Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

# 22 Post:

Dearest Linda;

If it weren’t for the little niggling duties this job would be an almost unalloyed pleasure.  For instance, this morning I had to take dialogue off my layout sketches and type it up to give the girl to make copies for the actors to read.  It sounds like a little enough task and indeed it is, but it has a kind of irritating something to it.  The picture is finished as far as I am concerned. I’m ready to get the hell onto something else.  Why, then, don’t I get someone else to do it, which I could very easily do?  Because as I type it there are minuscule changes that need to be made, character adjustments, avoidance of repetition and a general toning up of the thing.  Another person could do it and perhaps very well, but it would not be the way I would do it.  Not that my way is right.  There is no real right or wrong to this sort of thing, but just that I have to believe in it or I can’t very well sell it to my animators.  So, I do it and find it a nasty job.  I also make out a work sheet as I go along, listing the scene number with its corresponding background, footage, animator to which it is assigned and general description.  This also comes under the chore category.  Then to top the morning off, I had to go in and look at a cutting picture (sans music and sound effects) with Eddie, who was dressed in a dark blue suit, so he could leave for the funeral of an old friend right afterwards.  Nice propitious circumstances for getting laughs, eh?  Picture looked good, though, and actually I got off with a minimum of friction.  Only got mad once.  Par for one of these runnings is Eddie getting mad twice and I three times.  It may come as a shock to you that I get mad at all, but it is like the mother wolf protecting her puppy.  I’m a pretty fearsome object when aroused.  Glints of fire in the nostrils, etc., etc.  The picture was “Punch Trunk”, the one about a five-inch high elephant appearing in New York and the consequences ensuing there from.  Definitely an off the beaten track picture for me.  I do hope it is successful.  I think we know pretty well how to handle the formula stories around here.  The problem is breaking out and trying something different, and getting away with it.

As Dottie no doubt told you in her letter we went to see “Don Juan in Hell” last night at the Philharmonic Auditorium.  Sir Cedric (pronounced Seedric) Hardwicke, Agnes Moorehead, Charles Boyer and Charles Laughton sat on stools on the stage, no scenery, no costumes, and recited this, the finest I do believe, of George Bernard Shaw’s plays.  An exciting, tremendously invigorating evening.  Did I tell you that Dottie bought the record album with the same cast?  A fine addition to our record library and one that makes me want to buy other dramatic things.

I think we’ll go to see “Ivanhoe” tonight.  I understand it is a good rollicking picture.  Let you know later.

Little girl came into a bakery shop and said, “Mommy’s mad because that loaf of raisin bread you sold her had a fly in it.”  The baker said, “Tell your mommy to return the fly and I’ll give her a raisin.”

Love plus kisses equals you….

s/Chuck

One thought on “Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

  1. Larry Levine

    Wonderful letter!! While the other directors made great cartoons, Chuck CREATED brilliant cartoons because he fined tuned (or tooned) every detail, no matter how minor.

    Reply

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