Tag Archives: Merrie Melodies

New in the Gallery: Caricatures by Thornton Hee (AKA T. Hee)

It’s hard to believe, but this is the 85th birthday of Warner Bros. Animation. You have to imagine a group of young men, many in their mid-20s, employed in animation during the Great Depression. How will they entertain themselves? One way was through caricature. Each of them in their own style would skewer the uppity, rib(ald) the randy, and generally make good-natured fun of their associates. The Chuck Jones Gallery is pleased to present a collection for sale of caricatures of animators, directors, story writers, and others from the hand of Thornton Hee.

Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng as imagined by T. Hee.

Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng as imagined by T. Hee. For information about the availability of these drawings, please contact your Chuck Jones Gallery art consultant. Phone numbers available at the end of the post.

Thornton Hee was one of these young men. Although his legendary status was in its formative years, he was noted for his quick wit and sharp pencil. Hee is known for working at the biggest and the best Hollywood studios, such as Disney, directing the “Dance of the Hours” segment of “Fantasia”. Later he worked at UPA (United Productions of America) where he was responsible for story and designs for many of their classic Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing Boing, and other one-shot cartoons.

Tex Avery by Thornton Hee

Tex Avery by Thornton Hee

But, for two years, 1935-36, T. Hee helped revolutionize the Warner Bros. animation style. His designs for the caricatures of Hollywood movie stars were used in the classic Tex Avery short, “The Coo Coo Nut Grove”, as well as one of Bob Clampett’s shorts, “Russian Rhapsody”.

Ken Harris wasn't safe either from the razor sharp wit of T. Hee.

Ken Harris wasn’t safe either from the razor sharp wit of T. Hee.

Years later, T. Hee, along with veteran Disney director, Jack Hannah, became the heads of the character animation department at CalArts; he later became the chairman of the Fine Arts department at the school.

Tedd Pierce got the Hee treatment.

Tedd Pierce got the Hee treatment.

Hee-Cal Dalton-PB399-1450 Hee-Melvin (Tubby) Millar-PB396-1800

Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego: 888-294-9880

Chuck Jones Gallery–Costa Mesa: 866-248-2556

Chuck Jones Gallery–Santa Fe: 800-290-5999

…There’s a New Rabbit in Town

“What’s Up, Doc? The Animated Art of Chuck Jones” opens Saturday, February 14th in Fort Worth, Texas a their Museum of Science and History.

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Chuck’s daughter, Linda Jones Clough, and his granddaughter, Valerie Kausen, will be special guests on opening day. The exhibit, organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits with the collaboration of the Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Beverly Hills, and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Costa Mesa, explores what it takes to make a cartoon and how Chuck Jones’s unique perspective on film-making, his comedic genius, precision timing, and intense focus on character shaped and guided the evolution of the animated film. It is a not-to-be-missed exhibit.

For more information, visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History website by clicking on either image.

evolve bugs text panel

Image of the Day: “The Night Watchman” + a Bonus Feature!

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.)

THE NIGHT WATCH MAN DRAWING #2-HOODLUM MICE

THE NIGHT WATCH MAN DRAWING #1-TOMMY CAT

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”!

TELEGRAM-MAX FLEISCHER 10-20-1938 TELEGRAM-MICKEY MOUSE 10-20-1938 TELEGRAM-WALT DISNEY 10-20-1938