Category Archives: Guest Curator

The Linda Jones Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones, Part 5

Note from Linda: At the time of this article, February 7, 1957, the lead-in stated the following: “Chuck Jones has been Art Director of the Crier from its infancy, and herein tells you how come. He and Dottie dwell in a fabulous glass-and-stone aerie up in Hollywood Knolls, and Little Linda is all grown up and married.”  I was, as stated in the article, seven years old in 1944. We had pool parties often in lovely, poison oak surrounded, swimming pool above the back patio…. yes, above…up the hill through overgrown ivy covered steps, which were especially slippery coming down. I learned to love to swim in that pool and missed it when we moved across the street in 1945. Here is Part V:

 [PART V] Cinnamon, Anyone?

             It was through the pages of the Canyon Crier that my wife sought wartime bargains. Her wants were relatively simple since the only thing she hoarded during the war years was cinnamon sticks. She had a morbid fear of being without hot-buttered rum, even though it was hot oleo-margarine-rum more often than not. Occasionally a grocer in a flippant mood would advertise cinnamon sticks, and shortly thereafter a slender hooded figure might be observed slinking by the check stand with a bulging paper bag. Since 1945 we have had hot buttered rum perhaps five times, which means that we still have ample supply for about ten thousand years.

Betty Branch, then editor of the Crier (Russell Branch, Publisher), inserted a plea for an artist-cartoonist of the general class of Arno, Adams, or VIP Partch, who would be willing to work for nothing. I applied, knowing full well that I had the disadvantage of not being in the class of Arno, Adams or Partch, yet smugly aware that I held the enormous advantage of being willing to work for nothing, which I knew they were not. My relationship with all of the succeeding Canyon Crier editors has continued in this same unsullied manner, characterized by purity on both sides. Neither checks nor rejection slips have ever passed between me and any editor of the Canyon Crier.

CJCC - Canyon Crier Illustration #5 website

Just how many editors and/or proprietors the Canyon Crier has known I cannot now recall, but four—I think—have been significant Branch, Rose, Bishop and Sharpe, and three of these seem to have an etymological sympathy: Sharpe, Rose, Branch with Bishop thrown in for ecclesiastical class.

[The exciting conclusion of this article next week!]

The Linda Jones Clough Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones, Part 4

Note from Linda: At the time of this article, February 7, 1957, the lead-in stated the following: “Chuck Jones has been Art Director of the Crier from its infancy, and herein tells you how come. He and Dottie dwell in a fabulous glass-and-stone aerie up in Hollywood Knolls, and Little Linda is all grown up and married.”  I was, as stated in the article, seven years old in 1944. I well remember my father’s “war warden” hard hat…with a webbing inside that fascinated me…but he wouldn’t let me play with it. He went out almost every night, from our blacked out home, with his huge flashlight and his hard hat and a first aid kit slung over his chest. The searchlights interspersed the stars…and they were not for movie openings, but searching for enemy aircraft. Here is Part IV.

CJCC - Part IV Illustration from Canyon Crier_400px

[PART IV] The Oddments of War

Thus she joined the carpool and the “Canyon Crier” became a factor in our lives. We were at about this time promoted to a kind of restricted B sticker for our gasoline ration I was working on a project to camouflage Signal Hill rather a thankless job since the oil wells could only be disguised as something that looked like another military objective like a ship yard, an ammunition dump or an air-field. I think our final suggestion was to build two other fake Signal Hillses and hope for the best, or to make a gigantic tent big enough to cover all of Long Beach. At any rate we managed to carry on, although I occasionally had to employ the steps, dare the dog, and the Rhus diversiloba (poison oak).

It was through the tiny pages of the Crier that we were informed of the activities of Civilian Defense. Dan Duryea, as I remember it, was Senior Warden in our parts. Ken Harris was block Warden. Kent Winthers was Junior Warden and I was Fire Watcher, since we were almost the sole residents of Passmore Drive at that time. The Finkel house, now owned and beautifully remodeled by Hal and Margo Findlay, was then empty and the only other house was occupied, I believe, by a schizophrenic who thought he was a German spy but never came outdoors long enough to find out. He it was who had bought the confused Doberman thinking him to be a turn=coat (or turn-pelt). The three of us then were the task force that manned Operation Passmore, and even though in the giant logistics of war such minutia are often overlooked, yet it is true that we kept Passmore Drive remarkably free of fire-bombs.

[See you next week, with Part V]

Path of Pilgrimage–New Paintings by Joshua Smith at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

THE PATH OF PILGRIMAGE

New Works by Joshua Smith

An Inspire Exhibition at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
Opens October 13th

Costa Mesa, CA, September 1, 2015: Artists are often asked where their inspiration comes from; when Orange County artist, Joshua Smith, is asked that question he is quick to respond that he relies on his dreams and his faith for inspiration. Working in a vortex of color and often on over twenty varying sizes of canvas at a time, Smith, not unlike the dreams he credits with inspiring his work, paints in a fever of remembrance, memory, mysticism, and metaphor.

Into the Calm, oil on canvas, 40" x 40", by Joshua Smith

Into the Calm, oil on canvas, 40″ x 40″, by Joshua Smith

“I take my visual clues from architecture and from religion, allowing my paintings to be a reflection of art and of my faith,” says Smith, “and like a small child, I fanaticize my surroundings, the sky’s the limit.” A technically proficient oil painter, Smith, with his Masters in fine art from Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, approaches his work like a metaphysical journey through some unknown reality; he believes in the omnipotence of the dream, the fantasy.

With his emphasis on landscape, his colors lay one on top of the other in a powdery mist of memory; chairs, paths, trees, butterflies, nests, and small home-like structures stand in lonely isolation, but still he imbues each canvas with the emotion of hope and of home. The paintings’ dense, fragile surfaces and areas of multi-chromatic richness recall ancient wall frescos.

“The Center is thrilled to present this Inspire Exhibition of work by the artist, Joshua Smith,” says Craig Kausen, chairman of the board and Chuck Jones’s grandson. “His work, like that of other great artists, inspires each of us to view our world a little differently, with faith and hope; and, perhaps, to question our responsibility to the world around us.”

Opening night reception for the artist is Tuesday, October 13 from 7 to 9 PM at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, 3321 Hyland Ave., Suite A, in Costa Mesa at the South Coast Collection (SoCo). The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit will close on November 30. A portion of proceeds benefit the programs of the Center, a 501(c)3 public charity.

A graduate of the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford (Connecticut) with a Masters in painting, Smith received his undergraduate degree at the Laguna College of Art & Design.  He has participated in over 30 group exhibitions and more than 25 solo exhibitions in the past 10 years. Awarded the prestigious Best New SOLO Artist at the New York International Art Expo in 2007, Smith recently exhibited at the Carousel du Louvre with the Socièté Nationale des Beaux. He has been involved in numerous projects with The Guildford Handcraft Center, taught as adjunct professor at the Hartford Art School and has been exhibition curator at the Nathan J Gallery, Farmington, Ct. Currently, he lives in Orange County with his wife and two children.

The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity was founded by the four-time Academy Award-winning legendary animation pioneer and creator, Chuck Jones in 1999. The Center’s vision is a world where creativity is known and experienced in every discipline, by the many, not just the few. It is located in the South Coast Collection (SoCo) at 3321 Hyland Ave., Suite A, Costa Mesa, CA. www.ChuckJonesCenter.org. 949-660-7793 x 107.

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity Welcomes Guest Film Curator

This just could not wait another minute…

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!”