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Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films. He directed 34 theatrical Tom and Jerry cartoons for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer while working at Sib Tower 12 Productions (later MGM Animation/Visual Arts).

Jones had previously been involved with Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons.

History

Early life

Jones was born to Mabel McQuiddy (Martin) and Charles Adams Jones. He later moved with his parents and three siblings to Los Angeles, California.

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. While at Iwerks, he met a cel painter named Dorothy Webster, who later became his first wife.

MGM

Sib Tower 12 Productions took over the production of future theatrical MGM cartoons after the thirteen Tom and Jerry cartoons produced by Rembrandt Films were released to theaters. Chuck Jones served as the director of the cartoons - 34 were part of the Tom and Jerry series and two (The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics and The Bear That Wasn't) were adaptations of books. The cartoons were released to theaters from 1963 to 1967. The Dot and the Line won the 1966 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.[2]

Chuck Jones was also responsible for making changes to the MGM cartoons when they were broadcast on television. Mammy Two Shoes was replaced by a pale, thin, Irish Woman voiced by June Foray. Completely new title cards were made as well, along with new bumpers of Tom and Jerry chasing each other.

Jones stated in a 1971 interview that he didn't understand Tom and Jerry the same way that Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera did, and that he was uncomfortable with the level of violence in the cartoons they directed.[3] Despite this, his Tom and Jerry shorts were deemed far superior to Gene Deitch's efforts.

References

  1. "Linda Jones Clough Reminisces on Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood"
  2. Oscars.org (1966)
  3. "The Animation Critic's Art Part IX: Mistakes in Directing"
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