Category Archives: Chuck Jones’ Letters to Linda

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

November 30, 1953

Post #46

Dearest Linda:

I have about seven minutes until Dottie picks me up so here is seven minutes of the very finest prose I have to offer.  I think it will be seven minutes but I can’t be sure on account of I am seriously thinking of giving up time again.  At Disney’s it was always necessary to be certain places at certain times.  God knows why, nothing ever happened, so it was nearly impossible to work there without a timepiece.  You could get along without talent, but not a watch.  As you know I gave up time about a year before leaving here and I must say I never missed the damn stuff.  It is a pleasant thing not to ever know what time it is, a watch is a straitjacket to the artist.  So if I have the strength and I can figure out a way to assure Donn’s feelings (he gave me my current watch) then I shall forswear Greenwich (obscure way of saying “time”) and live happily ever after.

Ah..I think this was a good mood—I mean move to return here [to Warner Bros.], I had not realized how much I missed the sweetness of my own solitude.  At Disney’s aloneness or desire to be alone generates suspicion, you are always surrounded by people, drifting in and out, exchanging hackneyed pleasantries or just sitting, staring with baleful intensity at one’s own navel.  What a waste!  What a waste of wonderful talent!

I went to Disney’s with respect for H… L…., I could not fathom him but I felt that there must be some pretty strong talent there, not evident on the surface perhaps but still waters run deep etc. etc.  If I still think this then I am the only one who has recently worked there who does.  Walt adjudges him a work horse, stolid, unimaginative, but able to get things done if someone else has injected the life and the spark into the material.  Many others think of him as simply and purely a dolt and a dull dolt at that.  I saw too little of him to make any judgment, but I can no longer assume that he has talent.  Isn’t that a pity?

My mental Gruen says seven minutes up.

I love you with a gentle parental devotion.

You snarling little beast.

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

Summer Vacation:  Linda at home; no letters.

Linda and her mother, Dorothy, work in the school office for several weeks during the summer to help defray tuition. 

There are some letters missing during the work time and the first weeks of the 53/54 school year.  If we find them, we’ll stick ‘em in. 

Onward and upward…

Friday Afternoon
October 3, 1953

Post #45

Dear Linda;

Three fifteen Friday afternoon, a very hot day.  I’ve done about all the work I can do well today; anything beyond this would probably have to be done over on Monday anyway, so why not write to Linda?  Nothing on my mind, beyond being a little sleepy.  Time out for a minute, I want to check with Ken Harris about a tennis racquet for you.

(asterisks indicate time lapse)


I’ve got the dope; we’ll see what we can do about a racquet this weekend.  As you know, Ken is a fine, if vitriolic, tennis player.  He knows most of the good players and sees all of the top local matches and tournaments.  He gave me the names of several good frames and suggested that they be strung in nylon-twist, instead of gut, has just as much spring and is much more durable.  He told me where to go, too: a little tennis store at the North Vermont courts in Griffith Park, just north of Los Feliz, about a half mile from where Herb Young lives.  I believe you are very wise to take up tennis.  It is a game you can enjoy all your life, is a fine social pastime that girls and boys can do together and is excellent exercise, developing long smooth muscles like swimming muscles and riding muscles.  I hope you like it.

Speak of riding muscles, I’m trying to lure Donn [Harter] into riding with me.  It seems he had an unfortunate experience with one of those big lantern-headed white horses they sometimes have in riding stables.  The bastard scraped him off on a tree, like in “City boy” and then stepped on him, breaking his toe.  Donn’s toe that is, not the horse’s.  Well, Donn made the mistake of not immediately remounting and teaching that horse and himself who the boss was.  So he developed a fear of horses, one he would like to overcome, so I’m going to call him up one morning, perhaps next week, without warning and take him out riding with Gene and me.  That does seem to be a cardinal and important rule:  If you have an accident with a horse, get the hell back in the saddle.  And quick.

I’m going to let this letter simmer until Monday.  Ah’m getting’ too sleepy to consecrate or concentrate rather…Have a nice weekend…



We spent the weekend thus:  party at Harters Saturday night, Gene [Poddany] and Luby [Shutorev] were there, looking very well.  Luby is heavier and looks swell.  They send their love.  Sunday we drove with the Harters (as if you didn’t know) to visit the Hamners and then to Nana’s for dinner.  We drove out on Palos Verdes to see that beautiful new glass church at Portuguese Bend, a magnificent, truly beautiful building, almost enough to draw me to church.  Not quite, though.  We received two letters from you, very fat, very grateful.  I love you and I’d better get this letter away

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Chuck xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thy sire xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

Monday, 18th of May, 1953

Post #44

Hello, offspring:

We have had two letters in the last two weeks, aggregating nineteen words, not counting headings and endings, which are not even charged for in a telegram.  For these two letters, you put out six cents in postage or about three words for a cent.  The United States post office department usually operates at a deficit, but I think you have discovered a simple effective solution:  charge by the word.  This letter, for instance, as far as it has gone would cost me about twenty-seven cents at three words for a cent.  Six hundred words, about average for a letter, would of course cost two dollars.  Hell, we could even balance the budget:  You’re a very intelligent girl after all.

We are going to see Cinerama tonight as Eddie’s [Selzer, producer] guests.  Cinerama is the process that uses the fantastically wide screen: three times as wide and one and half times as high, I believe.  It is necessary to redesign your theater for about one hundred Gs before you can play it.  I understand it is quite an experience, one that we will repeat with you when you return, also 3-D, which you will I’m sure find interesting, at least the first time.

It looks like our Easter trip, if it comes off at all, will come later in the summer.  Johnny Burton, you will remember him as general manager here, came to the brink of an nervous breakdown last week and was ordered on a six-week rest, which means that if Friz [Freleng] and I both left, at the same time, it would leave the studio to the tender mercies of one E. Selzer, whose intentions are undoubtedly good, but whose skill as a director might be open to question.  We will go to Asilomar [square dance conference], all three of us, that is and I’m sure you will this year enjoy the dancing.

Well, if you think I am going to write the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire at those prices you are sadly, do you hear me: sadly, mistaken.

For some reason, that now escapes me, I still love you dearly.

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

Post # 43

Friday, Apr…I mean
May 1, 53


Happy May Day!


The streets were
bedecked with flowers this morning, comely lasses stood on every street corner,
their arms overflowing with sweet-peas, violets, bachelor buttons, azaleas,
camellias, coreopsis, clover, cow-band and cut-worms and tossed garlands of
these glittering posies around the necks of passing motorists.  Heralds in silken clothes of pastel
shades, mounted on milk-white horses blew silvery bell-like notes on glittering
golden trumpets.  Clouds of creamy
doves all but obliterated the azure sky, twinkling, twittering and corvetting
over head.  Statley (stately) (“Statley”
is an adjective used to describe people staying at Statler hotels).  New start…Stately peacocks strode the
streets, herded by peach complected maidens in diaphanous gowns, trilling
spring madrigals (the girls, not the peacocks) to the morning sun.  The policeman, discarding their
uniforms for this day of days, were arrayed in breech-clouts of unborn lamb,
their badges held to their bare chests with bits of scotch tape.  They blew kisses to all and sundry and
all and sundry blew kisses right back…May Day in Hollywood, what a glorious


Making now the long
grim plunge from the divine to the ridiculous, how are you anyway?  Setting any new scholastic
records?  Memorized Horace?  Speak fluent Ovid?  Solved the old quantum theory?


I am pleased that
your emotional affairs are progressing so swimmingly, no matter how well other
things go, if this one aspect of one’s life lags, the rest appears
unimportant.  In short, if you is
happy, I is happy.


Four weeks from
today marks the end of your school year. 
Isn’t that amazing?  It
doesn’t seem like you have been gone more than thirty years.  It has been a wonderful time, though,
hasn’t it?  What a fortunate and
lucky thing it was that we took the Ford Times, hm?  What a lucky thing it was that we knew the Irelands and that
Susie was going there.  Sure, I’ve
missed you, but what fun it has been to enjoy remotely the pleasure you have
known.  And you have responded so
well and proved yourself beyond reasonable requirements.  You’ve earned the right to continue.


Will working next
year hinder you too much?  Will it
interfere with your studies or more important…your fun?  If it does…and I want a true answer,
then it isn’t worth it, because we can
make a go of it without that help if need be.  I want you to know that.  It would help, of course, but if you
don’t know it by now I am what the Irish call a patsy—a pushover—for you.


letter was a highly flattering one. 
So much so that I guess it had better be kept away from you.


I asked him if he could
use the saddle in exchange for feed or something next year, this in a letter
answering his letter, so if he asks you, you are now informed.


I didn’t expect to
get over on this page, but here I am, all bright and dewy-eyed, but as I look
down over the acres of white paper below me I get frightened and realize that I









Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post # 42


8, 1953




will not be a very chatty letter, but I have just written to C….[the
headmaster], giving him the whole picture and explaining generally what we
three discussed over the weekend. 
I was very frank, Linda, and told him that we would in effect strain our
gut and our bank account even if no arrangement could be made for you to
help.  I told him that you had
earned the right to return, but that beyond that you were eager to share in the
family responsibility if at all possible. 
If not, we’d probably do it anyway.


can see almost nothing to bar your returning beyond some catastrophe.  I just hope that some arrangement can
be made to ease the cost a little. 
It’s rather unfortunate that I am not skilled in some craft that is
needed at the ranch.  Think they
could use Dottie for a week or so at the beginning and end of semesters to help
in the office?  She’s a damn good
stenographer, as you know.  Just
thought of that.  Any sense to
it?  I’m sure it would please her
and she wouldn’t get in your hair.


will probably talk to you and you have my complete authority to make whatever
decisions make sense to you.  If he
doesn’t talk to you, he will write to me. 
I’ll keep you completely informed. 
Write to me here at the studio if it seems necessary.  I am certain that we can work this
thing out satisfactorily.


to the old drawing board.



love, love….



Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post #41


March 18, 1953


Happy First Day
After St. Patrick’s day!


Why do Irishmen have
names like O’Hoolihan?  Why do
Irishmen persist in smoking clay pipes and burn peat in their stoves?  Hm?  What the devil are we buying you an expensive education for
if you can’t answer the simplest question?


Leonard Levinson was
telling me the other day of something that for some mysterious reason struck
him and me as very funny indeed. 
It was a theater program that said this, “Scene One:  Two thousand years ago.  Scene Two:  The next morning.”


Going along the same
cheery way, try this:  put the tips
of your fingers together with the tips of the fingers of the other hand, one
above the other.  Now push your hands
forward and back (or up and down) holding the tips of the fingers
together.  Know that that is?  A spider doing push ups on a mirror.


There is a definite
aroma of spring in the air today. 
It would surprise me not one whit to see a robin, to even talk with a
robin, discuss the price of eggs perhaps. 
I feel that somehow, somewhere there are fields of bluebells just
waiting for me to come walk barefoot through ‘em.  It must be getting gorgeous as hell in your area, to coin a
poetic phrase.


As you will
doubtless hear from Dottie, Nana
was de-gall-bladdered
today.  I guess it was very
successful, chap name of Hatfield did the job; very competently I’m told.  She is at the Doctor’s Hospital, 325
West Jefferson, Los Angeles, and will probably be there until next
Wednesday.  A quick note sent
airmail would doubtless catch her still there.  No?


Your play [a melodrama in which Linda
was the poor widow about to be evicted with her tiny baby into the cold by a
devilish landlord; baby was played by a live chicken wrapped in a baby blanket;
songs were all written to well known tunes]
was not only a great success there; it was a huge one here,
too.  Only difference was that we
gave it two performances and first prize. 
Had two casts, too: the Joneses (late of Old Vic), then the Harters
warbled all the parts at the evening performance.  Theirs was perhaps the more touching, since they didn’t know
all the music, but ours was the more convincing since we knew the music, but
couldn’t make it come out.  Thanks
to Teatro Adobe and the impresarios therein.
[they didn’t have the chicken, though]


You remember our
next-door neighbor, Mr. Sheldon?  
Well, damned if he didn’t up and drop dead the other day.  Just like that.  Perfectly healthy right up to the
minute, then Boom!  Gone.  Boy, what a year this has been for poor
Mrs. Sheldon:  both of her children
get married and leave her and now this. 
Must be very tough indeed.


You must admit that
this letter is a very diversified one. 
I try to keep you up on things. 
Lucky you.


Don’t know for sure
yet whether we will be over on Easter weekend or another one right after.  The main studio is reorganizing and
there may be a few minor changes around here.  Not being a minor, I don’t expect it to effect me.


Oh, well, in spite
of everything I continue to love you in the same old paternalistic foolish way,
mainly because you’re a Hell of a nice person and I’m real prpoud to have you
as a daughter.  “Prpoud” is “proud”
with two “p’s”, where else can you get such service?





Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post #40


March 6th,




I will say you write
the most informative letters.  How
anybody can get so much fascinating material into seventy-five words is a source
of wonder and delight to me.  Why
not write your letters on the back of a postage stamp and just send that?  It would be a relief to a sorely
overtaxed post office.


Seriously though,
Linda, I wish you would add fifteen or twenty minutes to your writing
time.  In truth I believe you owe
that to Dottie and, of course, it would please me.  I am asking you to do this not as a penance, but because it
seems to me an equitable and fair thing for you to do.  It is extremely easy to fall into
slovenly habits, in study, in cleanliness, in mental attitudes.  We have no way of knowing what goes on
at school but through your letters. 
If you will consider that when you start to write it may make it easier
for you.  What is familiar to you:
the little things that occur daily, what you are thinking about, what you are
studying, what your teachers talk about…are not at all old stuff to us.  We are eager to know what you are doing
and what kind of a person you are. 
Writing is a duty in a way, just as study is, but like study it can be
pleasant and fun and if it brings happiness then it is certainly worth
doing.  Here I go, sounding like a
father again, but if you would see the light in Dottie’s eyes when she gets a
nice bulky letter from you I know you would forgive me.


I’ve got to continue
this a little further because I don’t want to leave you with the idea that you
should write to her because she is your mother or is to be thereby pitied or
any such nonsense.  She has, in
fact, after her initial homesickness for you, adjusted herself beautifully and
sensibly to our new life together. 
She does not hang about the mailbox dolefully and fruitlessly awaiting
the mailman.  She should receive
letters from you in the same sense that anyone who wants a drawing from me
should have one: because it brings her happiness and because it makes no
fantastic claim on you.  It is a
matter of simple need and simple justice. 



We are going to
dinner at Luby’s tonight with Gene [
Poddany], of course, and the George Gordon’s and
Carl Ubano’s (what those apostrophes are doing there, I don’t know), old
friends in the cartoon business, now both directing at John Sutherland’s
commercial studio.  Every other
person I’ve ever known in cartoons seems to own a commercial studio and are
producing TV commercials.  Hope to
hell it never falls to my lot to get in that trap.  What an ulcer producer it is.  You have to please a client, an agency man, a contact man
and an art director every time you sneeze, so you have to become very adept at
diversified sneezing.  Pew on that
I always say.


Well, I managed to
get over on page two today.  Quite
a feat for me.  I should lecture
you more often…sure covers the paper.


Ah, weel, it is that
I love you very much, sordid beast that you are.


Have fun.


Love youse…

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post # 39


Monday, March 2nd,


Hello, you ghastly
little slob;


I am told you have
passed from one semester into another. 
I have no way of knowing that this is true as we have received no notice
from the school, from [the Headmaster], from the Board of Education, from the
Parole Board, from the Hog Caller’s Protective Association or any other
accredited group.  I presume you
are not hanging in mid-air in a sort of suspended education.  I suppose that you are continuing with
what we laughingly call your studies so as old J. Caesar used to say, “Cadit
quaestic.”  Let us know when you
know anything, hm?  Not that I care
of course, yet…


In the foregoing
sentence I was interrupted by the telephone and when I turned to resume I found
that my last phrase was “Hog Caller’s Protective Ass-” An interesting idea,
isn’t it?  DON’T BE HALF


Dottie has returned
from the wild abysmal banalities of Oregon* in remarkably good spirits.  In fact her conduct during this whole
episode was such as to warm your old heart.  She did all the tings necessary up there, every t’ing that
is, swept up all the old cobwebby odds and ends, disposed of reams of ancient
paper work, did everything necessary with a minimum of pother and returned home
glowing like a dollar watch.  A
remarkable exhibition.


Yes, dammit I mean


“I” before E except
after C, hey?  What about


Mr. Jones, the
carpenter has been busy on the [
] beach house this last
week, replacing windows, putting in new stairs, replacing boards, and fixing
the garage doors.  After he
finishes we shall have the olde girl painted (the house, not Nana [
his mother]) and no one will recognize it, but will
gasp, “What, oh what is this magnificent new edifice rising from the ashes of
the old…Lo, a veritable Phoenix!!”


Our social life
continues apace:  Last week mainly
movies at the Academy: “Moulin Rouge”, “The Bad and the Beautiful”, “High Noon”
again, “Member of the Wedding”, “Greatest Show on Earth” and last night a whole
mess of so called documentaries and I use the term “mess” advisedly.  What a slobby bunch of cruddy
pictures.  I rise to a point of
odor.  Pew!


“Moulin Rouge” and
oh, yes, “Come Back, Little Sheba” are superior pictures.  Shirley Booth’s performance is truly a
masterpiece.  If she doesn’t win
‘twill be the injustice of the century.


By some wierd
non-parental alchemy, I love you very much.


I before E except
after C, eh?  What about weird?




s/thine Sire


*[She was in Oregon taking care of the final
arrangements after the death of her father.]

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post # 38


Monday, Feb.




This must be
a short note on account of it is nearly five o’clock and I’ve got [art] class
tonight, but I did want to bring you up to date and also get a check to
you.  If the check is not enclosed
I will have forgotten to do even that. 
This has been a very crowded day: story session this morning having to
do with the man who invented the portable hole, just buy a package of these
convenient holes and if you want a hole, just glue one on the object and reach
in:  very convenient for getting
babies out of safes, for sneaking home at night without opening the front door,
an excellent part of a dog’s equipment: no need to dig any more.  A very nice story idea, wish it was


No word from
Dottie since I talked to you Saturday. 
 I am so pleased and happy
and in love with her.  All of her
adult life she has grown and developed and striven to become a more adult and
intelligent person and the beauty of it is that she has become a real zany,
too.  I am very grateful for her
and I hope you are, too.  Look
around at many of the other women of her age [45] and you soon realize what an
absolutely fine person she is. 


As always,
I‘ve enjoyed being a bachelor for a little while.  It is fun being mothered by our friends.  I spent the weekend with nana [his
mother], which pleased us both. 
She, too, is a swell gal with a nice straight back and good straight
mind.  Very active and fun to be
with and to talk to.


Well, off I
go…I love you, too, and you jolly well know what kind of a person I think you
are.  You little slob.

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda


Post #37


February 16, 1953




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 Romance of Transportation in Canada
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




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