|This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday and for Round Ten I am focusing on people from the past, some famous, others less so.|
Fred Quimby, whose name you will have seen on the credits for Tom and Jerry and other cartoons, was born in Minneapolis in 1886.
At the age of just 21, he managed a film theatre in Montana before joining Pathé where he became a member of the board. Quimby then had a spell as an independent producer before being hired by 20th Century Fox and then MGM.
In 1937 he was asked to put together MGM’s animation department and two years later he was presented with an idea for a series of cartoons featuring a cat and a mouse by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Quimby approved it and 1940 saw the release of Puss Gets the Boot and Tom and Jerry were born.
As the producer, Quimby won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film no fewer than eight times and was nominated for a further ten, but not once did he invite Hanna and Barbera on stage to share the accolades.
According to Tom and Jerry online, ‘Since 1937 he had ridden herd on a zany cast of cartoonists of whom he understood little, having, unfortunately for a cartoon producer, no sense of humour to call upon.’
Quimby was very much the corporate man and treated the much-loved creations of Hanna and Barbera as a commodity to be promoted and sold. Even so, he presided over what was perhaps the golden age of Hollywood animation.