Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings

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Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings


Hugh Kenner

Date published:



Berkeley: University of California Press

ISBN: 0520087976 (alk. paper)


The author first presents the history of animation and then focuses on the Warner Brothers animation studio, out of which came the wildest, most outrageous cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s. The author shows that Warner was the only place in animation where the auteur theory applies, since each Warner cartoon director had his own take on the studio’s characters. The main focus of the book is on Chuck Jones, a winner of three Academy Awards and one of the directors responsible for the classics featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and the Road Runner. The author praises Jones  for his mastery of the Warner characters’ personalities, along with his distinctive comic sensibilities and sense of visual design, which all made his cartoons standouts. The author examines Jones’ career and the artistry behind his career as animator. The author also argues that Jones and other animators at Warner Brothers, unlike at Walt Disney, were not interested in cartoons that mimicked reality but instead they were interested in the reality of the imagination. As author shows, for animators working for Warner Brothers believability is more important than realism and movement is the ultimate aesthetic arbiter. The author also describes the relationship of art to technology, criticism, freedom, and imagination.

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