If you want to draw Bugs Bunny, just learn to draw a carrot and hook a rabbit on to it. Chuck Jones
In a career spanning 60 years, Chuck Jones made over 300 animated films, won three Oscars and countless accolades including lifetime membership from the Directors Guild of America. He prospered during the Golden age of animation directing famous cartoons such as What’s Opera Doc? and co created the characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. He solely created the characters Wilie E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Pepe Le Pew, Road Runner and many others.
Born in 1912 in Spokane Washington Jones drew from an early age. He attributed his ability to his father who was an unsuccessful businessman. With each new business venture Jone’s father would buy new stationary and pencils branded with the company’s name and logo and w hen the business failed to take off he would offload the stationary onto his children, urging them to use up the stock.
On graduation from Chouinard University (now California Institute of Art) Jones took up various low paid jobs including a cel washer in 1932 for former Disney animator, Ub Iwerk where he met his future wife, cel painter Dorothy Webster.
In 1936, Jones was hired by the Leon Schlesinger studio (later sold to Warner Bros) and assigned to work in Tex Avery‘s team, nicknamed Termite Terrace. The team were pioneers producing fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek animation, quite apart from their Disney counterparts. He rose from assistant animator to director in just five short years. His early cartoons were “cute” and Disney-esque in the general style of the time but Jone’s broke with convention in 1942 when he made The Dover Boys which happened to be one of the first films to use stylised animation rather then the more realistic approach of Disney. Jone’s claimed The Dover Boys was when he “learned how to be funny”. He worked with the likes of Avery, Bob Clampett and Fritz Freleng until 1962 when Warner Bros closed the studio. Interestingly Jack Warner had such little regard for his animation division that he was convinced his team produced Disney’s rival character, Mickey Mouse. Jones claimed on more then one occasion that Warner closed the studio when he learnt that this wasn’t the case.
After Warner Bros, Jones had a stint at MGM Studios where he worked on classics such as Tom and Jerry and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Later he established his own production company, Chuck Jones Enterprise, producing 9 and half films. His career was long and rich and his film, What’s Opera Doc? was even inducted into the National Film Registry for being ” among the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films of our time”. In later life Jones spent time painting and directing the odd animated sequence, working periodically on Loony Tunes. Charles Martin Jones died in 2002 and was active all the way up until a year before his death.
An interview with Chuck
Official Website www.chuckjones.com
Senses of Cinema article by Bill Schaffer