Military Wiki
Ben Hardaway
Born Joseph Benson Hardaway
(1895-05-21)May 21, 1895
Belton, Missouri, U.S.
Died February 5, 1957(1957-02-05) (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
  • Storyboard artist
  • animator
  • voice actor
  • gagman
  • writer
  • director
Years active 1933–1956
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1917–1919
Rank WW1-RegSgtMajor.svg Regimental Sergeant Major
Commands held 129th Field Artillery Regiment, Battery D
Battles/wars World War I

Joseph Benson Hardaway (May 21, 1895 – February 5, 1957) was an American storyboard artist, animator, voice actor, gagman, writer and director for several American animation studios during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. He was sometimes credited as J. B. Hardaway, Ben Hardaway, Buggsy Hardaway, B. Hardaway and Bugs Hardaway.[1][2] He fought in World War I in the 129th Field Artillery Regiment, Battery D.[3]

Army service

Hardaway was enlisted in World War I on June 4, 1917 and was discharged on April 9, 1919. He was led in the 129th Field Artillery Regiment by future president Harry S. Truman, in which he attended his inauguration with his army colleagues.[4][3]

External audio
A Tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman by Betty Phillips and J.B. Hardaway, 6:11, Harry S. Truman Library Museum


Hardaway started his animation career working for the Kansas City Film Ad Service. He later worked for the Walt Disney Animation Studios and the Ub Iwerks Studio, after which Hardaway was hired by the Leon Schlesinger studio as a gagman for the Friz Freleng unit. He was promoted to director for seven Buddy animated shorts. Afterwards he resumed working as a gagman and storyman.[5] He started receiving film credits in 1937. His writing credits include Daffy Duck & Egghead and The Penguin Parade.[5]

While at the during the late 1930s, Hardaway served as a storyman, and co-directed several Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts with Cal Dalton during Friz Freleng's two-year exodus to MGM. Leon Schlesinger needed a replacement for Freleng, and Hardaway's previous experience in the job resulted in his promotion.[5] In 1938, Hardaway co-directed Porky's Hare Hunt, the first film to feature a rabbit. When this unnamed, embryonic rabbit was given a new model sheet for a later short, designer Charlie Thorson inadvertently offered a permanent name by titling the model sheet "Bugs' Bunny" since it was meant for Hardaway's unit. By the time the rabbit was redesigned and refined for the film A Wild Hare, the name was already being used in relation to the character in studio publicity materials.[2][6][7]

When Freleng returned to Warner Bros. in 1939, Hardaway was demoted back to storyman.[8] In 1940, Hardaway joined the staff of Walter Lantz Productions, where he helped Walter Lantz in creating the studio's most famous character, Woody Woodpecker. Hardaway wrote or co-wrote most of the stories for the 1940-1951 Woody Woodpecker shorts, as well as supplying Woody's voice between 1944 and 1949. Shamus Culhane, the director of the Woody cartoons in the 40's, thought Hardaway's humor was crude and formulaic. Nevertheless, the collaboration worked, and many consider this the golden era of Woody cartoons.[3] During his second year at Lantz, he wrote the story for Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat, whose reissue got withdrawn by Universal in February 1949 due to multiple complaints from the NAACP for its racist stereotypes of African-Americans.[9]

Hardaway died in 1957 from cancer, supposedly a long-term effect of exposure to chemical weapons during World War I.[3] The last thing he worked on was Adventures of Pow Wow, although he only wrote two episodes, which have lost audio.[10][11]


  2. 2.0 2.1 Frank Tashlin An Interview by Michael Barrier
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bugs Hardaway of Battery D
  4. The Non-Animated Bugs
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sigall (2005), p. 66
  6. Remodeling the Rabbit
  7. Motion Picture Daily (Oct-Dec 1941) "CHORTLES THE N.Y. TIMES:"Bugs Bunny...delightful nonsense...laugh provoking comical...look sharp for him!""
  8. Sigall (2005), p. 69
  9. [51420/0/ "“Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat” (1941)"]. 2019-05-06.[51420]/0/. 
  10. The Bad Egg
  11. Pow Wow and the Duck

External links

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