Frederick C. Quimby, longtime head of M-G-M animation, dies on this day in 1965. He is 79 years old.
Mr. Quimby started his professional life as a journalist, but soon began working for movie companies. He found employment with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the "Tiffany of movie studios", in the late 1920s.
Time rolled on, and in 1937 Fred Q. was assigned to set up an animation division at the studio, being as how animation was an up and coming thing. He had little interest in cartoons, but Quimby was a good corporate soldier and put together an animation department.
And then, a series of amazing things happened.
Artists Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera had the idea for a bunch of cartoon shorts built around a cat and mouse, and Fred half-heartedly approved the production of one. The cartoon was successful and got nominated for an Academy Award. So, since Fred wasn't a complete idiot, he okayed doing some more.
And over the next thirteen years, Frederick Clinton Quimby won SEVEN Academy Awards as the producer of M-G-M's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. Cartoons with which he had virtually nothing to do with.
"How many times in your life can you win SEVEN Academy Awards, and somebody else takes them?"
-- Joe Barbera
Which is, when you think about it, pretty damn amazing.
Especially when you consider Quimby didn't much care for the original premise, didn't have much interest in cartoons in general, and certainly had minimal respect from the artists who actually created those "Tom and Jerry" shorts.
But hey. That's Hollywood.