Chuck Jones - Writer

Animator. Nationality: American. Born: Spokane, Washington, 21 September 1912. Education: Attended Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles. Family: Married Dorothy Webster (deceased). Career: Early 1930s—worked at various animation studios in variety of capacities, including for Charles Mintz at Screen Gems, Ub Iwerks at Flip the Frog Productions, and for Walter Lantz; about 1935—joined Warner Bros. as animator; worked under Ub Iwerks, Robert Clampett, and Tex Avery; 1938–62—cartoon director for Warners; 1955—four months at Disney Studios, then returned to Warners; 1963–67—directed for MGM; 1970-on—directed and produced television specials. Awards: Academy Award, for For Scent-imental Reasons , 1949; So Much for So Little , 1949; The Dot and the Line , 1965; Peabody Award, for Horton Hears a Who , 1971; L.A. Critics' Award, for life achievement, 1990; Academy Award, for life achievement, 1995.

Films as Director at Warner Bros.:


Night Watchman ; Dog Gone Modern


Robin Hood Makes Good ; Presto Change-O ; Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur ; Naughty but Mice ; Old Glory ; Snowman's Land ; Little Brother Rat ; Little Lion Hunter ; The Good Egg ; Sniffles and the Bookworm ; Curious Puppy


Mighty Hunters ; Elmer's Candid Camera ; Sniffles Takes a Trip ; Tom Thumb in Trouble ; The Egg Collector ; Ghost Wanted ; Good Night Elmer ; Bedtime for Sniffles ; Sniffles Bells the Cat


Toy Trouble ; The Wacky Worm ; Inki and the Lion ; Snow Time for Comedy ; Joe Glow the Firefly ; Brave Little Bat ; Saddle Silly ; The Bird Came C.O.D. ; Porky's Ant ; Conrad the Sailor ; Porky's Prize Pony ; Dog Tired ; The Draft Horse ; Hold the Lion, Please ; Porky's Midnight Matinee


The Squawkin' Hawk ; Fox Pop ; My Favorite Duck ; To Duck or Not to Duck ; The Dover Boys ; Case of the Missing Hare ; Porky's Cafe


Flop Goes the Weasel ; Super Rabbit ; The Unbearable Bear ; The Aristo Cat ; Wackiki Wabbit ; Fin 'n Catty ; Inki and the Mynah Bird


Tom Turk and Daffy ; Angel Puss ; From Hand to Mouse ; The Odor-able Kitty ; Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears ; The Weakly Reporter ; Lost and Foundling


Trap Happy Porky ; Hare Conditioned ; Hare Tonic ; Hush My Mouse ; Fresh Airedale ; Quentin Quail ; Hair Raising Hare ; The Eager Beaver


Roughly Squeaking ; Scenti-Mental over You ; Fair and Wormer ; A Feather in His Hare


Little Orphan Airedale ; What's Brewin' Bruin ; House Hunting Mice ; Haredevil Hare ; Inki at the Circus ; A Pest in the House ; Rabbit Punch


You Were Never Duckier ; Mississippi Hare ; Mouse Wreckers ; Scaredy Cat ; My Bunny Lies over the Sea ; Awful Orphan ; The Bee-Deviled Bruin ; Daffy Dilly ; Long-Haired Hare


Frigid Hare ; Rabbit Hood ; Often an Orphan ; Fast and Furry-ous ; For Scent-imental Reasons ; Bear Feat ; Homeless Hare ; So Much for So Little


The Hypo-Chondri-Cat ; Dog Gone South ; The Scarlet Pump-ernickel ; Eight-Ball Bunny ; The Ducksters ; Rabbit of Seville ; Caveman Inki


Two's a Crowd ; A Hound for Trouble ; Rabbit Fire ; Chow Hound ; The Wearing of the Grin ; A Bear for Punishment ; Bunny Hugged ; Scent-Imental Romeo ; Cheese Chasers ; Drip-Along Daffy


Operation Rabbit ; Water, Water Every Hare ; The Hasty Hare ; Mousewarming ; Don't Give Up the Sheep ; Feed the Kitty ; Little Beau Pepe ; Beep Beep ; Going! Going! Gosh! ; Terrier Stricken ; Rabbit Seasoning ; Kiss Me Cat


Forward March Hare ; Wild over You ; Bully for Bugs ; Duck Amuck ; Much Ado about Nutting ; Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century ; Zipping Along ; Feline Frame-Up


Punch Trunk ; From A to ZZZZ ; Bewitched Bunny ; Duck! Rabbit! Duck! ; No Barking ; Stop, Look, and Hasten! ; Sheep Ahoy ; My Little Duckaroo


The Cat's Bah ; Claws for Alarm ; Lumber Jack Rabbit (in 3-D); Ready, Set, Zoom! ; Rabbit Rampage ; Double or Mutton ; Baby Buggy Bunny ; Beanstalk Bunny ; Past Performance ; Jumpin' Jupiter ; Guided Muscle ; Knight-Mare Hare


Two Scents' Worth ; One Froggy Evening ; Bug's Bonnets ; Rocket Squad ; Heaven Scent ; Rocket-Bye Baby ; Gee Whizzz ; Barbary Coast Bunny


Deduce You Say ; There They Go-Go-Go! ; Scrambled Aches ; Go Fly a Kit ; Steal Wool ; Zoom and Bored ; To Hare Is Human ; Ali Baba Bunny ; Boyhood Daze ; What's Opera, Doc? ; Touché and Go


Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island


Porky Pig in Hollywood


Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends


Another Froggy Evening (+ pr); That's Warner Bros!


From Hare to Eternity (+ pr); The Bugs n' Daffy Show ; Superior Duck

Films as Writer and Director at Warner Bros.:


Hare-Way to the Stars ; Hook, Line, and Stinker ; Robin Hood Daffy ; Whoa, Begone! ; To Itch His Own


Baton Bunny ; Hot Rod and Reel ; Cat Feud ; Hip Hip—Hurry! ; Really Scent


Fastest with the Mostest ; Who Scent You? ; Rabbit's Feat ; Wild about Hurry


High Note ; Hopalong Casualty ; The Abominable Snow Rabbit ; Scent of the Matterhorn ; Lickety Splat ; Zip 'n Snort ; The Mouse on 57th Street ; Compressed Hare


Louvre Come Back to Me ; Beep Prepared ; A Sheep in the Deep ; Nelly's Folly ; Zoom at the Top

Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones


Martian thru Georgia ; Now Hear This ; Hare-Breadth Hurry ; I Was a Teenage Thumb ; Woolen under Where


Chariots of Fur (+ pr)

Films as Director of Tom and Jerry Cartoons for MGM:


Penthouse Mouse


The Cat Above and the Mouse Below ; Is There a Doctor in the Mouse ; Much Ado about Mousing ; Snowbody Loves Me ; Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse


Ah Sweet Mouse-Story of Life ; Bad Day at Cat Rock ; Brothers Carry Mouse Off ; Haunted Mouse ; I'm Just Wild about Jerry ; Of Feline Bondage ; Year of the Mouse ; Cat's Me-Ouch


Duel Personality ; Jerry Jerry Quite Contrary ; Love Me, Love My Mouse (with Ben Washam)


Cat and Duplicat

Other Films as Director:


The Dot and the Line


The Bear that Wasn't


How the Grinch Stole Christmas (for TV)


The Phantom Toll Booth (with Livitow); Horton Hears a Who (for TV); The Pogo Special Birthday Special (for TV); The Cricket in Times Square (for TV); A Very Merry Cricket (for TV)


Yankee Doodle Cricket




The Great American Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Chase (+ pr, sc)


Uncensored Cartoons

Other Films:


Gay Purr-ee (Levitow) (story)


Christmas Carol (exec pr) (TV special)


Bugs Bunny's Third Movie (Detiege, Art Davis, and Perez) (animator)


Gremlins (Dante) (animator)


Innerspace (Dante) (animator)


Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (Ford) (sequenced); Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Zemeckis) (anim consultant)


Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Dante) (animator)


Stay Tuned (Hyams) (anim dir)


Mrs. Doubtfire (Columbus) (anim dir)


Four Rooms (Anders, Rockwell, Rodriguez, Tarantino) (creative consultant)


Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles (Berkeley, Caldwell, Hartman, Liu, Oliva, Paden, Song—series for TV) (character designer)


By JONES: books—

Chuck Amuck , New York, 1989.

Chuck Jones' Peter & the Wolf , New York, 1994.

By JONES: articles—

"The Road Runner and Other Characters," interview with R. Benayoun, in Cinema Journal (Evanston, Illinois), Spring 1969.

Interview with M. Barrier, in Funnyworld (New York), Spring 1971.

Interview with J. Colombat, in Image et Son (Paris), January 1972.

"The Hollywood Cartoon," interview with J. Canemaker, in Filmmakers Newsletter (Ward Hill, Massachusetts), April 1974.

"Animation Is a Gift Word," in AFI Report (Washington, D.C.), Summer 1974.

Interview with G. Ford and R. Thompson, in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1975.

"L'Animation, un art nu," in Positif (Paris), February 1975.

"Cel Washer: 'Kid-vid' Is a Dirty Word," in Take One (Montreal), no. 4, 1976.

Interview with J. Rubin, in Classic Film Collector (Muscatine, Iowa), Summer 1976.

"Friz Freleng and How I Grew," in Millimeter (New York), November 1976.

"Chuck Jones Interviewed," with Joe Adamson, in The American Animated Cartoon , edited by Gerald and Danny Peary, New York, 1980.

Revue du Cinéma (Paris), no. 465, November 1990.

"A Master of Animated Art: Chuck Jones," an interview with Gregory J. M. Catsos, in Filmfax (Evanston), August-September 1992.

"The Return of Duck Dodgers. Sequel to the Cartoon Classic," in Outré (Evanston), no. 7, 1997.

On JONES: books—

Maltin, Leonard, Of Mice and Magic , New York, 1980.

Kenner, Hugh, Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings , Berkeley, California, 1994.

On JONES: articles—

Thompson, R., " Duck Amuck ," in Film Comment (New York), January/February 1975.

Cohen, M. S., "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies," in Velvet Light Trap (Madison, Wisconsin), Autumn 1975.

Ward, A., "Master Animator Chuck Jones: The Movement's the Thing," in New York Times , 7 October 1979.

Thompson, Richard, "Meep Meep!," and "Pronoun Trouble," in The American Animated Cartoon , edited by Gerald and Danny Peary, New York, 1980.

Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1982.

Plateau , vol. 7, no. 4, 1986.

CinémAction (Conde-sur-Noireau), April 1989.

Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), September 1990.

O'Brien, Ken, "Chuck Jones and MGM: Reevaluating Tom and Jerry," in Animation Journal (Irvine), vol. 1, Fall 1996.

Williams, David R., "The Mouse that Chuck Built," in Animation Journal (Irvine), vol. 2, Spring 1997.

* * *

During a career of nearly 60 years (and still going strong) in cartoon animation, Chuck Jones has created more than 240 animated films. His most famous work was done at Warner Brothers where from 1938 to 1962 he directed such "stars" as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. Although many different animators worked with these characters, Jones developed his own particular style of animation that set his cartoons apart from the others.

Part of that style has to do with the development of his characters, who have very strong personalities. For example, Pepe LePew is an ever-confident Casanova. No matter how many times he is pushed off the road to romance, he remains undaunted in his attempts to pursue his heart's "true love." Daffy Duck, on the other hand, is a self-centered egotist. He is always looking out for "number one", and he must, above all, maintain his dignity. By using such strong characters in his films, Jones creates humor not out of what is happening to the character, but from how the character reacts to what is happening. For example, the Roadrunner series (one of Jones's own creations) relies on character reaction throughout the story. Whenever Wile E. Coyote finds that he is about to go over the edge of a cliff, he remains in midair, looks down, realizes his predicament, gulps, looks to the audience for sympathy, and then falls. The humor is not in his falling, but in the way Wile E. Coyote reacts to his situation.

Another characteristic found in many of Jones's cartoons is his distinctive use of the medium. It is not uncommon to find references to the techniques of animation in his films. The most obvious example of Jones's self-reflexivity in a cartoon is Duck Amuck . In this film Daffy Duck is plagued by the animator who, in a series of gags, erases Daffy, gives him the wrong voice, rolls the picture, collapses the frame line, and finally blows up Daffy by drawing in a bomb. Another of Jones's cartoons that is filled with in-jokes is the Oscar-winning What's Opera, Doc? In this cartoon (which can be viewed as a parody of Disney's Fantasia ), Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd continue to play their roles of the hunter and hunted, but as "actors" within the very formal structure of a Wagnerian opera. It is the only cartoon in which Bugs "dies," but, as he says while the camera irises out, "What did you expect in an opera, a happy ending?" One Froggy Evening , a comic parable on the lure of fame and riches in which a man finds a singing frog and sees dollar signs but loses everything because the frog will perform only for him, is one of Jones's most memorable creations.

Another distinctive trait that can be found in Jones's cartoons is his sense of comic timing. Whereas some cartoon directors pile gag upon gag at a frantic pace, Jones often uses pauses within his gags. For example, when Wile E. Coyote fell from a cliff, the overhead point of view would show him getting smaller and smaller until he was invisible, and a few frames later a puff of smoke could be seen where he crashed. Jones knew exactly how many frames it would take to create the right amount of tension before Wile E. Coyote actually hit the ground. It was a piece of timing he had to teach all of his animators on the Roadrunner series.

With the closing of the studio cartoon departments, Jones moved his animation talents into television and feature-length production. His more recent work has proven to be very popular with audiences. Now viewed as the craft's elder statesman, he has been paid homage to by a generation of admirers, including such as directors Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante, who not only acknowledge Jones's influence on the slam-bang style of their own work, but frequently give him cameos in their films. He continues as well to lend his innovative hand to advances in the art of animation such as the groundbreaking Who Killed Roger Rabbit? , which seamlessly mixed live action with cartoon images. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Jones with a special life achievement award in 1995 for the enduring appeal of his work, which shows no signs of age.

—Linda Obalil, updated by John McCarty

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