Category Archives: History

Inspired by Chuck Jones

Artists Karen and Tony Barone, featured artists in our San Diego Chuck Jones Gallery through April 13, have honored the influence Chuck Jones has had on their art and their life in their website’s “Blob”. Yes, that’s right, it’s not a “Blog”, but a “Blob”. Written by Tony, the “Blob” covers all sorts of topics. The most recent posting, #9, centers on the Chuck Jones inspiration they’ve channeled in their most recent work, “Bugs Bunny in a Hare-Raising Experience”.

Chuck Jones by Karen and Tony Barone.

Chuck Jones by Karen and Tony Barone after a photograph by Karsh of Ottawa.

Tony writes, “I am a composite of skills and knowledge inherited from all those artists who have come before me.

“In my most recent incarnation, I am channeling artist Chuck Jones, the world’s most collected cartoonist, animator, filmmaker and Pop art practitioner. The impressions he left on me when I was a “baby” artist, but an artist none-the-less, are indelible. Now that I am more skilled, I am even more aware of how skilled he is. I say “is” because although he passed in 2002 at nearly 90, I speak of him in the present because I continue to “draw” from him.” Read the rest of his inspiration at the “Blob” on BaroneArt.com.

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.

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[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]

The Linda Jones Clough Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones, Part 3

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 a beautiful, big yellow tom cat named Passmore (yes, named after the street we lived on). One day I asked my parents, “If Passmore had kittens, could we have one?”  Of course, their answer was that Passmore was a tom cat and therefore could not have kittens. I said, “But IF he had kittens, could we have one?” With a knowing glance at each other, they agreed. I took them across the street to our neighbor’s black cat who had just had five adorable little yellow kittens…Yes, I got not only one, but two…I named them Rudy and Bennie…Here is Part III.

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[PART III] House with Long Haul 

I decided to employ logic. Even if I lost with Dottie, I might impress Linda. I indicated with patient yet pointed logic that the two miles to the nearest lady-ridge-resider ride-sharing intersection was Woodrow Wilson and Mulholland, while the nearest market was but a scant half mile from our home on Passmore Drive…and all down hill, including one hundred and eighty-seven steps connecting our street with steps connecting our street with the one below. Furthermore it would take a full day’s supply of gas in our gasping Oldsmobile to struggle up Woodrow Wilson to Mulholland and share in the economies of the ridge girls in their gay junkets to Finkle’s market at Highland and Franklin.

She had gained confidence through my maunderings and gently exhaling a fragrant cloud of rum, maple and tobacco, said that down-hill empty-handed became up-hill grocery laden, that the one hundred and eighty steps was a farce going down with gravity as a friend, but became an endless cement ladder going up, laden with salmon, Spam, short-ribs, and such. Furthermore the steps were dangerous; behind a fence paralleling the last fifty feet lived a psychotic Doberman Pinscher, a reject from the Canine Corps—who in being taught to bite enemy soldiers had carried instructions a step further and now bit anything. He had gnawed a head-sized hole out of his chain link fence, and travelers on the steps could only avoid the action of his garbage-disposal jaws by wading through a breast-high orchard of greasy poison oak opposite him. When Linda was with her, she had to carry her—and the groceries—over her (Dottie’s) head. All this she was willing to endure, she said, but in her illogical woman’s way she just couldn’t see what having poison oak, hydrophobia, and a weakened hearts was doing to further the war effort.

[Come back next week for part IV!]

The Linda Jones Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones, Part 2

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CRIER IN THE WILDERNESS by Chuck Jones

Part II

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 a live-in mother’s helper named Mary. Mary was a junior at USC and had been born and raised in Los Angeles. Mary was my bestest friend…and I was heartbroken when she (and her parents) were taken to the Internment Camp for Japanese citizens…Here is Part II of the Canyon Crier article started last week.

 [PART II] – Wifely Wiles

The fact that my wife was not working, an activity usually associated with car-pools, did not really constitute an incongruity in my mind. She already owned a rapier, a euphonium and a suit of formal riding attire, even though she had no interest in swordsmanship (“buttons”), tuba-class instruments, or fox-hunting (‘driving a tack with a sledge hammer”). She simply liked these articles for themselves, and I found it quite believable that she would join a car-pool just to drive out to Cal-ship, wrap bandages, and read Dickens in the back of the car all day, and ride back with the boys at night.

“I read about it in ‘The Canyon Crier’”, she said, producing this miniscule yet action-provoking sheet from behind a package of RUM ‘N MAPLE cigarettes. (Why was it always possible during the war to obtain cartons of RUM ‘N MAPLE cigarettes, when less exotic brands where available only in butt form?)

“The girls up on the ridge do their marketing together on a car-sharing basis,” her lip quivered, “eye wan tu-tu.”

“Eye wan tu-tu?”

She pursed her eye-lids. “I want to, too. I want to car-share, too. I want to ride with the girls and market with the girls. Other wives get to, why not me? I’ll plan a plan so I’ll get it all done at once.”

She was about to offer to hold her breath and turn blue if I refused to listen.

I felt this might be a poor example to our daughter Linda, whose seven-year-old blue-eyed naiveté concealed only too well a jaundiced cynicism toward our ostensible maturity.

[Part III next week!]

The "Canyon Crier" masthead drawn and designed by Chuck Jones, a long-time resident of the Hollywood Hills.

The Linda Jones Archive: Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones

The "Canyon Crier" masthead drawn and designed by Chuck Jones, a long-time resident of the Hollywood Hills.

The “Canyon Crier” masthead drawn and designed by Chuck Jones, a long-time resident of the Hollywood Hills.

Crier in the Wilderness by Chuck Jones

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 was in the second grade at Valley View School, to which I walked each day…actually uphill (and downhill) both ways! There were 72 steps from the street to our front door. My father’s studio was a room over the garage, which was only 40 steps from the street, but 32 steps down from the front door. I called this the “castle house” and from what I can see of it these days, it looks very much the same as it did in the early forties when we lived there.  —   I have decided to publish this article in six parts, along with the illustrations that accompanied the article at that time. Here is Part I.

[PART I]

The first time I knew that there was such a publication as the “Canyon Crier” was that night during the war when my wife began to make whimpering noises and little dog-like running motions in her sleep. This type of restlessness always presages a complaint or new statement of policy at the following breakfast table, so I was as prepared—to use the term so loosely as to be idiotic—when she gave her first post-orange juice cough. This then was going to be a statement of policy, a new venture or something current on Linda’s up-bringing from Ribble, Ilg, Gesell or Spock, known as RIGS in our household. If it was going to be a complaint, she would have cleared her throat rather than coughing. Thus do we survive through understanding the delicate code of marital communication.

“I’m going to join a car pool,” she said, smearing a quarter pat of butter on a heel of raisin bread toast. (Why is raisin bread so easy to come by during war-time?” The time necessary to chew up and swallow a rag of raisin bread toast was the time allotted me to consider a spate of short-handish thoughts: “Car-pool? Why? Where? Who? How? Huh?”

[Stay tuned…more next week!]

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Did You Ever Wonder What an Animation Director Made in 1944?

Chuck Jones’s pay stub for the week ending December 9, 1944. At the time, he was directing animated short films for Leon Schlesinger Studios.

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On January 6, 1945, just a month after the pay stub, Chuck Jones’s famous skunk, Pepe le Pew, made his debut in “Odor-able Kitty”, which had originally been titled, “Forever Ambushed”.

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The model sheets were drawn by Chuck Jones and used by the animators to stay “on model” during the drawing of the cartoon.

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Side note: “Forever Ambushed” is a take-off on the title of bestselling romance novel of 1944, titled, “Forever Amber”. The book was eventually made into a film in 1947 by 20th Century Fox. The Chuck Jones pay stub is from the Linda Jones Clough archive.

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Join Us in San Diego for the Grinch 50th Anniversary!

On the evening of Saturday, December 3, 2016, from 4 to 7 PM, the Chuck Jones Gallery in downtown San Diego will host a celebration of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”‘s 50th anniversary!

You are cordially invited to join us for an evening with the HISTORY, MEMORIES, and ARTWORK of this most watched animated Christmas special in history. “Who” cookies and punch will be served!

CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS WAS 50 YEARS AGO?!?

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This is arguably the greatest 23 minutes of animation ever made! It has everything you would want in a true classic:

  1. The most memorable story by Dr. Seuss
  2. The Greatest Characters you love and love to hate.
  3. Set Design by the master, Maurice Noble.
  4. Music by the incomparable Albert Hague.
  5. The mellifluous voice of Boris Karloff.
  6. Songs sung by the voice of Tony the Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft!
  7. The best animation team assembled, including such luminaries as Benny Washam, Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughn, Dick Thompson, and Phil Roman.
  8. Miss June Foray as little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two.
  9. A lovable reindeer dog, Max.
  10. And, the greatest animation director in history, CHUCK JONES!

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If you are interested in any of these incredible works of art or would like more information, please contact your Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant. RSVP to the San Diego Gallery, 619-294-9880.

Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego | 619-294-9880

Chuck Jones Gallery–Orange County | 949-274-4834

Chuck Jones Gallery–Santa Fe | 505-983-5999

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…be counted on to stand up.

1961

Although this quote by Chuck Jones was written  in January of 1961, it is particularly pertinent to today.

“Today, we cannot envisage a protected world that does not include them all, and so [my] hope this year to all people everywhere is for a future–sheltered by the stars, sweetened by clean air, and above all fostering a climate in which no man can be commanded to stand up and be counted–but where every man can be counted on to stand up.” –Chuck Jones

New in the Gallery: Caricatures by Thornton Hee (AKA T. Hee)

It’s hard to believe, but this is the 85th birthday of Warner Bros. Animation. You have to imagine a group of young men, many in their mid-20s, employed in animation during the Great Depression. How will they entertain themselves? One way was through caricature. Each of them in their own style would skewer the uppity, rib(ald) the randy, and generally make good-natured fun of their associates. The Chuck Jones Gallery is pleased to present a collection for sale of caricatures of animators, directors, story writers, and others from the hand of Thornton Hee.

Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng as imagined by T. Hee.

Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng as imagined by T. Hee. For information about the availability of these drawings, please contact your Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant. Phone numbers available at the end of the post.

Thornton Hee was one of these young men. Although his legendary status was in its formative years, he was noted for his quick wit and sharp pencil. Hee is known for working at the biggest and the best Hollywood studios, such as Disney, directing the “Dance of the Hours” segment of “Fantasia”. Later he worked at UPA (United Productions of America) where he was responsible for story and designs for many of their classic Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing Boing, and other one-shot cartoons.

Tex Avery by Thornton Hee

Tex Avery by Thornton Hee

But, for two years, 1935-36, T. Hee helped revolutionize the Warner Bros. animation style. His designs for the caricatures of Hollywood movie stars were used in the classic Tex Avery short, “The Coo Coo Nut Grove”, as well as one of Bob Clampett’s shorts, “Russian Rhapsody”.

Ken Harris wasn't safe either from the razor sharp wit of T. Hee.

Ken Harris wasn’t safe either from the razor sharp wit of T. Hee.

Years later, T. Hee, along with veteran Disney director, Jack Hannah, became the heads of the character animation department at CalArts; he later became the chairman of the Fine Arts department at the school.

Tedd Pierce got the Hee treatment.

Tedd Pierce got the Hee treatment.

Hee-Cal Dalton-PB399-1450 Hee-Melvin (Tubby) Millar-PB396-1800

Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego: 888-294-9880

Chuck Jones Gallery–Costa Mesa: 866-248-2556

Chuck Jones Gallery–Santa Fe: 800-290-5999

Chuck Jones on What Makes a Comedian Funny

Many thanks to the editors at BigThink.com and to Patrick Allan at LifeHacker.com for sharing this terrific story and quote from Chuck Jones!

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From BigThink.com:

Chuck Jones (1912-2002) was an American animator, cartoonist, and director of animated films. His most famous work consisted of numerous Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts for Warner Brothers featuring characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, and others. Jones was nominated for eight Oscars, won three, and was awarded an honorary statuette in 1996. Robin Williams called Jones “the Orson Welles of cartoons.”

Many luminaries of humor peddle varying definitions of comedy. Jones’ stance was that comedians are funny people who do funny things against a backdrop of relative normality.

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.” [Wikiquote]

Source: “The Art of Chuck Jones: John Lewell Interviews the Veteran Hollywood Animator [1982],” in Animation – Art and Industry, ed. Maureen Furniss (John Libby Publishing Ltd., 2009), 134.

From Patrick Allan writing at LifeHacker.com:

Having a good sense of humor can make you more charismatic and become the type of person people like to be around. Being funny isn’t always easy, however, and legendary animator Chuck Jones believes the main ingredient is how you say or do something—not what you say or do.

Chuck Jones—most known for his animation and direction on Looney Tunes—has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and received four for his cartoon work. Needless to say, Jones—who passed away in 2002—knew comedy pretty darn well. Jones believed there was a secret to it all:

“A comedian is not a person who opens a funny door — he’s the person who opens a door funny.”

Ever tried to listen to someone repeat a stand-up comedian’s joke? It’s amazing how unfunny it can be. So as you work on your jokes and humorous conversation, remember that you don’t need to stress about material. Instead think of ways to be funny without relying on a “funny door.” Of course, you don’t want to be all jokes all the time, but a sense of humor can get you a lot farther than you think.