Tag Archives: Tex Avery

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

Chuck 102Gether at the Alex Theatre — A Terrific Event!

If you were at the Alex Theatre this past Sunday, September 21st for Chuck 102Gether then you’ll know that the following is not hyperbole: IT WAS AN AWESOME AFTERNOON!

Outside the Alex Theatre

Outside the Alex Theatre

First, there’s the Alex Theatre itself…an Art Deco pile on Brand Blvd. in Glendale that is absolutely a knock-out–it’s just a good time being there! When you walk through the forecourt into the cool interior you just know you’re going to be treated to a film spectacle and Chuck 102Gether delivered just that.

A corner of the lobby of the Alex Theatre

A corner of the lobby of the Alex Theatre

Chuck 102Gether was a celebration of collaborative creativity…many family members of the original group of directors and artists who worked at Leon Schlesinger Studios, then Warner Bros. on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were in attendance: Sybil and Hope Freleng, Ruth Clampett, Linda Jones, Robert McKimson, Jr., and the children of Abe Levitow: Judy, Roberta, and Jon. Heck, even Leon Schlesinger’s relatives were there!

 

Juls Aspinall, right, meets Robert McKimson, Jr., the author of "I Say, I Say Son!" a biography of his father, director Robert McKimson, Sr.

Juls Aspinall, right, meets Robert McKimson, Jr., the author of “I Say, I Say Son!” a biography of his father, director Robert McKimson, Sr.

The afternoon got off to a rousing start with a screening of Chuck Jones’s classic, “Duck Amuck”, followed by introductory words from Linda Jones Clough, Chuck Joens’s daughter who introduced the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon, George Daugherty (a world-class symphony orchestra conductor who regularly guest conducts for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and other major ensembles. Creator and producer — with David Ka Lik Wong) of the “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” and “Bugs Bunny on Broadway” touring concerts that have played to millions of people worldwide. He is also a five-time Emmy nominee, and Emmy Award-winning producer/writer/director/conductor of Chuck Jones’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

George Daugherty on the stage of the Alex Theatre with a photo of him and Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. in the early 1990s projected onto the screen behind him.

George Daugherty on the stage of the Alex Theatre with a photo of him and Chuck Jones at Warner Bros. in the early 1990s projected onto the screen behind him.

George was a fantastic M.C.! Not only because he worked closely with Chuck Jones for so many years, in fact, he said he considered Chuck a second father…his own father having been born on the same day as Chuck, but also because he’s a font of knowledge about the music, arranged and conducted by the amazing Carl Stalling, and shared many insights into the how and the why of the music used in the cartoons, particularly those of Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett. Great stuff!

In between cartoons by Looney Tunes directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Robert McKimson, Sr. there were panel discussions about the directors and films we'd seen. This one is composed of Leith Adams, former Executive Director Warner Bros. Corporate Archives; Bill Kroyer, director of "Ferngully" and Director of Digital Arts at Chapman University; Tom Sito, now head of the Animation Department at USC's film school; Linda Jones Clough, Emmy Award-winning producer and founder of Linda Jones Enterprises.

In between cartoons by Looney Tunes directors Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Robert McKimson, Sr. there were panel discussions about the directors and films we’d seen. This one is composed of Leith Adams, former Executive Director Warner Bros. Corporate Archives; Bill Kroyer, director of “Ferngully” and Director of Digital Arts at Chapman University; Tom Sito, now head of the Animation Department at USC’s film school; Linda Jones Clough, Emmy Award-winning producer and founder of Linda Jones Enterprises.

The second panel was made up of three of the four "Dover Boys": Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis, and Rob Minkoff along with the indomitable Eric Goldberg. Seen here with a photo of them meeting Chuck Jones for the first time in the early 1980s at CalArts. That's Jeff in the rabbit ears! Their list of credits is pretty impressive too: DeGrandis is the former producer of Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer" and is now a producer at DreamWorks; Chris Bailey was the director of the animated feature, "Hop"; Rob Minkoff was the director of "The Lion King", "Stuart Little", and "Mr. Peabody; and Eric Goldberg was the director of "Pocahontas" and the supervising animator of the Genie in "Aladdin".

The second panel was made up of three of the four “Dover Boys”: Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis, and Rob Minkoff along with the indomitable Eric Goldberg. Seen here with a photo of them meeting Chuck Jones for the first time in the early 1980s at CalArts. That’s Jeff in the rabbit ears! Their list of credits is pretty impressive too: DeGrandis is the former producer of Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” and is now a producer at DreamWorks; Chris Bailey was the director of the animated feature, “Hop”; Rob Minkoff was the director of “The Lion King”, “Stuart Little”, and “Mr. Peabody; and Eric Goldberg was the director of “Pocahontas” and the supervising animator of the Genie in “Aladdin”.

Linda Jones Clough, right, with Tom Sito.

Linda Jones Clough, right, with Tom Sito.

Hope and Sybil Freleng

Hope and Sybil Freleng

Marian Jones, Chuck's widow, with Eric Goldberg

Marian Jones, Chuck’s widow, with Eric Goldberg

From left: Ruth Clampett, Robert McKimson, Jr., and Phil Roman

From left: Ruth Clampett, Robert McKimson, Jr., and Phil Roman

From left: Robert McKimson, Jr., Robert Schlesinger, Linda Jones Clough, Hope Freleng Shaw, Sybil Freleng Bergman, George Daugherty, Judy Levitow, Ruth Clampett, and Valerie Kausen

From left: Robert McKimson, Jr., Robert Schlesinger, Linda Jones Clough, Hope Freleng Shaw, Sybil Freleng Bergman, George Daugherty, Judy Levitow, Ruth Clampett, and Valerie Kausen (granddaughter of Chuck Jones)

There was a lot of laughter brought to us by the following cartoons (selected, by the way, by the director’s family members): Chuck Jones’s “Duck Amuck”, “They’re They Go Go”, “One Froggy Evening”; Friz Freleng’s “Birds Anonymous” and “High Diving Hare”; Tex Avery’s “I Love to Singa” and “A Wild Hare”; Bob Clampett’s “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” and “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid”; Robert McKimson’s “Hillbilly Hare” and “Walky Talky Hawk”. Thank you all for joining us!

 

Photographs courtesy Stephen Russo as noted.

 

Dan Scanlon, Director of “Monsters University” Recommends Chuck Jones and Tex Avery to Aspiring Animators

Short, quick interview with Dan Scanlon, director of Pixar’s “Monsters University” in today’s L.A. Times. Posted below for your edification. When asked what movie to he’d recommend to aspiring animators he said, “I watched a lot of Tex Avery and Chuck Jones cartoons growing up. They’re so clearly staged and beautifully directed, and the characters are so rich. That’s an accessible place to begin.”

dan scanlon interview

“It Held Me Smellbound.”

When Chuck Jones's 1949 short animated film starring PepĂ© le Pew, "For Scent-i-mental Reasons" won the Oscar for best short animated film at the Oscars held in March of 1950, he received many congratulatory telegrams (of course, he did not get the actual Oscar statuette, that honor was bestowed upon the producer, the irascible Eddie Selzer), but of all of the congratulations, the telegram below, from the inimitable Tex Avery is perhaps the most delightful.  This artfact will be on display at the soon-to-open Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

OSCAR TELEGRAM AVERY 3-24-1950 copy