With the passing of Ray Bradbury this week, it brought to mind a wonderful quote from him when he was at a birthday party celebrating Jones's 55th. Someone asked Bradbury what he would like to be when he grew up and he replied, "I want to be 14 years old, just like Chuck Jones."
The Academy Award-winning director of "Duck Amuck," "What's Opera, Doc," "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" and other timeless classics, created dozens of cartoon characters throughout his decades-long career: Pepé Le Pew, Marvin the Martian, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote… and Crawford, an accident prone, nine-year-old boy whose daily routine includes surviving his own boyhood.
Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was follows the twenty-seven year journey it took Jones to bring "Crawford" to the public, from conception to storyboard to newspaper strip. This incredible volume is loaded with never before seen sketches, drawings, storyboards and production notes, and the six-month run of the Crawford newspaper comic strip from 1978. Accompanying the artwork is a biography of Chuck Jones's career in the sixties and seventies and how it influenced the creation of Chuck's only foray into the world of comic strips.
Marian Jones, Chuck's widow had this to say about the project, "Kurtis Findlay, an admitted comics addict, is too young to have ever read Chuck Jones’ 1970s short-lived comic strip, “Crawford”, in the newspapers. But he came across some copies not too long ago and was hooked. He was also puzzled. “Crawford” was the least known of all of Chuck’s work; he thought that was a loss. He also wondered how it had started, what had become of it, and how Chuck had developed it.
"A query to CJCC [Chuck Jones Center for Creativity –ed.]led to Kurtis visiting us and proposing to write a book assembling all the original strips with any information he could ferret out. He and I spent several days in the archives, with Kurtis registering more and more amazement and excitement over Chuck’s drawings and historical source material.
"Even though I had worked with Chuck at that time, and was myself writing a comic strip (originated by someone else —Rick O’Shay and Hipshot) I had totally forgotten about some of the material that Kurtis discovered. His book traces a never before spelled out story of a character that chased around in Chuck’s head, and in various ways onto film, over the years, but never quite came to fulfillment."
Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was is a dream come true in that almost all the art is being reproduced from Chuck Jones's originals! It is a treasure trove of previously unknown artwork that is a must for all fans of animation and comics.
Visit the official Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was website. All-new, never before seen Chuck Jones art will be added in the coming weeks and months leading up to the book's release this holiday season. You can find them on Facebook as well.
"I have come to know Bugs so well that I no longer have to think about what he is doing in any situation. I let the part of me that is Bugs come to the surface, knowing, with regret, that I can never match his marvelous confidence."
–Chuck Jones, page 26, Stoke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art
"We watched carefully for that flash of individuality, that spark of
the unusual, that happy accident that could be encouraged and developed
into the interesting, stimulating, and sympathetic adult we would all
like our children to become."
–Chuck Jones, page 8, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art
roadrunner is an authentic bird of the cuckoo family and is found in
New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. He cannot truly fly but he
runs at an unbelievable speed and soars to the tops of the giant
cactus. He is about the same size as a scrawny turkey. Yes, you will
find the roadrunner listed in any good dictionary of the English
language, accompanied by his Latin name—his real Latin name, you
understand, not those which we invent such as Tidbitius Velocitus or TastyiusFastius."
"I concentrated on learning a little bit about everything that
interested me and a lot about drawing until my hand would respond to
what my mind dictated and my brain became a treasure house of pertinent
Chuck Jones, page 10, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art
"Well, it turns out that man, for instance, is not quite the helpless
cringing little creature he likes to think he is: of all the living
creatures in the world, from amoeba to sulphur-bottomed whales, man
belongs in the top two percent in size and probably in the top half of
one percent in ferocity, blood lust and sheer muscle."
Chuck Jones, page 12, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art
"We never stopped to analyze what made our cartoons funny. If they made us laugh, then we hoped the audience would follow."
–Chuck Jones, page 58, Stroke of Genius, A Collection of Paintings and Musings on Life, Love and Art