Frank Tashlin

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Frank Tashlin (February 19, 1913 - May 5, 1972) was an animator, screenwriter, and director.

Tashlin drifted from job to job after dropping out of high school in New Jersey at age 13. In 1930, he started working for Paul Terry as a cartoonist on the Aesop's Film Fables cartoon series, but he was just as much a drifter in his animation career as he had been as a teenager. He moved to Hal Roach's studio in 1933 and started his own comic strip that same year. Tashlin joined Leon Schlesinger's cartoon studio at Warner Bros. in 1936, where his diverse interest and knowledge of the industry brought a new understanding of camerawork to the Warners directors. Tashlin was fired from the studio when he refused to give Schlesinger a cut of his comic strip revenues. He worked briefly for Amedée Van Beuren, and in 1938, he worked for Disney in the story department. Afterward, he served as production manager in the animation studio of Charles Mintz in 1941. Tashlin rejoined the Warner directors of "Termite Terrace" in 1943. He stayed with the studio during World War II and worked on numerous wartime shorts, including the Private Snafu educational films.

Tashlin quit animation for good in 1946 to become a gag writer for the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball (among others) as well as a screenwriter. (His role at Termite Terrace was taken over by Robert McKimson.) His live-action films still betray elements of his animation background; Tashlin peppers them with sight gags, breakneck pacing, and unexpected plot twists. During his career, he wrote films for Bob Hope and Red Skelton. He also found work as a director, taking on projects with those actors as well as Jerry Lewis, Doris Day, Jayne Mansfield, Danny Kaye, Dean Martin, and Tony Randall. In the 1960s, Tashlin's films lost some of their spark, and his career ended in the latter part of that decade, along with that of most of the stars he had worked with. His film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? was placed in the National Film Registry in 2000.

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