Bill Melendez

Animator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

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. 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, 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 on June 23, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA.

"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 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
02:30
Bill Melendez on providing the voices for "Woodstock" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
05:29
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 being hired by Walt Disney in the animation department
04:40
Bill Melendez on his favorite and least favorite Charlie Brown Specials
03:10
Bill Melendez on how he'd like to be remembered
00:58
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 from working at Warner Bros. animation; on working with Mel Blanc at Warner Bros. animation; on his experiences during World War II
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 M. 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 M. 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 M. 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 M. Schulz, and on the longevity of their collaboration; on continuing to work 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

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

Cathy Specials, The

View Show Page
Bill Melendez on producing The Cathy Specials
00:53

Charlie Brown Specials

View Show Page
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 M. Schulz
04:41
Bill Melendez on A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on "Snoopy" fighting the Red Baron
03:01
Bill Melendez on Charles M. 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
04:47
Bill Melendez on his and others' initial reaction to the finished product of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on it later becoming a classic
02:51
Bill Melendez on animating It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
02:30
Bill Melendez on animating You're in Love, Charlie Brown
01:47
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?
02:43
Bill Melendez on animating It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
01:29
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
01:14
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 M. 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
05:29
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
03:10
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

View Show Page
Bill Melendez on animating The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show
02:50

Garfield Specials

View Show Page
Bill Melendez on producing two Garfield Specials
01:12

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

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

Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, The

View Show Page
Bill Melendez on producing The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant
09:49

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1974)

View Show Page
Bill Melendez on producing Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus
02:01
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Bill Melendez on advice to an aspiring animator
01:41

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Bill Melendez on his experiences during World War II
03:19

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:53

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Bill Melendez on Disney animators going on strike in 1941 and Walt Disney's reaction to the strike
02:35
Bill Melendez on the Disney animators strike of 1941, on the leader of the strike, and Walt Disney's response to the strike
08:00
Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:53

Industry Strikes

View Topic
Bill Melendez on Disney animators going on strike in 1941 and Walt Disney's reaction to the strike
02:35
Bill Melendez on the Disney animators strike of 1941, on the leader of the strike, and Walt Disney's response to the strike
08:00

Television Industry

View Topic
Bill Melendez on Disney animators going on strike in 1941 and Walt Disney's reaction to the strike
02:35
Bill Melendez on the Disney animators strike of 1941, on the leader of the strike, and Walt Disney's response to the strike
08:00
Bill Melendez on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:53
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
Bill Melendez on the then-current state of animation on television
02:04

War

View Topic
Bill Melendez on his experiences during World War II
03:19

World War II

View Topic
Bill Melendez on his experiences during World War II
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
03:42
Bill Melendez on the difference in style between Disney and Warner Bros. animation
03:20
Bill Melendez on what he learned from working at Warner Bros. animation
03:53
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating Peanuts for Charles M. Schulz
02:10
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles M. 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
03:42
Bill Melendez on the difference in style between Disney and Warner Bros. animation
03:20
Bill Melendez on what he learned from working at Warner Bros. animation
03:53
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating Peanuts for Charles M. Schulz
02:10
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles M. 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 re-purposed for The Bugs Bunny Show)
02:01
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
01:12
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 M .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

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

Mel Blanc

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

Bob Clampett

View Person Page
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
08:00
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

View Interview Page
Bill Melendez on meeting producer Lee Mendelson, and being hired to animate the "Peanuts" gang
04:14
Bill Melendez on the role of Lee Mendelson on A Charlie Brown Christmas
04:47

Maurice Noble

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

Charles M. Schulz

View Person Page
Bill Melendez on Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz
02:25
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating the "Peanuts" characters for the Charlie Brown Specials, and on working with Charles M. Schulz
04:41
Bill Melendez on Charles M. 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 M. Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on the death of Charles M. Schulz, and on the longevity of their collaboration
05:30
Bill Melendez on the legacy of Charles M. Schulz
01:50

All Interviews

Q
S