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I Say, I Say... Son! :
A Tribute to Legendary Animators Bob, Chuck, and Tom McKimson

Book Review by Jon Cooke



The short review: If you love classic Warner Brothers cartoons (and I assume anyone reading this website does), then this book is a must-own addition to your bookshelf.

cover
Order now from Amazon.com

Robert McKimson Jr.'s I Say, I Say... Son! is an absolutely wonderful, artwork-filled coffee table book tribute to his father, animator/director Bob McKimson and his uncles, Chuck and Tom McKimson.

Directors Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng have been honored with lavish books and documentaries in the past, but McKimson has always been overlooked in that regard. Sadly, Bob McKimson Sr. passed away in 1977 and never saw the renewed interest in the Warner cartoons that exploded during the 1980s and 1990s.

Bob was the longest continual employee with Warner cartoons, with a career spanning from the 1930s with Harman and Ising to the studio's final days (in fact, he directed the studio's final theatrical cartoon in 1969). He animated some of the greatest moments in the cartoons of Bob Clampett and Tex Avery, drew what is considered the "definitive" model sheet of Bugs Bunny, and during his years as director introduced such characters as Foghorn Leghorn, the Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester Junior and Hippety Hopper to the stable of Warner cartoon stars. His brothers, Tom and Chuck, also played a large role in the look and design of the Warner characters, with a lengthy career designing merchandise and working on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comic books.

The book chronicles the McKimsons' careers that begin with their earliest creation, a bear named "Binko" who appeared in four cartoons which were never completed for a company called Romer Grey Pictures. The book is beautifully laid out and features hundreds of rare pictures: photos, drawings, animation cels, newspaper clippings, photographs. This book is a feast for the eyes. As others have noted, the book does feature some artwork from limited edition cels based on McKimson drawings, but I didn't really find them distracting.

The text may seem a bit basic for some, but it serves its purpose. The real star of this book is the incredible artwork. I still found it very interesting and even as a lifelong Warner cartoon buff, I found things in this book I didn't know before. I also enjoyed how every major (and minor) character the McKimsons had a hand in got their own sidebar, everyone from Bugs, Daffy and Foghorn to Cool Cat, Rapid Rabbit and Bunny & Claude (seriously).

Even when I picked up the book a second time to write this review, I found myself sucked in once again admiring the artwork and appreciating just how big of role the McKimsons played in the history of WB cartoons. I say, this book comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED... worth-reading, that is!


Click here to order I SAY, I SAY... SON!

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All cartoon characters are © and TM their respective owners. Images © Warner Home Video.
Textual content © 2012 by Jon Cooke.
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