Category Archives: Chuck Jones Experience

When in Doubt, Ask…You Never Know Who Might Answer

Chuck Redux recently came across a flurry of questions about the value of visiting the Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas on a Vegas Message Board

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They were good questions, and it seemed like an opportunity for someone close to Chuck Jones to answer them. 

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So, Craig Kausen, Chuck's grandson had this to say in reply to their questions:

"Well, I must start out by revealing that I'm terribly biased in my review of the Chuck Jones Experience. I am Chuck Jones' grandson, Craig.

"However, although I must say that I personally think it is well worth the admission price, each person or group that sends me notes, text messages, pictures, or even actual letters (forbid!), has said that they were enthralled by the journey they were taken on inside the Experience. Just yesterday a friend said her accountant was out there with 10 young soccer players (10 or 12 years old), along with parents, and although she thought it was big ticket amount for the group when they arrived, she said they spent a couple of hours and could hardly get the kids and many of the parents to leave when they had to go to their next game.

"It is like walking inside of a Chuck Jones cartoon that is super life-sized, as well as walking into his studio (with his actual desk setting right before you), that includes hundreds of books from his own personal library, so you can glimpse a bit inside of his genius. 

"There is a room where you can see how you measure up next to Life-sized characters and then walk into a filming of a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon being filmed by Bugs Bunny and directed by Daffy W. Griffith, all in larger than life-sized three dimensional creations.

"There are over 250 original works of art ranging from historical production materials to oil paintings, to traditional fine art, all by Chuck himself.

"There is also an interactive area where you can record sound effects at the Rikki Tikki Tavi Foley station and create your own Zoetrope animation strip.

"There are great photo opportunities throughout.

"If I'm there, I'll take you on a personal tour too!

"And, yes, there are plenty of t-shirts to be had as well as other great things to take home if you like.

"I'll even make a bold statement that if you don't like it, ask for Neil and I'm sure he'll give you your money back. (Neil???)

"Plus, there are $5 coupons all over Las Vegas to make it even more affordable.

"I hope you at least go by to take a look if you're in town.

Craig

"PS Gregrio, you are so right about THE Steak House at Circus Circus. Best steaks I've ever had…"

To read the entire thread, click on Chuck's photo below.

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And when in Vegas, do as the Vegans do. Or is that do as the Vegasians do? Or is it Vegasites? Hmmm, something to think about…

A Day at the Chuck Jones Experience

Chuck Redux had the opportunity to spend this past Monday in Las Vegas working with the people that make your visit to the Chuck Jones Experience memorable.  What a great day it was, too! We spent the whold day talking about Chuck's life, art, and genius. It's always wonderful to hear how his work and life has impacted those who spend most of their waking hours talking with his fans and collectors, in other words, people just like you.

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From left, a few of the men and women who make your experience at the Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas memorable: Emi, Joseph, Mike, Eddie, and Jessica. Missing in the photo, but there in spirit are Robin, Veronica, and Paula.

If you haven't "liked" the Chuck Jones Experience on Facebook, please do! Be on the lookout for special offers and news about upcoming art classes and other special events that will happen only in Vegas, baby. (I know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but I just can't keep my mouth shut about how wonderful everyone is at the Chuck Jones Experience. You'll just have to experience it for yourself!)

The Big Day: The Chuck Jones Experience Opens With a Big Kaboom!

The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus, Las Vegas, opened Thursday, January 19th with a big kaboom!

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On hand to inaugurate the new space were artists (from left) Jeff DeGrandis, producer and director of "Dora the Explorer" and other Nickelodeon cartoons; Eric Goldberg, renowned Disney animator and director who had also worked with Chuck Jones; Mike Peraza, Disney art director ("The Little Mermaid" and many others); muralist and actor, James C. Mulligan; celebrated mat painter and fine artist, James Coleman; emerging POP/OP artist Tennessee Loveless, Art Deco-inspired artist, Mike Kungl, and surf artist, Bob Elias (not shown).  All of the artists are creating artwork for the Chuck Jones Centennial Homage series to be released throughout 2012.  Watch this space for more information!

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There was speechifying: Craig Kausen, grandson of Chuck Jones and Chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity acted as the Master of Ceremonies and kept the assembled journalists, photographers, videographers, fans, and collectors laughing and the proceedings humming along.

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Craig (left) introduced Neil Cantor, managing director of The Chuck Jones Experience, and the man who 17 years ago had dinner with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, and Chuck Jones where his idea for the Experience first blossomed. 

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Don Thrasher (right), President of Circus Circus enjoyed the Experience and officially welcomed it to the hotel.

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The Jones Family was on hand to celebrate, from left: Todd Kausen, Valerie Kausen, Marian Jones, Linda Jones Clough, and Craig Kausen. 

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The inimitable animator and director, Eric Goldberg, shared with the crowd his love of all things Chuck Jones and how, over the years, Jones has influenced his work.

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Linda Jones Clough, Chuck's daughter, made everyone laugh with her self-deprecating wit and then everyone teared up when she read a letter Chuck had written to Craig on his first birthday, "You charm me completely.  I am captured by your smile, touched by your bright love of life, enchanted completely and absolutely by your uniqueness. I think that being within you, looking out at this wonderful world must be a very splendid thing."  (There was not a dry eye in sight.)

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"Dover Boys" Rob Minkoff (left) and Jeff DeGrandis (right) flank Craig Kausen. "The Dover Boys", so named by Linda Jones Clough, were a young group of students at CalArts that Chuck took a shine to and mentored over the remaining years of his life. 

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How would you rather have a grand opening, by cutting a boring old red ribbon (see scissors in Craig's right hand) or blow it up with a bouquet of ACME TNT as Neil is suggesting?  Everyone chose the ACME TNT and the plunger was pushed, the explosion 'rocked' and The Chuck Jones Experience opened with a bang (that big kaboom I mentioned at the beginning of the post.) 

Visit The Chuck Jones Experience online for more information and make sure to add it to your "to-do" list, "bucket" list or any other list you might be making.  As we celebrate the Chuck Jones Centennial (1912–2012) this year, we're hoping to reach 100,000 'likes' (or more) on Facebook.  If you're not a fan already, please join us in celebrating this amazing artist's life and times.

Today is the Day!

Writing from the 15th floor of Circus Circus:  It's 6:00 AM, Thursday, January 19th, and the Chuck Jones Experience is set to open officially (in a non-traditional ribbon cutting ceremony that only a certain Coyote would have dreamt of…) just 5 hours from now at its location in Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada!  To say we're all excited would be understatement.

Yesterday, Linda Jones Clough, daughter of Chuck Jones, her sons Craig and Todd, along with Marian Jones, Chuck's wife, led a group of devotees on a sneak peek through the Experience.  

Earlier in the day, artisans sweated the details; here's Danny putting the finishing touches on the columns just outside the main entrance.  When you visit, make sure to check out his handiwork…you'll be surprised and delighted at what you'll find!

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Simon (right) and Jumbo promised me they would watch over "Oscar", Chuck's Academy Award from "The Dot and the Line" 1966.

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Just before she led the group into yesterday's sneak peek, Linda Jones Clough stopped to dedicate and sign a copy of her father's autobiography, "Chuck Amuck" for an adoring fan.

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There was more, but who wants to look at it online when you can jump on a plane, get in your car, take a train, swim, crawl, walk, run to the Chuck Jones Experience and see it for yourself?  You won't be sorry that you did…in fact, our prediction is that you'll come back over and over again and that you'll find inspiration and creativity bubbling up inside of you.

Okay, one final image:  one of the several zoetropes at the Experience…

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…The Chuck Jones Experience

Okay, it doesn't have the same lilting cadence, but Chuck Redux is here in Las Vegas where the temperature is frosty (no snowmen that we could see, but brrrr!), and we're ready to tell you that the Chuck Jones Experience is one amazing attraction.  Craig Kausen, Chuck's grandson, and I flew in yesterday to install the art exhibit at the Experience (more on that with photos tomorrow) and since this was the first time your author had seen it, I'm here to tell you that you won't believe how awesome it is. From the moment you walk in until the second you walk out — there is something fun to do, beautiful to see, and exciting to feel.  Fans of Chuck Jones, actually I'm going to include everyone who is a fan of animation and great cartoons, is going to find this experience, the Chuck Jones Experience, thrilling and that is not just me being hyperbolic.  Forthwith, some photos:

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When you first enter, you encounter Tareco Drive, the street that Chuck lived on in the Hollywood Hills for many years.  The name of the street was derived from Tarbell Realty Company (Ta-Re-Co) who had developed and sold much of the property.

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Tareco Drive will take you past the Chuck Jones Theater, where you'll…

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…stop to watch a cartoon and maybe a short film on the life of Chuck Jones or some other aspect of the world of animation, while you're there, you may even run into…

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…the awesome designer of the Experience, John Ramirez, a creative genius who knew Chuck Jones and has created some of the world's great theme park attractions, floats and other spectacles that entertain and amuse.  He's tops in our book!

Speaking of running into people (were we?)…while you're there, you never know who you might get to meet…

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…there's always the chance that Chuck's grandson and chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Craig Kausen (seen standing left speaking with designer John Ramirez–seated–and Neil Cantor–whose committment to this project is without peer–and to the right, guests John and his son, Michael.) 

When you exit the Chuck Jones Theater, you might want to look down…

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…because you might just discover that you're standing on the manhole cover over the sewer where your 100,000 bad drawings drain away.  You do know that story, don't you?  About the 100,000 bad drawings?  Chuck had an art teacher at Chouinard Art Institute in the 1920s who told his class, "You birds have 100,000 bad drawings in you, start getting rid of them now!"

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 You'll not be surprised to run into your friends, Daffy W. Griffith and his cameraman, Bugs Bunny as they film….but, i've gotta run and get to work putting the finishing touches on the art installationsin Chuck's office, the "Measure Up" room and the museum, plus much, much more!

Chuck Jones Experience — Sneak Peek and Grand Opening Date!

The artisans and craftsmen (and women) who have been turning an 8,000 square foot concrete and wallboard shell at Circus Circus in Las Vegas into the Chuck Jones Experience have been working around the clock to make this unique destination one of the most exciting to come to Las Vegas in a long time. Make your plans to join us on the 19th of January for its grand opening!

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On your way to a recreation of Chuck's office that will include his animation desk and artifacts, photos, and original drawings from the 1940s and 1950s.

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The entrance to the Chuck Jones Theater where you'll watch an introductory film and other moving picture surprises!

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Inside the theater…are you as excited as we are?  It's going to be awesome!

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Every single brick has been lovingly hand-prepared just for your enjoyment!  Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 19th mid-day.  Be there or be square!

 

The Night Watchman

We're busy curating the exhibition for the Chuck Jones Experience opening in Las Vegas at Circus Circus (truly, it's coming, promise!) One of the exhibitions will feature some marvelous telegrams and a charming letter from Chuck's brother Dick (Richard Jones, who also worked as an in-betweener and animator at Schlesinger Studios and for a while was a part of Chuck's unit; after enlisting in the Service during WWII, went on to make quite a career for himself as a noted photographer and painter,) on the release of this, "The Night Watchman", his first directorial effort (although they called it then 'supervision'.)  Here's the letter from his brother, followed by the cartoon.

LETTER TO CHUCK FROM DICK JONES copy

 

At the Bus Stop–Oxford Circus – London 1960

As we get closer to installing the Chuck Jones exhibition at the Chuck Jones Experience in Circus Circus — Las Vegas, we continue to unearth amazing little gems of drawings and watercolors from Chuck's travel notebooks.  In 1960 he and his wife, Dorothy, traveled to Europe and visited England, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.  

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When I showed one of the drawings to Chris, the Center's resident teaching artist, he said that you knew by looking at the drawing that Chuck just had his hand to paper and wasn't looking specifically at the drawing as it unfolded, but at what he was drawing — that the free flowing line (so simple, but so telling at the same time) conveyed the immediacy of the moment — really, you could have been standing there next to him, they are that fresh.  On display at the Experience will be several of these notebooks revealing moments that Chuck experienced first-hand and because of his natural genius and talent with pen & ink (and watercolor as seen in the work featured here), you will be able to do the same.  

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“It Held Me Smellbound.”

When Chuck Jones's 1949 short animated film starring PepĂ© le Pew, "For Scent-i-mental Reasons" won the Oscar for best short animated film at the Oscars held in March of 1950, he received many congratulatory telegrams (of course, he did not get the actual Oscar statuette, that honor was bestowed upon the producer, the irascible Eddie Selzer), but of all of the congratulations, the telegram below, from the inimitable Tex Avery is perhaps the most delightful.  This artfact will be on display at the soon-to-open Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

OSCAR TELEGRAM AVERY 3-24-1950 copy

 

Agile Acrobats, Circus Strongmen and Artful Artifacts

You'll forgive us for that bit of alliteration, won't you?  It's hard not to be inspired when you see some of the outstanding drawings and fascinating news-clippings that preparing for the Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas has brought to our attention (and by default to yours).  

For instance, this drawing by Chuck Jones of a winsome, pony-tailed acrobat and a big, beer-bellied (of course, that is only our opinion about the beer belly, it could just as well be because to balance those guns and massive forearms one must have a counter-weight and Chuck thought a belly would do so perfectly) circus strongman is a perfect example of some of the art you'll be seeing at the Chuck Jones Experience when it opens in late September/early October at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.  

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There'll also be several display cases filled with the ephemera a life such as Chuck Jones's accumulates.  Telegrams (who remembers those?), letters, photographs and news clipping such as this February 1958 review of an exhibit of Chuck Jones's life drawings at the Cowie Gallery in the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.  

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