Frank Tashlin (1913-1972) was born in New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York. As a teenager he worked as an errand boy, inker, and animator at several pioneering animation studios in New York. By 1933 he had moved to Hollywood, where he wrote and directed cartoon shorts for MGM and Warner Bros., and briefly served as head of production at Screen Gems. Tashlin also worked for a while at Disney Studios, helping to organize its embattled animators’ union. During his early years in California, Tashlin drew a syndicated pantomime-style cartoon strip called Van Boring, and during the Second World War, he worked on the military’s Private Snafu series (created by Frank Capra and Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel). Though he retired from animation in the mid-1940s, Tashlin is recognized as an influential stylist who brought cinematographic techniques and inventive “camera” angles to the medium. Moving from cartoons to live action, Tashlin worked for a time as a comedy writer before fulfilling his ambition to write and direct feature films. He is best known for his collaborations with Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope, and for screwball comedies like The Girl Can’t Help It
and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Tashlin has described The Bear That Wasn’t
(1946) as “precious and special to me.” It was followed by two more picture books, The ‘Possum That Didn’t
(1950) and The World That Wasn’t