Christopher Scardino, the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity's resident teaching artist was filmed for Pencils.com's Studio 602 blog drawing the Chuck Jones character, Kotick, the White Seal. Read the article here (or click the above image) and view the video. Check out the Center's new website, ChuckJonesCenter.org, while you're at it!
A special shout-out to our friends at Pencils.com for their continued interest in the Center's programs!
We are delighted to announce that tomorrow, Saturday, March 24th, at 1 PM PDT, the new Chuck Jones Center for Creativity website will launch. This labor of love has had a multi-month gestation period and all of us here at the Center, along with the wonderfully talented and I might add, patient, website designer, Andrew 'Atlanta' Jones, are thrilled to be able to let our baby go out into the world tomorrow on its own.
Of course, you'll discover that not every little nook and cranny has been filled with lucious, rich, exciting, amazing, delightful, and inspiring Chuck Jones content, but there's plenty to look at and explore and we promise that more is on the way. So, poke around tomorrow, enjoy the art and photographs, check out the Chuck Jones Filmography and drop us a note to let us know your thoughts on what we've done (and if you're so inclined, what we could do to improve it.) Click on the image below and start your journey or go to ChuckJonesCenter.org.
Don't forget that this year's spring fundraiser, theRed Dot Auction, will be held on Friday evening, May 11th from 6 to 9 PM at the Center's new location, 3321 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa, California. RSVP@ChuckJonesCenter.org and reserve 5 free raffle tickets (available at the front desk when you sign in the night of the event.) It's possible that 'Atlanta' Jones will have a work of art in the Red Dot Auction, who'd want to miss the opportunity to own it? Make sure you RSVP today!
The handsome and witty Andrew 'Atlanta' Jones, click on his image to read his blog.
Chuck Jones (center) and Unit "A" at Leon Schlesinger Productions, circa 1939, from the Dorothy Jones scrapbook chronicling Chuck's first few years as director. More memorabilia from this scrapbook is on display at the Chuck Jones Experience, Circus Circus, Las Vegas.
The perfect way to enjoy a Satruday: Turner Classic Movies will be honoring Chuck Jones's centennial year with a film retrospective on Saturday, March 24th. Click here for the play list and times. You'll be treated to a panoply of Jones's most cherished cartoons, starring your favorite Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, and Pepe le Pew. Make some popcorn and stay up late to watch his only feature film, "The Phantom Tollbooth" and look for him in a cameo role! I can hear the laughter already...can't you?
The Guest Curator page on the soon-to-be-brand-new-exciting-and-thrilling Chuck Jones Center for Creativity website will be devoted to commentary provided by a variety of experts and fans of the art and films of Chuck Jones. Throughout this series, we plan to bring you new insight and fresh perspectives on Jones's oeuvre. Stay tuned!
Animation expert, author, and historian, Jerry Beck, graciously agreed to inaugurate the Guest Curator page on the Center's website, but due to a delay in launching that brand-new-exciting-and-thrilling-website, we've decided to share his insights with you today here at Chuck Redux. Selecting three Chuck Jones cartoons to highlight proved a challenge, but one he met with his usual gusto, delight, and expertise. Read on!
ONE FROGGY EVENING – Chuck Jones probably never set out to create a classic when he began directing this one-shot cartoon (originally titled “It Hopped One Night”), but that’s exactly what he did. Michael Maltese’s premise, about a singing frog that performs only in view of its owner, must have appealed to Chuck for its witty use of popular tunes from an earlier generation, and a story told virtually through pantomime, poses and facial expressions.
But it turned out to be (in my humble opinion) his greatest piece of animation storytelling, where every subtle nuance conveys feelings we can all relate to, including happiness, greed, frustration and failure. One Froggy Evening plays upon our desire to achieve the American Dream of easy success, and finds humor in the realities of how that success may or may not be obtained. Jones’ animation unit at this time was at the height of its talents, producing cartoons as contemporary as the UPA shorts, as timeless as Disney, and utterly original on their own terms. A masterpiece!
Unfortunately, One Froggy Evening is only available by hyperlink, click on the title in this sentence to watch the cartoon.
OPERATION RABBIT – The best cartoon characters represent identifiable personalities that are either who we are - or who we want to be. Operation Rabbit presents the eternal battle between those two forces. Bugs Bunny has always been smarter than his various adversaries (think Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Taz), but here he encounters his brainest foe – a “genius” in fact – Wile E. Coyote.
Jones concocted the coyote as the personification of his own bewilderment with tools, machinery or simply building things. He knew how funny this sort of character could be up against the cool, calm and confident Bugs, just as he was in his debut film versus the Road Runner two years earlier.
Operation Rabbit is Wile E.’s second screen appearance and his first speaking role (not to mention the first time the character is named). I personally think its one of the best Bugs Bunny cartoons ever made and debatably the funniest. The scene of the coyote hanging on a rock ledge, having just been blown to bits by a train hitting his nitro glycerin shack, repeating his name “Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius” - that never fails to make me laugh out loud. I know that guy. He’s me, he’s Chuck and he’s probably you.
Unlike the Coyote, Jones hit the Bullseye with this one!
SCAREDY CAT – Scaredy Cat is the first of several Porky Pig and Sylvester “Gothics”, three cartoons Jones made with a similarly eerie premise, and one of my all-time favorites. This one has the pair spending a hair raising night in an old dark house. The humor comes from Sylvester’s observations and actions to protect an oblivious Porky from a legion of killer mice.
Every director at Warners had their shot to work with Porky and Sylvester and each succeeded in creating an individual persona for the characters. Jones’ Porky is never more appealing than he is here – optimistic, self-assured and quite a strict pet owner. Sylvester is also tweaked in a Jonesian way: silent and scared, paranoid yet uncharacteristically brave. Oh, and I also believe this is the first cartoon where the cat (unnamed in previous screen appearances under Clampett, Davis and McKimson – and dubbed “Thomas” in Freleng’s Oscar winning “Tweetie Pie”) is given his proper name, Sylvester.
That sound like something Jones and Maltese would make up for this speech-impaired putty tat. “Sufferin’ Succotash!”