This excerpt from Bob Clampett's audio taped biography is a swipe from "Beany and Cecil's Official Site," linked to below. Refer to that site for coryright info. My heavily-edited excerpt is just a teaser. To read the whole fascinating article be sure to click on the link at the bottom.
I, very early, was drawing comic strips -- I would be doing the characters of Happy Hooligan, or Boob McNutt, or Jiggs and Maggie, and so forth. I would actually learn to draw those characters. And then I would take whatever the Sunday paper was, where it ended after, say, twelve frames, I would then start making new frames in which I would carry on the characters doing a continuation of the story, and so forth, and I would go on for maybe a great number of frames, and so I was actually writing original material, and putting the characters through new things.
For different years I was emulating different styles of cartoonists -- one year it was Pat Sullivan's Felix, and another year it was Milt Gross, and at other times other people. But I got Milt Gross down to where I could draw Nize Baby and Mr. Feetlebaum and Louie Dot Dope very well. And then the kids started coming to me, and they were paying me what was then a very big amount, I think it was fifty cents to a dollar, to make drawings on their sweatshirts, or on their yellow raincoats. If you see some of those early John Held Jr. drawings of college boys wearing slickers, and they've got things drawn or painted -- you know, wording all over their car, their Tin Lizzie, or over their raincoat -- that's what I was doing, and they were paying me to do this.
When I was twelve I had some cartoons published in the L.A. Times -- colored pages of a pussy cat and so forth -- and Hearst saw it. He was real big, he used to look for future comic strip artists. So they offered me a contract, for $75 a week when I got out of school. Then I went down every Saturday to the Examiner and worked in the
Originally, I had a contract to go to be a newspaper cartoonist for King Features when I got out of high school. My dad had that contract for several years. Now when sound came in, and Disney's came out with the first Mickey Mouse, suddenly all the things that I wanted, hoped to do at some point in my life, seemed to all merge together, y'know? Making comedies for theaters -- doing some voices -- drawing -- writing -- directing -- all the things that I tried to do in isolated instances as a kid all seemed to come together. So I got so excited about it that I insisted on trying to get out of the Hearst contract -- $75 a week was the starting salary -- and go to work in a cartoon studio, for $10 a week.
Now my uncles were very good business men, and when I told them I'd rather do this, they said, "You're crazy, because animated cartoons will be just kind of a passing novelty." But in spite of all the advice, I made the move, I told Walt I wanted to get into animation when I got out of school. He says fine, and he gave me some of the comic strips, the first Mickey Mouse comic strips to work from, and some other sketches. And I worked on Mickey Mouse, and so I was expecting to go to work for Walt. But right at the time I got out of school, and I said, "Okay, I'm ready," they were at that time building -- they had animators working across the street, across Hyperion there in garages, and in apartments, I think. They said, "Gee, we have no room, we're building on this annex, it'll take a month or so, and when we do that there's plenty of room and you're with us." And you know how it is when you get out of school, you think, "Wow, two months seems like a lifetime," y'know? At that very moment I got the idea to go over to Warners. I took my sketches and so forth ....
That's the end of my swipe from the Beany and Cecil site. There are four installments of the Clampett story on that site, with several more on the way.This has been an excerpt from installment number four.
...and, while I'm at it, here's a link to an article Milt wrote about building cartoon web sites: