Often regarded at the world's first "in-betweener", Art got his start back East at Fleischer Bros. He then moved west and wound up at the Charles Mintz studio (working on those horrid Scrappy cartoons). Later on he went to Warner Bros., where he briefly had his own director's unit only to go back to 'animator' status under Friz Freleng, where he stayed for little over 10 years. He did some work for Hanna-Barbera on Yogi Bear then got hired at Walter Lantz, where he animated for director Sid Marcus's unit (Davis worked with him back at Mintz's studio). After a second stint at Hanna-Barbera as "story director" he wound up with Friz again at DePatie-Freleng, where he worked as director (1968-73, and again 1977-78).
Along with Hawley Pratt and Gerry Chiniquy, Davis mainly directed on the studio's theatrical output with TV works here and there. He mostly worked on the Roland and Rattfink series although he also directed on Tijuana Toads, The Ant and the Aardvark, The Blue Racer, and of course, the Pink Panther.
Not everything Davis directed for the studio was good, but here's one of my favorites; a Pink Panther cartoon called In the Pink of the Night, released in 1969.
I love the little touches in this cartoon that makes it better:
- The collection of smashed alarm clocks.
- Panther putting on his hat upside down.
- Panther smashing the already-smashed stand into further smaller pieces.
- Panther being covered with sweat drops when guilt strikes him.
- How the animation becomes very slow when the Panther believes the bird is dead, from dropping flowers in the ocean to walking home to going back to bed, only to speed up when he realizes the bird is still alive.