Category: chuck jones

HUM BA-BUG!

HUM BA-BUG!

Original model sheet, photostat glued to poster board, 30″ x 24″, from original drawings by Chuck Jones for his 1966 animated special, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. 

“Transylvania 6-5000″, released in theaters on…

“Transylvania 6-5000″, released in theaters on November 30, 1963 (Yikes, 55 years ago!), directed by Chuck Jones; Co-director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Bob Bransford, Tom Ray, Ken Harris, and Richard Thompson; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Phil DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Ben Frommer, and Julie Bennett; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. 

Production layout drawings by Chuck Jones, graphite and colored pencil on 12 field animation paper. Chuck’s hand-written script of opening scene.  

“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!”, animated tel…

“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!”, animated television special directed by Chuck Jones, 1970. Top: Character model by Chuck Jones, gouache and ink on 12 field animation paper; Middle: background layout by Maurice Noble, colored pencil on 12 field animation paper; Bottom: production color model drawing, marking pen, ink, graphite on 12 field animation paper. 

“Feed the Kitty” 1952, original model sheet, d…

“Feed the Kitty” 1952, original model sheet, drawings by Chuck Jones.

These two items, a drawing by Chuck Jones of…

These two items, a drawing by Chuck Jones of “The Great Yellow Dog” and a letter from Uncle Lynn to Chuck and his siblings on the death of their beloved dog, Teddy, are not mutually exclusive, but they do underscore the importance of character animation that Jones was such a master of and his deep well of resourcefulness.

Dear Peggy and Dorothy and Chuck and Dick,

I had a telephone call last night. “Is this Uncle Lynn?” someone asked.

“Why yes,” I said. “My name is Lynn Martin. Are you some unregistered nephew?”

“This is Teddy.” He sounded a little impatient with me. “Teddy Jones, Teddy Jones the resident dog of 115 Wadsworth Avenue, Ocean Park, California. I’m calling long distance.”

“Excuse me,” I said. “I really don’t mean to offend you, but I’ve never heard you talk before—just bark, or whine, or yell at the moon.”

“Look who’s talking,” Teddy sniffed, a really impatient sniff if ever I’ve heard one. “Look, Peggy and Dorothy and Chuck and Dick seem to be having a very rough time of it because they think I’m dead.” Hesitate. “Well, I suppose in a way I am.”

I will admit that hearing a dog admit that he was dead was a new experience for me, and not a totally expected one. “If you’re dead,” I asked, not being sure of just how you talk to a dead dog, “how come you’re calling me?” There was another irritated pause. Clearly he was getting very impatient with me.

“Because,” he said, in as carefully a controlled voice as I’ve ever heard from a dog. “Because when you are alive, even if the kids don’t knowexactly where you are, they know you’re someplace. So I just want them to know I may be sort of dead, but I’m still someplace.”

“Maybe I should tell them you’re in Dog Heaven, Teddy, Maybe to make ‘em feel—”

“Oh, don’t be silly.” Teddy cleared his throat. “Look, where are you?”

“Oh, no, you don’t. We’re trying to find out where you are,” I barked.

“Hey, I didn’t know you could bark.” He sounded impressed with my command of the language.

“Wait just a minute,” I said. “You had to know where I am, or you couldn’t have called me on the telephone, right?”

“Boy, you know so little,” said Teddy. “I simply said I called you long distance. Who said anything about a telephone? They asked me if I knew where you were, and I said you were someplace else, besides 115 Wadsworth Avenue. So they dialled someplace else and here I am and here you are.”

“Can I call you back?” I asked dazedly. “Maybe that’ll give me a clue.”

“Be reasonable,” said Teddy. “How can you call me back when neither you nor I know where I am?”

“Oh, come on, give me a clue,” I begged desperately. “For instance, are there other dogs around there? I’ve got to tell the kids something.”

“Hold it,” said Teddy, apparently looking around. “I did see a pug/schnauzer with wings a minute ago. The wings could lift the schnauzer part of him off the ground, but the pug part just sort of dragged through the grass bumping into fireplugs.”

“Fireplugs?”

“Orchards of them, hundreds of ‘em. Yellow, red, white, striped. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have to pee anymore. I strain a lot, but all I get is air. Perfumed air,” he added proudly.

“Sounds like Dog Heaven to me,” I said. “Are there trees full of lamb chops and stuff like that?”

“You know,” Teddy sighed. “For a fair to upper-middle-class uncle, you do have some weird ideas. But the reason I called you was Peggy, Dorothy, Chuck, and Dick trust you and will believe anything you say, which in my opinion is carrying the word ‘gullible’ about as far as it will stretch. Anyway, gullible or not, they trust you, so I want you to tell them that I’m still their faithful, noble, old dog, and—except for the noble part—that I’m in a place where they can’t see me but I can see them, and I’ll always be around keeping an eye, an ear, and a nose on them. Tell them that just because they can’t see me doesn’t mean I’m not there. Point out to them that during the day you can’t see the latitudes and you can’t really see a star, but they’re both still there. So get a little poetic and ask them to think of me as ‘good-dog,’ the good old Teddy, the Dog Star from the horse latitudes, and not to worry, I’ll bark the britches off anybody or anything that bothers them. Just because I bit the dust doesn’t mean I can’t bite the devils.”

That’s what he said. I never did find out exactly where he was, but I did find out where he wasn’t—not ever very far from Peggy, Dorothy, Chuck and old Dick Jones.

Sincerely,

Lynn Martin, Uncle at Large

“The Great Yellow Dog”, graphite and crayon on 12 field MGM animation paper, 10.5″ x 12.5″, circa mid-1960s, by Chuck Jones.

Did you ever wonder what an animation director…

Did you ever wonder what an animation director was making in 1944?

On January 6, 1945, just a month after the pay stub, Chuck Jones’s famous skunk, Pepe le Pew, made his debut in “Odor-able Kitty”, which had originally been titled, “Forever Ambushed”.

The model sheets were drawn by Chuck Jones and used by the animators to stay “on model” during the drawing of the cartoon.

Side note: “Forever Ambushed” is a take-off on the title of bestselling romance novel of 1944, titled, “Forever Amber”. The book was eventually made into a film in 1947 by 20th Century Fox. The Chuck Jones pay stub is from the Linda Jones Clough archive.

Conceived as a new character for the short film, Forever Ambushed, Stinky became the familiar francophone-challenged skunk known throughout the world today as Pepé le Pew.  The film was eventually retitled Odor-able Kitty and premiered on the silver screen nationwide January 6, 1945.  It follows the misadventures of a bedraggled and abused tomcat who, wishing to avoid the derision and despair of life as an alley cat, paints himself black with a white stripe, rolls in Limburger cheese and wreaks revenge upon his tormentors as a sly skunk.   At which point the French-accented skunk (Stinky/Henry/Pepé) brimming with amour (ooh la la, mon petit chou) enters and a Feydeau farce of co(s)mic proportions is born (beaucoups de rire).   Although famed storyman Michael Maltese was to write the majority of Pepé’s ‘aromantic’ adventures (c’est bon!), the legendary Tedd Pierce penned (écrivait) this first cartoon (et très bien aussi!).

“Characters always start with an idea rather than a drawing.  Before I drew Pepé for his first appearance in a cartoon, I knew something about his character, and I knew he was a skunk, but I did not know what he looked like.  Live-action directors call casting sessions at this point to find an actor to match their notion of a character, but I begin drawing—my casting session.  I did more than 200 drawings of Pepé before I was confident he would work according to our conception of him.  From that moment on, he was as much subject to the limits of his physical ability as I am.

“When we were writing Odor-able Kitty, in which Pepé made his first appearance (under the name Henry), the odious Eddie Selzer [the producer at Warner Bros. Cartoons] tried to block the project on the grounds that skunks talking French are not funny.  (The French themselves find these cartoons very funny.)  But when For Scent-imental Reasons later won an Academy Award, Eddie Selzer contentedly collected the credit and the Oscar, which he took home.” — Chuck Jones, Chuck Reducks, Drawing from the Fun Side of Life

Filmography (all Jones, except where noted):

  • Odor-able Kitty (1945)                                                                    
  • Scent-imental Over You (1947)
  • Odor of the Day (Davis, 1948)
  • For Scent-imental Reasons (1949 Academy Award-winner)
  • Scent-imental Romeo (1951)
  • Little Beau Pepe (1952)
  • Wild Over You (1953)
  • Dog Pounded (Freleng, 1954, in cameo)
  • The Cats Bah (1954)
  • Past Perfumance (1955)
  • Two Scents Worth (1955)
  • Heaven Scent (1956)
  • Touché and Go (1957)
  • Really Scent (Levitow, 1959)
  • Who Scent You? (1960)
  • A Scent of the Matterhorn (1961)
  • Louvre Come Back to Me (1962)

The Chuck Jones Gallery is going to “Pop Up” a…

The Chuck Jones Gallery is going to “Pop Up” at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco from Friday, November 23rd through Monday, December 31, 2018. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello.  

Cat feud. 

Cat feud. 

Character drawings and relative dimensions of Marc Anthony–drawing from the fun side of your brain–graphite on 12 field animation paper by Chuck Jones, top and bottom circa mid-1950s, center two circa mid-1990s.

Who undoes your hair?

Who undoes your hair?

“Broomstick Bunny” 1956, directed by Chuck Jones. Top, layout drawing by Chuck Jones, graphite on 12 field animation paper; middle, two backgrounds designed by Ernie Nordli and painted by Philip DeGuard; bottom, notes on the production in progress. 

The recording session for “Dr. Seuss’ How the …

The recording session for “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Top, drawing of the guitarist (part of a full orchestra led by Eugene Poddany) by Chuck Jones, graphite on sketch pad paper, 14″ x 11″, 1966. Bottom: Chuck Jones, left, with Ted Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, at the recording session for their “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”