The Man Behind the Pencil

Sylvester © Cartoon Network

The name Hawley Pratt (1911-1999) probably cannot be separated from the name Friz Freleng (1906-1995).  Hawley, a highly competent animation layout artist, worked for cartoon director Freleng during the heyday of the Warner Brothers cartoons.  He later joined Friz at DePatie-Freleng studios, best remembered for the opening credits of the Pink Panther movie series, starring Peter Sellers.  I've long wondered if I'm related in any way to Hawley Pratt.  There seems to be something of a family resemblance, especially between Hawley and my father, George Pratt.  It would be nice if there were a connection, but I really have no idea if there is or not.  Click anywhere on the drawings of Sylvester at left to see the results of Hawley Pratt's contributions to the Academy Award™ winning cartoon Tweetie Pie (1947), when Sylvester was still called Thomas.  For more information about the cartoons produced for the Warner Brothers studios, especially how they've been treated over the years on television, click here.

This obituary for Hawley Pratt was published in the April, 1999 issue of the Animation World News:  Pink Panther Designer Dies  -  "Legendary Warner Bros. layout artist, Hawley Pratt, who worked predominantly under the direction of Friz Freleng, passed away March 4 at the age of 87.  "He was raised in New York City and ironically [shouldn't it be "fittingly"? - DogRat] graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the 1930s, Pratt became an artist at Walt Disney Studios but soon found himself at Warners where he worked on all of Freleng's Oscar-winning cartoons including Tweety Pie, Speedy Gonzalez and Birds Anonymous, and was nominated for an Oscar as director of the 1966 DePatie-Freleng short, The Pink Blueprint.  For the greater part of Friz Freleng's prolific career as a director, Pratt was his right-hand man providing not only the background layouts but also the character poses for all his cartoons. In addition, Pratt illustrated many Little Golden Books and Big Golden Books [one of them can be viewed on this page - DogRat], and was an animation director on The Incredible Mr. Limpet, along with Robert McKimson.  Pratt followed Friz to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (DFE) and is credited with designing the Pink Panther. While at DFE, Pratt directed numerous Pink Panther cartoons, the first few Roland and Ratfink films, the TV series The Super Six, and many specials, including The Cat In The Hat and The Lorax. Hawley Pratt retired from animation in the 1970s."

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(Thanks to my good friend Dennis Rogers for finding this book for me.)