Chuck Jones’s first cartoon as a director premiered in October of 1938 “The Night Watchman”. His advancement to ‘supervisor’ from animator at Leon Schlesinger Productions was noted in the film trade journal, Daily Variety, prompting not only a flurry of congratulatory letters from co-workers (Grim Natwick, for instance) and family (his brother Dick, an in-betweener at Schlesinger), but also a few telegrams from the likes of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, and Max Fleischer (sent, we believe, with a wink from his co-workers.)
Top: Model drawing of the head rat from “The Night Watchman” by Chuck Jones, colored pencil on 12 field animation paper, 10.5” x 12.5”. Model drawings of the Night Watchman by Chuck Jones, graphite on 12 field animation paper.
Bonus feature: “Text messages from the early 20th century”!
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.