Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

Post #37

 

February 16, 1953

 

Hi!

 

It’s been a long
time since you have heard the dulcet sounds of my lilting voice, has it
not?  I have been trying this last
week to get myself in a mood to get started on the next Pepé picture.  I enjoy them, but each one seems to get
a little tougher and to require a little more avidity in preparation.  This one is set in a motion picture
studio around 1913, in Paris.  “A
Studio d’ picteur motion”, that is. 
This one is “Les Freres Warnaire (Henri, Albert, Jacque)”.  I sometimes feel that I could make an
excellent Pepé picture if I didn’t have to have Pepé in it, just the French
customs, language and literature. 
I may do it sometime.

 

Scene One usually
gives me the main trouble.  If I
can get that
one off the
ground, or rather down on paper, the rest seems to follow in an almost planned
sequence, as though it had always been there and just needed somebody to put it
down.  It always surprises me to
see it come out, appear out of nowhere and materialize on paper.  Makes me feel grateful, too, because
there is nearly always this horrible dead center feeling—like now—when nothing
seems to happen.  I know I’ll break
through, but it is an ugly feeling for a while.

 

We didn’t get into
the finals for the Academy.  Very,
very disappointing. I had high hopes for that picture.  Like Stevenson, I can only say that I’m
too old to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh.  I know it is a fine audience picture; perhaps it just isn’t
as unusual as I thought it was. 
Two UPAs and two MGMs and, of all things, a Canadian cartoon got in the
finals.  The Canadian picture is a
beautiful job and should win.  It’s
called The History of Transportation
and is a lively and beautifully designed parody on the
documentary short subject.  It is
very funny, too.  It should win and
I hope it does.  If I sound
disgruntled it is only because I am. 
I did love Duck Amuck

and I think you will, too.  Oh,
well, better luck, or better picture, next time.

 

I so enjoyed being
with you those two short days, plus that mad ride back to the ranch.  Donn was completely enchanted by you
and the rifle-like response of your mind. 
The Harters indeed are number one members of the Linda Jones fan
club.  It makes me very proud
because above all things I value the beauty and wonder of free-flying mind and
you have it, my darling.  When I
think of myself at fifteen and the tension-ridden, hesitant tightness of my
mind and the fears and frets that bedeviled it, I can make a true comparison
and a pretty fair evaluation of the possibilities for the future of your life.  Very, very fair weather ahead I would
say.  Like the man says, you’re as
old as your back and as young as your imagination.  Stand straight so the muscles and nerves of your back don’t
have to fight to stay relaxed and let your mind breathe.  Oxygen to the mind is the number of
things you let in it, plus a few you expel, like mass distinctions and racial
prejudices.  Old philosopher Jones,
stick with me, kid, and you’ll end up.

 

I was surprised to
find that Mort* is so young.  I
somehow expected an iron-visaged, stern, black-whiskered, Simon Legreeish type,
about forty five, in drover’s boots with a Bowie knife stuck in his belt.  When this personable, but fuzzy cheeked
youngster was introduced as Mort, I almost said, “Mort Junio
r, you mean.”  I must be getting senile.

 

Since it is almost
noon and something’s gone wrong with this goddamned machine..goodbye now…I love
you.

 

 

 

*One of the brothers
who owned and ran the school/ranch.

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