Tag Archives: Chuck Jones Experience

The Big Day: The Chuck Jones Experience Opens With a Big Kaboom!

The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus, Las Vegas, opened Thursday, January 19th with a big kaboom!

Artists step repeat (Large)
On hand to inaugurate the new space were artists (from left) Jeff DeGrandis, producer and director of "Dora the Explorer" and other Nickelodeon cartoons; Eric Goldberg, renowned Disney animator and director who had also worked with Chuck Jones; Mike Peraza, Disney art director ("The Little Mermaid" and many others); muralist and actor, James C. Mulligan; celebrated mat painter and fine artist, James Coleman; emerging POP/OP artist Tennessee Loveless, Art Deco-inspired artist, Mike Kungl, and surf artist, Bob Elias (not shown).  All of the artists are creating artwork for the Chuck Jones Centennial Homage series to be released throughout 2012.  Watch this space for more information!

Craig kausen microphone (Large)
There was speechifying: Craig Kausen, grandson of Chuck Jones and Chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity acted as the Master of Ceremonies and kept the assembled journalists, photographers, videographers, fans, and collectors laughing and the proceedings humming along.

Craig neil bugs in bg (Large)
Craig (left) introduced Neil Cantor, managing director of The Chuck Jones Experience, and the man who 17 years ago had dinner with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, and Chuck Jones where his idea for the Experience first blossomed. 

Craig don thrasher step repeat (Large)
Don Thrasher (right), President of Circus Circus enjoyed the Experience and officially welcomed it to the hotel.

Jones family step repeat (Large)
The Jones Family was on hand to celebrate, from left: Todd Kausen, Valerie Kausen, Marian Jones, Linda Jones Clough, and Craig Kausen. 

Eric goldberg microphone (Large)
The inimitable animator and director, Eric Goldberg, shared with the crowd his love of all things Chuck Jones and how, over the years, Jones has influenced his work.

Linda microphone (Large)
Linda Jones Clough, Chuck's daughter, made everyone laugh with her self-deprecating wit and then everyone teared up when she read a letter Chuck had written to Craig on his first birthday, "You charm me completely.  I am captured by your smile, touched by your bright love of life, enchanted completely and absolutely by your uniqueness. I think that being within you, looking out at this wonderful world must be a very splendid thing."  (There was not a dry eye in sight.)

Rob m craig k jeff d (Large)
"Dover Boys" Rob Minkoff (left) and Jeff DeGrandis (right) flank Craig Kausen. "The Dover Boys", so named by Linda Jones Clough, were a young group of students at CalArts that Chuck took a shine to and mentored over the remaining years of his life. 

Scissors or tnt (Large)

How would you rather have a grand opening, by cutting a boring old red ribbon (see scissors in Craig's right hand) or blow it up with a bouquet of ACME TNT as Neil is suggesting?  Everyone chose the ACME TNT and the plunger was pushed, the explosion 'rocked' and The Chuck Jones Experience opened with a bang (that big kaboom I mentioned at the beginning of the post.) 

Visit The Chuck Jones Experience online for more information and make sure to add it to your "to-do" list, "bucket" list or any other list you might be making.  As we celebrate the Chuck Jones Centennial (1912–2012) this year, we're hoping to reach 100,000 'likes' (or more) on Facebook.  If you're not a fan already, please join us in celebrating this amazing artist's life and times.

ONLY 1 (ONE!) DAY UNTIL…

DATELINE LAS VEGAS: In a little more than 24 hours, at 11 AM sharp on Thursday, January 19, 2012, all of Las Vegas will be gathered (okay, "all of" may be a bit of hyperbole, but there will be lots of people gathered) at Circus Circus to witness the grand opening of the most remarkable, the most sensational, the most entertaining, the most inspirational, the most creative, the new, the exciting, the one, the only, the Chuck Jones Experience!  (Cue the trumpets! Ta da!)

More than 17 years ago, an idea was born at a dinner with three of the world's great animators and one dedicated fan.  In 2009, the trustees of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity were approached by that fan, Neil Cantor, and asked what they would envision if there were a Chuck Jones museum.  That simple question prompted an immediate bout of brain-storming creativity and tomorrow, their ideas will be made real.  

Words fail to adequately describe what the Chuck Jones Experience will offer you, but the closest and possibly the most reasonable (and obviously the most exciting) explanation is that it's like walking into the head of Chuck Jones.  It's at turns inspiring, delightful, creative, playful, entertaining, enlightening, invigorating, and beautiful.  So, take this reporter's advice: book your flights to Vegas, baby, and experience The Chuck Jones Experience.

HPIM9208
Some of the staff of the Chuck Jones Galleries (from left: Jocelyne Brown (Santa Fe), Kate Bowerman, Joel Shapiro (both of San Diego), Carol Erickson (Costa Mesa at SOCO–coming soon), Erin Liddell (San Diego), Michael Bundy (Santa Fe), Christopher Scardino (Tustin and the Center's teaching artist), along with Kyle Armstrong (Santa Fe) have a "ta-da" moment as the gate rolls up on the Chuck Jones Experience on Tuesday the 17th.

Will You Be There? In a “Vegas Minute”, Baby!

Linda Jones Clough, daughter of Chuck Jones, and her son, Craig Kausen, trustees of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity were the subject of a recent “Vegas Minute” airing now around the country.  Check it out!  

Join us for the Chuck Jones Experience Grand Opening ceremonies, Thursday, January 19th, at 11 AM, on the Promenade at Circus Circus, Las Vegas!

Chuck Jones Experience — Sneak Peek and Grand Opening Date!

The artisans and craftsmen (and women) who have been turning an 8,000 square foot concrete and wallboard shell at Circus Circus in Las Vegas into the Chuck Jones Experience have been working around the clock to make this unique destination one of the most exciting to come to Las Vegas in a long time. Make your plans to join us on the 19th of January for its grand opening!

CJ wall
On your way to a recreation of Chuck's office that will include his animation desk and artifacts, photos, and original drawings from the 1940s and 1950s.

Entrance to CJ theater
The entrance to the Chuck Jones Theater where you'll watch an introductory film and other moving picture surprises!

Inside theater
Inside the theater…are you as excited as we are?  It's going to be awesome!

Every brick
Every single brick has been lovingly hand-prepared just for your enjoyment!  Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 19th mid-day.  Be there or be square!

 

The Night Watchman

We're busy curating the exhibition for the Chuck Jones Experience opening in Las Vegas at Circus Circus (truly, it's coming, promise!) One of the exhibitions will feature some marvelous telegrams and a charming letter from Chuck's brother Dick (Richard Jones, who also worked as an in-betweener and animator at Schlesinger Studios and for a while was a part of Chuck's unit; after enlisting in the Service during WWII, went on to make quite a career for himself as a noted photographer and painter,) on the release of this, "The Night Watchman", his first directorial effort (although they called it then 'supervision'.)  Here's the letter from his brother, followed by the cartoon.

LETTER TO CHUCK FROM DICK JONES copy

 

Agile Acrobats, Circus Strongmen and Artful Artifacts

You'll forgive us for that bit of alliteration, won't you?  It's hard not to be inspired when you see some of the outstanding drawings and fascinating news-clippings that preparing for the Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas has brought to our attention (and by default to yours).  

For instance, this drawing by Chuck Jones of a winsome, pony-tailed acrobat and a big, beer-bellied (of course, that is only our opinion about the beer belly, it could just as well be because to balance those guns and massive forearms one must have a counter-weight and Chuck thought a belly would do so perfectly) circus strongman is a perfect example of some of the art you'll be seeing at the Chuck Jones Experience when it opens in late September/early October at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.  

Acrobats copy

There'll also be several display cases filled with the ephemera a life such as Chuck Jones's accumulates.  Telegrams (who remembers those?), letters, photographs and news clipping such as this February 1958 review of an exhibit of Chuck Jones's life drawings at the Cowie Gallery in the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.  

Cowie gallery press coverage for CJexhib feb 1958 cropped for blog

CIRCUS CIRCUS LAS VEGAS GETS ANIMATED THIS OCTOBER WITH THE OPENING OF “THE CHUCK JONES EXPERIENCE”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                MEDIA CONTACT:  Kim Sudhalter, Urban Legend PR, 213-369-6062 or kim@urbanlegendpr.com

 HOLLYWOOD, CA, August 22, 2011 – The legacy and creativity of Chuck Jones, one of animation’s pioneering director-producers, will be brought to life with the opening of The Chuck Jones Experience, an interactive exhibit at Circus Circus Las Vegas designed to “Educate, Inspire & Entertain” people of all ages. The attraction will celebrate its grand opening in mid-October with a press conference featuring some of animation’s brightest stars.

A four-time Academy Award-recipient, Jones created some of today’s most beloved and enduring animated characters including Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner and Pepé le Pew among many others.  In 1999, with the establishment of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Chuck Jones envisioned a time when people of all ages could explore their creativity…when all ideas would be welcome, when inspiration would be nurtured without prejudice, and creativity would blossom and grow. The Chuck Jones Experience, utilizing the art, writings and films of Jones, will nurture that spirit of creativity in an environment that is playful, lively, inspirational and educational. The project is being developed by Jones’ grandson, Craig Kausen, Jones’ daughter, Linda Jones Clough, and a group of Chuck Jones fans who have believed in and supported its creation for years.

“My grandfather said that if you provide the right materials and an environment of love, creative magic will come out of young people,” said Kausen. “The Chuck Jones Experience will provide kids, and animation fans of all ages, with an extraordinary place to not only learn about the art of animation, but to discover the creativity and magic that’s inside us all. We are thrilled to kick off Chuck’s Centennial year with the opening of this exciting new venture.”

The Chuck Jones Experience is a nearly 10,000 square-foot destination. At its entrance is the 1,000 square-foot glass-enclosed Chuck Jones Center for Creativity class room where creative art projects will be encouraged and guided by teachers from the field of animation and the arts. Heading inside, your first stop is the Chuck Jones Theatre, designed to simulate a 1930s-style movie theater. There, you’ll meet Chuck Jones via a short film, introduced by one of his characters, the Connecticut Cat.

Moving on, you’ll walk down a virtual street surrounded by many of Jones’ most memorable characters and a timeline of his extraordinary life. Next, you’ll arrive at a re-creation of Jones’ studio, where you’ll see how he worked, and discover what inspired him to create his beloved characters. From there, you‘ll enter the “How Do You Measure Up?” room where 3-D characters are on display.  You’ll learn more about how characters are developed and experience some of the original key drawings Jones drew during the creation of these characters.

Continuing along, you can view some of Jones’ fine art work from various periods in his life and see classic photos of him, his fellow animators and his family. This leads into “Animation Alley,” a multimedia wall where animation pieces are on display from the permanent collection of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and from other animation studios and collections.

Finally, you’ll arrive at the Acme Workshop, where you can create your own sound effects and voiceovers for a Chuck Jones cartoon at the Chuck Jones Experience Foley Stage. You can commemorate your experience forever at the Chuck Jones Experience Gift Shop with a variety of creative gifts and souvenirs.

“My father knew that creativity was the key to any innovation and breakthrough and therefore it must be encouraged and supported in order for society to succeed,” added Jones Clough. “It has been our family’s dream to develop locations where creativity could flourish. We established the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Orange County, CA, as a first step in bringing this vision to life. The opening of The Chuck Jones Experience represents a delightful next step in making creativity accessible to everyone, whether they’re visiting Las Vegas, or living nearby.”

“We are pleased to be joining forces with such a great partner as Circus Circus to make this project a reality,” continued Kausen. “Creative inspiration can be achieved in a very short time and being on vacation is a perfect time to tap into it.  Circus Circus is well known for the fun and wonderment it inspires in guests, and it’s a crossroads for travelers from around the world. These qualities make it a great location for The Chuck Jones Experience.”

The Chuck Jones Experience is an exciting addition to our assortment of family-friendly entertainment offerings at Circus Circus and we are honored to become home to such a fascinating interactive attraction,” said Don Thrasher, president and chief operating officer of Circus Circus. “This experience is unlike anything else in Las Vegas and it is certain to create hours of fun and enlightenment for guests of all ages.”

"Speaking on behalf of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, I am very excited that the programs which have been so successful here will be accessible by a much broader group of people at The Chuck Jones Experience,” said Tracy Tanner, president of the Chuck Jones Council for Creativity.

About Chuck Jones:

Chuck Jones created the legendary Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for Warner Bros. Tom & Jerry cartoons and the TV version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas for MGM, along with many other well-known classics such as The Phantom Tollbooth, George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square, Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and The White Seal.

About Circus Circus Las Vegas

The hallmark of the 3,767-room Circus Circus Las Vegas lies under the legendary Big Top, where celebrated circus acts perform on the Midway Stage as part of the world's largest permanent circus.  The Adventuredome, America’s largest indoor theme park, offers five acres of climate-controlled fun for all ages.  Guests of Circus Circus may dine in a variety of restaurants including THE Steak House, rated the best steakhouse by Zagat and recognized a record 20 times in Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards, and Rock & Rita’s, where flair bartenders and live music enliven the scene.  Circus Circus also offers a casino, wedding chapel, meeting and convention space and a 30-acre RV park.  Circus Circus is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International™ (NYSE: MGM).  For more information and reservations, visit www.circuscircus.com or call toll free at (800) 634-3450 or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

And the Winner Is…

At the Chuck Jones Experience (coming to Circus Circus–Las Vegas in October) there's going to be an entire display case devoted to all things Oscar® and Chuck Jones.  There'll be all sorts of memorabilia, including congratulatory telegrams, letters and official Academay Award nominations.  One letter that caught our eye (and interest) was this one from Walt Disney.  He's responding to a letter from Chuck Jones (which we hope to find) and he has some interesting things to say:  

  OSCAR LETTER DISNEY 3-29-1950 5 x 7 300 dpi
 

You Give Us Joy

The Chuck Jones Big Draw was completely and utterly amazing.  If you were there you'll know what I mean, if you weren't, let me share this note, anonymously written on a carrot that I found last night as we were cleaning up after a full day of creativity workshops:

You Give Us Joy
[It reads: "Dear Chuck~ Thank you for touching our lives with your creative genius.  You have given us the ability to laugh at ourselves through the antics of your wonderful characters.  You give us joy.  Love from an admiring & grateful fan.!!"

You give us joy.  There was enough joy yesterday at the Chuck Jones Big Draw to go around the world at least once, if not 100 times.  When you're allowed to let your creativity shine through in a nurturing, non-judgemental environment, it is absolutely amazing what you will produce.  

Sunny Dolberg
You give us joy.  Artist Sunny Dolberg shares her reverse transference process with a budding Picasso.  One of the most active of workshops, Sunny guided young and old alike in a process that creates a mono-print by painting your image on a clear acrylic sheet and pressing it (upside-down) onto a canvas or piece of paper.  The results were outstanding!

LJC and students
You give us joy.   Linda Jones Clough, equestrienne and daughter of Chuck Jones, led the session, "How to Draw a Horse" (shown here discussing the finer points of horse anatomy…would that be called "horse-sense"? IDK.)  Below is the horse that Linda drew as she worked with her group.

LJC horse

Reis storyboard class
You give us joy.  Stephen Reis (gesturing), storyboard artist and director for the animated cartoon, "The Simpsons" shares with his group how he works as he develops the storyline and animation for the series.  Participants then worked on their own storyboards.  Cowabunga, dude!

John ramirez and student
You give us joy.  This young lad is listening to the sage advice of artist and designer, John Ramirez, who is not only an award-winning designer and cartoonist, but is also the designer of the soon-to-open Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.  John led his burgeoning John Lasseters in the creation of their very own thaumatrope (a circular disk with a drawn image on each side, attached to two pieces of string and spun to create a moving image.)

Jimmy and mural
You give us joy.  Muralist, actor, model, father, citizen of the world; those are just some of the words that describe the wonderfully talented James (Jimmy) C. Mulligan.  All the while the Chuck Jones Big Draw was in session, he worked on this mural…started and completed in 6 hours (including a break for lunch).  Such awesomeness!

Bob Elias
You give us joy.  Artist and surfer, Bob Elias, handed out advice on painting to our budding Frankenthalers, Kahlos and Rothkos.  

Indeed, everyone gave us joy yesterday…here's a few more photos from the day:

Digital horse

Daffy draftsman

Gina and Kas

Kim Sudhalter

Lorna and luann

Nicole and natalie

Tommy Martinez and student

Young student

Blank stare teenager
You give us joy.  Artist Mary Beth Volpini helped participants loosen up their creative muscles and switch their thinking from the left side of their brains to the right at the first station at the Chuck Jones Big Draw, "What Does Fun Look Like?"  Here two of the many teen-agers who took advantage her guidance work diligently on their answers.  

You Asked For It–Here It Is!

We've been asked, "Please share some of the interesting things that'll be a part of the Chuck Jones exhibit…" at the new and exciting Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus–Las Vegas.  So as not to disappoint our many friends and fans, here's an original photograph taken sometime after April 7, 1933, but probably before December 5, 1933. The Cullen-Harrison law allowing breweries to make and distribute 3.2 beer during Prohibition went into effect on that day in April and Prohibition was lifted on December 5, 1933.  Based on the anecdotes about Schlesinger's penury, it's hard to imagine that he would throw a party just because beer was now available (of course, we could be wrong), so this is probably a photo at the annual Christmas party of 1933.  

Can you find Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng and Leon Schlesinger?  As President Roosevelt (Franklin D.) famously said on the day he signed the act allowing 3.2 beer, "I think this would be a good day for a beer."

BEER PHOTO
Photograph courtesy the Chuck Jones Archive.