Q is for Fred Quimby

This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday and for Round Ten I am focusing on people from the past, some famous, others less so.

Tom and JerryIt is a strange fact that the producer of one of the funniest and most enduring cartoons knew nothing about animation and little by way of a sense of humour.

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.

Fred QuimbyIn 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.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

10 comments… Add yours
  • Ann 9th May 2012

    What a shame for Hanna and Barbera to not get any credit for their creation. I guess Mr. Quimby was no Walt Disney!! Great history info.

  • Bread and Butter Pudding 9th May 2012

    In the photo, why is there a black dog sitting on Quimby’s shoulder? Was it real or animated and what was its name? Spike or Tyke? BTW – Have fun at The Stripper Bar tonight! Say hello to Jeanetta for me.

  • rhymeswithplague 9th May 2012

    In that photo, from that particular angle, Mr. Quimby looks remarkably like President John F. Kennedy might have looked at an age that the president unfortunately never reached.

  • Leslie 9th May 2012

    Oh goodness, like “RHYMESWITHPLAGUE” I thought it was a photo of Kennedy! Well, I certainly know those cartoons but didn’t know about Mr. Quimby. Learned something new today so thanks for that. Have a great week,

    abcw team

  • Shooting Parrots 9th May 2012

    YP: The one talent that Fred Quimby had was an ability to make shadow puppets with his ears as you rightly spotted. Jeanetta sends her regards by the way and wonders if you’d like to settle your bill.

  • Shooting Parrots 9th May 2012

    Mr Plague and Leslie: When I included the photo, something inside told me that he reminded me of a politician, but I hadn’t thought of JKK until you mentioned it. Something about the mouth?

  • Roger Green 9th May 2012

    Hair, coloring have a Kennedyesque quality

    as for Quimby what a sourPUSS.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • chrisj 9th May 2012

    Interesting information. Didn’t know any of it.

  • Katherine 9th May 2012

    At the moment New Zealand is being run by a businessman. It’s scary. It’s as though there’s just a machine at the top.

  • john 10th May 2012

    I always loved the maid in TOM AND JERRY
    fat arms, bloomers and a voice that cut bread!


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