• DePatie–Freleng Enterprises

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    DePatie–Freleng Enterprises, Inc. (also known as Mirisch–Geoffrey–DePatie–Freleng Productions when involved with the Mirisch brothers and Geoffrey Productions; and DFE Films ) was an American animation production company that was active from 1963 to 1981. Based in Burbank , DFE produced animation for film and television. Notable among these are the opening titles for The Pink Panther and an associated series of theatrical shorts featuring the Pink Panther character, entries in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series from 1964-1967, the

    lightsaber effects in the original Star Wars , and the Dr. Seuss television specials.



    DFE was founded by two former employees at Warner Bros. Cartoons , director/composer/producer Friz Freleng and executive David H. DePatie , after Warner Bros. closed its animation studio in 1963. [1] Although Freleng and DePatie were no longer working for Warner Bros., a generous gesture from a Warner executive allowed Freleng and DePatie to lease the former Warner cartoons studio on California Street in Burbank, complete with equipment and supplies for a few dollars each year. Although DFE's initial business was commercials and industrial films, several lucky breaks put the new studio into the theatrical cartoon business.

    Director Blake Edwards contacted DFE and asked them to design a panther character for Edwards's new film, The Pink Panther . Pleased with the design for the character, Edwards contracted with DFE to produce the animated

    titles for the film. Upon the film's release, the titles garnered a tremendous amount of attention, so much that a large amount of the picture's gross is believed to have been generated by the success of DFE's title sequence.

    DFE soon agreed to a contract with

    United Artists to produce a series of cartoon shorts featuring the Pink Panther, which would include over 100 shorts for both theatrical release and television through 1980. Also in 1964, Freleng and DePatie's old employer, Warner Bros., contracted with DFE to produce new Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons for television. [2]

    DePatie and Freleng found themselves overflowing with work. Many of the animators who had worked at Warner Bros. in the 1950s and 1960s returned to the old Warner cartoon studio to work for DFE. The first entry in the Pink Panther series, The Pink Phink, was directed by Freleng and won the studio its only Academy Award in 1964. In 1967, DFE would receive another Academy Award nomination for The Pink Blueprint.

    The Pink Panther and other television series

    The Pink Panther theatrical series of cartoons became the basis of a Saturday morning television series, The Pink Panther Show , which also included theatrical cartoons of The Inspector and eventually The Ant and the Aardvark , Roland and Rattfink , and

    The Texas Toads (Tijuana Toads). Like most animated television cartoons at the time, The Pink Panther Show contained a laugh track with narration. The cartoons were edited and in some cases re-dubbed to meet television

    standards and practices for content.

    The Pink Panther Show had several incarnations during the 1970s. The show was very popular on NBC's Saturday morning line-up, starting as a half-hour program and expanding a few years later to 90 minutes each week. The studio provided the animated sequences for the 1969–1970 television series My World and Welcome to It based on the drawings of

    James Thurber . DFE was one of the subcontractors for the 1964–1967 Warner Bros. cartoons, along with

    Format Productions .

    The Looney Tunes/ Merrie Melodies shorts made by the studio can be easily identified by their modernized "Abstract WB" opening and closing sequences (although the "Abstract WB" opening and closing sequences were first used in three cartoons made by Warner Bros. Cartoons). However, select 1964-1967 DePatie-Freleng Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (most notably those directed by Rudy Larriva ) were panned by fans and critics alike. [3] DFE did not continue doing Warner cartoon work until the late 1970s/early 1980s, with the TV specials Bugs Bunny's Easter Special (1977), Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979), and Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement (1980).

    DFE also created Return to the Planet of the Apes , which ran on NBC from 1975 to 1976 and The Oddball Couple, which ran on Saturday mornings on ABC from 1975 to 1977. One of the studio's television specials was The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (1973), with Tommy Smothers voicing the little bear who goes out to find Christmas (in the human world) while his fellow bears head for hibernation. DFE was also responsible for a number of Dr. Seuss specials, including The Cat In The Hat and different incarnations of

    The Grinch .

    Later years

    Inflation, the increasing costs of producing theatrical cartoons, and the pressures of producing TV series caused the quality of DFE's output to drop in the mid-to-late 1970s. In 1981, Freleng and DePatie sold DFE Films to

    Marvel Comics , and Freleng returned to

    Warner Bros. Animation, which Warner Bros. had re-opened the previous year, to produce a series of feature films featuring vintage Warner cartoons with new connecting footage. DePatie made the transition to become the head of

    Marvel Productions , as DFE was renamed. The DePatie-Freleng name was later revived in-name-only in 1984 for Pink Panther and Sons , which was otherwise entirely produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions .

    Although Marvel produced mainly superhero cartoons and animated series based on licensed toy lines (including Hasbro properties), it continued to produce new productions starring the Pink Panther (a special for television Pink at First Sight and motion picture titles for Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther ). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation would later make a 1993 revival show of the Pink Panther as a joint venture between MGM, Mirisch-Geoffrey-DePatie-Freleng and United Artists, a decade after DFE's merger with Marvel and Mirisch/UA's merger into MGM.

    In 1993, Marvel Productions was renamed to New World Animation , and was completely absorbed in 1996 after

    News Corporation purchased New World Entertainment , ending the life of the studio that once was DFE. Marvel would eventually continue to produce animated shows through a partnership with Saban Entertainment , which had recently acquired a 50% stake in Fox Kids . In 2001, Fox Family Worldwide (which included Saban Entertainment ) were sold to The Walt Disney Company .

    Subsequent ownership

    In 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment , bringing DFE's libraries of all-original and Marvel Comics-based cartoons full circle under one roof; all of these properties are now distributed by

    Disney–ABC Domestic Television . The Dr. Seuss specials animated by DFE are currently distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment through the Dr. Seuss estate.

    While the television catalog has often changed hands over the years, the theatrical cartoons continue to be owned by their original distributors: United Artists (via its current corporate parent, MGM ) for The Mirisch Company cartoon library and Warner Bros. for the

    Looney Tunes/ Merrie Melodies cartoons.

    List of theatrical and television cartoons

    In a short time, DFE began producing television shows as well as theatricals and specials, becoming a competitor to

    Hanna-Barbera and Filmation. The studio's various cartoons, specials and shows are listed below.

    Theatrical series

    Original series

    Title Years Notes

    The Pink Panther


    1978–1980 cartoons were originally broadcast on TV before they were screened in theaters.

    The Inspector


    Roland and Rattfink


    The Ant and the Aardvark


    Tijuana Toads


    The Blue Racer


    Hoot Kloot 1973–1975

    The Dogfather


    Commissioned series

    Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (for Warner Bros. , 1964–1967) [2]

    TV series

    Title Years Network Notes

    The Super 6 1966–1967 NBC

    Super President

    1967–1968 NBC

    Here Comes the Grump

    1969–1971 NBC

    The Pink Panther Show

    Misterjaw (shorts; 1976)

    Crazylegs Crane (shorts; 1978)




    co-producti with Unit Artists Televisio and Miri Films

    Doctor Dolittle

    1970–1971 NBC

    co-producti with 20t Century Televisio

    The Barkleys

    1972–1973 NBC

    The Houndcats

    1972–1973 NBC

    co-producti with

    Viacom Enterpris

    Bailey's Comets

    1973–1975 CBS

    The Oddball Couple 1975 ABC

    co-producti with

    Paramou Televisio

    Return to the Planet of the Apes

    1975–1976 NBC

    co-producti with 20t Century Televisio

    Baggy Pants and the Nitwits

    1977–1978 NBC

    What's New, Mr. Magoo?

    1977–1979 CBS

    co-producti with Unit Producti of Ameri

    The New Fantastic Four

    1978 NBC

    co-producti with Mar Comics Animatio


    1979–1980 ABC

    co-producti with Mar Comics Animatio

    Commissioned series

    Sesame Street ("The Pink Panther karate-chops a K") (for Children's Television Workshop) (1970)

    Doctor Snuggles (for Polyscope Productions, with Topcraft) (1979)

    TV specials

    Original specials

    Airdate Title Network Not

    April 7, 1970

    Goldilocks and the Three Bears


    co-produ with T Mirisc Comp

    March 10, 1971

    The Cat in the Hat CBS

    February 14, 1972 The Lorax CBS

    November 12, 1972

    Clerow Wilson and the Miracle of P.S. 14


    Stars come

    Flip Wi Many charac appear the sp includi

    Gerald Jones Revere Leroy.

    January 6, 1973

    Luvcast U.S.A. ABC


    The A Saturd Supers Movie

    February 7, 1973

    The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical Mystery Trip


    an AB Afters Specia

    October 15, 1973

    Dr. Seuss on the Loose


    December 17, 1973

    The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas

    NBC Owne


    April 3, 1974

    Clerow Wilson's Great Escape



    Clerow Wilson the Mir of P.S.

    May 15, 1974

    The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head


    an AB Afters Specia

    February 19, 1975

    The Hoober-Bloob Highway


    December 14, 1975

    The Tiny Tree NBC

    February 16, 1977

    My Mom's Having a Baby


    an AB Afters Specia co-produ with D Clark Produ

    October 29, 1977

    Halloween Is Grinch Night


    February 1, 1978

    Michel's Mixed-Up Musical Bird


    an AB Afters Specia

    December 7, 1978

    The Pink Panther in: A Pink Christmas


    February 22, 1980

    The Pink Panther in: Olym-Pinks


    March 5, 1980

    Where Do Teenagers Come From?


    an AB Afters Specia

    May 2, 1980

    Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?


    February 14, 1981

    The Pink Panther in: Pink at First Sight


    produ finishe Marvel Produ

    May 8, 1981

    Dennis the Menace in Mayday for Mother


    produ finishe Marvel Produ

    May 20, 1982

    The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat


    produ finishe Marvel Produ

    Commissioned specials

    Airdate Title Network Notes

    April 7, 1977

    Bugs Bunny's Easter Special


    for Warne Bros.

    November 27, 1979

    Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales


    for Warne Bros.

    April 1, 1980

    Daffy Duck's Easter Show


    for Warne Bros.

    TV commercials

    Time for Timer

    The Bod Squad

    Charlie the Tuna

    Little Caesars

    Film and television title design

    Pink Panther series

    The Pink Panther (1963)

    A Shot in the Dark (sub-contracted to

    George Dunning & Associates, 1964)

    Inspector Clouseau (sub-contracted to TVC London, 1968)

    The Return of the Pink Panther (sub-contracted to Richard Williams Studio, 1975)

    The Pink Panther Strikes Again (sub-contracted to Richard Williams Studio, 1976)

    Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

    Other films:

    The Dead Ringer (1964)

    The Best Man (1964)

    Sex and the Single Girl (1964)

    How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

    Love Has Many Faces (1965)

    The Satan Bug (1965)

    the maps used in The Hallelujah Trail (1965)

    The Art of Love (1965)

    The Great Race (1965)

    Do Not Disturb (1965)

    The Trouble with Angels (1966)

    the animated films parodying the Bell Telephone films in The President's Analyst (1967)

    With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)

    Star Wars (1977) (special effects)

    Capricorn One (1978) (special effects)

    other The TV series

    Rawhide (TV series, 1965) (season 8)

    The Wild Wild West (TV series, 1965)

    I Dream of Jeannie (TV series, 1965–1970)

    My World and Welcome to It (TV series, 1969–1971)

    The Wild Wild West Revisited (TV film, 1979)

    More Wild Wild West (TV film, 1979)

    Former Warner Bros. Cartoons employees at DePatie–Freleng

    In the beginning, DePatie–Freleng had virtually the same facilities, personnel and producer as Warner Bros. Cartoons. Although Chuck Jones would later work with DePate–Freleng on The Cat in the Hat, Jones and most of his group of artists ended up at Sib Tower 12 Productions independently producing new Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM.

    Although many DePatie–Freleng employees contributed greatly to the success of its product, story artist and Disney and Warner alumnus John W. Dunn created most of the studios' new cartoon series, both for theatrical release and for television. These series included The Ant & The Aardvark , The Tijuana Toads , Here Comes The Grump , and Roland and Ratfink , among others.

    Many of the DFE cartoons were written and storyboarded by Dunn, including the first Pink Panther cartoon, The Pink Phink. Dunn's drawing style also found its way into the DFE cartoons.

    The list below features many former Warner staffers, but also includes former Disney, MGM and Lantz staffers as well.


    Friz Freleng (founders)

    David H. DePatie (founders)

    Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss specials)

    Chuck Jones (The Cat in the Hat)


    Friz Freleng

    Hawley Pratt

    Robert McKimson

    Art Leonardi

    Gerry Chiniquy

    Art Davis

    Sid Marcus

    George Singer

    George Gordon

    Grant Simmons

    Cullen Blaine (credited as Cullen Houghtaling)


    John W. Dunn

    David Detiege

    Len Janson

    Don Jurwich

    Bob Kurtz

    Jim Ryan

    Nick Bennion

    Al Bertino

    Tom Dagenais

    Dale Hale

    Michael O'Connor

    Sid Marcus

    Irv Spector


    Carl Esser

    Sarah Kennedy

    Karen Smith

    Kathy Gori

    Frank Welker

    Jim Begg

    Rip Taylor

    Paul Frees

    John Byner

    Mel Blanc

    Daws Butler

    Larry Storch

    Ralph James

    Arte Johnson

    Hal Smith

    Gege Pearson

    Joan Gerber

    Stan Freberg

    Pat Harrington, Jr.

    Gonzales Gonzales

    June Foray

    Bob Holt

    Don Messick

    Allan Sherman

    Paul Winchell

    Hans Conried

    Thurl Ravenscroft

    Arnold Stang

    Rich Little

    Laura Olsher

    Marvin Miller

    Lennie Weinrib

    Dave Barry


    William Lava

    Herman Stein

    Doug Goodwin

    Irving Gertz

    Walter Greene

    Henry Mancini

    Dean Elliott

    Joe Raposo

    Steve DePatie


    1. ^ "Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age of Looney Tunes – Video Dailymotion" . Dailymotion . 2011-07-20. Retrieved


    2. ^ a b http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/2010/12/david-h-depatie-interview-part-1.html

    3. ^ "Misce-Looney-Ous: That Wasn't All, Folks!: Warner Bros. Cartoons 1964-1969" , intanibase.com/

    External links

    Unofficial DePatie-Freleng website

    DePatie-Freleng Enterprises at the

    Big Cartoon DataBase

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