Chuck Jones Cartoons From the Golden Age of Television
The Dot and the Line
My favorite cartoon when I was a child was from Chuck Jones in an animated 10-minute short called The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics.
The cartoon addresses relationships and appreciation of others. Originally done up as an illustrated book by Norton Juster, Chuck Jones animated it and it is delightful. I've included it below in a YouTube file.
In the book, Mr. Juster uses only black and red to tell the story of a straight line that is in love with a red dot, and the line's efforts to woo her away from his rival, a sloppy, cringing squiggle. It is a touching story and the film adds extra layers of meaning.
This is an elegant story and animation that has become a classic among cartoon enthusiasts.
Award Winner: The Dot and The Line, 1965
Marvin the Martian
World War II thru the Cold War
I have always been fascinated with animation and the following material comes from my own childhood experiences in the 1960s-1970s, along with exhibits that have been shown at The Ohio State University's Cartoon Museum, state and university library collections, state historical society exhibitions, and lectures on cartooning and animation given in our community.
Based on Ohio artists and famous cartoonists that studied at OSU, some of these lectures have also included famous animators such as Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. The various institutes go out into the schools, community centers, and retirement centers to present very interesting exhibits and films. Much of the information work in this article was included at a presentation I attended in the community. I was privileged to hear the WWII veterans and retirees' own memories of the era involved.
Chuck Jones was a master animator and animation director for Warner Brothers for many years during a time when individual film cells were hand-drawn and colored. It was a lot of work and the creative process involved backbreaking concentration at the same time that it offered rewards The benefits included pride in a job well down and a product that attracted a fan base of all ages in nearly all countries for decades. Through through licensing, the Looney Toons® Store, new animators, and refreshed traditional characters in new cartoon shows on TV, the legacy of Chuck Jones will live a long time.
In addition to animation, he was skilled at the art of drawing cartoons, and in screenwriting, producing, and directing cartoons of all lengths. Beginning with Warner Brothers as an assistant animator back in in 1933, he worked in animation throughout The Great Depression and World War II. He stated that he learned to be funny at Warner Brothers in 1942 with his parody of the juvenile literature of the era - Rover Boys. His was called Dover Boys.During WWII, Chuck Jones also worked with another of my favorites, Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), who did a lot of political cartooning that many folks have not seen.
Historic Chuck Jones
Mel Blanc and Bea Benadaret (from Green Acres and Petticoat Junction) and others are the voice stars.
WWII School for Soldiers: Private Snafu
Chuck helped Dr. Seuss to produce Private Snafu, a set of educational cartoons for the US Army during the Second World War.
The series educated soldiers about spies and a poor work ethic in a risque tone that soldiers apparently appreciated.
Chuck also worked with Seuss on a several animated versions of Dr. Seuss books especially How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966). I watch that one every year on TV.
Some of Jone's work has been censored because it was related to World War II and the propaganda promoted and distributed by the government and the media about our opponents among the Japanese, Italians, and Germans. Some of the Jones characters were portrayed as very racist and antagonistic throughout the the war, in newsreels and cartoon "shorts" shown in American movie houses.
Some of these films can still be viewed on YouTube. They used to be shown on Saturday Morning TV cartoon shows at the same time that Hogan's Heroes and McHale's Navyparodied the war in the European and the Pacific Theaters, but the propagandist cartoons were pulled in the late 1960s - 1970s as the Civil Rights Movement rose. Although American veterans protested against Hogan's Heroeswith angry phone calls, it remained on the air for some time; but the propaganda cartoons disappeared from most US TV markets.
Some examples of the WWII Era Merrie Melodies/Looney Toons work is available at Japanese and American Media in Propaganda.
Chuck Jones: Encouragement To Artists Of All Ages
Anyone can negatively criticize - it is the cheapest of all comment because ti requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion reguires. -- Chuck Jones
The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
- Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
Founded in 1999, this center was built in Orange County, California. Chuck Jones's goal was to unleash the creativity in individuals to create a more joyful and fulfilling life. The archives include works from nearly nine decades of his life.
- Chuck Jones (1912 - 2002)
Visit to learn about the life of Chuck Jones and see hundreds of his comics, quotations, and other materials.
The Chuck Jones Experience
Favorite Chuck Jones Looney Toons
Reruns of cartoon of favorite Looney Toons characters were available on Saturday mornings, late afternoons, and sometimes in the evenings as summer replacement shows when I was growing up. A lot of these characters were quite daft and made me laugh, but by favorites would have to be:
Bugs Bunny, Pepe LePew, Marvin Martian, and Foghorn Leghorn.
As an adult, I find that the first two are still my favorites. Foghorn Leghorn still makes me laugh and Marvin is strange, but I still like him. And Michigan J, Frog and Daffy Duck seem funnier to me now.
Pepe LePew always chased the ladies until that decided they wanted to be caught, and then he ran away terrified. Most of the time, the lady he was chasing was not actually a skunk, but a cat that had somehow come by a white strip through a dripping pain can or some other unfortunate event. Sometimes, the cat was not even female, but Pepe thought it was. All of these cartoons are hilarious - I wonder what the French and cats think of them?
Model For a Rooster: Senator Cleghorn
Foghorn Leghorn was reportedly patterned after a southern sheriff and/or politician and was directed in this first cartoon featuring him (below) by Robert McKimson. Mel Blanc voiced the rooster and drew some characteristics from the character of Senator Claghorn on the old Fred Allen Radio Series.
The most comic thing about the blustering rooster to me is that he never lets anyone get a word in edgewise.
The rooster resulted from the influence of a radio character, a southern sheriff, on comedian and voice actor Mel Blanc in 1945. Senator Gleghorn's characteristics were added later, when the whole country was imitating the Senator from the radio show amd films. I don't know whether Chuck Jones directed any of the rooster's cartoons, but the combination of the two southern stereotypes, Seantor and Sheriff, is very funny in a rooster.
Bugs the Hairdresser
What's up, Doc?
The cartoon below is one of my favorite of Bugs. He escapes a monster's mutilation by furnishing cosmetology services.
Everywhere, Bugs Bunny needs to escape some life-threatening danger, and he always extracts himself with wit.
Introduced in 1938, Bugs evolved and also participated in the WWII propaganda cartoons. On the positive side, he also was featured in at least one of the Private Snafu educational films (I wonder how risque he was?). In 2002, TV Guide named Bugs Bunny "Number One" among the Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters, because he is the iconic smart-aleck American comic. I guess he is!
Marvin is odd - funny and dangerous - but he's another one that belongs to Chuck Jones. When I was a child, Marvin made me scream with laughter.
The character has a large cult following, even though he first appeared in 1948, and his image appears on the two Martian research rovers the USA has traveling across the surface of Mars since the 1990s.
The last I heard, in 2009 one of the Martian rovers was stuck in a sandtrap -- Bugs could get him out with his own brand of golf swing. Meanwhile, the rover took pictures of itself.