Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chuck Jones - early work
Robinhood Makes Good (1939)
"Who's gonna be Robin Hood?"

Here's a scene from Chuck Jones' Robin Hood Makes Good. It's animated by Bob McKimson. Note the difference between how Jones uses Clampett's favorite animator with how Bob did.

In this cartoon, you can begin to see Chuck's unique drawing style emerge, however the animation is pretty standard for the time. Within a few cartoons, the animation in Chuck's films took on a unique style of movement of its own. I'll talk about that in the next post about him.



Chuck Jones is my second favorite cartoon director. He is probably the most innovative of all of them. He experimented more than anybody.

A few innovations:
Stylized cartoons-Dover Boys (1942) was the first cartoon with a couple of graphic looking characters-Dan Backslide and the big chinned hero guy, and the girl. This cartoon influenced the founders of UPA.

Lummoxes- He created the funniest lummox characters, like the ones with the short fat fingers. Nasty Canasta is the apex of them.

Sitcom cartoons-1948-What's Brewin' Bruin introduces his 3 Bears characters in their first starring role. It's like a radio sitcom. The amazing thing is that sitcoms hadn't really been visualized at all so Jones had to invent ways to use visuals to enhance the already familiar family comedies from radio. He did it great and his 3 Bears cartoons to this day are the best sitcom cartoons ever done.
(Does anyone know if the 3 bears are based on a specific radio show of the time?)

Abstract expressions- He invented all kinds of funny expressions that people can't actually make and yet when you see them, you understand them completely.

Pose-to-pose acting. Chuck grew into a style that favored very strong, graphic poses. This style eventually was adopted by UPA and then televison cartoons. It then devolved into pose to pose with no poses at all which is what we have in cartoons today.

Angular, modern looking style- He used all the same principles that the other animators of the period used, but gave a more angular and contrasty appearance to the finished designs. His early coyote drawings are the epitome of this style.

I'll think of many more innovations as I write more posts about Chuck.

The most amazing thing about his career is that, as creative as he was, he seemed to be against entertaining the audience from the get go. He is known for making funny cartoons, but he never really wanted to and only did it for a few short years.

His career as a director started in 1938, right when Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Frank Tashlin had established WB cartoons as being irreverent antidotes to Disney's sappy infantile sweet sissy cartoons that every other studio was copying.

Chuck started as an animator for Tex Avery, then graduated to Clampett where he did really funny animation in Bob's cartoons - so he sure had the capability and influence to carry on the wacky tradition of Looney Tunes.



Instead he chose to make cartoons like the one above.

In 1939 while Tex made Hamateur Night, Believe It Or Else, A Day At The Zoo, Thugs With Dirty Mugs and Bob made The Lone Stranger and Porky, Porky's Tire Trouble, Chicken Jitters, Polar Pals, Scalp Trouble, the hilarious Porky's Picnic and Naughty Neighbors, Chucks rebelled against all this rebellion and made pantywaist cartoons.

http://www.davemackey.com/animation/wb/1939.html

For the first 3 years of his cartoons he only made one comedy per year using an established Warner's star. The rest of the cartoons were slow and aimed at infants.
1939 Daffy Duck and The Dinosaur
1940 Elmer's Candid Camera
1941 Elmer's Pet Rabbit

http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=96300&mod=films

In 1942, he started making a few more comedies but still made lots of sap. There is a rumor that Leon Schlesinger threatened to fire him if he didn't start making brash crazy comedies like Clampett. Friz corroborates this in an interview I did with him that will appear on the Asifa archives site.

Whether it's true or not, by the output of Jones' first few years, you can see that he obviously had little interest or ability in making funny cartoons.

It took till 1948 for him to finally switch exclusively to comedy and when he did he was great at it. 1948 has most of my favorite Chuck Jones cartoons, because they are still pretty fully animated and they concentrate on entertainment and his timing got good by then.

I'll trace his fascinating development over a few posts.

Chuck is a huge influence on me in many ways and I'll let you in on the influences along the way.

66 comments:

makinita said...

Wow the Foist one ehheh i love chuck jones but i like Clampetts crazier cartoons the best

Thunderrobot(aka Chet) said...

cool post John,

Chuck Jones is the shizz Nizz


(and hes better than clampet) hahaha

David Germain said...

John, you just solidified everything I love about Chuck Jones (except for him initially trying to copy Disney of course. I would love to have known what he was thinking at that time.)

There is a rumor that Leon Schlesinger threatened to fire him if he didn't start making brash crazy comedies like Clampett. Friz corroborates this in an interview I did with him that will appear on the Asifa archives site.

No, not fire Jones outright, just bust him back down to animator. But it was Friz who went to the wall for Jones and said "Hey, give the kid a chance."

It took till 1948 for him to finally switch exclusively to comedy and when he did he was great at it.

Yeah, he was making some great comedic stuff from 1948 into the early '50's. But, he did get heavy handed again later on with films like From A to Z-Z-Z-Z (c. 1954), Nelly's Folly (c. 1961), Martian Through Georgia (c. 1962) and of course two films at MGM The Dot and the Line (c. 1965) and The Bear That Wasn't (c. 1966).

Actually, I think what makes One Froggy Evening (c. 1955) so great is that it's really the perfect merging of Jones' two worlds, the comedic and the artistic.

Once again, great post.

Art F. said...

Great! Great! Great!

Gavin Freitas said...

Chuck was the best of all time! Thanks for posting this up John. See if you can grab the "DoverBoys" cartoon. I like the "Smear" drawing with Dan back slide grabbing the girl and then back to the car. That was Chucks best!

Caduceus said...

Well, Jones said that he makes his cartoons for one person. Himself. Does that mean he just really liked cutesy stuff?

What really amazes me about these early clips is how smooth and inoffensive they are compared to his later work. Those big galoots with tiny feet are angular, grotesque and damned funny. The only similarity I can see with these character designs is a tendency to lean forward and a concentration on facial nuance over body movement.

tim kelly said...

You've reminded me how much I love his later cartoon, Robin Hood Daffy. Great performances from Mel Blanc, and hilarious facial expressions. This is why I always see the Jones influence more in your work than Clampett's; your determination and success in terrific vocal performances and 12,000 facial expressions in every cartoon. Whenever I think of Jones' work, I immediately think of the dog's expressions of bewilderment and horror in Cheese Chasers; whenever I think of yours, Ren's speech at the end of Sven Hoek is always the first scene that comes to mind.

Brett W. Thompson said...

Fascinating! :) Thanks so much for these posts, John, I love them :) I was particularly interested the innovations you listed.

What do you think of "Chuck Amuck"? I definitely enjoyed reading it but I hunger for more info like this post :)

Also, anyone remember the name of the big hairy creature Jones created?

craig clark said...

Great post John. Though I do enjoy later Jones cartoons (Road Runner) a great deal, the Clampett ones, like 'Wabbit Trouble" and "Book Revue" are ones that stood out to me since I was a wee one. Wild 'n' off the wall, yeah.

Anonymous said...

"...Disney's sappy infantile sweet sissy cartoons..."

Call me infantile, sweet, or a sissy, but Disney's cartoons were hardly the cutest of the period. For every slightly smarmy WYNKEN, BLYNKEN AND NOD there's a wild MICKEY'S CIRCUS or an outrageous COCK ROBIN. The outrageousness isn't the same exaggerated kind that Avery and Clampett pioneered, but for sheer energy some are hard to beat.
Even in the late 1940s, when turning out the mawkish Pluto cartoons, Disney was also producing Goofy shorts full of relatively adult "tired businessman" humor; not my cup of tea, but hardly cutesy-wootsy either.

That said, I'm so tired of the Spumco urge to call things feminine and then dump on them. What an insult to real women and your own fans' intelligence. I thought you created George Liquor to make fun of him, not to become him.

Gavin Freitas said...

Holy Shit John, you gotta check this out if you already havent:
http://filboidstudge.blogspot.com/2006/07/robert-clampett-cartoon-and-story.html

I don't really care said...

That said, I'm so tired of the Spumco urge to call things feminine and then dump on them.

You gotta use some terms to describe a characteristic, and you gotta do it according to some frame of reference. John being a mighty lumberjack might have something to do with it. You've seen his wardrobe. He must be a lumberjack.

In any case, I like Jones' early cartoons quite a bit. It's almost like he took on the job of showing Disney what they ought to be doing, if they were gonna go that way. He seemed to want to out-Disney Disney, instead of Anti-Disneying him. They were sissyfied, but for my money they had more charm and style than Disney, and still had an understated Warner's edge that undercut the cutesiness.

BrianB said...

Very interesting post and a great read. Jones has always confused the hell out of me. I think you're very spot on when you said Jones was experimental and purposely not funny for many years. I enjoy a ton of Jones stuff, mostly the later comedies, but his entire filmography is very interesting itself. I wish I knew more about why he did some of the things he did.

R said...

The Dover Boys is great! One of my faves. Was Dan Backslide the inspiration for Dishonest John in Beany & Cecil, are were they just both created using the same old movie villain-type references?

Anonymous said...

That said, I'm so tired of the Spumco urge to call things feminine and then dump on them. What an insult to real women and your own fans' intelligence.

Hmm. Ok.

I, myself am fairly tired of the "fan" urge to get ridiculously outraged at every opinion the man has, just becuase it differes from their own, occasionally.

I'm Also getting pretty tired of comments around here from people who feel like this justifies whining and/or attacking him over just about every tiny little, ridiculous thing.

So what about those of us tired of constantly seeing THIS kind of thing on this blog's comments?

Or will THIS comment now be attacked for getting tired of reading that crap here all the time?

From,
Curious.

i don't get it either said...

That curious person has a really good point. Whenthere's something that is meant to inform or talk about cartoon directors, there just seems to be people that want to get on someones case, but most John's for some reason or other. Why are there always fights always from trivial things? It makes reading the comments harder than it should be. Although I think he probably could have been a little nicer about it, i think he has a really good point.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

I never liked Chuck's early cartoons as a kid but when I watched them again on the Cartoon Network I started noticing a lot of things that are technically well done about them. Better than a lot of what Disney was doing, in fact. The problem with them is that they really try to be positive and cute, but the characters in them are so harmless and ineffectual that it's hard to care that much about them.

Later on he was able to do cartoons like Feed The Kitty which is cute and sensitive but is brilliant and one of the greatest cartoons ever made. I guess for some reason it's a lot more fun to watch a big tough bulldog being sensitive than a cute squirrel or mouse.

Duck Dodgers said...

John,

what do you think about Chuck Jones' psychological rebuilt of Daffy's persona?
You know...the ego-maniac, greedy character he developed for cartoons like "Ali Baba Bunny" or "Beanstalk Bunny".....he changed one of my favorite characters ever into a fool for Bugs' antics!!

Look at "Rabbit Fire" or "Rabbit Seasoning"...I love them cartoons...but he ruined the character!!...that is not my Daffy...it is another character!..why do not use another new character?..A platypus, a mongoose, a pellican...everything but not me old Daffy...there, Chuck, are you happy?...You made me cry......

Anonymous said...

Post about Ultimate Fighting at some point.

You are a huge fan, supposedly, so I was wondering what your thoughts are on the whole Chuck Liddel vs Silva craziness.

Alicia said...

Chuck is the director I can relate to most because of his strengths & weaknesses.
From reading his books I feel that Chuck was trained more for fine and constantly doubted his own abilities. I remember reading that he didn't know why he was in art school because everyone there was better than him. Surely working next to comic geniouses like Avery & Clampett had this same reaction on him.
I also wonder if part of the reason it took so long for his cartoons to be "funny" is because it took him longer to come into his own. He's very influnced by many people and you can either learn from them or imitate them and unfortunately I think he tried to imitate them but then couldn't so he started experimenting and eventually came into his own. As any artist of any medium will tell you, sometimes you fall into your own while others really have to work at it and it takes longer because of that. Again, these are only my theories.
None the less, Chuck has always been my favourite, I don't care what anyone says.

David Germain said...

Look at "Rabbit Fire" or "Rabbit Seasoning"...I love them cartoons...but he ruined the character!!...that is not my Daffy...it is another character!..why do not use another new character?..A platypus, a mongoose, a pellican...everything but not me old Daffy...there, Chuck, are you happy?...You made me cry......

Dodgers, I talked about that in a Daffy Duck post I made about a month ago. Check it out right here.

Also, anyone remember the name of the big hairy creature Jones created?

In Water Water Every Hare (c. 1952) he's called Rudolph but later on Jones dubbed him as Gossamer.

Russell H said...

It seems to me that perhaps because Jones made pseudo-Disney cartoons at first that he was then able to "rebel" so successfully with the more "experimental" cartoons in the 1940s, the cartoons with the stylized animation (DOVER BOYS) or the "darker," more psychological humor that shows up later (Bugs more often messing with the minds of his tormentors, not just using physical violence).

The father of Charles Ives (1874-1954), one of America's great avant-garde composers, was a small-town bandmaster. When he found his son beginning to experiment with unusual harmonies, etc., he urged him to first get a "traditional" musical education, saying, "Before you can write music the wrong way, you have to know how to write it the right way."

Perhaps Jones had to make cartoons the "right way" (the conventional, mainstream, Disney way) in order to be able to then deform and derange them as effectively as he did.

Franky said...

My favorite Chuck Jones has sappy elements but is an awesome comedy - Feed the Kitty featuring that dog, Marc Anthony.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Jones isn't all bad. He directed two really good cartoons - Long Haired Hare and Homeless Hare.

-Eric A.

JohnK said...

>>It seems to me that perhaps because Jones made pseudo-Disney cartoons at first that he was then able to "rebel" so successfully with the more "experimental" cartoons in the 1940s<<

He could have rebelled right away like Clampett and Avery..

fabiopower said...

Hello John, What do you can say to us about the Bg�s, with different forced �angles, that can be seen in the �lost cartoons of Jones…?

fabiopower said...

Also is part of the influence of Chuck Jones?

Peggy said...

"He could have rebelled right away like Clampett and Avery."

I dunno. Different people have different trajectories. Some burst forth wildly, others take a while. Jones just wasn't from the Anarchic Rebel Cartoonist mold.

Someday I need to do some fact-checking on another theory I have about Jones.

Taco Jack said...

What an insightful post from AnJaka. /snark

By the way, who was the 'narrator' in The Dover Boys? I always get a kick out of the way he punctuates their name.

nate said...

Great post, John.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read Peggy's theory. Come on, Peggy! Out with it!

I think it's obvious that Jones wanted desperately to be a gold-plated Disney character animator from the get-go, a Frank Thomas or Eric Larson, not a silly/goofy/kwazy cartoon animator or director.
I think that working at WB was a compromise for him in his mind from the start, and he was frustrated almost his entire career about it although less so by the 50s. He had a huge inferiority complex--that much is plain from his autobiography, which is hard going. He comes across not as a man who loves simple old cartoons OR Bugs Bunny(the Bugs I know), but as a talented, amazing draftsman and animation director who's also a pompous, boring egomaniac in the bargain. Sad to say, but hey--HE wrote the book.
We look at and love his cartoons today, millions loved them then, but in all those years he really thought he'd have been a star animator or animation director at Disney's if he'd had the chance, but he knew Disney thought little of the WB studio. Anyway, that's why he was so obsessively making those "Disney audition" cartoons with Sniffles, Elmer and the candle, etc. in the early days. Thank godness he got in a groove of another kind.

I don't really care said...

...sometimes you fall into your own while others really have to work at it and it takes longer because of that.

Different people have different trajectories. Some burst forth wildly, others take a while. Jones just wasn't from the Anarchic Rebel Cartoonist mold.


Is it possible that with Clampett and Avery there, he felt he should find some different territory? His sense of humor was never like theirs, and he only would've made bad imitations, probably. He seemed to be experimenting with a more contemplative,toned down performance style, maybe as a counterpoint? Jones had a pretty big ego, and maybe he didn't want to be the 3rd wild cartoonist, he'd rather try to be Jones.

P.C. Unfunny said...

Look at "Rabbit Fire" or "Rabbit Seasoning"...I love them cartoons...but he ruined the character!!...that is not my Daffy...it is another character!..why do not use another new character?..A platypus, a mongoose, a pellican...everything but not me old Daffy...there, Chuck, are you happy?...You made me cry......

I have always considered the Jones verison of Daffy a vast improvemnet over the just "daffy" Daffy Duck,Jones improved the character. "The Scarlet Pumpernickel","Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 century", and the greatest Daffy cartoon,"Duck Amuck", are Daffy's best.

I don't really care said...

I'd like to think if Clampett had stayed put, we'd have had more Daffy like he was in BOOK REVUE... not just daffy, but a really witty and funny performer. Beats anything Jones did with him.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I'd like to think if Clampett had stayed put, we'd have had more Daffy like he was in BOOK REVUE... not just daffy, but a really witty and funny performer. Beats anything Jones did with him."

Jones made Daffy an actor as well as comedian in the cartoons I listed above, he made Daffy far more versatile. Just like Calmpett did with Bugs, he made him a great actor. Clampett's Daffy cartoons were fine but Jones' Daffy cartoon made Daffy a truely great character.

Anonymous said...

1948 is probably my favorite year for Warner shorts, period. So many hits that year! Even with Clampett gone, and the studio moving into a squarer style, we still have some great wild animation from the likes of Emery Hawkins and Manny Gould, and fantastic cartoons like "What's Brewin' Bruin", "Scaredy Cat", "Two Gophers from Texas", "Dough Ray Meow", "Gorilla My Dreams", "I Taw a Putty Tat", "Daffy Dilly", "You Were Never Duckier", "My Bunny Lies Over the Sea"... Man, what a great year for animation!

I don't really care said...

Jones made Daffy an actor as well as comedian in the cartoons I listed above, he made Daffy far more versatile.

I can't see it that way... Clampett's Daffy, it seems to me was capable of just about anything, while remaining in character... Jones' Daffy restrained his parameters. I don't mind what he did, I just feel really cheated that Clampett wasn't around anymore to duke it out with Jones for Daffy's soul...

John a said...

I really don't think he was interested at first in rebeling the same way Avery and Clampett. Personally, I think he started his career hoping to someday work for Disney. (notice that out of all of them ,he was the only one who eventually did, briefly, work for Disney)I think it was just something he had to get out of his system.

John, I notice you like to take potshot at Disney's cartoons of the mid to late thirties, and I admit they lack the vitality and sophistication of the wartime cartoons, but I think you have to put these films in some kind of historical perspective when you start comparing them. After all, most of Disney's cutesy color cartoons were made to entertain people that were suffering from the devestating effects of the Great Depression. Most of the movie going audience was made up of women and children. (ever wonder why so many mindless Busby Berkley type musicals were made during this era?)People were looking for mindless escapism, and Disney's colorful fantasies provided them with a few minutes in another world. Now, by the time the war in Europe had started to invade the consiousness of the kids who had now become cynical teenagers, the WB artists were finding a new audience.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I can't see it that way... Clampett's Daffy, it seems to me was capable of just about anything, while remaining in character."

That'a pretty much what Jones did,Jones' version of Daffy is a struggler while Clampett's Daffy was nuts. They weren't complete opposites though, Jones' Daffy was still wacky when he was "Duck Dodgers" or "Drip along Daffy" but another dimension was added to the character.

I don't really care said...

Not just a struggler... sometimes an outright loser, like when he is greedy and conniving. Maybe it is an additional dimension, but it's one where the witty and flamboyant nutcase gets lost. I probably wouldn't make an issue of it, had somebody kept making those kind of cartoons, too.

Roberto González said...

Very interesting post.

I have yet to decide which Daffy I like the most. I used to love Jones' Daffy until I knew Clampett's. I think I prefer Clampett's but I like Jones' especially when he is not paired with Bugs. Jones has great Daffy-Porky shorts and of course that great cartoon called The Scarlett Pumpernickel, which is one of my faves ever and I liked it better than What's Opera Doc.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Personally the two Daffy cartoons that always made me laugh the hardest were Clampett's Baby Bottleneck and Art Davis's Stupor Salesman.

I like most of Jones's Daffy cartoons too but I miss the complete unpredictability of the earlier Daffy who definitely made me laugh harder. It's kind of sad that that character gets overshadowed by the Chuck Jones Daffy who is easier to emulate and has more catch phrases.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Not just a struggler... sometimes an outright loser, like when he is greedy and conniving."

I foudn Daffy this way when Freleng was in conrtol of him like in "Show Biz Bugs", not the Jones toons. As much as I respect Friz "Show Biz Bugs" is one of his most over praised cartoons,Daffy was basically a villian and it got even worse in those Daffy and Speedy toons during the 1960's.

"Maybe it is an additional dimension, but it's one where the witty and flamboyant nutcase gets lost."

I see this when he's preforming his roles like "Drip Along Daffy" he is very much "Daffy".

Roberto González said...

Anybody here ever watched the Timberwolf flash cartoons Chuck Jones created in his very last years? I don't know how many influence he did really have on them but I found them pretty good, considering the fact that he hadn't done a single funny cartoon in the previous years and you have to go way back in time to find the classic and funny ones, and the fact that they were new characters and the cartoons were done in flash.

Eric Dotseth said...

I am glad to see that Chuck Jones grew out of the 'cutesy animal' phase.

I don't really care said...

I see this when he's preforming his roles like "Drip Along Daffy" he is very much "Daffy".

He's very much Jones' later Daffy. For some reason when the 50's arrived, Daffy was purely a foil. I don't mind him being used as a foil, but what happened to the rest of him? I'll take A PEST IN THE HOUSE as an example of Jones getting Daffy right. I don't think he ever did another one in that vein.

Operation GutterBall said...

John,
How about 'Inki At The Circus'? There's a sequence when they run into the circus tent that looks like Jim Tyer stuff. I know this is impossible since Jim was an East Coast guy.

Anonymous said...

" Most of the movie going audience was made up of women and children. (ever wonder why so many mindless Busby Berkley type musicals were made during this era?)"

Boy, if you think Busby Berkeley's great musicals of the early-to-mid 1930s were for "women and children" you haven't made yourself sit down and really watch them.
They were FAR from "mindless"--in fact, they were downright smutty at times(MOST times), and deliberately so. They had killer music(witness the fact that most of us, even people in their 20s, know all the songs introduced in thopse films), they were brilliantly, breathtakingly staged--even the ones with a fair share of "corny" dialogue. Ruby Keeler was imho a barely passable(okay, POOR) actress with a strange dancing style who was so pretty and watchable that she's redeemed by the staging of Berkeley's amazing, jaw-dropping musical numbers which were FAR, far more than simple goofy camera shots of legs. There was sex sex sex aplenty in the best of these(including nudity, either in silhouette--with all the edges clearly shown, fellas--or women wearing no bras and barely anything else): the audience was MEN and women, adults with a very mature and sly funnybone that got all the dirty jokes(and there are dozens)BB put in those films. The dialogue in "Golddiggers of '33", "Footlight Parade", and "42nd Street" among others is crackling and witty; here's a bit from 42nd Street:"[there goes] Anytime Annie: she only said "no" once and then she didn't hear the question!".
And this from "Footlight Parade": [Joan Blondell kicking her chiseling, loose sister out of her room after finding her trying to screw her boyfriend: "Get out, 'countess'; as long as there are sidewalks YOU'LL have a job!"--then kicks her in the ass on the way out! So much for the kids! The "Shanghai Lil" number from "Parade" shows every kind of vice, including a brief, moody opium-smoking scene and this line from the title song: "She's every sailor's pal! She's anybody's gal! Drink a toast to Shanghai Lil!"

Long comment but I really think these films are so racy, so clever and SUCH genius that I hate to see them reduced to being thought of as silly mindless fun for the kiddies...they were fun, alright--I can just imagine the fun couples had after any one of these when they got home. But you made a good point about the depression, and there's no doubt that the Disney output and others did fill a need in the audience for some good clean fun, loads of schmaltz. It's just that Berkeley wasn't quite like that. Check his films out again.

JohnK said...

...just in case anyone misinterprets me, I think Chuck Jones is brilliant.

Dave_the_Turnip said...

In a DVD i have that sums up Jones' career pretty quickly ("Extremes and Inbetweens: A Life in Animation"), Jones says that the way he went about the characters is as simple as Bugs is a winner, Daffy is a loser.

Now while I believe that Daffy's reactions to being foiled by Bugs in cartoons like "Rabbit Seasoning" are hilarious, i saw "Book Revue" for the first time on a collection of cartoon DVDs i bought last week.

The Daffy in that cartoon blew me away. He was much more rounded. Not just zany and impulsive but a captivating entertainer. I watched his entire monologue with awe (and cracked up at him scatting to Red Riding Hood).

I think maybe that's where the difference lays. Jones took the zany screwball duck, and he turned him into a character that battles against the odds but mostly fails. Even in the cartoons where he's paired up with Porky, he can never get a break. "Robin Hood Daffy" stands out in my mind as a good example for that.

To make a point though, i think that's one of the magical things about those old cartoons. The fact that the characters acted differently depending which director was at the helm. It is something i would like to see more of in animation today.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"He's very much Jones' later Daffy. For some reason when the 50's arrived, Daffy was purely a foil. I don't mind him being used as a foil, but what happened to the rest of him ?"

The role he was in had him as a foil but he still was "Daffy", hs reactions,movements,etc. still remained looney. He wasn't as nutty as Clampett's version but Jones never made him completely settle down.

"I'll take A PEST IN THE HOUSE as an example of Jones getting Daffy right. I don't think he ever did another one in that vein."

What about Daffy Dilly ?

I don't really care said...

Maybe. Can't remember it clearly, but we are still in the 40's...

Jorge Garrido said...

I like Chuck, but I read somehwere he would hvae been happy if all the cartoons made efore 1948 were lokced in a vault. He seemed to really dislike that Clampett/Avery/Woody Woodpecker rebellious irreverent style.

Anonymous said...

-" ...just in case anyone misinterprets me, I think Chuck Jones is brilliant.

really? woulda never guessed it judging from your golden collection commentaries

JohnK said...

>>-" ...just in case anyone misinterprets me, I think Chuck Jones is brilliant.

really? woulda never guessed it judging from your golden collection commentaries <<

I only did one Chuck Jones cartoon and it was a remake of one he did better before and I said that.

Anonymous said...

don't forget Waikiki Wabbit, though eddie did most of the talking

Its frustrating that they're being so damn stingy w/ the Tex toons. I actually expected them to have a dearth of Clampett's material, not based on merit but given the circumstances(you know).

But man, all I want is some Tex and vintage Tash toons

Meanwhile, the Jones selections are mediocre. Its obvious they're magnanimaously pandering to the nostalgic Turner and Nick rerun crowd but even they realize their fave toons are yet to surface

Nate Birch said...

On the subject of Daffy...I like Chuck's more.

Clampett's Daffy always just struck me as just Bug Bunny turned up...the were both the same basic crazy trickster character that nearly every Clampett hero was.

Jones gave him a unique personality. And yeah, he was a jerk and a loser. So what? Jerks and losers can be entertaining characters too.

I mean, we all like Ren don't we?

mark said...

this is such a cool article! i'm really enjoying reading this

Roberto González said...

>Clampett's Daffy always just struck me as just Bug Bunny turned up...the were both the same basic crazy trickster character that nearly every Clampett hero was.<

Hummm...He was very different to Bugs Bunny. He is totally different to Bugs in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.

Jones had an amount of early wacky Daffy stuff, What Makes Daffy Duck (if it is the one I am thinking of) is another one.

I think Daffy was still a little wacky in Duck Amuck or Deduce, I Say. And I don't mind if he's a jerk...but he seems too mean and less likeable in some parts of the Bugs-Daffy shorts. I enjoy when he's a jerk but he's kind of unaware of it (A Pest In The House, Nasty Quacks) or when he's totally nuts so you can't tell if he's being a jerk on purpose or it's just his mind being completely wacky (McKimson's Boobs In The Woods).

J. J. Hunsecker said...

Jones didn't create a new persona for Daffy, he simply stripped away certain elements from Daffy's already established character, leaving only the selfish part intact.

Daffy shows signs of self preservation and malice as early as 1940 in Freleng's "You Ought To Be In Pictures". This side of his personality also appears in Clampett's "Draftee Daffy", where the little black duck tries to kill the "little man from the draft board." There's also Tashlin's "Nasty Quacks". These cartoons also contain the emotional and exuberantly "daffy" parts of Daffy's persona. His emotions were at a higher pitch in this era.

That makes for a richer character. Daffy had never been as dimensional a personality as in the 40's. He could be a hero or villian. It's only in the 40's that we see Daffy feel lust (think of the many Tashlin cartoons he starred in).

Besides, Jones was using the selfish, greedy Daffy in the early 40's, too. Just look at "Tom Turk and Daffy".

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Maybe. Can't remember it clearly, but we are still in the 40's..."

Daffy Dilly was made in 1948, the toon was about an old millionaire who will give a fortune to anyone who can make him laugh before he dies, Daffy tries to see him but he is being thwarted by the millionaire's butler. Daffy is both a struggler and very nutty here, he even dose the classic "whoo-hoo!".

C. A. M. Thompson said...

"What Makes Daffy Duck" was by Art Davis, the most underrated cartoon director of all time.

The hardest I ever laughed at Daffy is probably Davis' Stupor Salesman tied with Clampett's Baby Bottleneck.

Jorge Garrido said...

>Besides, Jones was using the selfish, greedy Daffy in the early 40's, too. Just look at "Tom Turk and Daffy".

Didn't Artie Davis REALLY direct that?

lastangelman said...

1.)Didn't Artie Davis REALLY direct that?
Quite a few cartoons Art Davis directed gets attributed to the other directors. His influence as an animator really stands out in a Sylvester The Cat cartoon directed by Friz Freleng, Canned Feud, check it Out! After Clampett left, Art Davis seemd most likely to carry on the looney style, til Warners downsized him
2.)John K said (Does anyone know if the 3 bears are based on a specific radio show of the time?)
Nope, this one was a Michael Maltese-Ted Pierce original, not based on any running radio show or characters. Yep, this beats the Flintstones and The Simpsons anyday.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Art Davis seemd most likely to carry on the looney style, til Warners downsized him"

But why ? He did some very good cartoons in his all too short tenure as a director.

Jeff Schiller said...

Actually I feel that Jones' turning point was early 1942. There we get some truly funny cartoons like "The Draft Horse" and "Dover Boys". There was still "sap" in the form of Inki up to 1950, but it shows a steady decline from about 1942 on. Even the few remaining Sniffles after 1942 are funny with Sniffles undergoing a major change in terms of character and tone.

I think by early 1942, Jones had lost the battle (and thank God he did!).

JohnK: What do you think about "The Draft Horse"?