Tag Archives: Warner Bros.

The Night Watchman

We're busy curating the exhibition for the Chuck Jones Experience opening in Las Vegas at Circus Circus (truly, it's coming, promise!) One of the exhibitions will feature some marvelous telegrams and a charming letter from Chuck's brother Dick (Richard Jones, who also worked as an in-betweener and animator at Schlesinger Studios and for a while was a part of Chuck's unit; after enlisting in the Service during WWII, went on to make quite a career for himself as a noted photographer and painter,) on the release of this, "The Night Watchman", his first directorial effort (although they called it then 'supervision'.)  Here's the letter from his brother, followed by the cartoon.

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Motion Picture Herald Awards–1957

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Pictured from left: Johnny Burton, production manager of Warner Bros. Animation with directors Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson and Friz Freleng in a publicity shot from 1957 holding their Motion Picture Herald Awards. These awards recognized studios and actors for their contribution to the business of film-making, as voted by theater owners in Canada and the United States as well as on gross revenue.    This photo will be featured in the Archive Art Exhibit at Art Partners Gallery, 14 S. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, Illinois on Saturday, February 5th beginning at 7:30 PM.  To RSVP, please call 847-517-5757.  See you there!

Archive Exhibit at Gallery

A selection of original vintage production art from Chuck Jones cartoons including layout drawings, scripts, backgrounds and exposure sheets will be featured at Art Partners Gallery in Schaumburg, Il as part of their exhibit, "Chuck Jones: Frame by Frame, An Animator's Story" opening Saturday, February 5th at 7:30 P.M.

Meet Craig Kausen, grandson of Chuck Jones, as he shares anecdotes about life with his grandfather, legendary Warner Bros. animation pioneer and four time Academy Award recipient, Chuck Jones.  Kausen will present a mini-Chuck Jones Film Festival that will include not only many of your favorite Chuck Jones cartoons, but also a selection of taped interviews with Jones.

This original layout drawing by Jones' 1963 short film, "Transylvania 6-5000" will be featured (graphite and colored pencil on 12 field animation paper.)

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Here's a short clip from the cartoon, just to whet your whistle.  If you're in the Chicago area, please call the gallery at 847-517-5757 to RSVP for the show or go online to learn more by clicking here.

 

Ken Harris: Master Animator

"He was a master animator, a virtuoso…Ken Harris did it all."  – Chuck Jones

KEN

There is a wonderful website devoted to animator Ken Harris.  He worked alongside Chuck Jones for 28 years at Warner Bros. and continued to be a part of Chuck's unit well into the '60s at MGM and Chuck Jones Enterprises.  Chuck was even his best man at his wedding to his second wife in 1966!  

You can visit the site and learn more about this master animator by clicking here.

 

Leonard Maltin Writes: Welcome Back, Wile E.

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Film critic, essayist and author, Leonard Maltin, has written a terrific review of the new Warner Bros. theatrical cartoons starring Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.  

"As I discussed earlier this summer, cartoons are making a small but encouraging comeback in theaters this year. If you should happen to see Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole, you’ll be treated to the second of Warner Bros.’ new Road Runner cartoons, Fur of Flying. (The first, titled Coyote Falls, played with Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and the third, called Rabid Rider, will appear at the head of Yogi Bear in December.) These new widescreen films bring two classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars back to life, and while they transform the graphic characters and backgrounds into sculpted CGI form they remain absolutely true to the spirit of Chuck Jones’ vintage shorts.

That is no accident. Everyone at the revitalized Warner Bros. animation department (Executive producer Sam Register, supervising producers Allison Abbate, Spike Brandt, and Tony Cervone, and especially writer Tom Sheppard and director Matthew O’Callaghan) took their mission seriously. They wanted to “do right” by these great cartoon characters, and realized they—

—were in for a drubbing if they messed up. Thanks to staff producer Katherine Concepion, I was privileged to attend a special studio screening arranged for Chuck Jones’ daughter Linda and her son Craig. There, Register reported that senior Warners management was enthusiastic about the prospect of reviving their sidelined stars, and are so happy with the results that they have commissioned more new shorts with other members of the Looney Tunes cast. (There is also a new, non-CGI Looney Tunes series scheduled to launch on Cartoon Network next year.)

Click here to read the rest of his review.

Read our article on these new cartoons, by clicking here.  
 

Image of the Day: Porky the Giant Killer


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Original 12 field production cel with dedication
and stamped signature by Leon Schlesinger (film supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton).

Many of the early Schlesinger produced cartoons
pushed Warner Bros. popular music and Porky
the Giant Killer
is no different.  We
hear Porky belt out “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” along with “The
Alphabet Song” (over and over and over again.) 
BTW, the Giant’s toddler is 5’ 7” tall, dwarfing Porky and ‘patty
caking’ him across the nursery! 


 

Chuck Jones Film Fest at Samuel Goldwyn Theater

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As we were saying earlier this week,
a group of like-minded individuals got together for a road trip that
began at the Chuck Jones Galley in Tustin (3065 Edinger Avenue, open
M-F, 9-6 PM, 949-660-7791) and up to Burbank and the Warner Bros.
Studios for a private screening of their new 3D short cartoons (directed
by Matthew O'Callaghan) which were awesome!  After that incredibly fun
experience, what better way to celebrate all things Chuck Jones than to
drive over the hills to Beverly, Beverly Hills that is, movie stars,
swimming pools, (oof, I'm off topic) and down to the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts & Sciences where Linda Jones Clough, Chuck Jones'
daughter, led a tour of the exhibition "Chuck Jones: An Animator's Life
From A to Z-Z-Z-Z". 

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Her insightful (and first-hand) knowledge of the subject matter made for a fascinating tour of the exhibit.  It was at turns, nostalgic and heart-warming, funny and laugh-out-loud (LOL for you internet users,) and filled with the kind of knowledge only someone as intimately involved with the creator of so many magical moments could share with us.  We all felt honored to have shared in that moment.

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Linda Jones with collectors Brian S. (center) and Jim O'N.

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Leigh Y. and her son, John Jr., pore over some of the dialogue sheets from a Chuck Jones directed cartoon.

Later that afternoon we strolled down Wilshire Blvd. (like we owned it) and had a fantastic dinner at Kate Mantilini's (Wilshire & Doheny, if you're in the 'hood.)  It was a great time for all of us to recount the favorite part of our day, and share in some good old-fashion camaraderie, the kind that's so often missing in today's fast-paced, plugged-in, media saturated environment.  It also gave us a chance to get all fired up about the evening's presentation back at AMPAS of all of Chuck Jones' Academy Award-nominated and -winning short films, many of which some of us had never seen before on the big screen in their original 35 mm form.  Woo Hoo!

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Cathy Dicken, wife of Scott Dicken, the VP of Retail for Linda Jones Enterprises, peeks over the menu at Kate Mantilini's. 

After the screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater a panel discussion was held led by Bill Kroyer, head of Digital Arts at Chapman University & featuring “The Dover Boys”, four animators who were mentored by Chuck Jones in the
early 1980s; Kelly Asbury, Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis & Rob Minkoff (all of whom have become extremely successful & well-respected directors/producers & artists.)

Hooray for Hollywood!  Although the day was long the rewards were great, exhilarating & heart-warming.

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From left: Bill Kroyer, Linda Jones Clough, Marian Jones (wife of Chuck Jones) and Kelly Asbury.

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"The Dover Boys" from left: Kelly Asbury, Chris Bailey, Jeff DeGrandis and Rob Minkoff.  So named by Linda Jones because she envisioned starting a production company with the four of them when they were first being mentored by Chuck Jones in the early 1980s. 

Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner Take a Leap Into 3-D

 

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On Friday, August 20, a group of Chuck Jones' most devoted fans and collectors were invited to a private screening on the Warner Bros. Studio lot of the three new theatrical cartoons that the studio has produced. 

We drove up to lovely downtown Burbank from the Chuck Jones Gallery in Tustin (3065 Edinger Avenue) and entered Warner Bros. through the Forest Lawn gate.  [Little known fact:  Forest Lawn became a cemetery because it was originally zoned as open space, the only 'business' that could be built there was a cemetery.  The original owners were eager to develop their acreage and consequently the legendary burial ground of so many Hollywood stars was born (so to speak.)]

Arriving on the lot is always exciting; what with the security checks and the ever-hopeful thought that you'll spot one of your favorite actors or actresses walking in costume from a sound stage.  The sound stages are as imposing (and iconic) as they appear in the opening of any Warner Bros. movie; they are great monoliths erected to the 10th muse, Cinema. 

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Linda Jones Clough with Sam Register

We were greeted at the screening room by the gracious & talented Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.  The screening room was on the second floor of executive offices, one of the office 'bungalows' on the lot; these buildings always appear smaller on the outside than they really are and the screening room looked like it could comfortably seat a couple of hundred studio moguls in plush luxury.

Not only was Linda Jones Clough there with her husband, Jim, but sitting directly in front of them was author, critic and essayist, Leonard Maltin, and sitting next to him was the blogger, animation historian and author, Jerry Beck!  So after catching our breath and exchanging hellos and air kisses (so Hollywood!) with everyone, getting seated, who should walk in but the president of Warner Bros. Television, Peter Roth.  Mr. Roth welcomed us warmly and spoke briefly with Linda Jones before heading back to his office to take a meeting.   ('Take a meeting' is showbiz lingo; don't you feel like an insider already?) 

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Sam Register (3rd from left, standing) introduces Peter Roth, President of Warner Bros. Television to Linda Jones Clough and her husband Jim.

Mr. Register extended a few warm words of welcome to those assembled and then the first of the three, "Coyote Falls", which has been released with the movie "Cats and Dogs II" and has been met with much critical acclaim (the cartoon, not the movie) was shown. 

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Leigh Yetsko (and her family from left, Matt, John Jr., Leigh & John Sr.) had this to say about the new films, "…we were delighted with the new 3-D Coyote/Road Runner shorts!  Chuck's particular sense of humor is tough to match and seeing his characters recreated, as a fan you can't help but be skeptical going in, but in this case we were blown away with how successfully the creative team captured the themes and the humor.  Instead of being gimmicky, the 3-D added dimension, not distraction.  We saw fur and feathers (and explosions!) like never before.  All that said, if it's not really funny, you only need to see it once.  I can't wait to see these again and again!"

After the first short was shown, the director of the shorts, Matt O'Callaghan spoke for a few minutes and then we were shown the final two short films. 

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(from left: Matt O'Callaghan, Linda Jones Clough, Leonard Maltin)

Longtime collector and fan of the art of Chuck Jones, Bill Heeter shared this with us, "…I have to say, after previewing the three Road Runner & Coyote cartoons last Friday,  I couldn't have been more pleased!  As if the CG/3D issues weren't enough, compressing the a cartoon into three minutes without sacrificing the story sounded impossible, but Matt [the director, Matt O'Callaghan] sure did it.  The story lines were funny, the gags well-executed, and most importantly he didn't lose sight of what made Chuck's cartoons stand out–the subtlety."

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From left: Craig Kausen (grandson of Chuck Jones and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity,) Matt O'Callaghan, Linda Jones Clough, Leonard Maltin, Katherine Concepcion and Jerry Beck.

Craig Kausen summed it up best, "The consensus was unanimous: we enjoyed them all!" 

Our day didn't end with here but continued on into the evening and those events will be detailed in an upcoming post.  Look for it!

 

Image of the Day: One Froggy Evening

 

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Earliest known original model drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1955 masterpiece, "One Froggy Evening."  Graphite on 12 field two-hole punch animation paper.  Warner Bros. Animation Studio stopped using the two-hole punched paper circa 1953, two years before the release of this National Film Registry selection (of course, it's possible that there was two-hole punched paper used as scrap after the transition to three-hole punch paper, but note that it took, on average, 10 months to complete a 6-8 minute short film.)