This Sunday, January 9th, Craig Kausen, chairman of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will be at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, from 1:30 to 3 PM lecturing on Jones' approach to creativity. His talk will be followed by a hands-on art project. Fun for the whole family! Read more about it here.
We spent a few minutes with Linda Jones Clough, daughter of Chuck Jones, the other day and we asked her what it was like to grow up with Chuck Jones as your father. She had this to say:
"People have often asked me what it was like to grow up with Chuck Jones. I wish I had taken notes so I would have more wonderful anecdotes to share, but I can tell you this: We often went for drives with no destination in mind, just the two of us, and as we rolled along the boulevards and streets of Los Angeles we played word games, imagination games, and talked about all manner of things. I can honestly say that no one has ever had a better, more wonderful father than I had.
Chuck Jones and his daughter, Linda, out for a drive in Hollywood, 1941.
"My father often said that they (at the studio) couldn’t possibly have realized that they were working in what would later be dubbed “The Golden Age of Animation.” They did know, however, that they were making animated films that often amused themselves. They agreed that was the great freedom of the times for them, and they all seem to have been grateful for it.
"My paternal grandparents encouraged creativity of mind, body and thought in their four children, which resulted in all four being artists in their own right: brother Richard a talented photographer and painter; sister Margaret a brilliant textile designer and weaver; and sister Dorothy, an excellent writer, illustrator, and sculptor. It seems likely to me that that the same creative encouragement he provided for me at home, may have also contributed to his directorial excellence."
In this 1948 short cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, Daffy Duck is first seen as a down-on-his-luck peddler peddling (that is what peddlers do, they peddle) gags on a street corner in a busy metropolis, when he overhears a radio report about a dying gazillionaire (my word) who would pay anyone a million dollars if they could only make him laugh before he passes on to his great reward.
At the blog, What About Thad?, the author, Thad Komorowski, who, by the way, is a great source of knowledge about animated films, has written an interesting article on the short, "Daffy Dilly" delving into the relationship each of Jones' animators had with the Warner Bros. characters, Daffy particularly, their drawing strengths, and Jones's use of their talents. He has also posted an excellent copy of the cartoon, which I think all of you will agree is a perfect example of how Chuck Jones's work with the character of Daffy is so different from that of the other directors (Freleng and McKimson, particularly.)
Nominated for an Academy Award, this 1961 fable directed by Chuck Jones (with co-directors Maurice Noble and Abe Levitow) tells the tale of a singing giraffe whose life takes unexpected turns. It touches on the cult of celebrity and the addictive nature of fame plus it’s absolutely endearing. You’re bound to fall for Nelly. (Several years ago, we had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the world-famous San Diego Zoo with Chuck Jones. He had spent many a productive hour at the zoo over the years honing his drawing and watercolor skills. One of the highlights of the tour–there were so many!–was visiting the giraffe compound. They are truly elegant, beautiful creatures with exquisitely long, luxurious eyelashes that flicker languorously over the deep pools of their obsidian eyes and the longest, blackest tongue you will ever hope to see!)