Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Jones Interview’

“What’s up, Doc?” Saturday Mornings with Bugs Began 50 Years Ago

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Somewhere in your memory there’s likely an image of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck donning hats and canes, singing “This is It.” That was the intro to The Bugs Bunny Show, which debuted on Saturday mornings on April 7, 1962 and became the longest, continuously-running morning children’s program in network TV history.

The Bugs Bunny Show actually premiered in primetime 2 years earlier, on October 11, 1960, and ran through September 25, 1962 on ABC ’s Tuesday nights from 7:30-8:00pm. (1960 was a big year for primetime cartoons -The Filnstones premiered that same season.) The program was developed for television after ABC President Ollie Treyz learned that WGN Chicago enjoyed ratings success by airing Bugs Bunny cartoons in primetime. ABC promptly purchased all Warner Brothers theatrical cartoons that had not yet been released for TV and packaged them into a half-hour program with new introductions and transitions by the Warner Brothers characters. While still airing in primetime, an A.M. version began airing on ABC on April 7, 1962 – the program generations of children would come to equate with Saturday mornings.

The shorts within the show were never intended to solely appeal to kids. The Warner Brothers cartoons were created for theatrical release as entertainment before the main film began, not as sketches for a children’s television program. Kids and adults have been loving them for decades now.

The Saturday morning show employed several names over the years (The Bugs Bunny Show, The Bugs Bunny-Roadrunner Show, The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour, The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show) and ran on ABC from 1962-68 (on Sunday mornings during the final year), on CBS from 1968-73, back on ABC from 1973-75, again on CBS from 1975-85, and once more on ABC from 1985-2000. Mel Blanc did all of the original voices, and Archive interviewee Chuck Jones animated and created several of the legendary Warner Brothers characters.

Chuck Jones on creating Bugs Bunny:

And on putting together shorts for The Bugs Bunny Show:

Bugs got an afternoon show on the WB from 1996-98 (Bugs ‘n’ Daffy), but is no longer a part of the Saturday morning cartoon block on network television. Cartoon Network now owns the rights to the Looney Toons/Merrie Melodies library and Bugs and friends can still be seen there.

That’s all, Folks!

Watch animator Chuck Jones’ full interview and visit our Bugs Bunny Show page for more info.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Chuck Jones’ “Merrie Melodies” and More

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Our three-hour interview with Chuck Jones is now online! The legendary animator spoke in great detail about the animation process and the creation of many of his memorable characters, including the lovable “Bugs Bunny,” “Daffy Duck,” and “Wile E. Coyote.” He shared tales of his boyhood – of growing up across the street from Charlie Chaplin’s studio, and of how his childhood dog influenced the way in which he brought the character of “Max,” the Grinch’s dog in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to life on the small screen. Jones also detailed the origins of the Merrie Melodies shorts, and shared how “Bugs Bunny” got his name.

Below, enjoy a few excerpts from the interview:

Chuck Jones on creating “Bugs Bunny:”

On animating World War II training films with Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel):

And on bringing How the Grinch Stole Christmas to television:

Watch Chuck Jones’ full interview here.

About this interview:

Chuck Jones (1912-2002) was interviewed for three hours in Orange County, CA.  Jones fondly recalled creating notable Looney Tunes characters, including “Bugs Bunny,” “Daffy Duck,” “Pepe Le Pew,” “Wile E. Coyote,” and “Road-Runner.” He spoke about attending art school, outlined the early days of Hollywood’s animation industry in the 1930s, and recounted joining the Leon Schlesinger studio in 1933. He discussed Schelsinger’s sale of the studio to Warner Brothers, commented on his brief tenure at Walt Disney’s studio, and spoke of creating training films with Dr. Seuss during World War II. Jones described the basics of the animation process, the importance of story, and the challenges of directing a cartoon, and spoke in depth about directing the successful 1967 television special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Tom Sito conducted the interview on June 17, 1998.

You’re Still a Mean One, Mr. Grinch: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Turns 45!

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

He’s a curmudgeon, he steals presents, he squelches Christmas cheer … and then his heart grows three sizes and we all hold him dear! “The Grinch” has become an integral part of the holiday season, for How the Grinch Stole Christmas is now the lead-off holiday special on network television, signaling the annual broadcasting of the animated Christmas classics. The 26-minute short, an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book of the same title, first debuted on CBS on December 18, 1966 and tells the tale of a grouchy, green, Grinch, who with the help of some residents of Whoville, learns the true meaning of Christmas. The program was directed by veteran animator Chuck Jones, features Boris Karloff as the narrator and voice of “The Grinch,” and June Foray as the voice of the adorable “Cindy Lou Who.”

In their respective Archive interviews, Chuck Jones, June Foray, and animator Phil Roman each spoke in depth about their involvement with the holiday classic.

Chuck Jones on taking How the Grinch Stole Christmas from book to TV movie:

Phil Roman on animating the film:

And June Foray on voicing “Cindy Lou Who:”

Learn more about How the Grinch Stole Christmas at our show page.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Bugs Bunny at 70

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The first “official” Bugs Bunny cartoon was released by Warner Bros. on July 27, 1940— “A Wild Hare,” featuring Elmer Fudd’s hopeless pursuit of Bugs.  Bugs’ first line in this cartoon?  “Eh, What’s up Doc?”  The classic theatrical shorts were produced through 1964.

In TV terms, Warner Bros. released its Looney Tunes cartoon shorts to the new medium in 1955 and they were shown on local stations in evening slots.  From 1960-62, The Bugs Bunny Show aired on ABC in prime time (where it found itself opposite CBS’ Marshal Dillon and NBC’s Laramie!).  Departing for Saturday mornings under such titles as The Bugs Bunny—Road Runner Show, the Saturday morning version became, according to Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh’s The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, the longest continuously running Saturday morning children’s program in the history of network television.

Animator Chuck Jones directed many of the classic Bugs Bunny theatrical shorts, including— “Rabbit of Seville,” and “What’s Opera, Doc?”  He was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on June 17, 1998.

“What’s up, Doc?’ is now known as a funny line.  It wasn’t funny. It’s only funny because of the situation.  You put it in human terms:  you walk up to the front room, the door is partly open, there’s some guy shooting into your living room.  So what do you do?  You run if you have any sense.  The least you do is call the cops.  But what if what you do, you come up and tap him on the shoulder and look over and say, ‘What’s up, Doc?”  You’re interested in what he’s doing.  It’s ridiculous.  That’s not what you say at a time like that.  So, that’s why it’s funny I think.  In other words, it’s asking a perfectly legitimate question, in a perfectly illogical situation.”

— Chuck Jones