Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chuck Jones, Style and The Future - Bugs Bonnets

I remember when I first saw "Bugs Bonnets". It was in the mid 60s in a movie theater. They still ran shorts at some theaters then and they would run cartoons from a few years earlier. The big screen really is the best way to see classic shorts of any kind!
(a Bob McKimson animated title)

My Dad would take me to the cartoons and then I would talk his ear off about them after. I was about 10 years old and Bugs Bonnets really made an impression on me. There was something different about it.

So happy in anticipation of the future that George Lucas and Neal Diamond would steal from me

I didn't know the word "style" yet. I thought of everything in terms of "old fashioned" and "futuristic". This looked like future cartoons to me (even though it was from 1955- I thought it was new). I didn't analyze it or anything, because I didn't know what that was yet. I did notice that everything was angular. All the rounded edges of the characters now had corners. Yet the drawings were still great. They weren't flat.

I imagined advanced cartoonists with big angular brains, tiny limbs from the far future of 1976 creating highly skilled 3 dimensional cartoons filled with hilarity and futuristic style and then transporting themselves back to 1965 to share their sensory delights with us primitive rounded creatures.

I think from then on, I was really aware of style and modernity. These terms have since come to mean different things than what they meant in the 60s (and earlier). Just as I was becoming aware of the futureness of style, the 70s descended and everything slipped into the dark ages Style and the future disappeared from the planet. Videotaped TV programs, Saturday Morning cartoons, soft rock and Star Wars cloaked the earth with a yellow ochre haze of blandness and the future died. Skill also vanished along with style.

I had to keep digging through the past from then on, to see what the future could (and I thought should) be.I was too young yet to recognize the danger of creeping gayness that can threaten too much application of style

Bugs Bonnets is on Looney Tunes 5.

Buy this set for everyone this Christmas!

Or get all 5 sets...