Tag Archives: Ted Geisel

Chuck Jones in the News–Recent Press

Sabeena Khosla writes in the online magazine, “Highbrow”, about Chuck Jones and the exhibit “What’s Up, Doc? — The Animated Art of Chuck Jones” currently on view at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY. Read the article here.

In the online blog, “War is Boring” Steve Weintz writes about the professional and personal relationship of Ted Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, and Chuck Jones. You can read it here.

Key Master set-up from "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas", 1966.

Key Master set-up from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, 1966.

Did You Know?

That Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel, AKA Dr.Seuss, were friends? Not only did they work together on US Military training films during WWII and two of the most beloved Dr. Seuss TV specials ever (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears A Who!”, they also maintained a friendly correspondence over the years.

Jones and Geisel focused 72dpi


Chuck Jones (L) and Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel at the recording session for “Dr.Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” from 1966.

The reason Chuck Redux is sharing this with you is that on Saturday, August 10th from 6 to 9 PM at the Chuck Jones Gallery–San Diego (232 Fifth Avenue, across from the Hard Rock Hotel), the exhibition “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” will open. In among all of the fabulous, exotic, and crazy hats will be some of mail exchanged between these two titans of entertainment as well as never-before-seen story concepts for the TV special they produced, “Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat”.

So, grab your keys and drive yourself down to the Chuck Jones Gallery, 232 Fifth Avenue, San Diego (888-294-9880 or SanDiego@ChuckJones.com) on Saturday to view this exciting exhibition.

P.S. Much of what you’ll see will also be for sale! ┬áLeave room in the trunk!

New York Public Library Opens Exhibit of Dr. Seuss Hats–Coming to Chuck Jones Gallery, San Diego

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins," the New York Public Library will open an exhibit today of about a dozen of Dr. Seuss's hats. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, collected over 500 hats during his lifetime. The exhibit will travel to 15 other locations this year, including the Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego, California, August 9th through August 25th and will be accompanied by many works of art that feature the hats in Seuss's collection.

Geisel in his San Diego State band hat with his wife, Audrey. (Photograph courtesy Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.)

"Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party," his widow, Audrey, said in an interview for a 1999 educational video, "and they've all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself."

Artwork done by Geisel for his own enjoyment is part of the exhibit and will be featured when the tour comes to the Chuck Jones Gallery in August. For more details, please contact the Gallery at 888-294-9880 or via email at SanDiego@ChuckJones.com. 


Trim Me, Trim You (Ideas that didn’t make the final cut)

One of the great things about creating an animated film is that you don't have to worry about hurting an actor's feelings when you cut their scene since oftentimes, the editing process happens at the beginning rather than at the end.   When Chuck Jones was at Warner Bros. he said that because their budgets were so minuscule that they had to do all of their editing pre-production as there were no funds for post-production corrections or additions. 

What we're sharing with you today is a pre-production opening sequence concept, parts of which never made it into the final film plus we have a draft of Ted Geisel's lyrics (set to Albert Hague's music) for what eventually became "Trim Up the Tree, Trim Up the Town."  It's quite a delightful read!

HOGR-03-066 copy

And there was this wonderful rough concept drawing of the Grinch and Max from the pencil of Chuck Jones that was too delicious not to share!  

HOGR-03-14 copy

Maurice Noble, Chuck Jones, Ted Geisel and Dr. Seuss

According to the book "Stepping into the Picture, Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble" by Robert J. McKinnon, Maurice Noble was delighted at the opportunity to work with Ted Geisel again 20 years after the war (that would be World War II, for you youngsters) where they had first met (Geisel was a Major in the film unit headed by Frank Capra and Noble was but a Corporal then) when Chuck Jones announced that he had secured the rights to produce "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and several other Dr. Seuss books in 1965.  

BG.LAYOUT.SC5.300 (Large) copy

Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Gouache and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

"As work commenced on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," it quickly became evident to Maurice that Dr. Seuss was a perfectionist, and everything had to be done "just right."  But he also realized that the famed author lived by the same credo to which he [Noble] had always subscribed–the production comes first–and this made working with Geisel a rewarding experience.  "Ted literally slaved over his books.  I know that sometimes he would take weeks to come up with just one line," said Noble.  "And he wanted to have as much care taken in the creation of the film.  When he made a criticism, it was never a personal thing; it was purely 'what is good for the production?'  So you would go over it again and again, and eventually get it so felt 'right.'  There was no animosity in terms of "This is my book and it must be done this way."  

BG.LAYOUT.SC15.300 copy

Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Gouache and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

"When working with Geisel, Noble noticed that the author often spoke of Dr. Seuss in the third person.  "Sometimes I'd make a suggestion for the picture and he would say something like, 'Well, I think Dr. Seuss would do it this way.'  This was a typical remark.  It was as if Dr. Seuss was a separate creative personality."  

BG.LAYOUT.SC140.300 copy

Original background layout design by Maurice Noble for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Graphite and colored pencil on 12 field (10.5" x 12.5") MGM animation paper.

Chuck Jones had this to say, according to McKinnon, "Authors use a lot of adverbs and adjectives, and when you get into our field, they're of no use to you.  So you have to translate into action what they've used as words… To me Maurice did a remarkable job translating into the style."

Regardless of the difficulties encountered by Jones and Noble in working with Geisel, the results speak for themselves.  The crew knew early on that they working on something special, much in the same way they felt about working on 1957's Warner Bros. masterpiece, "What's Opera, Doc?"  The production just had its own life and the possibility of being a great work of art.  

The Grinch Storyboards & Presentation Story…

Chuck Jones' daughter, Linda, likes to recount that when she was a young girl her father would often 'act out' the cartoons he was working on for her, voices, gags, action, everything.  Chuck explains in his book, Chuck Reducks, how he went on the road with the Grinch storyboards and their presentation saga…

"…off to New York to sell the idea to a sponsor.  (Today you sell your film to the network; in the those innocent days–1966–you sold to the sponsor, guaranteeing financial support, before you could proceed to the network.)

"That sounded easy enough.  After all, I could take great pride in the wonderful story and full professional storyboard, and I could–and did–act all the parts (even Cindy-Lou Who) while presenting the board–twenty-six times!

"Yep.  Twenty-six times I did my dog-and-pony, or rather dog-and-grinch, act for the icy-eyed acres of advertising agency people before I could find a buyer."  (Eventually the Foundation of Commercial Banks became the sponsor, much to the surprise of Chuck, for who would think that they of all people, would want to promote an entertainment where the main character says, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store?")

Ted Geisel (second from left) and Chuck Jones (second from right) pose with members of the Foundation of Commercial Banks for a publicity photo before the airing on December 18, 1966 of the animated television special, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

And speaking of advertising agencies…below is a telex (pre-fax, pre-email, pre-skype!) from the Chicago office of the giant Leo Burnett advertising agency (think Mad Men) to their New York office counterparts extolling the virtues of Jones' storyboard presentation and how it would behoove them to make sure one of their big clients (Kellogg's or Campbell's Soup) became the sponsor of this most watched and beloved holiday special.  An amazing read, isn't it?


“Seuss Menagerie to Star on Sunday” — The Debut of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on December 18, 1966

We just came across this wonderful article in the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity's archives that appeared in the Los Angeles Times the week before the Chuck Jones directed "Dr.Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" was to make its debut on CBS (pre-empting "Lassie, no less) on Sunday, December 18, 1966.  In the same box with the clipping (it's a wonderful read BTW, click it to enlarge) were these two photographs.  The top one shows Chuck Jones working with Boris Karloff during the taping session for the soundtrack and the bottom one is (from left) Ted "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, Les Goldman and Chuck Jones admiring the album covers of Seuss' "Horton Hatches an Egg" and the upcoming "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (it with cover art by Chuck Jones.)

Of course, what delights us most of all, is the photo in the article of Chuck Jones looking very Grinch-y indeed as Ted Geisel adds his own twist on the Grinch look.  Can you imagine how much fun it must've been to have been in the room with those two?  Oh, heavens, the mind reels!  

Seuss menagerie photo collage copy

The art for the album cover:  

LITHO-139 copy

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Recording Session)

HOGR-03-001 copy

Original mixed media drawing by Chuck Jones of a guitarist at the recording session for his "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Geisel Karloff Jones 72dpi 

Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) from left, Boris Karloff and Chuck Jones look over some of the storyboards at the recording session for the Chuck Jones directed "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Recording Session)

HOGR-03-002 copy

Original drawing of musicians at the recording session for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Chuck Jones, mixed media on paper.  

Geisel Goldman Ravenscroft Poddany 72dpi 

Les Goldman (in profile, left) producer, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Thurl Ravenscroft, 2nd from right (he sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch") and Eugene Poddany, orchestrations and orchestra conductor at the recording session for the Chuck Jones directed "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."