Tag Archives: Christmas

Image of the Day: Inside Cindy Lou Who’s Home!

The inimitable Maurice Noble created the backgrounds for the Chuck Jones-directed 1966 “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. This example shows his layout for the interior of little Cindy Lou Who’s home during the opening sequence of the animated television special.

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Gouache, graphite, colored pencil on 12 field animation paper.

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PEANUTS Animator Larry Leichliter to Appear at Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego & Costa Mesa

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PEANUTS™ Characters Magically
Appear in San Diego & Costa Mesa!

Magic, Charlie Brown
to Premier at Gallery 

at the Chuck Jones Gallery Honors Larry Leichliter,

of PEANUTS™ Animated Specials

Costa Mesa,
—In a rare public
appearance, Larry Leichliter, PEANUTS
animation artist will be the special guest-of-honor at both Chuck Jones Galleries in California on Saturday, December 1st (San Diego, 5 to 8 PM) and Sunday, December 2nd (Costa Mesa, 12:30 PM to 3 PM) as the galleries unveil original production art from “It’s Magic, Charlie
Brown!”, a 1981 television special produced by Bill Melendez, directed by Phil
Roman; Leichliter was one of the animators who worked on this film. The
reception and exhibition at the galleries will feature original production art,
limited edition cel art and rare sold-out cel art editions from many of the
most famous PEANUTS television specials of the last 40 years.  Mr. Leichliter will also be signing and
dedicating art purchased at this event.   

The San Diego Chuck Jones Gallery is located at 232 Fifth Avenue in the city's historic GasLamp Quarter. The Costa Mesa Chuck Jones Gallery can be found at 3321 Hyland Avenue in Orange County's newest shopping destination, South Coast Collection (SoCo).

Mr. Leichliter’s
career in animation began in the 1960s working for Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
at their studio creating animation for television.  While there, he worked alongside some of the
most renowned animators of the “Golden Age” of animation including Iwao
Takamoto and Wiley Ito.  Likening working
in animation to that of the life of a nomad, Leichliter’s career included
stints with Ralph Bakshi where he was able to work with the great animator, Irv
Spence (known for his fluid animation of MGM’s Tom & Jerry cartoons of the 1950s) and before he hung his hat
at Bill Melendez Productions, the home of the Peanuts television specials, advertising and films.   Leichliter has also directed several
animation shows for Nickelodeon including SpongeBob
and Hey, Arnold!

About the galleries:  The Chuck Jones Gallery is the destination for art collectors and visitors from around
the world.  Owned by Linda Jones
Enterprises, the publisher and distributor of the art of the legendary
animation creator and director, Chuck Jones, it is the only gallery in Orange and San Diego County devoted to the art of the animated film. 
Included in the on-going display is art from all major animation studios
as well as original paintings and limited edition fine art from a variety of
internationally known artists and photographers whose work is entertainment
related.  For more information please call
the Costa Mesa gallery at 866-248-2556 or the San Diego gallery at 888-294-9880. The Chuck Jones Gallery may be found online at www.ChuckJones.com.  Blog: Chuck

Mr. Leichliter
is available for phone interviews prior to the show and onsite the day of the
event.  Photos of exhibition art for
publication are available upon request. 


A Very Merry Cricket, 1973

Not much has changed in the nearly 40 years since Chuck Jones directed "A Very Merry Cricket".  There is still the mad rushing around from this store to that one, the short tempers, the car horns, and the endless mall parking lots ("…wherever did I park that car?" you very well could be asking yourself about right now.)  

But the perfect antidote to all that madness, is to take a 25 minute break, right now if you can, and enjoy this beautifully animated television special that was released late in 1973 after the success of Chuck's animated interpretation of George Selden's beloved "A Cricket in Times Square."  Merry Christmas!


Why Santy Claus, Why?

First awakened by the jingling of a loosened ornament from her Who Christmas tree, little Cindy-Lou Who's plaintive cry of "Why Santy Claus, why," startles the Grinch and one of the great scenes from Chuck Jones' classic "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" unfolds.  The acting is subtle and impressive; Jones often said, "An animator is an actor with a pencil," and no where in this film is that more evident than here.  

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Original production cel of Cindy-Lou Who with its matching original production background.  In the 1970s while the production art from the film was stored at UCLA's film library, a water pipe burst and many pieces suffered water damage as seen in the background of the above piece.  

Of course, this post is really about the incomparable June Foray, the voice of Cindy-Lou Who.  Chuck Jones writes in his Chuck Reducks, "One of the few misconceptions about June is to think of her wonderful talent as "voice over."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  June is worthy of the gift-word: actress.  She imbues a part with herself, be it a Mama Bear or the deadly cobra Nagaina in Rikki Tikki Tavi.  As a vocal Grandma Moses, she brought the redoubtable Granny to life for Friz Freleng; for me, she did the loving mother seal in Kipling's The White Seal.  She created three different witches named Hazel for Disney, MGM and Warner Bros., all with different personalities but all with undeniable knowledge of Shakespeare's squacky trio.  She could transfer her throat from a sweet Cindy-Lou in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to a bellowing Red Riding Hood in Little Red Riding Rabbit…  From Natasha to (an asexual) Rocky, she dominated Bullwinkle and company for many years.  Indeed, she is one of the few actresses I know who would understand John Barrymore's assertion that "an actor cannot say 'pass the butter' without understanding who said it, where it was said, and under what circumstances it was said."  In fact–and I speak with the deepest respect for him–I can only compliment Mel Blanc by saying that he could be called the a male June Foray."

  Craig Kausen June Foray

Craig Kausen (Chuck Jones' grandson) and voice actress extraordinaire June Foray at a reception held in her honor at the Chuck Jones Gallery.   

The Grinch Storyboards & Presentation Story…

Chuck Jones' daughter, Linda, likes to recount that when she was a young girl her father would often 'act out' the cartoons he was working on for her, voices, gags, action, everything.  Chuck explains in his book, Chuck Reducks, how he went on the road with the Grinch storyboards and their presentation saga…

"…off to New York to sell the idea to a sponsor.  (Today you sell your film to the network; in the those innocent days–1966–you sold to the sponsor, guaranteeing financial support, before you could proceed to the network.)

"That sounded easy enough.  After all, I could take great pride in the wonderful story and full professional storyboard, and I could–and did–act all the parts (even Cindy-Lou Who) while presenting the board–twenty-six times!

"Yep.  Twenty-six times I did my dog-and-pony, or rather dog-and-grinch, act for the icy-eyed acres of advertising agency people before I could find a buyer."  (Eventually the Foundation of Commercial Banks became the sponsor, much to the surprise of Chuck, for who would think that they of all people, would want to promote an entertainment where the main character says, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store?")

Ted Geisel (second from left) and Chuck Jones (second from right) pose with members of the Foundation of Commercial Banks for a publicity photo before the airing on December 18, 1966 of the animated television special, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

And speaking of advertising agencies…below is a telex (pre-fax, pre-email, pre-skype!) from the Chicago office of the giant Leo Burnett advertising agency (think Mad Men) to their New York office counterparts extolling the virtues of Jones' storyboard presentation and how it would behoove them to make sure one of their big clients (Kellogg's or Campbell's Soup) became the sponsor of this most watched and beloved holiday special.  An amazing read, isn't it?


Image of the Day: Two Sizes Too Small


"…The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season.  Please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.

"It could be perhaps his shoes were too tight.

"It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.

"But I think the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

"But whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes…"

Imagine it's December 18, 1966.  You, your brothers and sisters, your Mom and Dad, are gathered around the brand new color television console in the den, ready to watch an animated Christmas special based on one of your favorite books, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  And just one-half hour later a new family tradition has been begun.  And every year thereafter, for the next forty-three years, it just isn't Christmas until you've watched the "Grinch."

Two Sizes Too Small, a hand-painted cel art edition of just 135 examples, was created from original art used in the production of the Chuck Jones directed 1966 television special, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Image of the Day: Cuddly as a Cactus


The Grinch is a character of mean spirit and questionable mores who moves with a hip-rolling swagger, a wicked gleam in his eye.  His character, immortalized in book, song and film (pre-1967,) is archetypically one of the great green Grinches of all time.  

Cuddly as a Cactus, a limited edition fine art print on canvas, has been created from an original oil painting by Chuck Jones.  Painted circa 1996, Cuddly as a Cactus flaunts, through color, the character's moral flaws (various shades of green and yellow) while simultaneously juxtaposing those against the fresh pure colors of a first snow (white, lavender and blue.)  Chuck Jones' classical art education comes to the forefront of this painting as he revels in texture, brushstroke and color; bringing us a fully rendered iconic individual.

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch/You really are a heel/You're as cuddly as a cactus/You're as charming as an eel/Mr. Grinch!"

Chuck Jones Gallery — Santa Fe Rings in the Holidays!

The Chuck Jones Gallery in Santa Fe rang in the holiday season with a festive event held on December 4th.  Exhibiting artwork created by students from Pinon Elementary School, the gallery was filled with the student-artists and their parents as well as collectors from the Santa Fe area.  The party and exhibition coincided with the Santa Fe Film Festival (Mike Bundy, the gallery's director presented the award for Best Animated Film at the Festival's closing day ceremonies) and Santa Fe's First Friday Art Walk–so the streets were teeming with people and the crowd at the gallery was rosy-cheeked and in the holiday spirit! 


Cellists performed classical and contemporary holiday music to the delight of the attendees.  Lisa Stewart (right) and her friend Alison were really in the moment and we thank them for their talent.

3 adults 

Enjoying their children's art are Johnny Barela (left to right,) Susan Rodriguez and Carol Newman, Pinon Elementary 3rd grade school teacher, whose students provided such amazing artwork and were an inspiration to so many that evening.

A bad day in the snow 

"A bad day in the snow" by Brian Ortiz was awarded first place in the drawing contest. 

Family 1 

Andy Ortiz, Jr. and his parents, Susan and Andy, bask in the glow of the exhibition.  

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Michael Bundy, gallery director, presents a Chuck Jones "Smile" fine art print to Andres Sanchez whose sculpture of an angel drew rave reviews from the crowd.

Felt grinch 

Mariah Barela's mixed media Grinch Santa Claus was a crowd pleaser too!

Kids art wall 2 

Thank you Mrs. Newman's 3rd grade class for creating such magnificent works of art and for being inspired by Chuck Jones' "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  It made for a wonderful start to the holiday season in Santa Fe. 

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Grinch)

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A model drawing by Chuck Jones, graphite on paper, 12.5" x 10.5".

"Show me the skeleton of any animal and I will show you how it must move," said Albert Hurter.  Unfortunately, there are very few, if any, Grinch skeletons about, so we had to do with Dr. Seuss' careful academic drawings of the living Grinch.

"All fully animated characters have implied, but very real, skeletal structures and the muscles to move themselves about.  Once decided, the implied skeleton of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé le Pew, or the Grinch must be respected, or it will become inconsistently rubbery and lose all claim to believability.

"The Grinch fell well into this classic anatomical crew.  His skull and enormous set of teeth are not notably different from Elmer Fudd's, only more so.  His body is a sort of huge, sagging, pear-shaped, Porky Pig-like structure.  His arms, legs, skinny elbows and bony knees are not unlike those of the Coyote.  So, we had a full-length portrait."–Chuck Jones, Chuck Reducks, Drawing on the Fun Side of Life

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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He stole the candy canes, the wreaths, the trees, the
wuzzles and puzzles!  He made off with
the presents, the Who Hash, the light bulbs, poinsettias, rugs and the window
sash!  He filled sack after sack with
bicycles and ribbons and bows!  He
purloined the wreaths and bizzel binks, the camera, the film, the candy, its
wrappers, quite possibly even the kitchen sinks!  (Pictured: a paste-up for a model sheet of drawings by Chuck Jones used in the creation of his 1966  Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)

The film of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
popularity may be unsurpassed today, but when Chuck Jones set out to bring it
to the screen he was unable to find a sponsor and eventually ended up pitching
the story 26 times.  Chuck Jones recounts, “In those days, the
network wouldn’t accept something unless you had a sponsor,” he said.  “So, I went to every one of the people who
were logical:  the breakfast food and
chocolate people.  I had done the
storyboards, there were seventeen hundred drawings and I went over that thing
again and again.  It got to the point
where I could almost shut my eyes and say it! 
At last, in the depths of my despair, success came from the most
unlikely source of all:  the Foundation
of Commercial Banks!”