Hal Geer, a film editor, writer, director and producer at both Warner Bros. and Disney, has passed away at this home in Simi Valley California on January 26. He was 100. Over the course of his career, Geer worked on 25 feature films and over 500 TV shows, 400 commercials and 100 short films.
Harold Eugene Geer was born on Sept. 13, 1916, in Oronogo, Mo. In 1939, he married Nancy Walker. A veteran, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and became a Combat Cameraman. He participating in 86 combat missions during the war. He sometimes doubled his documentary and combat duties, acting as a gunner in B-24 and B-25 planes while shooting newsreel images.
After the war, Geer got a job as a color technician at Warner Bros. After four years, he moved over to Disney, where he collaborated with Ub Iwerks and worked on Walt Disney’s Disneyland TV series. He then worked with several independent production companies before returning to Warner in 1967, where he would be a key figure behind Looney Tunes cartoons for over two decades.
Geer worked as an editor for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts until Warner Bros. ceased theatrical cartoon production in 1969. He then moved up as producer on the television incarnation of the The Bugs Bunny Show. When producer William L. Hendricks retired in the late ‘70s, Geer took over the Looney Tunes cartoons. When Warner Bros. re-established its cartoon studio in the 1980’s, Geer was put in as overall producer.
In 1981, Geer and Friz Freleng shared an Emmy nomination for outstanding animated program for producing Bugs Bunny: All American Hero, and in 1985, he pushed a successful campaign to give Bugs a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Geer retired in 1987 and took up lecturing on cruise ships. His memoir, The Life, Times and Tales of Hal Geer, was published when Geer was 99 years old. In it, he wrote:
I don’t know what the purpose of life is. We try to do the best we can while we exist. My purpose was to make the world a better place. I know I made some people happy. I want to be remembered for the things I’ve done: combat photographer, newsreels and historical films. I hope I also entertained people and brought some laughter into their lives.
Geer is survived by his wife Carol, whom he married in 1983 after his first wife died; his children Nancy and Wally; stepdaughter Brenda Lee; grandchildren Christo and Jamie; and great-grandchildren Matthew, Savannah, Whitney and Sylvia.