Tag Archives: Leon Schlesinger

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Did You Ever Wonder What an Animation Director Made in 1944?

Chuck Jones’s pay stub for the week ending December 9, 1944. At the time, he was directing animated short films for Leon Schlesinger Studios.

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On January 6, 1945, just a month after the pay stub, Chuck Jones’s famous skunk, Pepe le Pew, made his debut in “Odor-able Kitty”, which had originally been titled, “Forever Ambushed”.

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The model sheets were drawn by Chuck Jones and used by the animators to stay “on model” during the drawing of the cartoon.

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Side note: “Forever Ambushed” is a take-off on the title of bestselling romance novel of 1944, titled, “Forever Amber”. The book was eventually made into a film in 1947 by 20th Century Fox. The Chuck Jones pay stub is from the Linda Jones Clough archive.

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."

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Photograph courtesy the Chuck Jones Archive.  

Notes on Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner

“I see nothing in the Coyote that I can’t find in almost any human being.  Most of us share his desire for something small and special, be it diamonds, doughnuts, or Road Runner.  Wile E. Coyote devotes enormous ingenuity and energy to chasing the Road Runner.  People wonder what good it would do him to catch the Road Runner, as there’s obviously very little food on that scrawny frame.  A rabbit would seem to be more nutritious prey, but Wile E. considers roadrunner to be a luxury item on the coyote’s food chain.  There are delicacies as yet unknown to the human palate, and one of them is this apparently succulent avian.   

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“A Road Runner cartoon is basically a series of separate blackout gags with an underlying structure, as the Coyote returns obsessively to the fray.  Mike Maltese and I found that we needed about eleven gags to make a film, and the trick was to proceed in a more or less orderly fashion up to a strong climax.  Gags varied considerably in length and could be as short as four seconds, as long as four minutes, or almost as long as the film itself. 

“Humor is often a series of sensible statements ending in an unexpected oddity that completely changes the meaning of the scene.

“The Road Runner did not change a lot visually over the years; he has very little personality, as he is a force.  I tell students that the secret of drawing the Road Runner is learning how to draw dust:  just draw a cloud of dust and hook a Road Runner onto it…My Road Runner is a rare case in which the animated animal is almost exactly like its living model. 

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“The Road Runner’s immortal “beep-beep” was an accidental find, inspired by the sound Paul Julian made as he blindly tried to clear a route for himself along a Termite Terrace corridor.  It seemed unimaginable to ask anybody but Paul to record this sound, so we invited him into the studio and it is his voice that is heard in every Road Runner cartoon, although Mel Blanc is given credit for it.

“Eddie Selzer [producer after Leon Schlesinger] hated the first Road Runner cartoon, Fast and Furry-ous, because it had no dialogue.  “Goddamit,” he fumed, “we pay Mel Blanc and you should use his voice.”  He sulked about it.  I told him that the film wouldn’t work with dialogue, but he persisted: I don’t give a damn if it would work or not—WE PAY MEL BLANC!”

Image of the Day: Porky the Giant Killer


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Original 12 field production cel with dedication
and stamped signature by Leon Schlesinger (film supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton).

Many of the early Schlesinger produced cartoons
pushed Warner Bros. popular music and Porky
the Giant Killer
is no different.  We
hear Porky belt out “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” along with “The
Alphabet Song” (over and over and over again.) 
BTW, the Giant’s toddler is 5’ 7” tall, dwarfing Porky and ‘patty
caking’ him across the nursery!