Tag Archives: Bill Kroyer

Chuck 102Gether at the Alex Theatre — A Terrific Event!

If you were at the Alex Theatre this past Sunday, September 21st for Chuck 102Gether then you’ll know that the following is not hyperbole: IT WAS AN AWESOME AFTERNOON!

Outside the Alex Theatre

Outside the Alex Theatre

First, there’s the Alex Theatre itself…an Art Deco pile on Brand Blvd. in Glendale that is absolutely a knock-out–it’s just a good time being there! When you walk through the forecourt into the cool interior you just know you’re going to be treated to a film spectacle and Chuck 102Gether delivered just that.

A corner of the lobby of the Alex Theatre

A corner of the lobby of the Alex Theatre

Chuck 102Gether was a celebration of collaborative creativity…many family members of the original group of directors and artists who worked at Leon Schlesinger Studios, then Warner Bros. on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were in attendance: Sybil and Hope Freleng, Ruth Clampett, Linda Jones, Robert McKimson, Jr., and the children of Abe Levitow: Judy, Roberta, and Jon. Heck, even Leon Schlesinger’s relatives were there!

 

Juls Aspinall, right, meets Robert McKimson, Jr., the author of "I Say, I Say Son!" a biography of his father, director Robert McKimson, Sr.

Juls Aspinall, right, meets Robert McKimson, Jr., the author of “I Say, I Say Son!” a biography of his father, director Robert McKimson, Sr.

The afternoon got off to a rousing start with a screening of Chuck Jones’s classic, “Duck Amuck”, followed by introductory words from Linda Jones Clough, Chuck Joens’s daughter who introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon, George Daugherty (a world-class symphony orchestra conductor who regularly guest conducts for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and other major ensembles. Creator and producer — with David Ka Lik Wong) of the “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” and “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” touring concerts that have played to millions of people worldwide. He is also a five-time Emmy nominee, and Emmy Award-winning producer/writer/director/conductor of Chuck Jones’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

George Daugherty on the stage of the Alex Theatre with a photo of him and Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. in the early 1990s projected onto the screen behind him.

George Daugherty on the stage of the Alex Theatre with a photo of him and Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. in the early 1990s projected onto the screen behind him.

George was a fantastic M.C.! Not only because he worked closely with Chuck Jones for so many years, in fact, he said he considered Chuck a second father…his own father having been born on the same day as Chuck, but also because he’s a font of knowledge about the music, arranged and conducted by the amazing Carl Stalling, and shared many insights into the how and the why of the music used in the cartoons, particularly those of Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett. Great stuff!

In between cartoons by Looney Tunes directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Robert McKimson, Sr. there were panel discussions about the directors and films we'd seen. This one is composed of Leith Adams, former Executive Director Warner Bros. Corporate Archives; Bill Kroyer, director of "Ferngully" and Director of Digital Arts at Chapman University; Tom Sito, now head of the Animation Department at USC's film school; Linda Jones Clough, Emmy Award-winning producer and founder of Linda Jones Enterprises.

In between cartoons by Looney Tunes directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Robert McKimson, Sr. there were panel discussions about the directors and films we’d seen. This one is composed of Leith Adams, former Executive Director Warner Bros. Corporate Archives; Bill Kroyer, director of “Ferngully” and Director of Digital Arts at Chapman University; Tom Sito, now head of the Animation Department at USC’s film school; Linda Jones Clough, Emmy Award-winning producer and founder of Linda Jones Enterprises.

The second panel was made up of three of the four "Dover Boys": Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis, and Rob Minkoff along with the indomitable Eric Goldberg. Seen here with a photo of them meeting Chuck Jones for the first time in the early 1980s at CalArts. That's Jeff in the rabbit ears! Their list of credits is pretty impressive too: DeGrandis is the former producer of Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer" and is now a producer at DreamWorks; Chris Bailey was the director of the animated feature, "Hop"; Rob Minkoff was the director of "The Lion King", "Stuart Little", and "Mr. Peabody; and Eric Goldberg was the director of "Pocahontas" and the supervising animator of the Genie in "Aladdin".

The second panel was made up of three of the four “Dover Boys”: Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis, and Rob Minkoff along with the indomitable Eric Goldberg. Seen here with a photo of them meeting Chuck Jones for the first time in the early 1980s at CalArts. That’s Jeff in the rabbit ears! Their list of credits is pretty impressive too: DeGrandis is the former producer of Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” and is now a producer at DreamWorks; Chris Bailey was the director of the animated feature, “Hop”; Rob Minkoff was the director of “The Lion King”, “Stuart Little”, and “Mr. Peabody; and Eric Goldberg was the director of “Pocahontas” and the supervising animator of the Genie in “Aladdin”.

Linda Jones Clough, right, with Tom Sito.

Linda Jones Clough, right, with Tom Sito.

Hope and Sybil Freleng

Hope and Sybil Freleng

Marian Jones, Chuck's widow, with Eric Goldberg

Marian Jones, Chuck’s widow, with Eric Goldberg

From left: Ruth Clampett, Robert McKimson, Jr., and Phil Roman

From left: Ruth Clampett, Robert McKimson, Jr., and Phil Roman

From left: Robert McKimson, Jr., Robert Schlesinger, Linda Jones Clough, Hope Freleng Shaw, Sybil Freleng Bergman, George Daugherty, Judy Levitow, Ruth Clampett, and Valerie Kausen

From left: Robert McKimson, Jr., Robert Schlesinger, Linda Jones Clough, Hope Freleng Shaw, Sybil Freleng Bergman, George Daugherty, Judy Levitow, Ruth Clampett, and Valerie Kausen (granddaughter of Chuck Jones)

There was a lot of laughter brought to us by the following cartoons (selected, by the way, by the director’s family members): Chuck Jones’s “Duck Amuck”, “They’re They Go Go”, “One Froggy Evening”; Friz Freleng’s “Birds Anonymous” and “High Diving Hare”; Tex Avery’s “I Love to Singa” and “A Wild Hare”; Bob Clampett’s “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” and “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid”; Robert McKimson’s “Hillbilly Hare” and “Walky Talky Hawk”. Thank you all for joining us!

 

Photographs courtesy Stephen Russo as noted.

 

Chuck Jones Film Fest at Samuel Goldwyn Theater

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As we were saying earlier this week,
a group of like-minded individuals got together for a road trip that
began at the Chuck Jones Galley in Tustin (3065 Edinger Avenue, open
M-F, 9-6 PM, 949-660-7791) and up to Burbank and the Warner Bros.
Studios for a private screening of their new 3D short cartoons (directed
by Matthew O'Callaghan) which were awesome!  After that incredibly fun
experience, what better way to celebrate all things Chuck Jones than to
drive over the hills to Beverly, Beverly Hills that is, movie stars,
swimming pools, (oof, I'm off topic) and down to the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts & Sciences where Linda Jones Clough, Chuck Jones'
daughter, led a tour of the exhibition "Chuck Jones: An Animator's Life
From A to Z-Z-Z-Z". 

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Her insightful (and first-hand) knowledge of the subject matter made for a fascinating tour of the exhibit.  It was at turns, nostalgic and heart-warming, funny and laugh-out-loud (LOL for you internet users,) and filled with the kind of knowledge only someone as intimately involved with the creator of so many magical moments could share with us.  We all felt honored to have shared in that moment.

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Linda Jones with collectors Brian S. (center) and Jim O'N.

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Leigh Y. and her son, John Jr., pore over some of the dialogue sheets from a Chuck Jones directed cartoon.

Later that afternoon we strolled down Wilshire Blvd. (like we owned it) and had a fantastic dinner at Kate Mantilini's (Wilshire & Doheny, if you're in the 'hood.)  It was a great time for all of us to recount the favorite part of our day, and share in some good old-fashion camaraderie, the kind that's so often missing in today's fast-paced, plugged-in, media saturated environment.  It also gave us a chance to get all fired up about the evening's presentation back at AMPAS of all of Chuck Jones' Academy Award-nominated and -winning short films, many of which some of us had never seen before on the big screen in their original 35 mm form.  Woo Hoo!

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Cathy Dicken, wife of Scott Dicken, the VP of Retail for Linda Jones Enterprises, peeks over the menu at Kate Mantilini's. 

After the screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater a panel discussion was held led by Bill Kroyer, head of Digital Arts at Chapman University & featuring “The Dover Boys”, four animators who were mentored by Chuck Jones in the
early 1980s; Kelly Asbury, Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis & Rob Minkoff (all of whom have become extremely successful & well-respected directors/producers & artists.)

Hooray for Hollywood!  Although the day was long the rewards were great, exhilarating & heart-warming.

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From left: Bill Kroyer, Linda Jones Clough, Marian Jones (wife of Chuck Jones) and Kelly Asbury.

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"The Dover Boys" from left: Kelly Asbury, Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis and Rob Minkoff.  So named by Linda Jones because she envisioned starting a production company with the four of them when they were first being mentored by Chuck Jones in the early 1980s.