One of my many obligations as a cartoon fan who is also a parent is to make sure my children are introduced to the classics and the nostalgic. My son, Peter, is three years old and it should come as no surprise that he loves Looney Tunes, though not every Looney Tune. As we poured through the first two volumes of the DVD sets, I became aware that he would only laugh out loud for specific cartoons. I started keeping track of which ones: Water, Water Every Hare; One Froggy Evening; Feed the Kitty; Bully for Bugs.
What do all of these cartoons have in common? They are all directed by Chuck Jones. Even little Peter’s toddler mind could recognize, albeit subconsciously, the specific humour found in Chuck Jones’s direction—and most importantly, he found it funny.
Chuck ended his autobiography, Chuck Amuck, with a story about Ray Bradbury’s fifty-fifth birthday party. One smartalec partygoer asked Ray, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Ray replied, “I want to be fourteen years old like Chuck Jones.”
I would say that Chuck not only thought like a fourteen year old, but like a three year old and an eighty year old as well.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of a legend whose gift to the world was creating entertainment that could be enjoyed by any age from any generation. We miss you, Chuck, but at least we get to enjoy your spirit through the legacy you’ve left behind.