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Living Life inside the Lines - Tales from the Golden Age of Animation

Living Life inside the Lines

Tales from the Golden Age of Animation

By Martha Sigall
Foreword by Jerry Beck
Paperback : 9781578067497, 245 pages, March 2005

An insider’s account of the wild and wacky teams that created cartoon classics for Warner Bros. and MGM Animation


Martha Sigall worked with all the classic cartoon characters—Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom & Jerry, Droopy Dawg, Beany & Cecil, Tweety, and Porky Pig—and the madcap artists who created them—Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, Friz Freleng, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Bill Melendez, and Ben (Bugs) Hardaway.

As a teenager Sigall became an apprentice painter working in the Golden Age of Hollywood at the Leon Schlesinger studio, making $12.75 per week coloring animation cels that would introduce Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd to the world. She recounts her wild and wonderful experiences with the Warner Bros. cartoon crew, working and laughing all day with the animators, partying all night with the Looney Tunes gang on the bowling and baseball teams, and participating in weekend scavenger hunts. She was president of the in-house “Looney Tunes Club,” co-wrote the company gossip column, and performed in the company's theatrical troupe.

After World War II, Sigall joined MGM Animation (Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery) in Culver City as an assistant in the camera room and later freelanced her ink and paint services, creating art for many classic features, shorts, commercials, and TV series—including Garfield, Peanuts, and The Pink Panther.

Written with warmth, humor, and a touch of nostalgia, this is a rarely told story of what it was like to be a part of a team of artists who were creating masterpieces of animation. Sigall recalls her lifelong friendships with writer Michael Maltese, animators Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Herman Cohen, Paul Smith, Bob Matz, and many others. She writes of her experiences of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, particularly during the war years when she was one of the first women camera operators in the industry.


"The coolest thing about Martha is that she was part of it all. She was there at Leon Schlesinger's studio and later at the MGM animation unit. She was friends with Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Friz Freleng, Frank Tashlin, Michael Maltese, and on and on."

- Jerry Beck, from the foreword

"Living Life inside the Lines is a delightful chronicle of what it was like to work in the legendary Looney Tunes cartoon studio, written by a woman who was instrumental in the creation of some of the greatest cartoons ever made. With characteristic charm and humor, Martha Sigall has written a wonderfully entertaining memoir of an era in Hollywood when genius punched a time clock twice a day and created hilarity in between. Living Life inside the Lines is not only destined to become a mandatory, one-of-a-kind source for animation writers, scholars and fans, it is also the best book yet written about Hollywood's Golden Age of Cartoons."

- Michael Mallory, animation writer and author of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons

"Martha Sigall, the doyen of animation, introduces us, in a highly personal and spirited fashion, to the lives of the famous artists in the cartoon world. Most of us have worked with these geniuses but only in their mature years. It's a joyous and enlightening read."

- June Foray, voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Granny

"How lucky we are that Martha Sigall has given us this 'time trip' to the heyday of Hollywood animation. Her memories are precise and priceless."

- Leonard Maltin