) (animator)
Deduce, You Say (1956) (animator)
There They Go-Go-Go! (1956) (animator)?To Hare Is Human (1956) (animator)?Drafty, Isn’t It? (1957) (animator)
Scrambled Aches (1957) (animator)?Ali Baba Bunny (1957) (animator)?To Itch His Own (1958) (animator)
Hook, Line and Stinker (1958) (animator)?Hip Hip-Hurry! (1958) (animator)?Cat Feud (1958) (animator)
Baton Bunny (1959) (animator)
Hare-Abian Nights (1959) (animator)?Hot-Rod and Reel! (1959) (animator)
Really Scent (1959) (animator)
Wild About Hurry (1959) (animator)
A Witch’s Tangled Hare (1959) (animator)?Unnatural History (1959) (animator)?Fastest with the Mostest (1960) (animator) ?Who Scent You? (1960) (animator)?Ready, Woolen and Able (1960) (animator)?”The Bugs Bunny Show” (1960) TV Series (animator)?”King Leonardo and His Short Subjects” (1960) TV Series (animator) … aka King Leonardo (USA) ?… aka The King and Odie (USA: syndication title)?”Calvin and the Colonel” (1961) TV Series (animator)?Nelly’s Folly (1961) (animator)?Now Hear This (1962) (animator)?Adventures of the Road-Runner (1962) (animator)?Pent-House Mouse (1963) (animator)?Philbert (Three’s a Crowd) (1963) (animator)?The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse (1964) (animator)?Snowbody Loves Me (1964) (animator)?Much Ado About Mousing (1964) (animator)?Is There a Doctor in the Mouse? (1964) (animator)?The Cat Above and the Mouse Below (1964) (animator)?Zip Zip Hooray! (1965) (animator)?… aka Tom Thump?The Year of the Mouse (1965) (animator) ?Tom-ic Energy (1965) (animator)
Roadrunner a Go-Go (1965) (animator)
Of Feline Bondage (1965) (animator)
Jerry-Go-Round (1965) (animator)?I’m Just Wild About Jerry (1965) (animator)
Haunted Mouse (1965) (animator)
Duel Personality (1965) (animator)
The Cat’s Me-Ouch (1965) (animator)?The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off (1965) (animator)
Bad Day at Cat Rock (1965) (animator)
Ah, Sweet Mouse-Story of Life (1965) (animator)
The Dot and the Line (1965) (animator) ?… aka The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics?Love Me, Love My Mouse (1966) ?(director)?How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) (TV) (co-director)?Puss ‘n’ Boats (1966) (animator)?Love Me, Love My Mouse (1966) (animator)?Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary (1966) (animator)?Filet Meow (1966) (animator)?Catty-Cornered (1966) (animator)?The A-Tom-inable Snowman (1966) (animator)?”The Road Runner Show” (1966) TV Series (animator)?Surf-Bored Cat (1967) (animator)?Rock ‘n’ Rodent (1967) (animator)?O-Solar-Meow (1967) (animator)?The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R. (1967) (animator)
Guided Mouse-ille (1967) (animator) ?… aka Guided Mouse-ille or Science On a Wet Afternoon
Cat and Dupli-cat (1967) (animator)?Cannery Rodent (1967) (animator)
Advance and Be Mechanized (1967) (animator)?The Bear That Wasn’t (1967) (supervising animator)
Purr-Chance to Dream (1967) (director)
Advance and Be Mechanized (1967) (director)
“The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour” (1968) TV Series (animator)?Horton Hears a Who! (1970) (TV) (co-director, animator) ?The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) (animation supervisor) ?… aka The Adventures of Milo in the Phantom Tollbooth
The Great American Chase (1979) (animator) ?… aka The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (USA: video title)
Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales (1979) (TV) (animator) (as Benny Washman)?Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century (1980) (TV) (master animator)
Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (1982) (animator) ?… aka Bugs Bunny’s 1001 Rabbit Tales (USA: short title)
“The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour” (1985) TV Series (animator)
“The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show” (1986) TV Series (animator)?Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters (1988) (animator)
“Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends” (1990) TV Series (animator) ?”That’s Warner Bros.!” (1995) TV Series (animator)?

Director :

Love Me, Love My Mouse (1966) ?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) (TV) (co-director) ?… aka Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (USA: complete title)
Purr-Chance to Dream (1967)
Advance and Be Mechanized (1967)
Horton Hears a Who! (1970) (TV) (co-director) ?

Writer:
Gone Batty (1954) (story)?

Honors

Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1985

Related Links

Bibliographic References

“Chuck Amuck” by Chuck Jones

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0913326/

BIO-AAA-544

Contributors To This Listing

Cassandra Siemon
Tom Sito

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below…