Bill Melendez

Animator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Bill Melendez (1916-2008) speaks about his beginnings at Walt Disney Studios and later at Warner Bros., where he animated cartoons featuring popular characters including Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He also discusses his work for United Productions of America and John Sutherland Productions. Next, Mr. Melendez describes his early collaboration with comic strip artist Charles M. Schulz on commercials featuring the "Peanuts" characters and explains how that became a career-long partnership on over fifty animated Peanuts television specials. He discusses in detail some of those projects, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. He also touches on the various Peanuts feature films and television series, including the animated miniseries This is America, Charlie Brown. Finally, Mr. Melendez speaks of other projects he has produced through his production company, including the animated The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, as well as animated specials featuring comic strip characters "Garfield" and "Cathy." Jennifer Howard conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on June 23, 2001.

"Charles Schulz said, 'I’m a strip artist. You certainly couldn’t draw my script. You’re an animator, and I certainly couldn’t animate the way you animate. You do your thing, I’ll do my thing and we’ll be very happy together.' And that’s exactly what happened."  

Highlights
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
02:47
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating Peanuts for Charles Schulz
02:11
Bill Melendez on the importance of casting voices for cartoons, like Peanuts
02:40
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
03:40
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on being hired by Walt Disney in the animation department
On the early in-house animation process at Disney, and on what he learned there; on the style of animation employed when he was at Disney, and the rules for specific characters; on Walt Disney, and on Disney's animators going on strike

Chapter 2

On the animators strike against Walt Disney, and on Disney's hurt feelings over it; on various features he worked on at Disney including "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia"
On going to work for Warner Bros. as an assistant animator to Bob Clampett; on the difference in style between Disney and Warner Bros. animation; on working with Tex Avery at Warner Bros. animation
On working with Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. animation; on working with Maurice Noble and Frank Tashlin at Warner Bros. animation; on drawing the Warner Bros. characters

Chapter 3

On what he learned working at Warner Bros. animation; on working with Mel Blanc at Warner Bros. animation; on his World War II experience
On leaving Warner Bros.; on going to work animating for UPA, the studio that produced "Madeline," "Mr. McGoo," and "Gerald McBoing Boing"; on animators he worked with at UPA
On going to work as an animator for producer John Sutherland; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on the first time he saw television

Chapter 4

On working for Playhouse Pictures animating spots for Ford Motor Company; on Peanuts creator Charles Schulz; on meeting producer Lee Mendelson, and being hired to animate the Peanuts gang for A Charlie Brown Christmas
On the challenges of animating the Peanuts characters for the Charlie Brown Specials; on A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on "Snoopy" fighting the Red Baron
On Charles Schulz casting the voices for A Charlie Brown Christmas; on Linus reading from the bible at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas; on the Vince Guaraldi score of the Charlie Brown Specials

Chapter 5

On the content of the Ford Motor Company commercials featuring the Peanuts gang; on the characters of "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials; on the characters of "Linus" and "Lucy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
On the role of Lee Mendelson on A Charlie Brown Christmas; on his and others initial reaction to the finished product of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on it later becoming a classic; on animating It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
On animating You're in Love, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; on animating It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown and What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?; on animating It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown and Why, Charlie Brown, Why?

Chapter 6

On animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?; on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles Schulz
On how the Peanuts characters have evolved over the years on the Charlie Brown Specials; on providing the voices for "Woodstock" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials; on the adult voices on the Charlie Brown Specials

Chapter 7

On the holiday centered Charlie Brown Specials, and on the themes of the shows; on his favorite and least favorite Charlie Brown Specials; on animating the Peanuts feature films
On animating The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and This is America, Charlie Brown; on his production company; on producing The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant and Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Chapter 8

On opening a production office in London; on animating The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe; on producing two Garfield Specials, The Cathy Specials, and Peanuts straight-to-video specials
On producing Frosty Returns; on the death and legacy of Charles Schulz, and on the longevity of their collaboration; on keeping on working in his later years, and on awards
On advice to an aspiring animator; on the then-current state of animation on television; on career highlights and regrets, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bugs Bunny Show, The

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Bill Melendez on drawing the Warner Bros. characters (for theatrical short subjects and later repurposed for The Bugs Bunny Show)
02:01

Cathy Specials, The

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Bill Melendez on producing The Cathy Specials
00:53

Charlie Brown Specials

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Bill Melendez on meeting producer Lee Mendelson, and being hired to animate the Peanuts gang for A Charlie Brown Christmas
04:14
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating the Peanuts characters for the Charlie Brown Specials, and on working with Charles Schulz
04:41
Bill Melendez on A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on "Snoopy" fighting the Red Baron
03:01
Bill Melendez on Charles Schulz casting the voices for A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:45
Bill Melendez on "Linus" reading from the bible at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas
01:35
Bill Melendez on the Vince Guaraldi score of the Charlie Brown Specials
02:47
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
03:40
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Linus" and "Lucy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:45
Bill Melendez on the role of Lee Mendelson on A Charlie Brown Christmas
04:48
Bill Melendez on his and others initial reaction to the finished product of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on it later becoming a classic
02:52
Bill Melendez on animating It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
02:30
Bill Melendez on animating You're in Love, Charlie Brown
01:48
Bill Melendez on animating A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
00:33
Bill Melendez on animating It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
00:46
Bill Melendez on animating It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
01:48
Bill Melendez on animating What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
02:45
Bill Melendez on animating It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
01:29
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
01:16
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
02:47
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on how the Peanuts characters have evolved over the years on the Charlie Brown Specials
02:05
Bill Melendez on providing the voices for "Woodstock" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
05:31
Bill Melendez on the adult voices on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:13
Bill Melendez on the holiday centered Charlie Brown Specials, and on the themes of the shows
04:42
Bill Melendez on his favorite and least favorite Charlie Brown Specials
03:11
Bill Melendez on animating This is America, Charlie Brown
02:12
Bill Melendez on producing Peanuts straight-to-video specials
01:26

Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, The

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Bill Melendez on animating The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show
02:51

Garfield Specials

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Bill Melendez on producing two Garfield Specials
01:13

Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, The (1979)

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Bill Melendez on animating The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
02:19

Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, The

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Bill Melendez on producing The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant
09:49
Topics

Advice

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Bill Melendez on advice to an aspiring animator
01:41

Historic Events and Social Change

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Bill Melendez on his World War II experience
03:19

Hollywood Blacklist

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Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:53

Industry Crossroads

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Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:53

Television Industry

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Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
Bill Melendez on his production company
02:27
Bill Melendez on opening a production office in London
02:55
Bill Melendez on advice to an aspiring animator
01:41

War

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Bill Melendez on his World War II experience
03:19

World War II

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Bill Melendez on his World War II experience
03:19
Professions

Animation Professionals

View Profession
Bill Melendez on the early in-house animation process at Disney, and on what he learned there
03:03
Bill Melendez on the style of animation employed when he was at Disney, and the rules for specific characters
03:43
Bill Melendez on the difference in style between Disney and Warner Bros. animation
03:20
Bill Melendez on what he learned working at Warner Bros. animation
03:53
Bill Melendez on the importance of casting voices for cartoons, like Peanuts
02:40
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on advice to an aspiring animator
01:41

Animator

View Profession
Bill Melendez on the early in-house animation process at Disney, and on what he learned there
03:03
Bill Melendez on the style of animation employed when he was at Disney, and the rules for specific characters
03:43
Bill Melendez on the difference in style between Disney and Warner Bros. animation
03:20
Bill Melendez on what he learned working at Warner Bros. animation
03:53
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating Peanuts for Charles Schulz
02:11
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on advice to an aspiring animator
01:41
Genres

Animation

View Genre
Bill Melendez on drawing the Warner Bros. characters (for theatrical short subjects and later repurposed for The Bugs Bunny Show)
01:51
Bill Melendez on animating the Charlie Brown Specials
21:28
Bill Melendez on animating the Charlie Brown Specials
26:00
Bill Melendez on animating the Charlie Brown Specials
28:50
Bill Melendez on animating The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
02:19
Bill Melendez on producing two Garfield Specials
01:13
Bill Melendez on producing The Cathy Specials
00:53
Bill Melendez on producing Frosty Returns
01:17

Commercials

View Genre
Bill Melendez on working for Playhouse Pictures animating spots for Ford Motor Company
02:04
Bill Melendez on animating spots for the Ford Falcon featuring Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters
04:32
Bill Melendez on the content of the Ford Motor Company commercials featuring the Peanuts gang
02:24
Bill Melendez on commercials produced by his production company
00:55
People

Tex Avery

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Bill Melendez on working with Tex Avery at Warner Bros. animation
02:28

Mel Blanc

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Bill Melendez on working with Mel Blanc at Warner Bros. animation
02:13

Bob Clampett

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Bill Melendez on going to work for Warner Bros. as an assistant animator to Bob Clampett
02:55

Walt Disney

View Person Page
Bill Melendez on Walt Disney, and on Disney's animators going on strike
02:35
Bill Melendez on the animators strike against Walt Disney, and on Disney's hurt feelings over it
08:02
Bill Melendez on various features he worked on at Disney including "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia"
06:02

Chuck Jones

View Interview Page
Bill Melendez on working with Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. animation
01:53

Lee Mendelson

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Bill Melendez on meeting producer Lee Mendelson, and being hired to animate the Peanuts gang
04:14

Maurice Noble

View Person Page
Bill Melendez on working with Maurice Noble and Frank Tashlin at Warner Bros. animation
01:47

Charles Schulz

View Person Page
Bill Melendez on Peanuts creator Charles Schulz
02:25
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating the Peanuts characters for the Charlie Brown Specials, and on working with Charles Schulz
04:41
Bill Melendez on Charles Schulz casting the voices for A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:45
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on the death of Charles Schulz, and on the longevity of their collaboration
05:30
Bill Melendez on the legacy of Charles Schulz
01:50

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