Frank Tashlin: American animator, screenwriter, film director (1913 - 1972) | Biography
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Frank Tashlin
American animator, screenwriter, film director

Frank Tashlin

Frank Tashlin
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American animator, screenwriter, film director
Was Animator Screenwriter Film director
From United States of America
Field Creativity Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 19 February 1913, Weehawken, Hudson County, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Death 5 May 1972, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (aged 59 years)
Star sign Pisces
Spouse: Mary Costa
The details (from wikipedia)


Francis Fredrick von Taschlein (February 19, 1913 – May 5, 1972), better known by his stage name Frank Tashlin, was an American animator, cartoonist, comics artist, children's writer, illustrator, screenwriter, and film director. He was also known as Tish Tash and Frank Tash.

Animator and brief career as cartoonist

'The Chow Hound', Private Snafu cartoon directed by Frank Tashlin in 1944

Born in Weehawken, New Jersey, Tashlin drifted from job to job after dropping out of high school in New Jersey at age 13. In 1930, he started working for John Foster as a cartoonist on the Aesop's Fables cartoon series, then worked briefly for Amadee J. Van Beuren, but he was just as much a drifter in his animation career as he had been as a teenager. Tashlin joined Leon Schlesinger's cartoon studio at Warner Bros. as an animator in 1933, where he was noted as a fast animator. He used his free time to start his own comic strip in 1934 called Van Boring, inspired by former boss Van Beuren, which ran for three years. He signed his comic strip "Tish Tash," and used the same name for his cartoon credits (at the time it was considered extremely unprofessional to use anything except one's birth name among animators, but Tashlin was able to get away with this due to the anti-Germanic feelings of that era). Tashlin was fired from the studio when he refused to give Schlesinger a cut of his comic strip revenues. He joined the Ub Iwerks studio in 1934. He moved to Hal Roach's studio in 1935 as a writer.

He returned to Schlesinger in 1936 as an animation director, where his diverse interest and knowledge of the industry brought a new understanding of camerawork to the Warners directors."He used all different kinds of camera angles, montages, and pan shots,vertical and horizontal." He directed 16 or 17 shorts from 1936 to 1938. He was making 150 dollars a week. At one point he had an argument with studio manager Henry Binder and resigned. In 1938, he worked for Disney in the story department, where he made 50 dollars a week.

Afterward, he served as production manager at Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems animation studio in 1941. He effectively ran the studio and hired many former Disney staffers who had left as a result of the Disney animators' strike. He launched The Fox and the Crow series, one of the better products of the studio. He was fired over an argument with the executives of Columbia.

Tashlin rejoined the Warner directors of "Termite Terrace" in 1943. One of his directorial efforts was Porky Pig's Feat. He stayed with the studio during World War II and worked on numerous wartime shorts, including the Private Snafu educational films. Shortly after he left Warner Bros. in September 1946, he directed some stop-motion puppet films for John Sutherland. Robert McKimson took over his Warner's unit.

His only Bugs Bunny shorts were The Unruly Hare and Hare Remover. The latter was also his last credit at Warner Bros.

Martha Sigall described him as "Here today, gone tomorrow. Now you see him, now you don't. That was Frank Tashlin, who would be working at Leon Schlesinger's one day, and, suddenly, gone the next day."

Film director and writer

Tashlin moved on from animation in 1946 to become a gag writer for the Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, and others, and as a screenwriter for stars such as Bob Hope and Red Skelton. His live-action films still echo elements of his animation background; Tashlin peppered them with unlikely sight gags, breakneck pacing, and unexpected plot twists.

Tashlin began his career directing feature films when he was asked to finish directing the 1951 film The Lemon Drop Kid starring Bob Hope.

Beginning with the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It, with its satirical look at early rock and roll, Tashlin had a streak of commercial successes with the Martin and Lewis film Hollywood or Bust in 1956, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? in 1957, which, like 1956's The Girl Can't Help It, starred actress and Playboy model Jayne Mansfield, and six of Jerry Lewis' early solo films (Rock-A-Bye Baby, The Geisha Boy, Cinderfella, It's Only Money, Who's Minding the Store?, and The Disorderly Orderly). Many of these have attained cult status.

Moreover, in the 1950s Tashlin came to the approving attention of French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, in reviews that the director dismissed as "all this philosophical double-talk." Also, Rock Hunter's broad, colorful satire of Madison Avenue advertising earned it a spot on the National Film Registry in 2000. In 2014, his stop-motion animation short The Way of Peace was also added to the Registry.

In the 1960s, Tashlin's films lost some of their spark, and his career ended in the latter part of that decade, along with those of most of the stars with whom he had worked. His final film was The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell starring Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller in 1968. He made a brief return at MGM in the 1960s to produce the animated film The Bear that Wasn't, based on his own book (see below).


Tashlin wrote and illustrated three books, The Bear That Wasn't (1946), The Possum That Didn't (1950), and The World That Isn't (1951). These are often referred to as "children's books" although all contained satirical elements; The Bear That Wasn't was adapted as an animated cartoon by Tashlin's former Warner Bros. colleague, Chuck Jones, in 1967. Another children's story which Tashlin wrote in 1949 was recorded by Spike Jones: How the Circus Learned to Smile. Tashlin also wrote and self-published an instructional booklet entitled How to Create Cartoons (about cartoon drawing, not animation) in 1952.


Tashlin died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being stricken with a coronary three days before at his Beverly Hills home. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.


As director and supervisor

Complete listing except for cartoon shorts at studios other than Warner Bros. from 1933 to 1946.
  • "Porky's Poultry Plant" (1936) first animated short with Warner Bros.
  • "Little Beau Porky" (1936)
  • "Porky in the North Woods" (1936)
  • "Porky's Road Race" (1937)
  • "Porky's Romance" (1937)
  • "Porky's Building" (1937)
  • "Porky's Railroad" (1937)
  • "Speaking of the Weather" (1937)
  • "The Case of the Stuttering Pig" (1937)
  • "Porky's Double Trouble" (1937)
  • "The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos" (1937)
  • "Porky at the Crocadero" (1938)
  • "Now That Summer Is Gone" (1938)
  • "Porky the Fireman" (1938)
  • "Have You Got Any Castles?" (1938)
  • "Porky's Spring Planting" (1938)
  • "The Major Lied 'Til Dawn" (1938)
  • "Wholly Smoke" (1938)
  • "Cracked Ice" (1938)
  • "Little Pancho Vanilla" (1938)
  • "You're an Education" (1938)
  • "Porky Pig's Feat" (1943)
  • "Scrap Happy Daffy" (1943)
  • "The Goldbrick" (1943)
  • "The Home Front" (1943)
  • "Puss n' Booty" (1943)
  • "I Got Plenty of Mutton" (1944)
  • "Swooner Crooner" (1944)
  • "The Chow Hound" (1944)
  • "Brother Brat" (1944)
  • "Censored" (1944)
  • "Plane Daffy" (1944)
  • "Booby Hatched" (1944)
  • "The Stupid Cupid" (1944)
  • "The Unruly Hare" (1945)
  • "Behind the Meat-Ball" (1945)
  • "Tale of Two Mice" (1945)
  • "Nasty Quacks" (1945)
  • "Hare Remover" (1946) last animated short with Warner Bros.
  • The Way of Peace (1947) short puppet film, financed by the Lutheran Church in America
  • The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) (uncredited co-director)
  • The First Time (1952)
  • Son of Paleface (1952)
  • Marry Me Again (1953)
  • Susan Slept Here (1954)
  • Artists and Models (1955)
  • The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956)
  • The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
  • Hollywood or Bust (1956)
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
  • Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958)
  • The Geisha Boy (1958)
  • Say One for Me (1959)
  • Cinderfella (1960)
  • Bachelor Flat (1962)
  • It's Only Money (1962)
  • The Man from the Diner's Club (1963)
  • Who's Minding the Store? (1963)
  • The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
  • The Alphabet Murders (1965)
  • The Glass Bottom Boat also known as The Spy in Lace Panties (1966)
  • Caprice (1967)
  • The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968)

As writer

As screenwriter, unless otherwise indicated. Complete listing except for cartoon shorts from 1935 to 1946.
  • A Night in Casablanca (1946) (uncredited)
  • Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) (uncredited)
  • The Way of Peace (1947 short)
  • Variety Girl (1947)
  • The Fuller Brush Man (1948)
  • One Touch of Venus (1948)
  • The Paleface (1948)
  • Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)
  • Love Happy (1949)
  • A Woman of Distinction (1949) (additional dialogue)
  • The Good Humor Man (1950)
  • Kill the Umpire (1950) (also story)
  • The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)
  • The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
  • The First Time (1952)
  • Son of Paleface (1952)
  • Marry Me Again (1953)
  • Red Garters (1954) (uncredited)
  • 5 Against the House (1955) (uncredited)
  • Artists and Models (1955)
  • The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956)
  • The Scarlet Hour (1956) (also story)
  • The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) (uncredited)
  • The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
  • Hollywood or Bust (1956) (uncredited contributing writer)
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) (also story)
  • Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958) (also story)
  • The Geisha Boy (1958) (also story)
  • Cinderfella (1960)
  • Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961) (uncredited)
  • Bachelor Flat (1962)
  • Gigot (1962) (uncredited)
  • Who's Minding the Store? (1963)
  • The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
  • Caprice (1967)
  • The Bear That Wasn't (1967 animated short) (story)
  • The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968)
  • The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)

As producer

  • The Girl Can't Help It (1956)
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
  • Say One for Me (1959)
  • The Bear That Wasn't (1967 animated short)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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