Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Dover Boys Decamp to Culver City

On the evening of Thursday, April 7th, at 6 PM, The Dover Boys will be guests-of-honor at the home of animation art collector and patron of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Dave Lowenstein.  

Because you may know who we speak of when we say "The Dover Boys" and you'd like to meet them and at the same time support the important work that the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity is doing, all you have to do is donate here.  Call Pamela Marsden for event address, 949-660-7793 and to confirm your reservation.  SPACE IS LIMITED.

 

On the other hand, you might ask who are The Dover Boys?  Well, they're not these Dover Boys:

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These Dover Boys (Tom, Dick and Larry) are the young men who appeared in the Chuck Jones 1942 ground-breaking short cartoon of the same name.  No, we're talking about a group of young men (yes, still) who made Jones's acquaintance when they were students at CalArts (in Valencia, CA) in the early 1980s.  As students of animation they had the opportunity to meet Chuck when he gave a lecture at the school and afterward, Jones stunned them by inviting them down to his home in Orange County "to talk."  (Now, they're all better at telling this story and quite a story it is, so you'll want to make sure you take the opportunity to put this very special fund-raising event on your calendar.)

These Dover Boys (a named coined for them by Chuck's daughter, Linda, BTW,) are Kelly Asbury, Rob Minkoff, Chris Bailey and Jeff DeGrandis.  

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Kelly Asbury (from left,) Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis and Rob Minkoff at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in August of 2010 participating in a panel discussion at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater after a showing of all nine of Chuck Jones' Oscar-nominated short cartoons.

Kelly Asbury:  Kelly Asbury is the Director and co-writer of the 3D computer-animated feature filmGnomeo & Juliet (2011).

Asbury's past directorial efforts include the Oscar-nominated films "Shrek 2" (2004) and "Spirit – Stallion of the Cimarron" (2002). During his twenty-seven year career as an animation artist, Kelly Asbury has served many creative capacities on some of Hollywood's most popular animated films, including "Shrek" (2001), "Toy Story" (1995), "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993), "Beauty and the Beast" (1992) and "The Little Mermaid" (1989). Asbury also provided a variety of character voices on "Gnomeo and Juliet" and "Shrek 2". In addition to films, Asbury is a noted author and illustrator of several published children's books, as well as having written and compiled the offbeat, non-fiction book, "Dummy Days – America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV" (Angel City Press – 2003) Read more at his IMDB page. (Biography courtesy Internet Movie Database)

Rob Minkoff:  Known for directing the Academy Award-winning animated film, "The Lion King", Minkoff is also the director of "Stuart Little" and "Stuart Little 2."  While at Disney, Rob wrote the song "Good Company" for "Oliver & Company" and directed two Roger Rabbit shorts, "Tummy Trouble" and "Roller Coaster Rabbit," along with the feature films, "The Haunted Mansion" and "The Forbidden Kingdom."  He has a new film due for release this year, "Flypaper."  Visit his IMDB page for a complete listing of his credits.  

Chris Bailey: Writer, director, special effects wizard, animator, all words that describe Chris Bailey's career.  Born in Portland, Oregon, Bailey has worked in TV and film throughout his career including Disney's "Oliver & Company" (writer,) "The Little Mermaid" and "The Rescuers Down Under" (character animation) and the producer and director of the hit TV series "Kim Possible."  You can read the details of Chris Bailey's career at this IMDB page.  

Jeff DeGrandis:  DeGrandis has made his name in the world of TV animation as the producer and director of the hit TV series, "Dora the Explorer," "Go, Diego, Go!" and "Ni Hao Kai Lan."  Jeff got his first big break working with Chuck Jones on the animation for the 1992 movie, "Stay Tuned" and sharpened his skills at "The Ren and Stimpy Show."  If it involves drag racing, Jeff DeGrandis will be there.  He cites the custom car stylings of the iconic Ed "Big Daddy" Roth as one of his major influences. If you absolutely must know more about Jeff DeGrandis, click on his name to view his IMDB profile and credits.  

And as if that were not enough!   

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This will be the setting for the evening's entertainment!  Dave Lowenstein has collected animation art for many years and his home is a museum of contemporary animation art collecting.  He's graciously opened his doors (and his heart and his wallet) to the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity  for the evening.  

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Oh, and one more thing!

To top off the evening we will be paying special tribute to animation pioneer, Martha Sigall as she and her husband, Sol, celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary!  

Please join us for this special evening, meet the Dover Boys, wish glad tidings to Martha and Sol, chat with Linda Jones (Chuck's daughter) and her children, Craig and Todd Kausen.  Tickets are just $50.00, use the PayPal button to make your reservation today!

A Couple of Fine Lines: “Debonair” & “Au Contraire”

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From the hand of master animator and director, Eric Goldberg ("Looney Tunes: Back in Action!", "The Princess and the Frog") the Chuck Jones Galleries are pleased to present this exquisite pair of fine art serigraphs on paper.  Goldberg's innovative take on the classic characters immortalized by the legendary Chuck Jones strikes a balance between the classical world of fine art and the delightfully zany world of the animated film.  

 

Hand-cut, hand-pulled and printed at one of America's premier serigraph workshops, "Debonair" (Bugs Bunny) and "Au Contraire" (Daffy Duck) represent the acme of this centuries-old printing process.   Goldberg's beautifully rendered ink line has been carefully reproduced in an edition of 150 (18" x 10" printed on archival cotton rag paper) with 25 Artist Proofs (30.5" x 18" printed on fine hand-made Japanese rice paper.) 
Call today for more information and to reserve your "Debonair" & "Au Contraire" for your collection.  Also available online by clicking here.

 

“Fast & Furry-ous”: Image of the Day

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Original model drawing by Chuck Jones, graphite on paper, (see below complete model sheet, upper left corner) of the Road Runner for the first Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon, "Fast  & Furry-ous" directed by Jones.  It beep-beeped into theaters on September 16, 1949.  

Rebecca Solnit writes in her essay, "From the Faraway to Some Nearby ACME" which appeared in Art Issues, December 1999: "The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote is the apotheosis of the cartoon, paring down its myriad possible ingredients to a simple recipe: space, delicious mostly for its blankness and invitation to move, desire eternally unfulfilled, hope that springs eternal anyway, unshakeably one-dimensional personalities, infinitely abusable bodies, and a whole lot of action."

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Grim Natwick & Chuck Jones

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Grim Natwick and his "kid assistant" Chuck Jones at Ubbe Iwerks in 1933, graphite on 12 field animation paper by Grim Natwick.  

Stephen Worth, the art historian for ASIFA-Hollywood has written a detailed account of the impact that the artist and animator, Grim Natwick, had on the nascent animation film community.  Natwick's story is the story of animation in America and I think you'll find it a marvelously entertaining and informative read (plus there's a terrific short interview with Natwick about Ub Iwerks, where he met and worked with a young animator named Chuck Jones.)  

All of the posts on Natwick can be found here.



 

 


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Image of the Day: No Barking

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Considered by some critics and authors to be one of Chuck Jones’ minor masterpieces, No Barking took its bow (-wow) in theaters February 27, 1954.  Starring the nervous scavenger of love, food and affection, Claude Cat, and the irrepressible Frisky Puppy, it details Claude’s life’s pitfalls and pratfalls, highlights and lowlifes.  Making his only cameo appearance in a career that began in 1942 with his début in Bob Clampett’s A Tale of Two Kitties is that blue-eyed avian avenger, Tweety Bird. 

Tweety Bird was first painted pink (until 1945’s A Gruesome Twosome, when one of the cats calls him ‘a naked genius’ tipping off the censors…) and starred in over forty cartoons at last count, including the 1947 Oscar-winner, Tweetie Pie (begun by Clampett and steered to Oscar glory by I. Freleng after Clampett’s departure from Warner Bros.  Spellings of Tweety/Tweetie vary from publication to publication and from film to film.)

Cameo appearances by stars have a long tradition in the film industry and are one of the delights of the movie-going public.  As unexpected as it is to see Tweety Bird in a Chuck Jones cartoon, it is that very surprise that tickles the viewing audience and creates a memorable film experience.  And not only does Tweety make a cameo appearance, he also utters, that by then ubiquitous catch phrase, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” as Claude Cat goes sailing past him to the wide blue beyond.

Uniquely animated by the very talented Ken Harris, No Barking also was graced with the layouts of Maurice Noble, story by Michael Maltese and backgrounds by Philip DeGuard.  Mel Blanc provided the voices with musical direction and orchestrations by Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn (musical theme: “Little Dog Gone”.)

 

Image of the Day: “Louvre Come Back to Me” 1962

If you were expecting a St. Patrick’s Day-themed post today, we’re afraid you’re going to be disappointed and we hate to disappoint, but…

Instead, on our way to other things, we came across an original production drawing from the Chuck Jones directed short animated cartoon, “Louvre Come Back to Me” of 1962 of Pepe le Pew with a dog, simply saying “Something?”

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Which immediately put us in mind of the delightful cel art edition created by Chuck Jones in 1983 (21 years later!) that the Chuck Jones Galleries have released from archive just for this post, so we can share it with you.  Click the image for more details.

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We are always delighted when we can put 2 + 2 together; to discover where inspiration springs (like Irish Spring–there’s the tie-in!) from and how one fine drawing, so full of character, found a second life as an edition that has pleased so many, so many years later.  

 

Image of the Day: Much Ado About Nutting

Another classic silent film (except for the music and sound effects, of course) from Chuck Jones and his amazing team of animators and artists, including Maurice Noble, Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, Ben Washam and writer Michael Maltese.  Rolling into theaters nationwide on May 23, 1953, "Much Ado About Nutting" pits a little red squirrel against the nut of all nuts.

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Pre-production model sheet (gouache, watercolor and ink on 12 field animation paper) by Chuck Jones.

This cartoon pre-dates Jones's "One Froggy Evening" by two years, but thematically they share much in common: the desire we all have to succeed, the roadblocks we encounter on that path and how hopeful we reman in the face of the increasing difficulties placed in our way.

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Pre-production layout drawing (graphite on 12 field animation paper) by Chuck Jones.

You'll note with what care Jones takes to achieve the verisimilitude of a real squirrel in the above drawing, detailing not only how he chews, but also how he should blink and the timing involved in making this cartoon world come real.  

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Thumbnail background layouts (graphite and colored pencil) by Maurice Noble.

Maurice Noble's contributions to the films directed by Jones cannot be overstated.  Noble's unique ability to at once create an environment in which the actions of the characters may shine are delightfully balanced by their beauty, color and sense of humor.   They never overshadow or dominate, they always are moving the plot forward and yet they maintain their own integrity as works of art.   Watch and learn and laugh!

“The Wearing of the Grin” 1951

It's hard to believe that this cartoon is 60 years old!  Where does the time go?  As we draw closer to that time of year when "everyone is a little bit Irish" we give you Chuck Jones's 1951 "The Wearing of the Grin"–starring the much put-upon and often-maligned Porky Pig.  Beset by the leprechauns and just about everything else you were taught came from Ireland (if you're a certain age, at least)–pots of gold, wee folk, four-leaf clovers (shamrocks), blarney (oh, there's plenty of blarney in this one, that's for sure!), and after all that, Porky makes his escape through a Dali-esque landscape (layouts by Robert Gribbroek, backgrounds painted by Philip DeGuard.)