Monday, April 22, 2024


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Tashlin

Frank Tashlin was born Francis Fredrick Tashlein on February 19, 1913, in Hudson, New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Birth Index, at, and his World War II draft card. His parents were Charles F. Tashlein and Augustine Deloy Maury who married in 1912. The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), August 24, 1912, said 
Virginia Man Gets Marriage License Here
A marriage license was issued here yesterday to Charles F. Tashlein, of 620 West Grace street, Richmond, to wed Augustine Deloy Maury, age 30, dressmaker, of West Forty-eighth street, New York city. Tashlein’s first wife died in New York city May 13, 1911. Mrs. Maury’s first husband died in New York six years ago.
Tashlin and his parents have not yet been found in the 1920 United States Census. The 1925 New York state census counted the trio in Long Island City, Queens, New York at 465 Third Avenue. Tashlin’s father was a chauffeur. 

Tashlin has not yet been found in the 1930 census. 

According to Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television’s Award-winning and Legendary Animators (2006), Jeff Lenburg said Tashlin was “an errand boy and cel washer at New York’s fabled Fleischer Studios”. At age seventeen, he was an animation inker on Paul Terry’s Aesop’s Film Fables. Tashlin’s art training included correspondence courses of the Federal School of Applied Cartooning. The school’s quarterly publication, The Federal Illustrator, Summer 1932, said
Frank Tashlin has been connected with the Aesop Fables Studio in New York for two years. He reports nice, fat pay envelopes and extra checks for magazine illustrations which he is turning out under the name of “Tish Tash.”
Later Tashlin “moved” to the studio of producer Amedee J. Van Beuren who bought out Fables Pictures. In 1932, Tashlin began work on the Tom and Jerry series. 

The Federal Illustrator, Spring 1933, published Tashlin’s “Behind the Scenes in a Motion Picture Cartoon Studio”.

In 1933, Tashlin accepted Leon Schlesinger’s offer to work on Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series in California. 

A possible clue to Tashlin’s location was found on a passenger list at On August 5, 1933, his mother sailed on the steamship Virginia from New York. She arrived in the port of Los Angeles on August 19. The passenger list had her address as 2202 Holly Drive, Hollywood, California. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Tashlin created Van Boring which ran from January 6, 1934 to June 20, 1936. It was distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. From 1936 to 1938, Canada's Dominion News Bureau handled the series, presumably in reprints.



The Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1936, reported Tashlin’s upcoming wedding. 
Miss Dorothy Hill, fiancee of Frank Tashlin, whose wedding will take place next Saturday in Westwood Community Church, was guest of honor at a tea and linen shower given last Sunday by Mrs. Manly Nelson at her home at 10121 Tabor street.

Mrs. Jennings Brown will assist her sister as matron of honor and other attendants will include Misses Dorothy McCarthy, Mary Mahoney, Dorothy Melaby and Mrs. Nelson. George Manuel will serve as best man and ushers include Frank Hee, J. W. Jenkins, Nelson Demorest and Manly Nelson.
The Film Daily, October 26, 1936, said 
Leon Schlesinger, producer of “Looney Tunes,” and “Merrie Melodies,” entertained at his Beverly Hills home in honor of Frank Tashlin (“Tish Tash”) and his bride, Dorothy Marguerite Hill. Miss Hill, who sings on the Shell Chateau program, met Tashlin when she applied for an audition.
According to 1936 and 1938 California voter registrations, Tashlin was a Democrat who lived at 1833 1/4 Grace Avenue in Los Angeles. His mother was at 1833 1/2. 

The 1940 census counted Tashlin, his wife and two-year-old daughter, Patricia, in Los Angeles at 2013 North Highland Avenue. He was a story director whose highest level of education was three years of high school. In 1939 Tashlin earned $3,400. Almost five months later, Tashlin signed his World War Draft card on October 16, 1940. His address was 11605 Dilling Street. Walt Disney was his employer. Tashlin was described as six feet four inches, 220 pounds, with gray eyes and brown hair.

In 1941 Tashlin was working on Fox and the Crow cartoons at Columbia Pictures. The following year he was back at Warner Bros. In the second half of the 1940s, Tashlin pursued work in feature films by creating gags, screenwriting and directing. Tashlin’s screen credits include The Paleface (1948), The First Time (1952), Son of Paleface (1952), Artists and Models (1955), The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), Hollywood or Bust (1956), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957); The Geisha Boy (1958), The Disorderly Orderly (1964), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) and The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell (1968).

The 1950 census had the same address. Tashlin was a television director. 

Tashlin’s The Bear That Wasn’t was published by E.P. Dutton in 1946. It was reprinted by Dover Publications in 1995. In 1950 Farrar, Straus published his The ’Possum That Didn’t. The World That Isn’t saw print in 1951 from Simon and Schuster. Pageant, June 1952, published 16 pages of The World That Isn’t. Tashlin self-published How to Create Cartoons (1952). 

The Knoxville Journal (Tennessee), October 26, 1952, reported Tashlin’s engagement to Mary Costa who was the voice of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Their wedding plans were noted in the Knoxville Journal, June 27, 1953. 

Advertising Age, February 9, 1953, said 
Frank Tashlin Co. Formed
Frank Tashlin Co., Hollywood, has been incorporated to produce television films. Frank Tashlin, director-writer, is president. Other officers are Lester Linsk, v.p., and Charles E. Trezona, secretary-treasurer.
The 1955 Beverly Hills city directory listed the company at 29 Benedict Canyon Drive. 

Tashlin passed away on May 5, 1972, in Los Angeles. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. An obituary was published in The New York Times, May 9, 1972. 

Further Reading
The New York Times, August 20, 2006, “Unmanly Men Meet Womanly Women: Frank Tashlin’s Satires Still Ring True”
Michael Barrier, Frank Tashlin Interview 
Amateur Cine World, January 11, 1962, “Is Frank Tashlin an Underrated Director?”
The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, 1980 

Mary Costa
Coronet, June 1956
Who’s Who of American Women (1959) 


Once again, this is why this is my favorite blog. I learn so much every day.
Thank you for this, and especially for the Federal Illustrator article, which I'd been looking for. (My great-grandmother's younger half-brother founded the Federal Schools.) It seems to end in mid-sentence--is there another page?
While I'm sure that many people reading this original post know this already, I want to get it on the record for people who might read it long afterward. The "Tom and Jerry" cartoons that Tashlin started working on in 1932 are not the famous cat and mouse duo -- Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera introduced the cat-and-mouse Tom and Jerry in 1940, for MGM.

The Tom and Jerry at the Van Beuren studio were human characters, and their cartoons were only made from 1931 to 1933. By the time their cartoons were sold to television, the cat and mouse had become so famous that the human Tom and Jerry were renamed Dick and Larry for television airings.
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