CHUCK AMUCK: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist by Chuck Jones

CHUCK AMUCK: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Illustrated autobiography of the co-creator of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote, and the Roadrunner. Readers expecting a rerun on Friedwald and Beck's The Warner Bros. Cartoons (1961) will not find it in Jones' memoir, which is often more as if written by Bugs or Daffy Duck, with the facts fading in and out of the wascally humor. Jones is revered as a comic genius of the golden age of animated shorts at Warner Bros., which lasted from the late 30's to the cartoon division's shutdown in 1963. He is fairly amusing here, but even his more expository passages are splattered with slapstick as if to be read aloud by the late Mel Blanc, who did many of the voices for Jones' cartoons. Homage is paid to Jones' fellow greats, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Mike Maltese, Tedd Pierce, and others, all of whom contributed some quirks to the animated characters. (Bugs was not born in one cartoon; he grew over the years and through a number of slips in tone into the heroic cynic we now know him as.) Jones is also fine on the needs of good animation: loving what you caricature, respecting impulse, believing that an animator is in a privileged trade meant to make people laugh, and that character is all in comedy. Post-Bugs, he made such beauties as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cricket in Times Square--although his heart is most deeply moved by memories of Daffy Duck, who, unlike Bugs but like Chaplin and Keaton, was a loser. Great moments scattered throughout.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux