Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gribbroek My World

For those who like the backgrounds of old Warner Brothers cartoons, here's something that might interest you: a reproduction of a painting by Robert Gribbroek. Gribbroek (1906-1971) is best known to cartoon fans as one of the great layout men at Warner Brothers; he worked for Chuck Jones from 1945 to 1953, and for Bob McKimson from 1956 to 1964. (He also returned to the Jones unit in 1955 to design "One Froggy Evening.") His designs and backgrounds were some of the best at the studio -- deceptively simple backgrounds that supported the story and allowed the characters to "read" beautifully wherever they were. In some ways his work for Jones holds up better than that of Jones' more famous layout man, Maurice Noble, whose designs are unique and often beautiful, but sometimes distract attention from the characters.

Anyway, Gribbroek was a painter, and the above painting, done in 1953 when he was on hiatus from Warner Brothers (this was when the studio had temporarily shut down) will be instantly recognizable, in terms of style, to anyone who's seen those Jones cartoons he worked on; the design of the desert is almost identical to that in the 1952 Bugs Bunny/Wile E. Coyote cartoon "Operation Rabbit."

Name pronounced "Grib-rock," by the way. Pronounced that way, it could be the name of a Flintstones character.

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