From Hollywood Cartoons, by Michael Barrier:
The animators who joined the staff with the greatest fanfare were the McKimson brothers, Robert and Thomas; from the summer of 1930 until sometime early in 1931, they had run a tiny studio set up by Romer Grey, the son of Zane Grey, the author of cowboy novels. When they came to Harman-Ising later in 1931, Clampett told Jim Korkis, “They marched right in as if in perfect step, went to their desks, took off their coats, and sat down exactly at eight o’clock and started to work. This was all very spectacular, like a Busby Berkeley routine.”
From Michael Barrier’s interview with McKimson:
McKimson: Yes. There’s a real strange story. In 1932, I was animating, doing about the same amount as every animator, twenty, twenty-five, thirty feet a week, at the tops. I had an auto accident and [got thrown out of the car], and pinched a couple of nerves in my neck. I got out of the hospital after a couple of weeks and went back to work, and all of a sudden, I could do fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty feet a week, and it was easy. It was a strange thing.
In Drawn to Life: The Art of Robert McKimson, Robert McKimson Jr. estimates his father went from 30 feet a week to 80 or 90 feet a week.
I scoured Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and there are several mentions of brain injury impairing one’s abilities and functions. So the question is, how did Robert McKimson walk away from a car accident able to draw better? How is possible the injury not only did not impair his abilities as an animator, it improved them??
McKimson: I went to school to learn more about drawing; I was always fascinated with portraiture and anatomy. I got so that I could visualize things; someone would describe something to me, I would visualize it, and slow it down to slow motion, and then just draw it like that. It always fascinated people to see me do these things. I could start from the shoe and build him up, or I could start from the top and build him on down, or the side, anyplace, but it always came out the same. It was a strange thing, even to me. For ten years, I averaged fifty-five feet a week. Even in the union, they wouldn’t classify me with anyone else, because nobody else could do the same things that I did.
Barrier: Did they have any medical explanation for this?
McKimson: None of the doctors could give me any explanation for it. They said I probably jarred something loose in my brain. It was very simple for me to do this; it wasn’t any work.
McKimson: At Harman-Ising one day, I’d been up to two or three the night before. I’d gotten so that I could sleep on one arm, and I would sleep about half the day, and still put out that much, and never leave more than three in-betweens anyplace, for anyone: everything else was all cleaned up.
One day the studio manager called me in the office and said, “Bob, there seems to be something wrong with you.” I said, “What do you mean, my footage is all right.” He said, “Oh, fine, great.” I said, “The quality’s all right, isn’t it?” He said, “Oh, yes, great. I just thought something was wrong with you because you sleep so much.” I said, “Well, it’s mostly because I don’t go to bed very early.” He said, “I was worried about you, not about your work.”