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Death of a Legend - Cartoonist Chuck Jones

By m0rzo in News
Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 12:22:43 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

Chuck Jones - American motion picture animator, writer, director, and producer - has died of heart failure. He was 89.

Born in 1912, Chuck brought joy to the hearts of generations of children bringing to life such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry and Daffy Duck. He will be best remembered for his contributions to Warner Brothers, namely a series of short films featuring the Road Runner and Coyote (created 1949) and Pepé le Pew (1945).

The Warner Bros. Animation Studio closed its doors in the 1960s (it later re-opened) and Jones went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) where he began work on the "Tom and Jerry" series and other films, including a made-for-television series based on a Dr. Seuss tale, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

Jones wasn't just a cartoonist though. He was also a political liberal and an intellectual. In the early `40s he helped organise a strike at the Walt Disney Studio, and in the mid-1940s he began writing analytical papers on animation.

Three of Jones's animated shorts received Academy Awards: For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), So Much for So Little (1949), and The Dot and the Line (1965).

In 1996 Jones received a life membership into the Directors' Guild of America and an honorary Oscar for "the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than half a century."

Chuck Jones leaves behind a wife, daughter Linda, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Chuck's work was aimed at adults as much as children. I can remember my parents sitting down to watch cartoons with me. He's died but he's not dead. His name and his work have ensured immortality, and hopefully his creations will be enjoyed for many years to come.


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Favourite Cartoon Character(s)?
o Daffy Duck 8%
o Tom and Jerry 11%
o Pepe Le Pew 6%
o Road Runner 14%
o Coyote 20%
o Bugs Bunny 21%
o Other (...Tell Us) 8%
o Neither. Pah! My childhood was spent computing. I wasn't interested in such folly! 8%

Votes: 116
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o died
o Warner Brothers
o Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
o Walt Disney
o Directors' Guild of America
o Also by m0rzo

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Death of a Legend - Cartoonist Chuck Jones | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Other? (3.50 / 2) (#1)
by epcraig on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 05:37:30 AM EST

The Martian
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
And (none / 0) (#6)
by vambo rool on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 10:41:03 AM EST

Foghorn Leghorn (who was taken from a Fred Allen character, Senator Claghorn).

[ Parent ]
Me too. (none / 0) (#28)
by Mr. Piccolo on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 12:31:57 AM EST

And by leaving him out you have meade me very angry! Very angry indeed!

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.

[ Parent ]
Road Runner along with Tom and Jerry (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by Talez on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 08:49:39 AM EST

Always been my favourites. Even if it was predictable, the non-stop slapstick comedy was good for a laugh on a lazy afternoon or early saturday morning.

Also, did anyone else wonder if ACME ever made a profit with such a diverse range of products? Sure the revenues would be huge but would the manufacturing costs also?

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est
Business Model (none / 0) (#14)
by wiggin on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:19:03 PM EST

I'm pretty sure they were the first example of the business model we all saw in the internet boom. "We sell our products at a loss, but we make it up in volume!"

[ Parent ]
Delivery costs (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by pietra on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 04:09:19 PM EST

And in addition, I'm sure they lost a *ton* of money in their instant-delivery service. Amazon ain't got nothing on Acme!

[ Parent ]
Other (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by RQuinn on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 10:38:17 AM EST

Great horny toads! You forgot Yosemite Sam! Why I'll keelhaul ya fer this!

Oscar®s (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by vambo rool on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 10:48:07 AM EST

Didn't "What's Opera, Doc?" also win an Oscar®?

Kill da wabbit! Kill da wabbit!
Wiff my sword and magic helmet
Magic helmet?
Magic helmet!
(Hehehe magic helmet.)
Nowf winds bwow! Souf winds bwow! Typhoons! Huwwicanes! SMOG!

No Oscar, but... (none / 0) (#12)
by UncleMikey on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 11:37:35 AM EST

...it was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1992.

[ Parent ]
Chuck Jones (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by Banjonardo on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 01:20:24 PM EST

Wow. This guy taught me English.

When I moved from Brazil to the U.S. in fourth grade, I didn't speak a word of English. And since I was in Buffalo, there wasn't much in the way of playing outside. So what could I do? I watched T.V.

Cartoon Network, running these cartoons (same as I'd see in Brazil, just in English) and with closed captioning on, I learned in no time.

(though going to school every day with a special helper might have helped.) :-)
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.

Coyote and Tom and Jerry actually speak? (none / 0) (#31)
by Ranieri on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 08:33:31 AM EST

That fact must have been lost in the translation over here :)
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
Bugs (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by johnny on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:24:54 PM EST

We tend to think of Bugs as a mischeif-maker and as the kind of guy who cannot walk away from a conflict once it gets started. He always has to have the last laugh, the last word. And he can be quite heartless.

But I remember somewhere hearing Chuck Jones talking about the archetypal Bugs Bunny story, and I got a new insight into the character.

Chuck pointed out that in every one of HIS Bugs Bunny cartoons (other directors also produces some Bugs cartoons in which Bugs has a slightly different character), the opening scene is Bugs bothering nobody, doing nothing, minding his own business. Chuck percieved Bugs not as a trickster/troublemaker but as your everyday law-abiding citizen who would like nothing better than to be left in peace. Now it is true that he fights back tenaciously once provoked, but he does not go looking for trouble. In this respect he is quite different from, say, Daffy Duck, who likes to stir things up just for the fun of it.

I am probably most like Elmer Fudd, myself, although I sometimes act like Yosemite Sam. I love the bluster of Foghorn Leghorn. But Bugs is my hero.

yr frn,
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.

Bugs Bunny, The Quintessential American (none / 0) (#19)
by wiredog on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 03:17:06 PM EST

If you think about, Bugs explains much about the American character...

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Bugs' accent (none / 0) (#22)
by pietra on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 06:46:13 PM EST

My boyfriend and I have been discussing this for the past few hours--what kind of regional accent did Bugs Bunny have? I'm going with possibly Bronx. Whatever it is, it's distinctly American. Any thoughts?

[ Parent ]
Bronx or Brooklyn (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by wiredog on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 08:37:18 PM EST

Definitely a New York City (circa 1940) accent.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Re: Bugs' accent (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by RSevrinsky on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 04:03:15 AM EST

I once heard an interview with Mel Blanc on the radio (it might have been NPR). He said that Bugs was a cross of a Brooklyn and a Bronx accent -- which I suppose would land him somewhere in Queens or in the East River :)

- Richie

[ Parent ]

Re: Bugs's accent (none / 0) (#30)
by Apuleius on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 12:53:27 AM EST

And that'e because he forgot about that left turn in Albukoyquie.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Bronx and Brooklyn (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by epepke on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 12:38:49 PM EST

It's a combination of both the Bronx and Brooklyn accents of the time. The idea was that Bugs was sort of a tough guy, and both boroughs had reputations for being tough. I got this from a documentary on WB that I saw many, many years ago.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Cause of Death: (4.62 / 8) (#16)
by InigoMontoya on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:51:36 PM EST

Jones, 89, is reported to have died by running full-tilt off the edge of an 800-foot cliff. Witnesses say that Jones stood in mid-air for a second and looked down, then began falling. A whistling sound was heard as he fell, followed by a cloud of dust and a little "puff" sound as he hit the ground below. Representatives of ACME, a company whose gadgets Jones frequently bought and used, could not be reached for comment.

Seriously, though, this man's contribution to comedy and animation will be sorely missed. Even though I grew up in the 80's (long after the heyday of Looney Tunes) his work still was a formative part of my childhood and of my views on comedy. To be honest, I didn't know who he was until his obit, but looking back at what he's done... wow. Chuck Jones, keep on making 'em laugh in Heaven.

"That's all folks."

This signature is self-referential.

Question... (none / 0) (#33)
by jmzero on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:27:30 PM EST

You set off my Mormon radar... are you a member?

Just curious. Feel free to ignore me.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Cartoon Network (4.25 / 4) (#17)
by yogger on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:54:54 PM EST

Was just watching CN a few minutes ago and saw a brief commercial. Basically A face being drawn, Chuck Jones being written next to it, fade to "We miss you"

It's very simple and probably done quickly, but its perfect coming from a channel that airs so much of his creation and its derivatives.

The is only a test .sig
If it were a real .sig it would contain useful and/or funny information
Gossamer and the Mad Scientist (none / 0) (#20)
by wiredog on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 03:23:49 PM EST

I don't know if that's a Chuck Jones one or not but.

It's the one where Bugs is captured by a Mad Scientist, who has a big red monster named "Gossamer" (IIRC). In 1984, that cartoon was the opening act for a Yes concert. One of the better opening acts I've seen.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

Poll choice (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by fluffy grue on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 09:04:00 PM EST

I've always had a bit of a crush on Pepe Le Pew, even when I was little. I was always jealous of that cat who shunned him.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Not a Chuck Jones character but... (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by dipipanone on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 09:05:55 PM EST

My personal favourite cartoon character has to be Popeye, from the original black and white Max Fleischer episodes.

Fleischer's animation defined much of the vocabulary of the animated short, which was really first developed to the level of art high by Tex Avery, like Chuck Jones, another resident of Termite Terrace.

But although Avery reached a level of polish and sophistication unmatched by Fleischer, the latter will always have the first place in my heart, simply because the were the cartoons that I was first exposed to as a child.

Of course, there are many who argue that the Betty Boop films made a more important contribution to the genre, with their often risque adult subject matter and their use of jazz soundtracks, but the triad of Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto represent for me one of life's archetypal struggles -- that of the competition between two alpha males for the company of a beautiful woman. (Even if that woman does happen to be skinnier than Calista Flockhart and have bigger feet than Whoopie Goldberg, the flexibility of her limbs are a sure indicator that she'd be a wow in the sack, though her cockteasing tendencies remain somewhat offputting.)

Who can forget such episodes as the one in the barber shop, where the boys, freshly home from the sea and both sporting full beards hear Olive (working as a waitress) singing 'I want a clean shaven man' and agree to shave each other?

Or the one in which Swee'pea gets loose, and crawls out of the window and onto a skyscraper that is currently in the process of being built? Or the episodes set on Goon Island?

I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam...

Words to live by.

Suck my .sig
Projector parties, anyone? (none / 0) (#26)
by Apuleius on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 11:34:55 PM EST

Here's a relevant question that will divide K5 to two camps by age: when you were a kid, did birthday parties involve a rented projector showing a set of Looney Tunes cartoons? THat's how it was when I grew up. It was a long time before I saw Chuck Jones's work on television.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
That is a memory to treasure! (none / 0) (#27)
by static on Sun Feb 24, 2002 at 12:01:15 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Death of a Legend - Cartoonist Chuck Jones | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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