Sunday, 23 August 2015

Did Ed Benedict Invent Charlie Brown?

Ed Benedict is known for cartoons he insisted he didn’t even like. He designed all the stars of the first Hanna-Barbera cartoons into the early 1960s, though his designs were put through the washer a few times before being drawn onto model sheets by Dick Bickenbach.

Benedict had been Tex Avery’s layout artist (and, later, Mike Lah’s) at MGM in the 1950s. He had been a top animator for Walter Lantz in the mid-‘30s. Before that, Benedict was a high schooler submitting panels to the kids’ section of the Los Angeles Times. He also came up with these caricatures of other young artists doing the same thing, published February 9, 1930. (Yes, you can click on the picture to enlarge it).



You might recognise some of the names from the animation industry. Bob Wickersham was a director at Columbia. Irv Spector worked at the Mintz studios and, years later, wrote for Paramount. Morey Reden (who was using his real name in 1950) was an artist at Paramount. Xenia Beckwith went by plain “Xenia” on the credit titles at Hanna-Barbera. She had worked at the Walter Lantz studio among others. And Phil De Lara was at Warner Bros. for many years, including some time animating for Bob McKimson.

Others moved on to non-artistic careers. The San Francisco and Glendale-raised Bob Depew, for example, became a juvenile probation worker and then a bookkeeper. He died in Los Angeles in 1971. Louis Bardwell moved to Fairbanks where he cleared land for the U.S. Army Air Force. He died in Alaska a day after his 86th birthday in 1997.

The thing that caught my eye was the drawing of Ed Shultz. Below him are drawings of twin boys who look an awful lot like Charlie Brown. This is 20 years before a Schulz came up with Peanuts. Did Ed Benedict invent Charlie Brown first? Not really, but the coincidence is amusing.

2 comments:

  1. If he had, CB and all the male characters would have dress collars and neckwear.

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