There’s nothing more impressive than a rabbit that can sing. Especially when the voice is supplied by voice acting genius Mel Blanc. No wonder Elmer Fudd is mesmerized. The 1957 cartoon classic, “What’s Opera Doc”, directed by Chuck Jones, was the first animated short to be added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Imagine! This Michael Maltese-penned story of the operatic and ever pithy Bugs Bunny has been officially recognized… As 1,000 members of the animation field voted What's Opera Doc #1 of the 50 greatest cartoons, it’s good to see the rest of the world agrees!
“Retoin My Wuv” was created by master animator Willie Ito, who has had a storied career that has spanned over 60 years, and has had a hand in some of the greatest classic cartoons in almost every major animated studio as a character animator and layout artist. Disney, Warner Bros., Bob Clampett Productions, and Hanna Barbera have all benefitted from his creativity and talent. The artwork is printed in the fine art Giclee process on fine art paper from Ito’s watercolor original art. Each print is then hand-numbered and then signed by Willie Ito. It is offered in an edition of 50.
MORE ABOUT WILLIE ITO:
From the moment he saw the Technicolored splendors of Disney’s first animated feature, Willie Ito knew what he wanted to do by way of a career.
I saw those dwarfs marching across that log bridge, and I was hooked. I knew I wanted cartooning to be my life’s work.
Willie Ito grew up in San Francisco (with a two-and-a-half year residency at a World War II internment camp), but when he finished high school Mr. Ito headed for Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles to pursue his passion for drawing. However, his art education was cut short when he found himself hired by Walt Disney Productions to work on Lady and the Tramp.
From that day on, full-time college attendance was a thing of Willie’s past. Following his Disney stint, Willie found himself working for every major animation studio in town.
A six-year run at Warner Bros. Animation (where he labored at the old “Termite Terrace” for the last twelve months of its life) was followed by a turn at Snow Ball Productions and and then fourteen years in design and layout at Hanna-Barbera. Finally wearying of the animation grind, he veered into character merchandising work with the Disney Co. in the late 1970s. And there he spent twenty-three years designing toys and collectibles, with only one trip back into animation as a key player of the small artistic team that launched Disney Television Animation.