Hugh Harman

Hugh Harman (August 31, 1903 – November 25, 1982) was an American animator known for creating the Warner Bros. Cartoons and MGM Cartoons[1] and his collaboration with Rudolf Ising during the golden age of American animation. He began his work with Walt Disney in 1922, working on Disney's early Laugh-o-Gram toons. When that company went bankrupt, Harman and partner Rudolf Ising tried to start a new series based on the Arabian Nights, but were unable to obtain funding. Disney called them back when he began work for Charles Mintz, producing the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. After a dispute over pricing, Mintz forced out Disney and kept Harman and Ising on for another year, when they in turn were forced out (and replaced by a young Walter Lantz). Harman, Ising, and a few other ex-Disney animators put together a pilot short, "Bosko the Talkink Kid", which was used by producer Leon Schlesinger to obtain a contract with Warner Brothers' studios to produce animated cartoons. Harman and Ising started the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, and produced them for several years. After another argument over money (this time with Schlesinger), Harman and Ising left Warner Brothers for MGM in 1933. They produced quite a few "Happy Harmonies" for MGM until yet again they left over another financial arrangement. After MGM, Harman & Ising formed their own studio, but was not successful. MGM hired them back, but by this time their faux-Disney style of animation was out of fashion, and they found themselves eclipsed by the works of William Hanna & Joseph Barbera (whom they had hired) & Tex Avery. In the 40s and 50s, both men did some work for Walter Lantz Studios.

Hugh Harman
Born(1903-08-31)August 31, 1903
DiedNovember 25, 1982(1982-11-25) (aged 79)
Years active1920s–1982
FamilyFred Harman (brother)
Walker Harman (brother)

Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising signed a contract on October 3, 1939 to provide the major portion of MGM's cartoon product for the 1939-1940 production season. The contract spanned seven years and under it, Harman and Ising each would head a unit producing nine pictures (cartoons) annually. Fred Quimby would continue as head of the Metro (cartoon) department, and Milt Gross would continue his work on the current (1938-1939) product.

He was the brother of animators Fred Harman and Walker Harman.

MGM CartoonsEdit

In 1939, Harman created Peace on Earth, a downbeat morality tale about two squirrels discovering the evils of war, which was nominated for an Oscar.

In 1941, Harman left MGM and formed a new studio with Disney veteran Mel Shaw. The two took over Ub Iwerks' old studio in Beverly Hills, California, where they created training films for the United States Army.


  1. ^ Barrier, Michael. "Hugh Harman, An Interview". Retrieved 13 June 2019. The Warner Bros. and MGM studios owed their existence to Harman and Ising.

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