Chuck Jones said that part of his great pleasure in visiting the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) was probably due to the fact they both came to be the same year, 1912. "New Mexico" magazine celebrates the state's centennial in their latest Collector's Edition, which included a great note about "taking a left turn at Albuquerque".
It reads: "1953: Cartoonist Chuck Jones popularizes Bugs Bunny's phrase, "I knew I shoulda tooke that left toin at Albakoikie," [sic] sparking a pop-culture onslaught of references to getting lost near the Duke City. Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies creator Chuck Jones lived in California, but traveled frequently to New Mexico. Reflecting his attachment to the state, a gallery of his work operates in Santa Fe today."
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta just ended its 2011 festivities this past Sunday. The Chuck Jones Gallery in Santa Fe has participated with the organizers several times, once even providing the "chase" flags (see below.)
But this year, one of Chuck's most beloved characters, Pepé le Pew, took a bow at the Fiesta and wowed the assembled with his larger-than-life presence as one of the participating balloons. Our friends, Yasine and Kyle (who took the photos below, thank you so much!), said it was great fun to listen in on people as the Pepé le Pew balloon took shape and they began to realize what character it was. Fractured French for everyone!
"I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque," laments Bugs Bunny as he finds his bearings on the way to the Carrot Festival in the Coachella Valley. Perhaps one of the most iconic sentences ever written for the screen, this line sets up the action to come for the Chuck Jones directed 1953 crowd-pleaser "Bully for Bugs." Chuck Jones remarked that they wouldn't have made a film about bull-fighting if Eddie Selzer, the producer, hadn't stuck his head into Chuck's office during a meeting and said, "No cartoons about bull-fighting." If Selzer thought a bull-fighting cartoon wouldn't be funny, they had no choice but to make one. ("Left at Albuquerque" hand-painted cel art edition of 250, available at your Chuck Jones Gallery, click through on the image for more details.)