Charles Martin Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, filmmaker, cartoonist, author, artist, and screenwriter, best known for his work with Warner Bros. Cartoons on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. He wrote, produced, and/or directed many classic animated cartoon shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, Pepé Le Pew, Porky Pig, Michigan J. Frog, the Three Bears, and a slew of other Warner characters.
After his career at Warner Bros. ended in 1962, Jones started Sib Tower 12 Productions, and began producing cartoons for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, including a new series of Tom and Jerry shorts and the television adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. He later started his own studio, Chuck Jones Enterprises, which created several one-shot specials, and periodically worked on Looney Tunes related works.
Jones was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three times. He won for the cartoons For Scent-imental Reasons, So Much for So Little, and The Dot and the Line. Robin Williams presented Jones with an Honorary Academy Award in 1996 for his iconic work in the animation industry. Film historian Leonard Maltin has praised Jones' work at Warner Bros., MGM and Chuck Jones Enterprises. He also said that the "feud" that there may have been between Jones and colleague Bob Clampett was mainly because they were so different from each other. In Jerry Beck's The 50 Greatest Cartoons, ten of the entries were directed by Jones, with four out of the five top cartoons (including first place) being Jones shorts.
Jones in 1978.
Charles Martin Jones
September 21, 1912
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
|Died||February 22, 2002 (aged 89)|
|Other names||The Father of Contemporary Animation|
M. Charl Jones
|Alma mater||Chouinard Art Institute|
|Occupation||Animator, director, producer, screenwriter|
|Employer||Warner Bros. Cartoons (1933-1962)|
Walt Disney Animation Studios (1953)
Sib Tower 12 Productions (1962-1970)
(m. 1935; her death 1978)
(m. 1981; his death 2002)
Jones was born on September 21, 1912, in Spokane, Washington, the son of Mabel McQuiddy (Martin) and Charles Adams Jones. He later moved with his parents and three siblings to the Los Angeles, California area.
In his autobiography, Chuck Amuck, Jones credits his artistic bent to circumstances surrounding his father, who was an unsuccessful businessman in California in the 1920s. His father, Jones recounts, would start every new business venture by purchasing new stationery and new pencils with the company name on them. When the business failed, his father would quietly turn the huge stacks of useless stationery and pencils over to his children, requiring them to use up all the material as fast as possible. Armed with an endless supply of high-quality paper and pencils, the children drew constantly. Later, in one art school class, the professor gravely informed the students that they each had 100,000 bad drawings in them that they must first get past before they could possibly draw anything worthwhile. Jones recounted years later that this pronouncement came as a great relief to him, as he was well past the 200,000 mark, having used up all that stationery. Jones and several of his siblings went on to artistic careers.
During his artistic education, he worked part-time as a janitor. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute, Jones got a phone call from a friend named Fred Kopietz, who had been hired by the Ub Iwerks studio and offered him a job. He worked his way up in the animation industry, starting as a cel washer; "then I moved up to become a painter in black and white, some color. Then I went on to take animator's drawings and traced them onto the celluloid. Then I became what they call an in-betweener, which is the guy that does the drawing between the drawings the animator makes". While at Iwerks, he met a cel painter named Dorothy Webster, who later became his first wife.
Jones joined Leon Schlesinger Productions, the independent studio that produced Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for Warner Bros., in 1933 as an assistant animator. In 1935, he was promoted to animator, and assigned to work with new Schlesinger director Tex Avery. There was no room for the new Avery unit in Schlesinger's small studio, so Avery, Jones, and fellow animators Bob Clampett, Virgil Ross, and Sid Sutherland were moved into a small adjacent building they dubbed "Termite Terrace". When Clampett was promoted to director in 1937, Jones was assigned to his unit; the Clampett unit was briefly assigned to work with Jones' old employer, Ub Iwerks when Iwerks subcontracted four cartoons to Schlesinger in 1937. Jones became a director (or "supervisor", the original title for an animation director in the studio) himself in 1938 when Frank Tashlin left the studio. The following year Jones created his first major character, Sniffles, a cute Disney-style mouse, who went on to star in twelve Warner Bros. cartoons.
He was actively involved in efforts to unionize the staff of Leon Schlesinger Studios. He was responsible for recruiting animators, layout men, and background people. Almost all animators joined, in reaction to salary cuts imposed by Leon Schlesinger. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio had already signed a union contract, encouraging their counterparts under Schlesinger. In a meeting with his staff, Schlesinger talked for a few minutes, then turned over the meeting to his attorney. His insulting manner had a unifying effect on the staff. Jones gave a pep talk at the union headquarters. As negotiations broke down, the staff decided to go on strike. Schlesinger locked them out of the studio for a few days, before agreeing to sign the contract. A Labor Management Committee was formed and Jones served as a moderator. Because of his role as a supervisor in the studio, he could not himself join the union. Jones created many of his lesser-known characters during this period, including Charlie Dog, Hubie and Bertie, and The Three Bears.
During World War II, Jones worked closely with Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, to create the Private Snafu series of Army educational cartoons (the character was created by director Frank Capra). Jones later collaborated with Seuss on animated adaptations of Seuss' books, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 1966. Jones directed such shorts as The Weakly Reporter, a 1944 short that related to shortages and rationing on the home front. During the same year, he directed Hell-Bent for Election, a campaign film for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Jones created characters through the late 1940s and the 1950s, which include Claude Cat, Marc Antony and Pussyfoot, Charlie Dog, Michigan J. Frog, and his four most popular creations, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner. Jones and writer Michael Maltese collaborated on the Road Runner cartoons, Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening, and What's Opera, Doc?. Other staff at Unit A that Jones collaborated with include layout artist, background designer, co-director Maurice Noble; animator and co-director Abe Levitow; and animators Ken Harris and Ben Washam.
Jones remained at Warner Bros. throughout the 1950s, except for a brief period in 1953 when Warner closed the animation studio. During this interim, Jones found employment at Walt Disney Productions, where he teamed with Ward Kimball for a four-month period of uncredited work on Sleeping Beauty (1959). Upon the reopening of the Warner animation department, Jones was rehired and reunited with most of his unit.
In the early 1960s, Jones and his wife Dorothy wrote the screenplay for the animated feature Gay Purr-ee. The finished film would feature the voices of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet and Red Buttons as cats in Paris, France. The feature was produced by UPA and directed by his former Warner Bros. collaborator, Abe Levitow.
Jones moonlighted to work on the film since he had an exclusive contract with Warner Bros. UPA completed the film and made it available for distribution in 1962; it was picked up by Warner Bros. When Warner Bros. discovered that Jones had violated his exclusive contract with them, they terminated him. Jones' former animation unit was laid off after completing the final cartoon in their pipeline, The Iceman Ducketh, and the rest of the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio was closed in early 1963.
With business partner Les Goldman, Jones started an independent animation studio, Sib Tower 12 Productions, and brought on most of his unit from Warner Bros., including Maurice Noble and Michael Maltese. In 1963, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contracted with Sib Tower 12 to have Jones and his staff produce new Tom and Jerry cartoons as well as a television adaptation of all Tom and Jerry theatricals produced to that date. This included major editing, including writing out the African-American maid, Mammy Two-Shoes, and replacing her with one of Irish descent voiced by June Foray. In 1964, Sib Tower 12 was absorbed by MGM and was renamed MGM Animation/Visual Arts. His animated short film, The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Jones directed the classic animated short The Bear That Wasn't.
As the Tom and Jerry series wound down (it was discontinued in 1967), Jones produced more for television. In 1966, he produced and directed the TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, featuring the voice and facial models based on the readings by Boris Karloff.
Jones continued to work on other TV specials such as Horton Hears a Who! (1970), but his main focus during this time was producing the feature film The Phantom Tollbooth, which did lukewarm business when MGM released it in 1970. Jones co-directed 1969's The Pogo Special Birthday Special, based on the Walt Kelly comic strip, and voiced the characters of Porky Pine and Bun Rab. It was at this point that he decided to start ST Incorporated.
MGM closed the animation division in 1970, and Jones once again started his own studio, Chuck Jones Enterprises. He produced a Saturday morning children's TV series for the American Broadcasting Company called The Curiosity Shop in 1971. In 1973, he produced an animated version of the George Selden book The Cricket in Times Square and would go on to produce two sequels.
Three of his works during this period were animated TV adaptations of short stories from Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli's Brothers, The White Seal and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. During this period, Jones began to experiment with more realistically designed characters, most of which having larger eyes, leaner bodies, and altered proportions, such as those of the Looney Tunes characters.
Jones resumed working with Warner Bros. in 1976 with the animated TV adaptation of The Carnival of the Animals with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Jones also produced the 1979 film The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie which was a compilation of Jones' best theatrical shorts; Jones produced new Road Runner shorts for The Electric Company series and Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979), and even newer shorts were made for Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over (1980).
From 1977 to 1978, Jones wrote and drew the newspaper comic strip Crawford (also known as Crawford & Morgan) for the Chicago Tribune-NY News Syndicate. In 2011 IDW Publishing collected Jones' strip as part of their Library of American Comic Strips.
On December 11, 1975, shortly after the release of Bugs Bunny Superstar, which prominently featured Bob Clampett, Jones wrote a letter to Tex Avery, accusing Clampett of taking credit for ideas that were not his, and for characters created by other directors (notably Jones's Sniffles and Friz Freleng's Yosemite Sam). Their correspondence was never published in the media. It was forwarded to Michael Barrier, who conducted the interview with Clampett and was distributed by Jones to multiple people concerned with animation over the years. Robert McKimson claimed in an interview that many animators but mostly Clampett contributed to the crazy personality of Bugs, while others like Chuck Jones concentrated more on the more calmed-down gags. As far as plagiarism is concerned, McKimson claimed the animators would always be looking at each other's sheets to see if they could borrow some punchlines and cracks.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, Jones was painting cartoon and parody art, sold through animation galleries by his daughter's company, Linda Jones Enterprises. Jones was the creative consultant and character designer for two Raggedy Ann animated specials and the first Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas special A Chipmunk Christmas. He made a cameo appearance in the 1984 film Gremlins and directed the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck animated sequences that bookend its sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). Jones directed animated sequences for various features such as a lengthy sequence in the 1992 film Stay Tuned and a shorter one seen at the start of the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire. Also during the 1980s and 1990s Jones served on the advisory board of the National Student Film Institute.
Jones' final Looney Tunes cartoon was From Hare to Eternity in 1997, which starred Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, with Greg Burson voicing Bugs. The cartoon was dedicated to Friz Freleng, who had died in 1995. Jones' final animation project was a series of 13 shorts starring a timber wolf character he had designed in the 1960s named Thomas Timber Wolf. The series was released online by Warner Bros. in 2000. From 2001 until 2004, Cartoon Network aired The Chuck Jones Show which features shorts directed by him. The show won the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Special Project.
Jones died of heart failure on February 22, 2002. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea. After his death, the Looney Tunes cartoon Daffy Duck for President, based on the book that Jones had written and using Jones' style for the characters, originally scheduled to be released in 2000, was released in 2004 as part of disc three of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2 DVD set.
Jones was a historical authority as well as a major contributor to the development of animation throughout the 20th century. In 1990, Jones received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. He received an honorary degree from Oglethorpe University in 1993. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Jones has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7011 Hollywood Blvd.
Jones, whose work had been nominated eight times over his career for an Oscar (winning the award three times: For Scent-imental Reasons, So Much for So Little, and The Dot and the Line), received an Honorary Academy Award in 1996 by the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 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." At that year's awards show, Robin Williams, a self-confessed "Jones-aholic," presented the honorary award to Jones, calling him "The Orson Welles of cartoons.", and the audience gave Jones a standing ovation as he walked onto the stage. For himself, a flattered Jones wryly remarked in his acceptance speech, "Well, what can I say in the face of such humiliating evidence? I stand guilty before the world of directing over three hundred cartoons in the last fifty or sixty years. Hopefully, this means you've forgiven me." He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb in 1988.
Jones' life and legacy were celebrated January 12, 2012, with the official grand opening of The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus Las Vegas. Many of Jones' family welcomed celebrities, animation aficionados and visitors to the new attraction when they opened the attraction in an appropriate and unconventional way. Among those in attendance were Jones' widow, Marian Jones; daughter Linda Clough; and grandchildren Craig, Todd and Valerie Kausen.
A Feather in His Hare is a Warner Brothers Looney Tunes animated short, directed by Chuck Jones. It was originally released on February 7, 1948. The title is yet another pun on "hair".
This was the first Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Chuck Jones that featured Robert McKimson's design of Bugs instead of the version Jones used from Super-Rabbit to Hair-Raising Hare, which was a shorter and slightly differed version of the character.A Very Merry Cricket
A Very Merry Cricket is a 1973 Christmas animated television special. It was directed by Chuck Jones, who also wrote the teleplay with George Selden. It was a sequel to their acclaimed adaptation of The Cricket in Times Square and was followed by another sequel Yankee Doodle Cricket.Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over
Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over is a Looney Tunes television special which aired on CBS on May 21, 1980. It featured three new cartoons, which featured Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters. The theme of this special is Springtime. It is included as a special feature on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5 DVD box set.Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales
Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales is a 1979 animated Christmas television special featuring Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters in three newly created cartoon shorts with seasonal themes. It premiered on CBS on November 27, 1979.Bully for Bugs
Bully for Bugs is a 1953 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese.Chariots of Fur
Chariots of Fur is a seven-minute Looney Tunes short released in 1994 by Warner Bros. It features Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and was directed by Chuck Jones, who introduced the pair in 1949. The short was owned by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment via Warner Animation Group. As in other shorts of the Road Runner series, Wile E. tries to catch his potential prey through use of various devices. This film's soundtrack uses music from the Bedřich Smetana opera The Bartered Bride. It was released in North American theaters preceding the film, Richie Rich. It was the first time a new short of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner had been released theatrically since 1966. This was the final Coyote/Road Runner short to be directed by Jones. The title is a parody of Chariots of Fire.Chuck Jones filmography
The following is the filmography of American animator, filmmaker, cartoonist, author, artist, and screenwriter Chuck Jones.For Scent-imental Reasons
For Scent-imental Reasons is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes short released in 1949. It was directed by Chuck Jones, written by Michael Maltese, and featured the characters Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat (all voices were done by Mel Blanc). It won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film and was the first Chuck Jones-directed cartoon to win this award.From Hare to Eternity
From Hare to Eternity is a 1997 Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, directed by Chuck Jones. The voice of Bugs is performed by Greg Burson and the voice of Yosemite Sam is performed by Frank Gorshin.
The cartoon is mainly a parody of H.M.S. Pinafore with Sam and Bugs performing many of the songs.
It was issued as a tribute to Sam's creator, Friz Freleng, who had died two years previously. It is both the final Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and the final Chuck Jones-directed Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies short, ending a career that began in 1938 with The Night Watchman and four years before his death in 2002. It is included as a special feature on the DVD for The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie as well as the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 Blu-ray box-set on the third disc. The character Michigan J. Frog also has a brief cameo in the cartoon. Because Yosemite Sam was created by Freleng, this is the only Chuck Jones cartoon to feature Yosemite Sam.Horton Hears a Who! (TV special)
Horton Hears a Who! is a 1970 television special based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name, Horton Hears a Who!. It was produced and directed by Chuck Jones who previously produced the Seuss special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for MGM Television and first broadcast March 19, 1970 on CBS. The special contains songs with lyrics by Seuss and music by Eugene Poddany, who previously wrote songs for Seuss' book, The Cat in the Hat Song Book.Odor-able Kitty
Odor-able Kitty is a 1945 Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones. It is notable as the first appearance of Pepé Le Pew. The scriptwriter was Tedd Pierce. Chuck Jones, a co-creator for the character, also credited Michael Maltese with contributing to the character concept.Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper
Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper, a.k.a. simply The Great Santa Claus Caper, is an animated American television special featuring Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. Produced by Chuck Jones Enterprises, the special was first broadcast November 30, 1978 on CBS.Robin Hood Daffy
Robin Hood Daffy is a 1958 Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc theatrical cartoon comedy short, starring Daffy Duck (in the role of Robin Hood) and Porky Pig, as part of the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. It was the last of Jones' parody cartoons with the duo, and the last appearance of Porky in a theatrical cartoon directed by Jones during the Golden Age of Animation. It was also the second parody of Robin Hood directed by Chuck Jones, after the 1949 Bugs Bunny short Rabbit Hood. An edited version of Robin Hood Daffy was included in the theatrical film The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979).Sniffles Takes a Trip
Sniffles Takes a Trip is a 1940 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones.The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (original working title: The Great American Chase) is a 1979 Looney Tunes film with a compilation of classic Warner Bros. Cartoons shorts and newly animated bridging sequences, hosted by Bugs Bunny. The bridging sequences, which had been produced in 1978, show Bugs at his home, which is cantilevered over a carrot-juice waterfall (modeled on Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater" house in Bear Run, Pennsylvania).
Early on, Bugs discusses the wild villains he had co-starred with in his cartoons, which is followed by a tongue-in-cheek sequence depicting the history of comedy and a scene in which Bugs discusses his "several fathers". The latter scene was written by Chuck Jones as a way to debunk fellow animation director Robert Clampett's claims throughout the 1970s that he alone created Bugs, and Clampett's name is notably missing from Bugs's list, as a result of the conflict between Jones and Clampett. The movie Bugs Bunny: Superstar featured Bob Clampett, and is another compilation of cartoon shorts, probably the first to examine the history of Warner cartoons, which under-played Bugs' other 'several fathers' and is part of the mentioned conflict.
All of the shorts featured were directed by Chuck Jones.
The combination of classic animated footage along with new animation would become the template for the theatrically released Looney Tunes movies for this film up until Daffy Duck's Quackbusters released in 1988.The Egg Collector
The Egg Collector is a 1940 Merrie Melodies Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and starring Sniffles.Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner
Wile E. Coyote (also known simply as "the Coyote") and the Road Runner are a duo of cartoon characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. In each episode, the Coyote repeatedly attempts to catch and subsequently eat the Road Runner, a fast-running ground bird, but is never successful. Instead of his animal instincts, the Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) to try to catch his prey, which comically "backfire", with the Coyote often getting injured in slapstick fashion. Many of the items for these contrivances are mail-ordered from a variety of companies that are all named Acme.
One running gag involves the Coyote trying (in vain) to shield himself with a little parasol against a great falling boulder that is about to crush him. Another running gag involves the Coyote falling from a high cliff. After he goes over the edge, the rest of the scene, shot from a bird’s-eye view, shows him falling into a canyon so deep, that his figure is eventually lost to sight. This is followed, a second or two later, by the rising of a dust cloud from the canyon floor as the Coyote hits.
The characters were created by animation director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese in 1948 for Warner Bros., while the template for their adventures was the work of writer Michael Maltese. The characters star in a long-running series of theatrical cartoon shorts (the first 16 of which were written by Maltese) and occasional made-for-television cartoons. It was originally meant to parody chase cartoons like Tom and Jerry, but became popular in its own right.
The Coyote appears separately as an occasional antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts from 1952 to 1963: Operation: Rabbit, To Hare Is Human, Rabbit's Feat, Compressed Hare, and Hare-Breadth Hurry. While he is generally silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts, he speaks with a refined accent in these solo outings (except for Hare-Breadth Hurry), beginning with 1952's Operation: Rabbit, introducing himself as "Wile E. Coyote—Genius", voiced with an upper-class accent by Mel Blanc. The Road Runner vocalizes only with a signature sound, "Beep, Beep", recorded by Paul Julian (although some viewers claim it sounds more like "meep meep"), and an accompanying "popping-cork" tongue noise.To date, 49 cartoons have been made featuring these characters (including the four CGI shorts), the majority by Chuck Jones.
TV Guide included Wile E. Coyote in its 2013 list of "The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time".Yankee Doodle Cricket
Yankee Doodle Cricket is a 1975 television animated special directed by American animator Chuck Jones, who also performs the voices of all the male characters in the film. June Foray was the voice of Queen Bee. It originally aired on CBS on January 16, 1975. The special was released on VHS, and Laserdisc by Family Home Entertainment, and it was released on VHS again in 1999 and on DVD in 2002 and 2007 by Lionsgate.