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!
This morning as I was drinking my morning coffee and doing Saturday's Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle this clue caught my eye: 50 across, "1890s warning song for sailor's." All I could think of was "Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning, red sky at night, sailor's delight," but that didn't fit, so I worked around it, until…
I figured it out, "asleep in the deep," which, of course, made me realize that Chuck Jones' 1962 cartoon "A Sheep in the Deep" title was a pun on the song (it had to come from somewhere, right?) Then I did a search for it online and found a recording of the song by Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of Tony the Tiger) and the man who sang "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch," for the Chuck Jones directed 1966 television special, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" It couldn't get any better! So, for your listening and viewing pleasure, I bring you Mr. Ravenscroft singing "Asleep in the Deep" along with Jones' "A Sheep in the Deep."
And here's yesterday's puzzle (which you can see I'm short two answers, 35 down and 55 across, let me know if you have the answers!)
by Maurice Noble (hand-signed.) 5
¾” x 6 ½” mixed media on MGM storyboard paper.
One of the pre-eminent color designers and art
directors in 20th century animation, Maurice Noble’s film career
began in 1934 at Walt Disney Studios creating watercolor backgrounds for the Silly Symphonies.Leaving Disney in 1941 after the bitter
animation strike of that same year, Noble joined the Army and worked in the
Capra unit alongside Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss.)His work on the 1966 television special Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
involved storyboards, color design, art direction, background layouts and
co-direction.It is arguably the most watched
animation special ever created for television.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's Archive of
American Television produces extensive video oral history interviews
with television legends of all professions and makes them available
free online. They have recently posted interviews with Chuck Jones, June Foray and Phil Roman about the making of the Chuck Jones directed 1966 television classic, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
"…The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season. Please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
"It could be perhaps his shoes were too tight.
"It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
"But I think the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
"But whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes…"
Imagine it's December 18, 1966. You, your brothers and sisters, your Mom and Dad, are gathered around the brand new color television console in the den, ready to watch an animated Christmas special based on one of your favorite books, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And just one-half hour later a new family tradition has been begun. And every year thereafter, for the next forty-three years, it just isn't Christmas until you've watched the "Grinch."
Two Sizes Too Small, a hand-painted cel art edition of just 135 examples, was created from original art used in the production of the Chuck Jones directed 1966 television special, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
A Moment in Time is a limited edition cel set-up incorporating one or more original production cels. (The meaning of the word 'moment' is said to have been that amount of time between heartbeats.)
In the case of The Old Sew and Sew, the one production cel was a moving part of a multiple cel set-up that was under camera for the 1966 production of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This scene series is limited by the number of original production cels (61) and each set-up is numbered in sequence 1 through 61. The other four cels in the set-up, most of which were 'held cels,' have been re-created from the film by expert ingkers and painters to complete the scene image. ('Held cels' are production cels that are held under the camera for more than one frame and therefore the images do not appear to move.)
Chuck Jones and his film crew (animation, sound, music, voice actors) all worked within a discipline; a discipline that defined his film-making career. In his book, Chuck Reducks, Drawing From the Fun Side of Life, Jones captures the essence of this discipline in 16 simple rules to animated film success.
Grinch Model Sheet is a 16 field (13.5" x 16.5") hand-painted cel art edition, limited to 200 and was created from an original model sheet drawn by Chuck Jones in the pre-production of his 1966 film, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It embodies the lessons of the 16 simple rules, particularly no. 8: It is not what or where a character is, nor is it the circumstances under which he finds himself that determines who he is. And it falls back to no. 7: If you start with character, you probably will end up with good drawings.
The Grinch Model Sheet, the map to the character of the Grinch for the animators, displays the same insouciant joie de vivre that is a hallmark of the Chuck Jones style of animated film direction.
The Grinch is a character of mean spirit and questionable mores who moves with a hip-rolling swagger, a wicked gleam in his eye. His character, immortalized in book, song and film (pre-1967,) is archetypically one of the great green Grinches of all time.
Cuddly as a Cactus, a limited edition fine art print on canvas, has been created from an original oil painting by Chuck Jones. Painted circa 1996, Cuddly as a Cactus flaunts, through color, the character's moral flaws (various shades of green and yellow) while simultaneously juxtaposing those against the fresh pure colors of a first snow (white, lavender and blue.) Chuck Jones' classical art education comes to the forefront of this painting as he revels in texture, brushstroke and color; bringing us a fully rendered iconic individual.
"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch/You really are a heel/You're as cuddly as a cactus/You're as charming as an eel/Mr. Grinch!"
The Chuck Jones Gallery in Santa Fe rang in the holiday season with a festive event held on December 4th. Exhibiting artwork created by students from Pinon Elementary School, the gallery was filled with the student-artists and their parents as well as collectors from the Santa Fe area. The party and exhibition coincided with the Santa Fe Film Festival (Mike Bundy, the gallery's director presented the award for Best Animated Film at the Festival's closing day ceremonies) and Santa Fe's First Friday Art Walk–so the streets were teeming with people and the crowd at the gallery was rosy-cheeked and in the holiday spirit!
Cellists performed classical and contemporary holiday music to the delight of the attendees. Lisa Stewart (right) and her friend Alison were really in the moment and we thank them for their talent.
Enjoying their children's art are Johnny Barela (left to right,) Susan Rodriguez and Carol Newman, Pinon Elementary 3rd grade school teacher, whose students provided such amazing artwork and were an inspiration to so many that evening.
"A bad day in the snow" by Brian Ortiz was awarded first place in the drawing contest.
Andy Ortiz, Jr. and his parents, Susan and Andy, bask in the glow of the exhibition.
Michael Bundy, gallery director, presents a Chuck Jones "Smile" fine art print to Andres Sanchez whose sculpture of an angel drew rave reviews from the crowd.
Mariah Barela's mixed media Grinch Santa Claus was a crowd pleaser too!
Thank you Mrs. Newman's 3rd grade class for creating such magnificent works of art and for being inspired by Chuck Jones' "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It made for a wonderful start to the holiday season in Santa Fe.