Arthur Davis
General information
Born: Arthur Davidavitch
June 14, 1905
USA Flag Yonkers, New York
Died: May 9, 2000 (aged 94)
Sunnyvale, California
Cause of death: Natural causes
Alternate names: Art Davis
Artie Davis
Occupation(s): Animator, director
Years active: 1929 - 1990
Spouse: Rae Kessler

Arthur "Art" Davidavitch[1] (June 14, 1905 - May 9, 2000) was an American animator and director for the Termite Terrace studio.


Davis' career started at Paramount's cartoon studio under the supervision of Max Fleischer, and is reputed to have been the first in-betweener in the American animation industry. Another of his distinctions was that he tapped out the famous "bouncing ball music" of the "Follow the Bouncing Ball" cartoons of the 1920s. While one of the Fleischer brothers played the ukulele, Davis would keep time with a wooden stick with a white thumbtack on the end, which was photographed and incorporated into the films as the actual moving ball. Later, Davis moved over to Universal as an animator for the Charles Mintz studio. While there, he helped create and develop Toby the Pup and Scrappy with fellow animators Dick Huemer and Sid Marcus. Davis would eventually be promoted to animation director and remained at the studio even after it became Screen Gems in 1940.

In 1942, Davis left Screen Gems along with Frank Tashlin for Warner Bros. Davis worked as an animator for Tashlin's department until 1945 when it was assumed by Robert McKimson. Later that same year, when Bob Clampett left to start his own studio, Davis took over Clampett's unit.[2]

Davis supervised around 30 Warner Bros. cartoons, with a tone somewhere between those of Clampett and McKimson. He had a distinctive characteristic visual style, which can be seen as far back as Davis' Columbia shorts, in which the characters move from the foreground to the background, as well as from side to side, using all axes of the animation field. His department was shut down only three years later in 1949 when Warners was having a budget problem. Davis then was taken into Friz Freleng's unit, and served as one of Freleng's key animators for many years, until the studio closed. Davis also served as a key writer for the 1955 cartoon, "Sandy Claws".

Later Years

Thirteen years later, Davis directed a cartoon for Warners again, using Freleng's unit. (There were several shorts released around this time, from not only Freleng's unit but Chuck Jones' as well, with the direction credited to varying subordinates.) This cartoon, "Quackodile Tears", was also his last Warners short. After the studio closed in 1963, Davis went to Walter Lantz Productions as an animator. He left Lantz in 1965 to work briefly for Hanna-Barbera Productions, before moving over to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises to direct The Pink Panther shorts and other cartoon series. He also directed the Television Special, The Bugs Bunny Mother's Day Special, and created new shorts "The Yolks On You" and "Daffy Flies North" for the Television Special Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-citement.


Outliving most of his peers, Davis died on May 9, 2000, aged 94 after humming a tune.[3]

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