chuck amuck

Happy 76th birthday, Bugs Bunny!

“Golden Rule. Bugs must always be provoked. In every film, someone must have designs upon his person: gastronomic, as a trophy, as a good-luck piece (rabbit’s foot, which makes as much sense as a rabbit carrying a human foot on a key chain), as an unwilling participant in a scientific experiment (laboratory rabbit or outer-space creature). Without such threats, Bugs is far too capable a rabbit to evoke the necessary sympathy.

“From Hair-Raising Hare (May 1946) on, I did not have to ask for whom the rabbit toiled, he toiled for me. I no longer drew pictures of Bugs; I drew Bugs. I timed Bugs. I knew Bugs, because what Bugs aspired to, I too aspired to. Aside from a few stumbles, Bugs and I were always at ease with one another.”

–Chuck Jones in “Chuck Amuck” pgs. 211, 212

“The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful.” 

–Mark Twain, Roughing It

Drawing of Chuck Jones as a young boy alongside Wile E. Coyote, graphite on 12 field animation paper, by Chuck Jones, 1988. It appears in his autobiography, Chuck Amuck on page 35. He says when he read Twain’s description of a coyote in Roughing It, at around age seven, he felt it described him perfectly. 

To me then, and to Daffy Duck now, “selfish” means “honest but antisocial”; “unselfish” means “socially acceptable but often dishonest.” We all want the whole cake, but, unlike Daffy and at least one six-year-old boy, the coward in the rest of us keeps the Daffy Duck, the small boy in us, under control.
—  Chuck Jones writing in his autobiography “Chuck Amuck” 1989

Chuck Jones as a young boy compared to Wile E. Coyote, graphite on 12 field animation paper, 10.5" x 12.5" by Chuck Jones. Appears on page 35 of his autobiography, Chuck Amuck.

“The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful.”

–Mark Twain, Roughing It

2

Slop artist!

“Duck Amuck” directed by Chuck Jones, Feb. 28, 1953. Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Ken Harris and Lloyd Vaughn;  Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice characterizations by Mel Blanc; Musical direction by Carl W. Stalling. 

Photo: Maurice Noble and Chuck Jones, circa 1992. 

Relative sizes of a coyote and a young boy (the artist). Illustration for “Chuck Amuck” by Chuck Jones, graphite on 12 field animation paper, circa 1988.

“The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful.” 

–Mark Twain, Roughing It