Tag Archives: humor

Remembering Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones passed away on February 22, 2002.  It doesn't seem possible that a decade has passed since then, for his spirit truly does live on, not only in each of you, but also in the hearts and minds of his three grandchildren, Valerie, Craig, and Todd.    

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Pictured from left: Craig Kausen, Linda Jones Clough, Valerie, and Todd Kausen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Chuck Jones's Oscar® for his 1965 short animated film, "The Dot and the Line". 

 

THOUGHTS ON THIS DAY...

From Valerie: People love Chuck Jones. In the decade that has passed since Chuck’s death, I have found myself getting to know (and love) him even more deeply. I have the great honor of working with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and witnessing innumerable people being inspired by Chuck’s work, his words, his philosophy, the memories of his kindness and humor.

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I had the great pleasure of growing up with Chuck, being able to work with him closely for many years, to represent him in many situations over the years and be his only granddaughter. 

It would seem that when someone leaves this world that the memory might fade, become less important over time, but Chuck’s influence is growing stronger. The importance of a heartfelt, humor-filled life is now more clear than ever. I am more inspired, connected and dedicated to a creative life and to the pursuit of my own soul’s contribution to this world and I know that this is because of Chuck and what is still alive in this world that he left for us.

People love Chuck Jones. It is a love affair that never seems to end. Chuck changed lives through his work, his encouragement or just by his deep love of living. He is still changing lives, ten years after his passing. 

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From Todd: Ten years seems like a long time in most situations, but for some reason, it does not feel very long when thinking back to when Chuck left us.  When I was at the new Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas at the Circus Circus Hotel, I was filled with a feeling of missing him. It really is a great experience whether you knew him or not.

Todd Chuck copyright

I'm so honored to be associated with him and his great legacy, albeit strictly through nepotism and certainly not through any kind of deserved place.  However, as Chuck used to say, "Even if I don't deserve it, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it!"  So on this day, I shall reflect on him, his legacy, his impact on me personally and be very grateful for the tiniest piece of his humor, wit and genius that somehow trickled into my blood and allows me to occasionally find the humor in this wacky journey of life.  Thanks for that, Chief!

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From Craig: It is quite startling for me to think that it has been 10 years since my Grandfather, Chuck, passed away.  Not only do I recall that day quite vividly, just as I’m sure everyone who has had someone important to them leave, I reflect that now a fifth of my life has been without him here to be able to visit with, ask questions, and laugh with at dinners.  The realization doesn’t quite seem to fit in the scheme of time for me.  Perhaps it is that time is much more relative these days for me, or just that my memories of him within our lives are so ingrained.  But in any case, I would describe my life as being almost completely with him and just a brief moment since without him.  I’m sure that being around his persona, his name, and the memories of him recounted by so many on a regular basis bridges the gap of him not physically being here, but my own memories are as constant and as clear as they ever were. 

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On this day, 10 years later, still my fondest memories are the personal ones; the ones where he created a special moment when I was young(er) like jumping in the pool fully clothed when I learned to swim, or teaching me how to ride my bike, or telling me how special it was when my son was born.  No matter what the memory is for me, each of them, when it includes Chuck, makes me smile.

Bugs Bunny and Haute Couture

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New York's Fashion Week and the coverage it receives is not usually where one would think you'd find references to Chuck Jones, but you would be wrong.  We've seen the work of Chuck Jones used as touchstones for everything from physics to philosophy, but this may be a first.  

Fashion critic for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn, has singled the work of Chuck Jones out, not only for his brilliant use of bold color, but also for the gentleness that was mixed in with the gags.  That all important convivial mix of wit and vulnerability was their hallmark.  She goes on to point out that the bold patterns being shown by many of the fashion designers lack that subtlety.  

Please read her article, The Volume Stays Up to get her particular take on the state of American fashion now appearing on runways throughout New York City.  

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"Drag Strip" a limited edition sericel available at the Chuck Jones Gallery.  

Image of the Day: Much Ado About Nutting

Another classic silent film (except for the music and sound effects, of course) from Chuck Jones and his amazing team of animators and artists, including Maurice Noble, Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, Ben Washam and writer Michael Maltese.  Rolling into theaters nationwide on May 23, 1953, "Much Ado About Nutting" pits a little red squirrel against the nut of all nuts.

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Pre-production model sheet (gouache, watercolor and ink on 12 field animation paper) by Chuck Jones.

This cartoon pre-dates Jones's "One Froggy Evening" by two years, but thematically they share much in common: the desire we all have to succeed, the roadblocks we encounter on that path and how hopeful we reman in the face of the increasing difficulties placed in our way.

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Pre-production layout drawing (graphite on 12 field animation paper) by Chuck Jones.

You'll note with what care Jones takes to achieve the verisimilitude of a real squirrel in the above drawing, detailing not only how he chews, but also how he should blink and the timing involved in making this cartoon world come real.  

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Thumbnail background layouts (graphite and colored pencil) by Maurice Noble.

Maurice Noble's contributions to the films directed by Jones cannot be overstated.  Noble's unique ability to at once create an environment in which the actions of the characters may shine are delightfully balanced by their beauty, color and sense of humor.   They never overshadow or dominate, they always are moving the plot forward and yet they maintain their own integrity as works of art.   Watch and learn and laugh!

Chuck Jones Incognito

CHUCK JONES INCOGNITO…

  • Although Chuck Jones’ film credits have identified him for more than six decades as a director of Warner Bros. animated pictures, his stature as a graphic artist is little recognized by the public.  In addition to the trying requirements of any director unifying story, layouts, animation, music, dialogue, etc. into a finished picture, he also has been personally instrumental in the graphic styling of his pictures.  In 1940,  Jones made the first true ‘stylized’ animation picture, The Dover Boys, which set the pattern for much of the animation that we see in theaters and on television today.   

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  • Dedicated as he was to animation as the new graphic medium of his time, Jones had never forgotten that drawing the things and people around him was imperative to assure new ideas as to shape and color and design.  For many years, he drew and painted the human figure in search for new expression and new gesture.  This study is reflected in the continuing freshness of his professional work.
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  • Steeped in an awareness of the importance of dramatics, humor, action and rhythm in telling an animation story, he has managed to instill into his still drawings these same qualities. GICLEE-04 copy
  • Although many artists skilled in making still drawings have enriched animation, seldom has an expert in animation contributed so much to the great tradition of the still drawing.  Here, caricature, an essential factor in all great art, has been exploited on a high level.  Penetrating observation reveals new and daring aspects of ordinary people and their actions.  Each drawing is a statement of an experience and a venture into new graphic structure.  Here, content and form are balanced to insure the intrinsic value of each drawing as a work of art.

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Chuck Jones Quote of the Day: Start with the Believable

"We must all start with the believable.  That is the essence of our
craft.  All drama, all comedy, all artistry stems from the believable,
which gives us as solid a rock as anyone could ask from which to seek
humor."

–Chuck Jones, page 14, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art

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Image of the Day: Top of the Morning

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Added to Chuck Jones' obvious mastery of the watercolor medium is his wit, humor and intelligence.  One of our favorite quotes from Chuck about kissing a woman's hand is:

"Hand kissing.  This is something I took up when I realized its character and intent.  A girl is a continuous thing, and it isn't because the hand-bone is connected to the arm-bone, the arm-bone is connected to the head-bone.  The skin of a girl's hand is connected by direct route and direct wire to her lips, the hand is like holding the end of a lariat, the business part is at the end.  So when the continental gallant kisses a girl's hand he is in effect saying what every sane woman wants to hear: "I'd like to kiss your lips."  Shaking hands is just silly, whoever heard of shaking lips?"