Chuck Jones, Chuck Jones Film Productions
, Talk:Chuck Jones
, Category:Films directed by Chuck Jones
, Category talk:Films directed by Chuck Jones
Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones
– February 22
) was an American animator
, cartoon artist
, and director
films, most memorably of Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
shorts for the Warner Brothers cartoon studio
. He directed many of the classic short animated cartoon
s starring Bugs Bunny
, Daffy Duck
, the Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote
, Pepé Le Pew
and the other Warners characters, including the memorable What's Opera, Doc?
(1957), Duck Amuck
(1952) (both later inducted into the National Film Registry
) and Jones' famous "Hunter's Trilogy" of Rabbit Fire
, Rabbit Seasoning
, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!
), establishing himself as an important innovator and storyteller.
Jones was born in Spokane, Washington
, and later moved with his parents and three siblings to the Los Angeles, California
area. In his autobiography, Chuck Amuck
, Jones credits his artistic bent to circumstances surrounding his father, who was an unsuccessful businessman in California in the 1920s. His father, Jones recounts, would start every new business venture by purchasing new stationery and new pencils with the company name on them. When the business failed, his father would turn the useless stationery and pencils over to his children. Armed with an endless supply of high-quality paper and pencils, the children drew constantly. Jones and several of his siblings went on to artistic careers. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute
, Jones held a number of low-ranking jobs in the animation industry, including washing cels at the Ub Iwerks
studio and assistant animator at the Walter Lantz
studio. While at Iwerks, he met a cel painter named Dorothy Webster, who would later become his wife.
Jones joined Leon Schlesinger Productions
, the independent studio that produced Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
for Warner Bros.
, in 1933 as an assistant animator. During the late 1930s, he worked under directors Tex Avery
and Bob Clampett
, becoming a director (or "supervisor", the original title for an animation director in the studio) himself in 1938 when Frank Tashlin
left the studio. Jones' first cartoon was The Night Watchman
, which featured a cute kitten who would later evolve into Sniffles
Many of Jones' cartoons of the 1930s and early 1940s were lavishly animated, but audiences and fellow Termite Terrace
staff members found them lacking in genuine humor. Often slow-moving and overbearing with "cuteness", Jones' early cartoons were an attempt to follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney
's shorts (especially with such cartoons as Tom Thumb in Trouble
and the Sniffles
cartoons). Jones finally broke away from both his traditional cuteness, and traditional animation conventions as well, with the cartoon The Dover Boys
in 1942. Jones credits this cartoon as the film where he "learned how to be funny." The Dover Boys
is also one of the first uses of Stylized animation
in American film, breaking away from the more realistic animation styles influenced by the Disney Studio
. This was also the period where Jones created many of his lesser-known characters, including Charlie Dog
, Hubie and Bertie
, and The Three Bears
. Despite their relative obscurity today, the shorts starring these characters represent some of Jones' earliest work that was strictly intended to be funny
During the World War II
years, Jones worked closely with Theodore Geisel
(also known as Dr. Seuss) to create the Private Snafu
series of Army educational cartoons. Private Snafu comically educated soldiers on topics like spies and laziness in a more risque way than general audiences would have been used to at the time. Jones would later collaborate with Seuss on a number of adaptations of Seuss' books to animated form, most importantly How the Grinch Stole Christmas
in 1966.thumb|A still from What's Opera, Doc?.
Jones hit his stride in the late 1940s, and continued to make his best-regarded works through the 1950s. Jones-created characters from this period includes Claude Cat
, Marc Antony and Pussyfoot
, Charlie Dog
, Michigan J. Frog
and his three most popular creations, Pepé LePew
, the Road Runner
and Wile E. Coyote
. The Road Runner cartoons, in addition to the cartoons that are considered his masterpieces (all written and conceived by Michael Maltese
), Duck Amuck
, One Froggy Evening
, and What's Opera, Doc?
are today hailed by critics as some of the best cartoons ever made.
The staff of the Jones unit was as important to the success of these cartoons as Jones himself. Key members included writer Michael Maltese
, layout artist/background designer/co-director Maurice Noble
, animator and co-director Abe Levitow
, and animator Ken Harris
Jones remained at Warners throughout the 1950s, except for a brief period in 1953 when Warners closed the animation studio. During this interim, Jones found employment at the Walt Disney studio
, where he did four months of uncredited work on Sleeping Beauty
In the early-1960s, Jones and his wife Dorothy wrote the screenplay
for the animated feature Gay Purr-ee
. The finished film would feature the voices of Judy Garland
, Robert Goulet
and Red Buttons
s in Paris, France
. The feature was produced by UPA
, and Jones moonlit to work on the film, since he had an exclusive contract with Warner Bros. UPA
completed the film and made it available for distribution in 1962; it was picked up by Warner Bros
, who found out Jones had violated his contract and fired him from the company.
Jones on his own
With business partner Les Goldman
, Jones started an independent animation studio,Sib Tower 12 Productions
, bringing on most of his unit from Warner Bros, including Maurice Noble
and Michael Maltese
. In 1963
contracted with Sib Tower 12 to have Jones and his staff produce new Tom and Jerry
cartoons. In 1964, Sib Tower 12 was absorbed by MGM and was renamed MGM Animation/Visual Arts
. Jones' animated short film The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Higher Mathematics
won the 1965 Oscar
for Best Animated Short.
As the Tom and Jerry
series wound down (it would be discontinued in 1967), Jones moved on to television. In 1966, he produced and directed the TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas
, featuring the voice (and facial features) of Boris Karloff
. Jones continued to work on TV specials such as Horton Hears A Who!
(1970), but his main focus during this time was the feature film The Phantom Tollbooth
, which did lukewarm business when MGM
released it in 1970.
MGM closed the animation division in 1970, and Jones once again started his own studio, Chuck Jones Productions. His most notable work during this period was three animated TV adaptations of short stories from Rudyard Kipling
's The Jungle Book
: Mowgli's Brothers
, The White Seal
. The 1979 movie The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
was a compilation of Jones' best theatrical shorts; Jones produced new Road Runner shorts for The Electric Company
series and Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales
(1979), and even newer shorts were made for Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over
Like many modern cartoon legends, Chuck Jones never retired: he was an active artist and cartoonist up until his last weeks. Through the 1980s and 1990s (and until his death in 2002), Jones was painting cartoon and parody art, sold through animation galleries by his daughter's company, Linda Jones Enterprises. He was also creating new cartoons for the Internet
based on his new character, "Thomas Timberwolf
". He made a cameo appearance in the 1984 film Gremlins
and directed the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck animated sequences that bookend Gremlins 2: The New Batch
(1990). Jones also directed the animated sequence seen at the start of the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire
. Jones was not a fan of much contemporary animation, terming most of it, especially television
cartoons such as those of Hanna-Barbera
, "illustrated radio
Jones' intellectualism, writing ability, and capacity for self-analysis made him an historical authority as well as a major contributor to the development of animation throughout the 20th century.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Chuck Jones has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
at 7011 Hollywood Blvd.
Chuck Jones died of heart failure in 2002, at age 89. Jones' death brought down the final curtain on Looney Tunes
family of creators. Mel Blanc
, Friz Freleng
, Tex Avery
, Bob Clampett
, Bob McKimson
and Carl W. Stalling
had all died before Jones.
Influence and critical perception
Jones is considered by many to be a master of characterization and timing. His best works are noted for depicting a refinement of character to the point that a single eyebrow wiggle could be a major gag as opposed to the wild, frenetic style usually associated with cartoons, and those of Warner Bros. in particular. Like Walt Disney, Jones wanted animation to gain respect from the film and art communities, and often undertook special animation projects reflecting such, including What's Opera Doc
, The Dot and the Line
, and the 1944 political film Hell-Bent for Election
, a campaign
film for Franklin D. Roosevelt
that he directed for UPA.
In his later years, Jones became the most vocal alumnus of the Termite Terrace studio, frequently giving lectures, seminars, and working to educate newcomers in the animation field. Many of his principles, therefore, found their way back into the mainstream animation consciousness, and can be seen in films such as Cats Don't Dance
, The Emperor's New Groove
and Lilo & Stitch
Jones had a penchant for cuteness in his earliest days as is visible in his cartoons featuring Sniffles
the Mouse. Other Warners directors, particularly Tex Avery
and Robert Clampett
, considered "cute" to be a four letter word
. By request of producer Leon Schlesinger, Jones changed his style, and began making zanier pictures such as Wackiki Wabbit
and Hare Conditioned
. After Avery, Clampett, and Schlesinger left the studio, Jones gradually reincorporated elements of the slow pace, sentimentality and cuteness of his previous work with characters like Marc Antony and Pussyfoot
and the young Ralph Phillips
. His versions of the characters he worked with often showcased a more infantile look than other interpretations, with larger eyes and eyelashes. This is especially apparent in his Tom and Jerry
films, some of which are considered the weakest in the canon.
Jones, like the rest of his Termite Terrace associates after the departure of Schlesinger, has been criticized for using repetitive plots, most obvious in the Pepé Le Pew
and Road Runner
cartoons. It must be noted, however, that many of these films were originally issued to theatres years apart, and the repetitious factor was often done at the request of the producers, management, or theatre owners. Also, series like the Road Runner were set up as exercises in exploring the same situation in different ways. Jones had a set list of rules as to what could and could not occur in a Road Runner cartoon, and stated that it was not what
happened that was important in the films, but how
Chuck Jones' reinvention of certain characters is also a controversial subject. He reimagined the wacky, Clampett-esque hero Daffy Duck
as a greedy, sneaky antagonist
with a slow-burning temper; and he relegated hapless star Porky Pig
to being a sidekick
or audience-aware observer of the action. Jones also created a series of films in which he used Friz Freleng
in the context of a real cat
. Like all the Warners directors, his Bugs Bunny
characterization is unique to his films: Jones' Bugs never attacks unless attacked, unlike Avery's and Clampett's bombastic rabbits.
Notable animated films directed by Chuck Jones
*The Dover Boys
*Hell-Bent for Election
(Franklin D. Roosevelt
campaign film, 1944)
*For Scent-imental Reasons
*So Much for So Little
(1949, made for Federal Security Agency Public Health Service
*The Rabbit of Seville
*The "Hunter's Trilogy": Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!
*Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
*One Froggy Evening
*What's Opera, Doc?
*The Dot and the Line
*The Bear that Wasn't
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
(TV special, 1966)
*Horton Hears A Who!
(TV special, 1970)
*The Phantom Tollbooth
(feature film, 1970)
* Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
* Jones, Chuck (1989). Chuck Amuck : The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0-374-12348-9.
* Jones, Chuck (1996). Chuck Reducks : Drawing from the Fun Side of Life. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-51893-X.
* "I am still astonished that somebody would offer me a job and pay me to do what I wanted to do."
* http://www.chuckjones.com/ Chuck Jones web site
* http://keyframeonline.com/CastCrew/Chuck_Jones/751/The Animation of Chuck Jones
at Keyframe - the Animation Resource
*http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/jones.html Senses of Cinema: Great Directors Critical Database
* Academy of Achievement Profile http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/jon1pro-1
* Academy of Achievement Biography http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/jon1bio-1
* Academy of Achievement Interview http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/jon1int-1
* Academy of Achievement Photo Gallery http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/jon1gal-1
* imdb name|id=0005062|name= Chuck
* http://www.coldbacon.com/jones.html Good Chuck Jones tribute
* http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060115/REVIEWS08/601150301 Chuck Jones: Three Cartoons (1953-1957)
- Roger Ebert
discusses Jones' three films in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry
*http://www.toxicuniverse.com/review.php?aid=1000228 Biography of Chuck Jones
by Daniel Briney at ToxicUniverse.com.
*http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6207191 Chuck Jones at Find-A-GraveJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, ChuckJones, Chuckda:Chuck Jonesde:Chuck Joneses:Chuck Jonesfr:Chuck Jonesit:Chuck Jonesnl:Chuck Jonespt:Chuck Jones