The genius of Jones

I just finished Chuck Amuck, the wonderful memoir by longtime animation director Chuck Jones. Reading about his experiences working at Warner Bros., and his insights into the characters he helped develop, brought back pleasant memories of my own. Though the cartoons by Jones and his cohorts were designed to be shown in film theaters (as a change of pace between features), they got a second life when TV came around, and I for one will always grateful.

If it weren’t for Saturday morning cartoons, I would probably never have met the insouciant, supremely capable Bugs, the amoral and hilariously egotistical Daffy, or the hapless, self-destructive Wile E. Coyote. I never would’ve seen masterpieces like “Rabbit of Seville,” “What’s Opera, Doc?”, and “Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century.” Not to mention “Duck Amuck,” which is a great animation about the nature of animation, as well as one of the funniest short films I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but most of my favorite Looney Tunes — the ones that I find myself humming or talking along with — were directed by one Charles M. Jones.

Thanks, Mr. Jones, for your great stories (both in your cartoons and in your book) and for your part in creating such wonderful character comedies. Hopefully you’re happily working away at the Great Animation Studio in the Sky.

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