Category Archives: History

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.

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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.

Animators & Mirrors

Found this at EliseMerand.tumblr.com and thought it was too good not to share with you. You’ve probably wondered where an animator gets those facial expressions, you know, the ones that just seem so extreme. Well, now, we have the answer! They looked in the mirror! Take a gander at these terrific animators and their reflections vs. their drawings.

Ken Harris at Warner Bros. (the Chuck Jones Unit)

Ken Harris at Warner Bros. (the Chuck Jones Unit)

Ward Kimball at Disney

Ward Kimball at Disney

Carlo Vinci (Terrytoons & Hanna-Barbera)

Carlo Vinci (Terrytoons & Hanna-Barbera)

Charles "Nick" Nichols (Disney, Hanna-Barbera + other studios)

Charles “Nick” Nichols (Disney, Hanna-Barbera + other studios)

Fred "Freddie" Moore at Disney

Fred “Freddie” Moore at Disney

Norm Ferguson at Disney

Norm Ferguson at Disney

Irv Spence (Leon Schlesinger, MGM, Hanna-Barbera)

Irv Spence (Leon Schlesinger, MGM, Hanna-Barbera)

Ollie Johnston at Disney Studios

Ollie Johnston at Disney Studios

Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman at Disney Studios

Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman at Disney Studios

A Great Yellow Dog and a Letter from Uncle Lynn

These two items, a drawing by Chuck Jones of “The Great Yellow Dog” and a letter from Uncle Lynn to Chuck and his siblings on the death of their beloved dog, Teddy, are not mutually exclusive, but they do underscore the importance of character animation that Jones was such a master of and his deep well of resourcefulness.

"The Great Yellow Dog", graphite and crayon on 12 field MGM animation paper, 10.5" x 12.5", circa mid-1960s, by Chuck Jones.

“The Great Yellow Dog”, graphite and crayon on 12 field MGM animation paper, 10.5″ x 12.5″, circa mid-1960s, by Chuck Jones.

Dear Peggy and Dorothy and Chuck and Dick,

I had a telephone call last night. “Is this Uncle Lynn?” someone asked.

“Why yes,” I said. “My name is Lynn Martin. Are you some unregistered nephew?”

“This is Teddy.” He sounded a little impatient with me. “Teddy Jones, Teddy Jones the resident dog of 115 Wadsworth Avenue, Ocean Park, California. I’m calling long distance.”

“Excuse me,” I said. “I really don’t mean to offend you, but I’ve never heard you talk before—just bark, or whine, or yell at the moon.”

“Look who’s talking,” Teddy sniffed, a really impatient sniff if ever I’ve heard one. “Look, Peggy and Dorothy and Chuck and Dick seem to be having a very rough time of it because they think I’m dead.” Hesitate. “Well, I suppose in a way I am.”

I will admit that hearing a dog admit that he was dead was a new experience for me, and not a totally expected one. “If you’re dead,” I asked, not being sure of just how you talk to a dead dog, “how come you’re calling me?” There was another irritated pause. Clearly he was getting very impatient with me.

“Because,” he said, in as carefully a controlled voice as I’ve ever heard from a dog. “Because when you are alive, even if the kids don’t knowexactly where you are, they know you’re someplace. So I just want them to know I may be sort of dead, but I’m still someplace.”

“Maybe I should tell them you’re in Dog Heaven, Teddy, Maybe to make ‘em feel—”

“Oh, don’t be silly.” Teddy cleared his throat. “Look, where are you?”

“Oh, no, you don’t. We’re trying to find out where you are,” I barked.

“Hey, I didn’t know you could bark.” He sounded impressed with my command of the language.

“Wait just a minute,” I said. “You had to know where I am, or you couldn’t have called me on the telephone, right?”

“Boy, you know so little,” said Teddy. “I simply said I called you long distance. Who said anything about a telephone? They asked me if I knew where you were, and I said you were someplace else, besides 115 Wadsworth Avenue. So they dialled someplace else and here I am and here you are.”

“Can I call you back?” I asked dazedly. “Maybe that’ll give me a clue.”

“Be reasonable,” said Teddy. “How can you call me back when neither you nor I know where I am?”

“Oh, come on, give me a clue,” I begged desperately. “For instance, are there other dogs around there? I’ve got to tell the kids something.”

“Hold it,” said Teddy, apparently looking around. “I did see a pug/schnauzer with wings a minute ago. The wings could lift the schnauzer part of him off the ground, but the pug part just sort of dragged through the grass bumping into fireplugs.”

“Fireplugs?”

“Orchards of them, hundreds of ‘em. Yellow, red, white, striped. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have to pee anymore. I strain a lot, but all I get is air. Perfumed air,” he added proudly.

“Sounds like Dog Heaven to me,” I said. “Are there trees full of lamb chops and stuff like that?”

“You know,” Teddy sighed. “For a fair to upper-middle-class uncle, you do have some weird ideas. But the reason I called you was Peggy, Dorothy, Chuck, and Dick trust you and will believe anything you say, which in my opinion is carrying the word ‘gullible’ about as far as it will stretch. Anyway, gullible or not, they trust you, so I want you to tell them that I’m still their faithful, noble, old dog, and—except for the noble part—that I’m in a place where they can’t see me but I can see them, and I’ll always be around keeping an eye, an ear, and a nose on them. Tell them that just because they can’t see me doesn’t mean I’m not there. Point out to them that during the day you can’t see the latitudes and you can’t really see a star, but they’re both still there. So get a little poetic and ask them to think of me as ‘good-dog,’ the good old Teddy, the Dog Star from the horse latitudes, and not to worry, I’ll bark the britches off anybody or anything that bothers them. Just because I bit the dust doesn’t mean I can’t bite the devils.”

That’s what he said. I never did find out exactly where he was, but I did find out where he wasn’t—not ever very far from Peggy, Dorothy, Chuck and old Dick Jones.

Sincerely,

Lynn Martin, Uncle at Large

Elephant Walk

A few words from Craig Kausen, Chuck Jones’s grandson on this elephant walk:

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“Whether you’re an artist, an animator, a scientist, a veterinarian, or just an observer of life, you can probably get inspired and intrigued by this simple yet elegant six frame walk sequence created by Chuck Jones in the 1960s.

“Notice the bends in the joints, the weight of the steps, the rhythm of head movement, or the minor details of the tail.

“The details and small nuances are what historians discuss when they look at the work of Chuck Jones.  He was a student of life and had the passion and the skill to translate his observations into character and movement.”