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Chuck Jones

After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts), Jones found work in the newly emerging animation industry, first with Ub Iwerks Studio, then Leon Schlesinger Productions, and in 1939 became the youngest director at Warner Bros. He remained there until the animation department was closed down in 1962, after which he worked with MGM Studios, and later directed nine half hour TV specials with his own Chuck Jones Enterprises.

In a career that spanned almost seventy years, Jones made over 250 films, won four Academy Awards, and was nominated for six others. Jones' razor-sharp eye for character movement, his legendary sense of timing, and his beguilingly irreverent wit have combined to create some of the classic cartoons of all time, including these classic films released by Warner Bros.: Bully for Bugs, Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, Duck Amuck, Rabbit Seasoning, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, Robin Hood Daffy, A Scent of the Matterhorn, and Feed The Kitty.

In 1965 he created and directed perhaps his most abstract work the acclaimed animated short The Dot and The Line, which was devoid of any of his famous and familiar character stars -- and won an Academy Award that year for Jones.

Chuck Jones died at the age of 89 in February 2002, but he leaves a legacy of brilliance, comedy, joy, color, and laughter that will live on forever.

"Each character represented a trait that resides in me."
- Chuck Jones
"Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about."
- Chuck Jones
"Anyone can negatively criticize - it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires."
- Chuck Jones
"Dogwood: Its bark is worse than its blight."
- Chuck Jones

The Cricket In Times Square

The Cricket in Times Square, a half-hour television special directed by Chuck Jones that first aired in 1973, is based on the George Selden 1960 book of the same title. Chester Cricket, from Connecticut, ends up on a commuter train and finally after a series of stumbles in the subway station at Times Square. He's found by the young Mario who helps his parents run a financially struggling newspaper stand. Chester soon makes friends with Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse who soon realize that Chester has an amazing talent: when he rubs his wings together they sound not like a cricket chirping, but like the sound of a violin being played by a master. With Chester's help, Mario's parents are able to save their newsstand.

Jones went on to write and direct two sequels, "A Very Merry Cricket" (1973) and "A Yankee Doodle Cricket" (1975).

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Chuck Jones Biography

As the most celebrated director in the history of animation, Chuck Jones' masterpieces starring the Warner Bros. cast of characters, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner (among others) have taken their rightful place among America's most cherished cinematic treasures.

After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts), Jones found work in the newly emerging animation industry, first with Ub Iwerks Studio, then Leon Schlesinger Productions, and in 1939 became the youngest director at Warner Bros. He remained there until the animation department was closed down in 1962, after which he worked with MGM Studios, and later directed nine half hour TV specials with his own Chuck Jones Enterprises.

In a career that spanned almost seventy years, Jones made over 250 films, won four Academy Awards, and was nominated for six others. Jones' razor-sharp eye for character movement, his legendary sense of timing, and his beguilingly irreverent wit have combined to create some of the classic cartoons of all time, including these classic films released by Warner Bros.: Bully for Bugs, Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, Duck Amuck, Rabbit Seasoning, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, Robin Hood Daffy, A Scent of the Matterhorn, and Feed The Kitty.

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Marc Anthony & Kitty

Marc Anthony is a very tough bulldog who falls in parental love with Pussyfoot the Kitten. They star in Feed the Kitty, Kiss Me Cat, Feline Frame-up and Cat Feud.

Pussyfoot it may be to millions of fans, but to Chuck Jones Pussyfoot had no permanent name, "...call [him] Everykitten." Jones continues, "All the kitten had was the ability to love, so drawing him was comparatively simple. A kitten's ears are much bigger in relation to the face than an adult cat's, and as in all young mammals, his forehead is very high. I wanted him to be so darling that you feel you must pick him up and hug him, which is precisely what I wanted Marc Anthony to want to do."

The kitten first appeared in the short animated film, Feed the Kitty, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. It bow-wowed (and me-owed) in theaters nationwide on February 2, 1952. Robert Gribbroek was the animator and Philip DeGuard created the backgrounds. Carl Stalling was the musical director and with Bea Benaderet as the voice of Marc Anthony's mistress.

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Bugs Bunny

Bugs was originally created by Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett and Bob McKimson. Bugs' first appearance was in 1940 in A Wild Hare by Tex Avery. However, because of Chuck Jones, Bugs evolved into the suave, sophisticated rabbit that we know and love. He's starred in more than 175 animated shorts."You don't draw Bugs Bunny, you draw pictures of Bugs Bunny". - A young fan

"I can't understand why you're writing scripts for Bugs Bunny, he's funny enough just as he is." –An older fan

Bugs Bunny doesn't just exist on the screen. Bugs Bunny lives in our hearts and minds as a believable character and because of that believability it's easy to imagine his off-screen life as well.

"Every day one should at least listen to a little song, read a good poem, look at a fine painting, and, if possible, say a few reasonable words." ---Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 1749-1832

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Bookworm

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Sniffles & The Bookworm

Sniffles and the Bookworm, released as a "Merrie Melodies" cartoon in 1939, was the third in a series of 12 cartoons that featured the little mouse character, Sniffles. Directed by Chuck Jones, this short cartoon features the adventures of the eponymous pair as characters from Mother Goose come to life late at night in a bookstore serenading them to the tune of "Mutiny in the Nursery" by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren until a Frankenstein-like monster scares them all away. The character Sniffles debuted that same year in Jones's "Naughty but Mice"; one would note that the Sniffles character is similar to that of the little kitten in Jones's "The Night Watchman," his first directorial effort for the studio.

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Gossamer

"If an inter-esting monster can't have an inter-esting hairdo, then I don't know what things are coming to!" So says the barber of Termite Terrace, Bugs Bunny. Give him a chainsaw for hair-clippers and there's no telling what might happen. Our poor orange-furred, hump-headed monster, Gossamer, peeved, but too stunned to act, looks askance at his new 'do'. Gossamer first appeared in Chuck Jones' 1946 short animated film Hair-Raising Hare.

"Designing a character does involve drawing, but as soon as the character is animated, it is the animation that makes the character, not the drawing. When you are engaged in full animation, the character pushes aside and takes over. Drawing becomes as unconscious a necessity to you as body mechanics are to the dancer during a performance. You are the interpreter of actions that surprise both you and the character you visualize. You and the character become that series of surprises that is comedy." ---Chuck Jones in Chuck Reducks, Drawing From the Fun Side of Life.

Quote from Chuck Amuck, The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist

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Hugo

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Witch Hazel

"The Warner Bros. version of Witch Hazel (first voiced by Bea Benaderet and then in subsequent appearances, to much acclaim, by June Foray) bowed in theaters nationwide on July 24, 1954 in the Chuck Jones directed Bewitched Bunny. Borrowing liberally from the Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel (as well as Snow White), Bewitched Bunny continues Jones' experimentation and innovation in character and scenic design. Using simple, yet elegant, lines to delineate the complexities of character through visual punnery (Hazel's head ends at the brim of her hat, who can forget those hairpins,) Jones confidently ups the madcap silliness quotient and verbal swordplay between Bugs and Witch Hazel*.

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Taz

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The Phantom Tollbooth

In 1961 Norton Juster wrote a beguiling fantasy about a boy named Milo, "who didn't know what to do with himself," and his remarkable adventures when he proceeds through "the Phantom Tollbooth. Chuck Jones wrote the screenplay, and directed this appealing full-length (90-minute) feature film. While on his adventure, Milo is joined by a friendly "Watchdog" named Tock and a life-size, beetle-like insect dressed in a lavish coat, bow tie, cuffs, a high collar and a tall floppy hat, known as "Humbug." They team up to rescue the twin princesses Rhyme and Reason from the Castle in the Air.

While they are at it, they manage to set things right between two brothers, Azaz, the king of Dictionopolis, monarch of letters, emperor of phrases, sentences and miscellaneous figures of speech, and his brother the Mathemagician, the king of Digitopolis, and ruler of numbers. They are constantly quarreling about which is better, letters or numbers. The Castle in the Air is guarded by demons, and while trying to defeat them, Milo learns that if he uses numbers and letters together, he can do almost anything.

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Rikki Tikki Tavi

Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, Rikki Tikki Tavi, has been brought to life through the legendary animation of producer/director Chuck Jones. This charming tale of friendship and loyalty, narrated by Orson Wells in the 1975 television special, is set in the heart of turn-of-the-century India where a young British boy (Teddy) and his family adopt an affectionate mongoose (Rikki Tikki Tavi). Throughout the adventure, Rikki protects his family from the evil cobras (Nag and Nagaina) who want to do away with the humans in order to safely hatch their eggs. In a final act of loyalty, the tale comes to a thrilling conclusion as Rikki saves his family by destroying the malevolent cobras.

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Elmer Fudd

Elmer Fudd is smaller than many of Bugs's adversaries, but he carries a big gun, which makes even the saddest of wimps dangerous. In many cartoons, Elmer was just a hunter tracking Bugs, and in these films the limit of his personality seemed to be his claim to be a sportsman. But Elmer will play whatever part is assigned to him whether it's the Beanstalk Bunny giant or the innkeeper in The Scarlet Pumpernickel, who greets Daffy with the words, "Oh, Mr. Nobleman, you honor my humble wodgings."

Although I don't believe Elmer's character runs deep, he had more personality for me than for some other directors who worked with him, because I put him in situations where he had to have a personality, such as his appearance as the giant in Beanstalk Bunny. I didn't draw Elmer very differently when he was a giant (the body was a little longer and the face a little less childlike), but like any actor he will change his make-up to suit the demands of the role. -Chuck Jones

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Porky Pig & Sylvester

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Michigan J. Frog

A slinky, slimy green amphibian made cartoon history when it premiered in movie theaters across the country on December 31, 1955. Unnamed at the time, the singing frog tormented and abused the man who discovered him, driving him to rack and ruination in just six and a half minutes.

I felt I had to make the frog believable in a very short time, so when he pulls himself out of the tin he slips a little bit, and when he blinks he blinks upward. That may sound ridiculous-who knows that is the way amphibians blink? I know it, so I have to put it in, and you’d better be impressed!" -Chuck Jones, Chuck Reducks

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White Seal

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Tom & Jerry

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Wile. E. Coyote & Roadrunner

"I see nothing in the Coyote that I can't find in almost any human being. Most of us share his desire for something small and special, be it diamonds, doughnuts, or Road Runner. Wile E. Coyote devotes enormous ingenuity and energy to chasing the Road Runner. People wonder what good it would do him to catch the Road Runner, as there's obviously very little food on that scrawny frame. A rabbit would seem to be more nutritious prey, but Wile E. considers roadrunner to be a luxury item on the coyote's food chain. There are delicacies as yet unknown to the human palate, and one of them is this apparently succulent avian."

"A Road Runner cartoon is basically a series of separate blackout gags with an underlying structure, as the Coyote returns obsessively to the fray. Mike Maltese and I found that we needed about eleven gags to make a film, and the trick was to proceed in a more or less orderly fashion up to a strong climax. Gags varied considerably in length and could be as short as four seconds, as long as four minutes, or almost as long as the film itself."

"Humor is often a series of sensible statements ending in an unexpected oddity that completely changes the meaning of the scene."

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Daffy Duck

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Marvin Martian

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