Tag Archives: Grinch

Chuck Jones in the News–Recent Press

Sabeena Khosla writes in the online magazine, “Highbrow”, about Chuck Jones and the exhibit “What’s Up, Doc? — The Animated Art of Chuck Jones” currently on view at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY. Read the article here.

In the online blog, “War is Boring” Steve Weintz writes about the professional and personal relationship of Ted Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, and Chuck Jones. You can read it here.

Key Master set-up from "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas", 1966.

Key Master set-up from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, 1966.

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.

Help support the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity’s initiatives and programs. Go to the Urgency Network and donate today and receive a gift for your generosity. We appreciate your support.

Did You Know?

That Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel, AKA Dr.Seuss, were friends? Not only did they work together on US Military training films during WWII and two of the most beloved Dr. Seuss TV specials ever (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears A Who!”, they also maintained a friendly correspondence over the years.

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Chuck Jones (L) and Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel at the recording session for “Dr.Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” from 1966.

The reason Chuck Redux is sharing this with you is that on Saturday, August 10th from 6 to 9 PM at the Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego (232 Fifth Avenue, across from the Hard Rock Hotel), the exhibition “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” will open. In among all of the fabulous, exotic, and crazy hats will be some of mail exchanged between these two titans of entertainment as well as never-before-seen story concepts for the TV special they produced, “Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat”.

So, grab your keys and drive yourself down to the Chuck Jones Gallery, 232 Fifth Avenue, San Diego (888-294-9880 or SanDiego@ChuckJones.com) on Saturday to view this exciting exhibition.

P.S. Much of what you’ll see will also be for sale!  Leave room in the trunk!

Chuck Jones Takes Flight at the Portland Airport

The works of Northwest legendary cartoon artist, and world-renowned anima-producer at Warner Bros., Chuck Jones, are now on display at Portland International Airport. Born in Spokane, Washington, Jones’ career spanned the history of animated films, beginning at Warner Bros. and continuing his work at MGM before establishing his own Chuck Jones Enterprises in 1963.


Photo courtesy Port of Portland

Jones' colorful and magical masterpieces of liveliness display his innate creative genius.  His most poplular works include "The Dot and the Line", "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Phantom Tollbooth."  He is perhaps best known for his timeless work at Warner Bros. such as "What's Opera, Doc?", "Duck Amuck" and "One Froggy Evening."  

Greeting the traveler’s eye, Jones’ exhibit, located along Concourse A, brings to life his youthful spirit and sharp wit. Jones’ work speaks to the inner-child of many travelers, and highlights more than 60 years of cartoon and animation history. Jones was a prolific artist whose work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. He has directed more than 300 animated films, won three Oscars in his career, and received the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1996.


Photo courtesy Port of Portland

"Painting does what we cannot do—it brings a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional plane,” said Jones, who expressed himself in many different ways through his work.


The work is part of the rotating art exhibits program at PDX and is on loan from the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity through March 2012. More information about Jones is available at www.ChuckJonesCenter.org.

The PDX art program is designed to showcase the dynamic cultural life in the Pacific Northwest and showcase Northwest expression through ongoing relationships with regional artists, arts organizations, museums and educational institutions.

More information about PDX is available at www.pdx.com.


Today is the 44th Anniversary of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” TV Special

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Above and below are pre-production mixed media (graphite, colored pencil and marker pen on paper) concept drawings by Chuck Jones for his 1966 TV special "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" that aired December 18, 1966 on CBS, pre-empting Lassie.

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"Cindy-Lou Who surprises the Grinch.  I drew Cindy-Lou to appear like a great-grandchild of the Grinch, but with everything right where he is wrong."–Chuck Jones

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Boris Karloff narrated, June Foray was the voice of Cindy-Lou Who and Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of Tony the Tiger) sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which was composed by Albert Hague with lyrics by Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss.)  

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"'Christmas day will always be, just as long as we have we."

Trim Me, Trim You (Ideas that didn’t make the final cut)

One of the great things about creating an animated film is that you don't have to worry about hurting an actor's feelings when you cut their scene since oftentimes, the editing process happens at the beginning rather than at the end.   When Chuck Jones was at Warner Bros. he said that because their budgets were so minuscule that they had to do all of their editing pre-production as there were no funds for post-production corrections or additions. 

What we're sharing with you today is a pre-production opening sequence concept, parts of which never made it into the final film plus we have a draft of Ted Geisel's lyrics (set to Albert Hague's music) for what eventually became "Trim Up the Tree, Trim Up the Town."  It's quite a delightful read!

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And there was this wonderful rough concept drawing of the Grinch and Max from the pencil of Chuck Jones that was too delicious not to share!  

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Maurice Noble, Chuck Jones, Ted Geisel and Dr. Seuss

According to the book "Stepping into the Picture, Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble" by Robert J. McKinnon, Maurice Noble was delighted at the opportunity to work with Ted Geisel again 20 years after the war (that would be World War II, for you youngsters) where they had first met (Geisel was a Major in the film unit headed by Frank Capra and Noble was but a Corporal then) when Chuck Jones announced that he had secured the rights to produce "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and several other Dr. Seuss books in 1965.  

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Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Gouache and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

"As work commenced on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," it quickly became evident to Maurice that Dr. Seuss was a perfectionist, and everything had to be done "just right."  But he also realized that the famed author lived by the same credo to which he [Noble] had always subscribed–the production comes first–and this made working with Geisel a rewarding experience.  "Ted literally slaved over his books.  I know that sometimes he would take weeks to come up with just one line," said Noble.  "And he wanted to have as much care taken in the creation of the film.  When he made a criticism, it was never a personal thing; it was purely 'what is good for the production?'  So you would go over it again and again, and eventually get it so felt 'right.'  There was no animosity in terms of "This is my book and it must be done this way."  

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Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Gouache and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

"When working with Geisel, Noble noticed that the author often spoke of Dr. Seuss in the third person.  "Sometimes I'd make a suggestion for the picture and he would say something like, 'Well, I think Dr. Seuss would do it this way.'  This was a typical remark.  It was as if Dr. Seuss was a separate creative personality."  

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Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Graphite and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

Chuck Jones had this to say, according to McKinnon, "Authors use a lot of adverbs and adjectives, and when you get into our field, they're of no use to you.  So you have to translate into action what they've used as words… To me Maurice did a remarkable job translating into the style."

Regardless of the difficulties encountered by Jones and Noble in working with Geisel, the results speak for themselves.  The crew knew early on that they working on something special, much in the same way they felt about working on 1957's Warner Bros. masterpiece, "What's Opera, Doc?"  The production just had its own life and the possibility of being a great work of art.  

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."

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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?


The Hollywood Christmas Parade–1966

In 1966 The Hollywood Christmas Parade featured a large green Santa Claus.  Constructed from wire and papier maché and made by ink & paint maven Auril Thompson (pictured below), the Grinch rode in the back seat of a convertible Cadillac down the parade route (via Hollywood & Sunset Blvds.)  Keeping the myth alive, his whereabouts after the parade are unknown, but we do know his spirit lives on every year when the Chuck Jones-directed and produced "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" airs on television in homes around the globe.  


The slightly blurry photo to the right is of Lloyd Vaughan, an animator of much distinction, who worked in Chuck's unit at Warner Bros. beginning in the early 1940s and continued to work with Jones throughout the MGM years and beyond.  Mr. Vaughan died at the age of 79 in 1988.


Dr. Seuss characters, names and all related indicia are trademarks of the 1984 Ted Geisel Trust and © Turner Entertainment, Inc. 2010.