Large Association of Movie Blogs
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, August 12, 2022

Remembering Tedd Pierce

Today is the natal anniversary of Warner Bros. cartoons storyman and voice artist Tedd Pierce (August 12, 1906 – February 19, 1972), seen in the following photo with fellow Termite Terrace story ace Mike Maltese on the left and producer Henry Binder on the right.

The thoroughly mind-rotted gang of magnificent but also mediocre, mush-mouthed and meandering Merrie Melodies mavens here at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog have wondered if anyone has posted about Tedd Pierce. The answer is, for the most part no, although Mr. Pierce is among those noted in Jerry Beck's fascinating and informative Cartoon Research post about the animation studio's internal gazette, the Warner Club News.

Tedd Pierce's voice work and writing for the Fleischer Studio, in between two stints at Warner Brothers, presents another topic of great interest to animation buffs. At Fleischer's, he and fellow gagman/actor Cal Howard both worked in front of and behind the cameras. Tedd Pierce plays the despicable Wazzir, uber-bad guy in the third 2-reel Popeye special, ALADDIN & HIS WONDERFUL LAMP.

He would also portray bombastic King Bombo in GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.

Pierce also did a great job as the avaracious Edward Arnold/Lionel Barrymore style ultra-villain C. Bagley Beetle in MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN, played the crook with extra relish.

There are other Fleischer cartoons in which Pierce is given screen credit for story, such as PROBLEM PAPPY (1941), but this writer is momentarily stumped as to whether Tedd also contributed voice characterizations. No doubt such experts on voice acting as Keith Scott would know.

Back to the topic of articles which mention Tedd Pierce, who worked with Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones and Robert McKimson, Don M. Yowp, on Tralfaz, wrote an excellent piece, The Cartoon That Jack Built, about a famous Warner Bros. cartoon Tedd worked on.

That would be The Mouse That Jack Built, one of two cartoons Robert McKimson made with the cast of the Jack Benny radio and TV show. I like the cartoon more than Yowp does, but will concede the difficulties in translating the verbal wit of radio, even with a cast full of comedy greats, to animation.

Devon Baxter of Peg Bar Profiles, in the Baxter's Breakdown's feature on Cartoon Research, devoted a fair amount of his post about Bob McKimson's very funny fairytale sendup, The Turn-Tale Wolf, to Tedd Pierce.

One voice Tedd Pierce was credited with on three WB cartoons was the Bud Abbott in Babbitt & Catstello.

"Give me the bird! Give me the bird! If only the Hays Office would let me, I'd give him the boyd, all right!"

In addition to the aforementioned outstanding Cartoon Research posts, there's David Germain's 2009 post about Pepe Le Pew (who Chuck Jones, in his 1989 book Chuck Amuck The Life & Times Of An Animated Cartoonist claimed he patterned on the girl-chasing Tedd Pierce) and from Scott Ross' blog, PLUSSING IT: ISADORE “FRIZ” FRELENG (PART TWO), from a continuing series about the animation of Friz Freleng.

In the 1940's Tedd Pierce's handiwork (story and voice characterizations) turns up in quite a few Chuck Jones cartoons.

On the sub-topic of animation directors and writers who doubled as voice artists (Pierce, Bill Scott, Ben Hardaway, Cal Howard, Jack Mercer, Tex Avery and, more recently, John Kricfalusi and the late, great Joe Ranft), the Wikipedia entry for Tedd Pierce, echoed in the Looney Tunes wiki, credits him with specific voices for a bunch of cartoons. Do not have studio records to confirm how accurate this, or the listing in Pierce's Behind The Voice Actors entry is. IMDB proves even more questionable and credits Tedd Pierce with voice work on Screen Gems cartoons. Don't know where IMDB got this information. Not under the impression that Pierce followed Henry Binder to Screen Gems (along with Dave Monahan, Cal Howard and, very briefly, Bob Clampett) during that studio's last gasp in 1945-1946. Would need experts to confirm. . .

By the 1950's, after teaming up with Mike Maltese, Tedd was the principal storyman for the Bob McKimson crew at Warner Bros. Animation.

When Warner Bros. animation closed in June 1953, Pierce would go to UPA and contribute stories to a couple of cartoons there.

With his writing collaborator, Bill Danch, Tedd Pierce worked on The Jim Backus Show and The Alvin Show.

As the 1960's progressed, Pierce & Danch would write WB and Walter Lantz cartoons and also be among the screenwriters who penned the George Peppard-Mary Tyler Moore romantic comedy What's So Bad About Being Good, co-starring New York City, a toucan and Dom DeLuise.

In closing, have read that Tedd actually wrote one of this blogger's all-time favorite jokes ever in a film, animation or live-action. That would be the "beavers damming the river" bit in the Chuck Jones cartoon, THE EAGER BEAVER.

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