Harman and Ising first worked in animation in the early 1920s at Walt Disney's studio in Kansas City. When Disney moved operations to California, Harman, Ising, and fellow animator Carman Maxwell stayed behind to try to start their own studio. Their plans went nowhere, however, and the men soon rejoined Disney to work on his Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit films. It was during this time, that Harman and Ising developed a style of cartoon drawing that would later be closely associated with, and credited to, Disney.
When producer Charles Mintz ended his association with Disney, Harman and Ising went to work for Mintz, whose brother-in-law, George Winkler, set up a new animation studio to make the Oswald cartoons.
Schlesinger wanted the Bosko character to star in a new series of cartoons he dubbed Looney Tunes (the title being a parody of Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies).
Harman and Ising still found some work as animation freelancers, directing, for example, the Silly Symphony series for Disney in 1938. When Disney later reneged on a deal he had made for two other Harman-Ising pictures, the animators sold the cartoons to Quimby at MGM. The following year, Ising's The Milky Way became the first non-Disney film to actually win the trophy.
Harman and Ising are little known, even among some animation fans. Although they contributed to much of what would later be known as the Disney style, they have been dismissed as mere copycats. In reality, Harman and Ising never attempted to imitate Disney; they were attempting to make refined polished cartoons whose quality would shine in comparison to the work of others. Their repeated attempts to make quality cartoons and their refusal to be bound by budgets led to numerous disputes with their producers. Because of this, they were unable to create any enduring characters. Instead, they created studios that would later produce such characters.
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