Thursday, 7 June 2018

Sam Clayberger 1926-2018

Few very of the credited artists from the earliest Hanna-Barbera series are still around and we’ve lost one more.

Sam Clayberger died on May 2nd. He was 92.

Clayberger was mainly a teacher and a painter. His name may be most familiar to television cartoon fans from Rocky and His Friends. Clayberger painted the backgrounds from Roy Morita’s layouts for the pilot film and told historian Keith Scott when the series sold in 1959, producer Jay Ward added him part-time to his new studio’s staff. He handled some of the “Fractured Fairy Tales” until he left in 1964 to teach art.

It’s quite possible Clayberger was working at Hanna-Barbera on a freelance basis. It’s impossible to tell now when he arrived at the studio as there are no credits on the first series, Ruff and Reddy. But he did get credit on The Huckleberry Hound Show’s first season in 1958-59, including the first Huck cartoon that made it to air. You can see his backgrounds in:

Mark of the Mouse (Production E-30, aired week of January 1959)
Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie (E-35, aired week of September 29, 1958)
Hookey Days (E-36, aired week of December 29, 1958)
Cock-a-Doodle Huck (E-38, aired week of November 17, 1958)
Two Corny Crows (E-39, aired week of November 24, 1958)

Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie background.

Two Corny Crows background.

Cock-a-Doodle Huck establishing shot.

There’s a nice little remembrance in a post on this blog and, of course, another on The Art of Jay Ward site. You can view some of Clayberger’s art work on his own web site. And we posted about him way back when with a link to an interview.

Our sympathies, and no doubt those of anyone reading here, go to his family.

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