Chuck Jones:The Evolution of an Artist

Chuck Jones:The Evolution of an Artist

You can’t force inspiration. It’s like trying to catch a butterfly with a hoop but no net. If you keep your mind open and receptive, though, one day a butterfly will land on your finger. –Chuck Jones  Chuck is best known for directing hundreds of Looney Tunes short films. Yes, he was the mastermind behind a lot of them as the powerful traits of him was his powerful nature to bring gag based story-telling to the medium that made it form a simple cartoon medium to something truly amazing for the art of animation. .

If you grew up watching Looney Tunes, then you know Chuck Jones, one of all-time masters of visual comedy with  ingenious framing and timing that makes his work stand test of time. so today i honor his works.

Looney Tunes, Rabbit of Seville

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The cartoon starts with an open air opera theater setting with the Elmer-Bugs chase quickly entering the scene. When Elmer hits the stage, Bugs quickly opens the curtains, prompting the orchestra to play ‘The Barber from Seville’ by Gioachino Rossini. This leads to a wonderful aria by Bugs, and even Elmer joins in.

The best part of the film is the silent comedy that follows on the music of the opera’s overture. During this sequence Bugs Bunny’s expressions are priceless, and the action is beautifully staged to the music, leading to a great finale in which Elmer and Bugs get married.Throughout the picture Jones’s timing and staging are perfect. It improves on both Charlie Chaplin’s barber scene in ‘The Great Dictator’ (1940) and on the vaguely similar Woody Woodpecker cartoon ‘Barber of Seville‘ (1944). The result is no less than a masterpiece.

bugs’ (and Blanc’s) preternatural verbal dexterity is soon on display as Bugs improvises lyrics to Rossini’s music, spiriting a bewildered Fudd to a barber’s chair for a shave. The way Bugs utters words like “daintily, daintily” and “you’re so next” is inexplicably delightful—Bugs and his audience are in on the joke together, but he will sell his pretend profession just enough to bamboozle his dimwitted foe. Yet unlike some of Bugs’ outings, “Rabbit of Seville” relies less on the hero’s linguistic gymnastics than on sight gags and cleverly escalating action. Bugs dresses as a temptress to woo Fudd (“What would you want with a wabbit?”) a gambit that proves consistently effective against the love-starved hunter.

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But after this ruse, Jones and Maltese transition to silence, save for a closing stinger by the ever-victorious Bugs. Fortunately for the viewer, Bugs need not rely solely on his wit to outwit his nemesis. The density of Jones’ work, the multiplicity of targets, the erudition combined with silliness is unrivaled. Bugs as barber/señorita/snake charmer and Fudd as blushing bride poke fun at Count Almaviva’s many disguises in The Barber of Seville as well as the fundamental goofiness underlying so many highbrow works. Bugs plies Fudd with red paint, cement, and fertilizer in an absurd send-up of the lengths to which aestheticians will go to create a look often no better than leaving well enough alone

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.The traditional climactic wedding is role-reversed and pops up nearly out of nowhere, as it often does in classical comedies. The Great Dictator’s escalating barber chairs are loosed from the bonds of physics to soar to ridiculous heights.Its truly very much a fun spoof of this story but done in  Chuck Jones starts to re-imagine operas to suit his own hyperactive style with Bugs Bunny behind the slapstick vehicles! What an enchanting delight; these were truly innovative animation reinventions with no concerns of what Rossini could have thought as its simply a marvel of animation.

 Looney Tunes: Hair-Raising Hare (1946)

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The plot is simple: Bugs is lured to a mad scientist’s castle to be dinner for the aforementioned monster. When Bugs gets wise to this plan, he makes a break for it and the chase is on for the rest of the short as he out runs the monster and outsmarts them all in the end.

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This cartoon has one of Bugs Bunny’s best known gags: at one point he stalls the monster by pretending to be a stylist who declares the monster needs a manicure. Suddenly Bugs whips out a table, chairs and begins to file the monsters nails, all while holding a conversation that you might hear in a nail salon. This is Bugs in pure mischief mode; once he gets over his initial fright, the monster doesn’t stand a chance at all.

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Even for Merrie Melodies standards, I would call this expressionistic slice of comedic horror with inventive tropes as “landmark”: the use of shadows and meta-jokes are exquisite, the nameless monster (later “Rudolph” and later “Gossamer”) is one smart creation with effective parody effects enough to sustain both a scare and a laugh. Peter Lorre as a mad scientist is only something that Merrie Melodies could conceive and the jokes are endlessly clever: a rare fusion between visuals, slapstick and fourth-wall breaking, completely unprecedented, that you wouldn’t see again in many decades at least in the animation world as its truly a marvelous animated gem.

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Released: February 9th, 1957. Directed by: Chuck Jones

Ali Baba Bunny (6)

Of the many achievements Chuck Jones accomplished during his lengthy career, one of them was raising the pairing of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck into a comedic art form that has yet to be truly matched in animation. Bugs and Daffy tunnel to Baghdad where they find caves full of treasure and a guard named Hassan who wants only to “chop” them.  Ali Baba Bunny is a famous example of this pairing and one of my many personal favorite cartoons all time as its simply comedy gold watching them together.

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This cartoon features Daffy during his “greedy beyond all reason” phase and it is used to great comedic effect as often he is greedy and always wants to have everything. Daffy is almost instantly mesmerized by the giant pile of treasure in front of him, while Bugs is completely oblivious. This leads to one of my favorite Daffy Duck lines:Daffy: It’s mine you understand? Mine, mine, ALL MINE! Get back in there! Down! Down! Down! Go! Go! Go! Mine! Mine! Mine! Mwahahahahahahaha!! *zooms off to the treasure*

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Daffy keeps getting on the guard’s bad sideespecially when he makes a run for it with a giant diamond! This leads Bugs to finally corner Daffy and demand to know (“What is it with you anyway?” to which Daffy replies “I can’t help it, I’m a greedy slob, it’s my hobby. its basically telling of his nature but likely honest answer due fact he is under threat to be killed. Daffy duck is truly always by nature a greedy person in some manner.  Image result for Ali Baba Bunny

I would say I adore this cartoon because it has one of the greatest twist endings ever seen in a cartoon: Daffy appears to have it made. Hassan is gone; the treasure is loaded up ready to go, when the greedy duck finds a mysterious lamp in the back of the cave. Some reason, when a genie appears (and even calls Daffy “Master”!!) The duck explodes with rage and accuses the genie of wanting his treasure. This is why I say Daffy is greedy beyond all reason, because wouldn’t you think the duck would be happy to have a magic genie at his disposal? I suppose not, and boy does the duck pay for it! As at end bugs bunny finds him and tosses him to side in the shell wanting a piece of treasure. Ali Baba Bunny, as I’ve said before, is one of my favorite Chuck Jones cartoons that is very much a fun piece of animated history.

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Broom-Stick Bunny  review

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Broom-Stick Bunny has long been one of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons, as it features the debut of June Foray in the role of Witch Hazel (Bea Benaderet performed the voice in Hazel’s first appearance in Bewitched Bunny). This is actually Foray’s second time playing a character by this name (with this voice no less) as she originated the character in the 1952 Donald Duck cartoon Trick or Treat (and in truth she was initially reluctant when Chuck Jones invited her to play his version of Witch Hazel, but she eventually came around to the idea.In this cartoon, it’s Halloween night and Bugs Bunny is out trick-or-treating disguised as a witch

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Witch Hazel is brewing up a potion while frequently consulting her magic mirror to make sure she’s still the “ugliest of them all” as she’s terribly afraid of getting pretty as she gets older. One of my favorite running gags in this cartoon is Witch Hazel’s obsession with ugliness and talking about beauty in opposite terms that makes her seem affaid of it. The story starts as a comedy of errors when Bugs Bunny appears at Witch Hazel’s door and the befuddled witch thinks the rabbit is a REAL witch that leads to comedy gold and many moments that showcase chuck’s remarkable skill of story-telling of his gags. but it quickly turns serious when Hazel realizes that not only is Bugs a rabbit, but he’s also the last ingredient needed to complete her potion, leading to a wild chase throughout the house that of course ends up with bugs bunny winning as you know she wont get him. we’re treated to seeing what a pretty Witch Hazel looks like in the ned. (fun fact: according June Foray’s commentary, the animators modeled the pretty Hazel on her actual appearance, particularly in the hairstyle as it was one she liked to wear at the time). It’s so funny to hear the now-pretty witch say in the sweetest sounding voice “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the ugliest one of all?” The gag is heightened when the genie in the magic mirror gives chase on a flying carpet and the pair go flying off into the night.Of all the Witch Hazel cartoons, Broom-Stick Bunny remains my favorite as it showcases his style of gag story-telling that keeps on making gags seem lesser at times but smart and funny and witty. its the power of his animated story-telling.

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Oh, the reminiscence! We could watch these cartoons again and again and still laugh like the first time Chuck’s animations delighted our eyes. Did you love the Looney Tunes as something truly remarkable about them and his style of gags and story-telling to capture the natures of such vastly interesting characters and ideas.  I will put this video here to help talk about so many more of his works.

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