Greg Ford - Biography


  Just as 2003 saw GREG FORD's voice-over commentary provide historical footnotes to several of the shorts on WARNER BROS.' LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN DVD collection, including his own film BLOOPER BUNNY, 2004 saw FORD debut the brand new, entirely cel-animated theatrical cartoon, IT'S THE CAT.   Producer/director GREG FORD brings a uniquely two-sided professional history to cartoons, as a cartoon archivist/activist and as a major-studio producer/director.   Back when FORD was a film critic for Rolling Stone, Film Comment, Film Quarterly, The Village Voice, etc., he touted the Hollywood cartoon as a major American art form. 1974's FORD-programmed cartoon festival at the New York Cultural Center was "groundbreaking," to quote Leonard Maltin, and FORD's frequent "Hollywood Cartoon" revivals at the Museum of Modern Art, not to mention his annotated annual 13-week "Cartoonal Knowledge" retrospectives at the legendary Thalia Theatre, soon snowballed and left New York City to tour the whole country and, eventually, the world.   The "Special Animation Issue" of Film Comment Magazine, guest-edited by FORD in 1975, is generally remembered as the first major critical reappraisal of Cartoon History, much as 1981's massive Disney Animation and Animators, guest-curated by Ford for the Whitney Museum and mounted in cooperation with Walt Disney Studios, is considered to be the first definitive animation art-show.

  Hired by Warner Bros. Cartoons as a producer/scriptwriter in 1985, GREG FORD teamed with animator Terry Lennon to co-direct new Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck material.   Initially assigned to make 'compilation pictures,' Ford was required to revitalize a Warner Bros. animation department that was basically defunct.   CBS tv-specials like Bugs Versus Daffy: Battle of the Music Video Stars and Bugs Bunny's Wild World of Sports, and feature films like Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (which, wrote the French Cahiers du Cinema, was a "hilarious satire on Reaganite rapacity" and which, said Gene Siskel, was "a welcome throwback to the 'glory days' of the Hollywood Cartoon") brought a certain tongue-in-cheek self-consciousness and historical perspective to the otherwise dubious compilation-film form.   More significant was an unplanned offshoot of Daffy Duck's Quackbusters: the release of the 7-minute section The Duxorcist in 1987 as a brand new Daffy Duck short-subject, the FORD/LENNON pic being touted as "the first Looney Tune in 20 years."  The unpretentious Duxorcist received an unexpectedly enormous press-reaction (getting rave notices from Time, People, MTV, Siskel and Ebert, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Newsweek, etc.).   The next FORD/LENNON film, The Night of the Living Duck, which saw Daffy Duck incongruously crooning with the voice of Mel Tormé, opened 1988's New York Film Festival to great audience response and excellent reviews.

As an independent producer, FORD's later work included animated logos for Castle Rock Productions and the Comedy Central cable network, the low-budget Nixon parody No Substitute and, for Warner Brothers, the compilation-specials Bugs Bunny's Lunar Tunes (directed by NANCY BEIMAN), Bugs Bunny's Overtures to Disaster, and Bugs Bunny's Creature Features .   All-new short-subjects include the aforementioned 2004 release IT'S THE CAT (directed by MARK KAUSLER), the Porky/Daffy William Tell Overture (directed by DAN HASKETT), the FORD/LENNON-directed Bugs Bunny featurette Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers, and the innovative, much-praised Blooper Bunny.  

Though for many years an active filmmaker in his own right, GREG FORD continues to find new ways (and new media!) to exercise his historical bent.  As a writer, his discourses on animation have been anthologized in books such as Movies and Methods, The 50 Greatest Catoons, What's Up, Tex?: The Cinema of Tex Avery .   FORD assembled the seven-part home-video and laser-disc series Cartoons That Time Forgot, put together the 1996 anthology of animated political spoofs called CARTOONGATE!, created the smash-hit CDs The Carl Stalling Project (1990) and The Carl Stalling Project, Vol. Two (1995), helmed the acclaimed feature-length documentary Freleng Frame-By-Frame (1994) and co-produced and wrote PBS's Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens (2000).