Tag Archives: The Phantom Tollbooth

Chuck Jones Centennial Film Tribute at Cinefamily

This past weekend, Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in West Hollywood, California hosted a two-day film tribute to Chuck Jones. Hosted by animation film historian and author, Jerry Beck, on Saturday, they screened eight of Chuck's masterpieces from his days at Warner Bros. including such classics as "What's Opera, Doc?" and "One Froggy Evening" both of which are in the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. The late afternoon event wrapped with a rare screening of Chuck Jones's 1973 TV special, "A Cricket in Times Square." The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity provided Cinefamily with Chuck's personal 35mm prints of the cartoons. 

Jerry Beck (L) and Alexander McDonald, program director for Cinefamily, outside the Silent Movie Theatre.

Jerry's special guest on Saturday was animator, art director, and theme park designer, John Ramirez, who had worked with Chuck Jones in the 1980s and 1990s. He and his colleagues were the designers of the Chuck Jones exhibition at the Capitol Children's Museum, Washington, D.C. in 1990. 

Jerry Beck (L) and John Ramirez discuss the finer points of a Chuck Jones cartoon at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in West Hollywood.

There was even cake! (Who doesn't like a good carrot cake, I ask you?)


On Sunday, Craig Kausen, chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and Chuck's grandson, made opening remarks before a screening of Jones's only feature film, "The Phantom Tollbooth." Special guest, actor Butch Patrick, who starred as Milo in "The Phantom Tollbooth" made an appearance and spoke with the near-capacity crowd. All-in-all it was a great weekend for Chuck Jones fans!

Animator and fan, Thom Nicolette (L) with actor Butch Patrick ("The Munsters", "The Phantom Tollbooth") at the Cinefamily Chuck Jones Film Tribute. 

Craig Kausen (L) and Butch Patrick at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in West Hollywood.

Craig Kausen (R) brought a portfolio of material from the making of "The Phantom Tollbooth" to share with the crowd of fans. He's seen here with Alexander McDonald (far left) of Cinefamily and Jerry Beck (center), author, animation historian and host/moderator for the weekend film tribute to Chuck Jones.

Photographer Stephen Russo (R) seen with Butch Patrick outside the Silent Movie Theatre. Mr. Russo provided all of the photos for this post. Thank you, Stephen!

Chuck Jones Council for Creativity News

Last night the Chuck Jones Council for Creativity, the volunteer arm of the Center, held their last meeting of 2012. They gathered 'round a groaning board of potluck (corn pudding! fried chicken! lasagna! homemade cheesecake with pomegranates! salads! breads! rustic tomato soup! apple pie! did I mention homemade cheesecake with pomegranates? OMG everything was so delicious I'm repeating myself!) and stuffed themselves silly.

All that food was followed by a recap of this past season's events, future plans, and setting the date for the 2013 Red Dot Auction — Saturday, May 11 — artists start your engines now! There was also a few minutes of uncontrollable laughter (it's good for digestion.)

The Center has seen tremendous growth this year, not only in programming, but also in exhibitions and special outreach due in no small part to the wonderful work done by our volunteers, the Center's Board of Trustees, and the Center's part-time staff. 

And 2013 is shaping up to be an awesome year as the Center continues its forward march as the place for creativity in southern California and beyond. Two upcoming exhibitions of note: a Chuck Jones Centennial Retrospective will open at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco February 9 and run through May 5; the Toonseum in Pittsburgh will be the host of the art of "The Phantom Tollbooth", Chuck Jones's only feature film, beginning in July of 2013 and running through September. Put them on your calendars!

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Linda Jones Clough, daughter of Chuck Jones and a founding trustee of the Center, shows off the new coloring book available soon on ChuckJonesCenter.org for a nominal donation.

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The Council also surprised Craig Kausen, chairman of the Center, with birthday wishes and a gift, a remote controlled helicopter. Craig's shown here with the Council's president, Tracy Tanner, who's tireless efforts have made many positive things happen for the Center's remarkable growth. 

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Boys and toys, need we say more?

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The Chuck Jones Council for Creativity, from left: Steve Smith, Tracy Tanner, Pam Marsden, Rina Jacobson, Robert Patrick, Linda Jones Clough, Stephen Russo, Craig Kausen, and kneeling, Wayne Todd. Missing were Becky Yasick, Juls Aspinall, and Dave Lowenstein. A special thank you to Stephen Russo for his wonderful photographs last night and throughout the past year.

P.S. Chuck Jones is now on Tumblr: DirectedbyChuckJones.tumblr.com!

Chuck Jones, Actor

Thanks to all of our readers who responded to yesterday's post and the question:  what films did Chuck Jones act in (theatrical & TV), other than Joe Dante's 1984 "Gremlins"?  Here's the complete list:

1.  The Pogo Birthday Special (TV special,) 1969: voice actor, Porky Pine, Bun Rab, Basil the Butterfly

2.  The Phantom Tollbooth (feature film,) 1970:  man sitting on trolley next to Milo (Butch Patrick)

3.  Horton Hears a Who! (TV special,) 1970: voice actor, Junyer Kangaroo

4.  The Curiosity Shop (TV show,) 1971

5.  Gremlins (Feature film,) 1984: man in bar

6.  Innerspace (Feature film,) 1987: grocery store customer

You may see that IMDB.com lists a role in the feature film "The Arrogant" from 1987 that they say Chuck Jones appeared in, but that is not confirmed by the Jones family.  


Tock, Milo and Humbug from the 1970 feature film, "The Phantom Tollbooth," directed by Chuck Jones.

Image of the Day: The Phantom Tollbooth

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Original mixed media on board by Phyllis Graham.  Chuck Jones, in preparation for filming his only feature film, 1970's "The Phantom Tollbooth," had several artists prepare original interpretations of scenes from the Norton Juster book of the same title.  Phyllis Graham, wife of famed Chouinard Institute life-drawing instructor, Don Graham, contributed several dozen images, all mixed media on 5" x 9" artist board.  Each one is a miniature work of art, one that can stand independently from the film and the book as its own entity, but seen together form a compelling story-line. 

Image of the Day: The Phantom Tollbooth

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Original pre-production art (mixed media on board,) 5.25" x 9.5", artist unknown, for the Chuck Jones 1970 feature film "The Phantom Tollbooth."  Several different artists provided interpretive visual ideas for Jones' adaptation of the much loved Norton Juster book, "The Phantom Tollbooth."  This one shows the hero of the book, Milo, as he enters the land of the Lethargians. 

If you'd like to view editions created from art for "The Phantom Tollbooth," please click here.

Image of the Day: The Phantom Tollbooth

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"It's an Alphabeautiful Mathemagical New Musical Movie!" That is the tag line used in advertising "The Phantom Tollbooth" a 1970 feature length film directed and produced by Chuck Jones.  (It was his only feature length film.)  A combination of live action (Chuck makes a cameo appearance in the beginning live action sequence) and animation, "The Phantom Tollbooth" is about a young boy, Milo, who is bored with his life when suddenly a magic tollbooth appears in his room & propels him into a marvelous quest to save the Princesses Rhyme and Reason.  This is the second adaptation of a book by Norton Juster that Chuck Jones made into a film, the first being his Academy Award-winning "The Dot and The Line" of 1966.

The artwork (mixed media on board, approx. 4" x 8") pictured is a pre-production concept work by Phyllis Graham, the wife of the revered teacher and artist, Don Graham, from whom Chuck Jones took many a life-drawing class in the 1940s and 1950s.  It has been selected by the curator of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gallery to be a part of an upcoming exhibition of the art of Chuck Jones opening May 14, 2010 in their Beverly Hills facility.