Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do you know Fred?

Do you know Fred Quimby? Think about it...

You probably don't know him personally (especially since he has been dead for 40+ years), but I can almost guarantee that as a child you saw his name three or four times a week...if not three or four times a day.

Fred Quimby produced all of the old classic Tom & Jerry cartoons...the ones that would cause you to race home from school everyday and wake up early on Saturdays.

Fred Quimby also produced many other cartoons - lots of Hanna/Barbera shorts, Tex Avery, and of course Droopy. It is Tom & Jerry though that is by far most prominent in my mind. Even as a little child, I remember at the end of each cartoon thinking "here comes 'Produced by Fred Qumiby.'" It wasn't until my late teen years when I was working with a huge fan of animation, that I actually start wondering who was Fred Quimby?

Before the age of widespread interwebicon, it was much more difficult finding out these types of answers. I went to my favorite book store and spent several afternoons reading about Fred. He was not what I expected. He was the head of MGM's cartoon studio...which is what I expected. I didn't think that he was a person that really didn't understand animation or even like cartoons. His name was always so prominently displayed after each cartoon, that I figured he was a huge fan of the art form and wanted to bring humor to the rest of the world. He was not and he was not well liked by most people he worked with. It is said that he really didn't even have a sense of humor. He was basically a middle manager between the artists and the front Tom on Office Space (Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to!! I have people skills!! I am good at dealing with people!!! Can't you understand that?!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!!!!!!!).

Since I looked him up, I have wondered "Was Fred happy with his job?" Did he enjoy what he was doing and take pride in the awards that he won? I hope so, because he brought a lot of good memories to a lot of people. For his influence you just have to look at The Simpsons - obviously Itchy & Scratchy are based on Tom & Jerry...and the Mayor has a son named Freddy Quimby, plus just the fact that Quimby is the mayor of a cartoon town. So here's to you Fred! I enjoyed your work, even if you were working a job you didn't particularly like (aren't we all at times). Thanks for all the memories.

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