Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

March
17, 1955

Post
# 61

Dearest
Linda,

 

What’s
this I hear about you having a cold? 
Thought I gave you explicit instructions:  No more colds. 
Is this any way to be the servile, fawning child that I expect you to
be?  When I say no more colds, I
mean no more colds.

 

Had
a long letter from [brother] Dick. 
He seems to fit snugly and correctly into his new environment.  It is as though his whole background
and training had been designed to fit him for this position.  And it carries a large share of
recognition with it, a very important thing to Dick and, indeed, to a certain
degree, to all of us.  I am very
happy for him, for [wife] Frances, and for [daughter] Vicki, who apparently was
a latent Mexican child all along, just waiting for the Mexican sun to bring her
out.  They live in Patzcuaro in
Michoacan, high mountain country about two hundred miles west of Mexico City,
on the second largest lake in Mexico. 
It must be very beautiful and picturesque and invigorating.  They have two servants, at eight
dollars a month apiece, so you can see that inflation has not exactly struck
the area.

 

We
were swimming at Donn and Ione’s Sunday. 
You would have been proud of me. 
I swam at least a hundred lengths during the day without tiring
particularly (about 4500 feet) and even managed to increase my speed slightly
without losing breath.  Donn’s and
my stroke are almost precisely the same now and we swim in tandem, almost like
we were hooked together: a delightfully friendly and pleasant experience.  I feel so good after swimming; it seems
to tone me as no other exercise, the possible exception of walking.

 


Did I tell you we were doing “Sherlock
Holmes” with Daffy as Holmes and Porky as Doctor Watson?  We are being very true to the Holmsian
tradition; the backgrounds are being designed with loving care so that the
London fog, gaslights, pubs and 22 Baker Street come through with
believability.  I am coming more
and more to the way of thinking that mood is incredibly important, even in an
animated cartoon.  That comedy
plays best against a credible background. 
The UPA things are excellent, yet except for the Magoos they are what I
call objective humor.  Your
understanding of the character comes usually from an outside source: a narrator
or storey-teller, thus Gerald McBoing-Boing or Madeline can walk through a
film, against charming backgrounds, without needing to change expressions or
indeed to act at all.  This is
different from, let us say, Thumper or Jiminy Cricket or Daffy or Bugs.  Your understanding of them grows
through their actions.  In feature
films this difference is exemplified in the documentary and theatrical
picture.  One (the former) employs
ordinary people and obtains its dramatic effects by camera, color, music and
narration.  The other depends
ultimately on acting.  Without
taking sides, they are both legitimate and important aspects of
filmmaking.  I find myself on the
side of the actor.  I find my
greatest fun is breathing life into a drawing and setting it loose against a
gently caricatured background.

 

How
stands it with you?  Have you plans
for this summer that we might enhance or abet?  Do you have any suggestions, short of a month on the Cote d’Azure?  I would like to make this a happy
summer for us all.  It is a big one
for us all and particularly for you. 
If you have any incredible desires, please let me know and I will move
whatever parts of Heaven and earth available to me.

 

Love/./


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