So much awesomeness! Artists, where do you get all of your ideas? The theme this year, as it has been in the past, was “The Life and Times of Chuck Jones”. Chuck was born in 1912 and passed away in 2002; his nine decade life spanned most of the 20th century as well as the history of the animated film. He was interested in, no, let me put that another way, he was fascinated by everything in the world around him. A voracious reader, Chuck Jones cited influences as diverse as Mark Twain and Carlos Santayana; and from the actor and director Charlie Chaplin to the grapefruit-loving Johnson the Cat. Nothing was too small not to catch his attention.
That gave our artists for this year’s Red Dot Auction a lot to consider and to be inspired by as witnessed in the works below.
What’s that you say? You haven’t bought your tickets for the Red Dot Auction on Friday, May 1 from 7 to 10 PM? What are you waiting for? They’re just $25 per person online (click here) or $35 per at the door. Be there or be square (just like the canvases!)
Mel Blanc, pyrography (wood burning) on wood, 12″ square.
Claude and Frisky Puppy, colored pencil on canvas, 12″ square.
“Roughing It” acrylic on canvas, 12″ square.
Cricket and Kandinsky, digital art on paper, 12″ square.
Considered by some critics and authors to be one of Chuck Jones’ minor masterpieces, No Barking took its bow (-wow) in theaters February 27, 1954. Starring the nervous scavenger of love, food and affection, Claude Cat, and the irrepressible Frisky Puppy, it details Claude’s life’s pitfalls and pratfalls, highlights and lowlifes. Making his only cameo appearance in a career that began in 1942 with his début in Bob Clampett’s A Tale of Two Kitties is that blue-eyed avian avenger, Tweety Bird.
Tweety Bird was first painted pink (until 1945’s A Gruesome Twosome, when one of the cats calls him ‘a naked genius’ tipping off the censors…) and starred in over forty cartoons at last count, including the 1947 Oscar-winner, Tweetie Pie (begun by Clampett and steered to Oscar glory by I. Freleng after Clampett’s departure from Warner Bros. Spellings of Tweety/Tweetie vary from publication to publication and from film to film.)
Cameo appearances by stars have a long tradition in the film industry and are one of the delights of the movie-going public. As unexpected as it is to see Tweety Bird in a Chuck Jones cartoon, it is that very surprise that tickles the viewing audience and creates a memorable film experience. And not only does Tweety make a cameo appearance, he also utters, that by then ubiquitous catch phrase, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” as Claude Cat goes sailing past him to the wide blue beyond.
Uniquely animated by the very talented Ken Harris, No Barking also was graced with the layouts of Maurice Noble, story by Michael Maltese and backgrounds by Philip DeGuard. Mel Blanc provided the voices with musical direction and orchestrations by Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn (musical theme: “Little Dog Gone”.)
Anyone who has a dog in their family can recognize the stance of Frisky Puppy in this original layout drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1952 short animated film, "Terrier Stricken." (And for those who don't, it means "Let's play!")
Claude Cat (get it?) hits the skids in this original layout drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1952 short animated film, "Terrier Stricken." Starring Frisky Puppy and the aforementioned Mr. Cat, "Terrier Stricken" was the second outing for this animated duo.
Undated model drawing of Claude Cat by Chuck Jones, graphite and colored pencil on 12 field two-hole punched animation paper. The paper places it early 1950s most likely pre-1953 before the studio started using 3-hole punched paper. Claude Cat appeared in a variety of films by Chuck Jones, co-starring with Hubie & Bertie (mice,) Frisky Puppy and Mark Anthony and Kitty. This drawing will be part of the Chuck Jones exhibit at the Get Animated! Pavilion of the 2010 California State Fair, July 14 through August 1.
“No Barking” bow-wowed in theaters on February 27, 1954. It was the final installment in the Frisky Puppy series and considered by Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald to be one of Chuck Jones’ mini-masterpieces. The entire cartoon was animated by the phenomenally talented animator Ken Harris. It was the only Jones cartoon where the Clampett/Freleng character, Tweety Bird, made an appearance (albeit a cameo.)
This image is a 12 field hand-painted cel art edition (Director’s Cut) that captures the moment Tweety Bird first appears and utters his trademark line, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat.”
Original layout drawing (graphite and colored pencil on 12 field animation paper) by Chuck Jones for his 1954 "Lumberjack Rabbit." This frisky puppy was named 'Smidgen' by Paul Bunyan in Jones & Warner Bros. only foray into 3-D animation.