Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tribute to...who now?

Man this is the topic that just doesn't quit.

After spending two solid days ripping on this innocent little image, I was willing to give my inner snarkmeister a rest.

And then this arrived in the mail:
Not so bad you say? Surely we've seen worse. Here's the rub: it's the cover of an invitation from the Motion Picture Academy to come see an exhibit of CHUCK JONES' artwork.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, CHUCK JONES, probably the most instantly recognizable visual stylist of all cartoon directors.

Hey, look, I am grateful they are doing it and look forward to seeing it, but how in the blazes is this representative of the Chuck Jones even a casual fan would recognize? Is it even from anything by him? Looks more like middling Freleng to me... (I like Friz, but the guys were worlds apart and knew it). I mean, with a whole collection to choose from, this is what they pick? Might as well put a still of Snoopy on there, or Betty Boop or the Kool Aid man. Imagine a tribute to Jim Henson featuring a shot of "Peanut." Or a Hitchcock film festival represented by an obscure still from the "ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS" TV show. It's a classic case of aiming for the ground and missing...and then not being aware of it.

I have a minuscule collection of original animation art but both the Chuck Jones pieces I own are more representative than this. Almost any google check at random would produce something better. Heck, even a sub-par gallery cel by him would have made more sense. It seems in the almost 4 decades since Joe Adamson wrote eloquently and hilariously about the sloppiness of cinema scholarship regarding animation, (something Mr. Adamson has done a heroic job of correcting), the general attitudes still prevail.

Chuck Jones is an icon. He created in his lifetime dozens, if not hundreds of iconic movie images. Whatever this is, it isn't one of them and he deserves better, especially from an organization as esteemed and knowledgeable as AMPAS.

For all you young people out there who love this stuff here's one warning: be prepared for a lifetime of seeing what you love get disrespected even when they are trying not to!

13 comments:

RooniMan said...

Yeesh. That Bugs cel is lacking.

Dan Alexander said...

Yikes--what a blunder! So for a Will Finn art exhibit, we better make sure nobody takes a random picture of Iago from an episode of the Aladdin TV series and slaps it on an invitation.

Uncle Phil said...

amazing.

Thad said...

It's a McKimson Bugs from a Bugs Bunny Show episode.

Roberto Severino said...

Unbelievable. They should have used something from Chuck Jones's artistic peak, like some drawings from "One Froggy Evening" or "What's Opera, Doc?" (that really should have been obvious for whoever picked that relatively weak drawing out. Those are two of his most well-known masterpieces). Even a Crawford drawing or the bear from "The Bear that Wasn't" would have been better suited for this. Just my two cents.

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Yeah That is definitely a McKimson Bugs.

Will Finn said...

I guess that's what late McKimson looks like to me: "middling Freleng"!

For years there was a really crummy still of "Wyle E. Coyote" floating around that I swore was not Jones', and sadly, I turned out to be wrong!

This invitation thing is just depressing.

Perica and Toshke said...

and...have you gone to see exhibitions?

Will Finn said...

Have not seen it yet. I believe it starts next month.

michaelamos said...

What were they thinking (or not thinking!) Your right - as soon as I saw it I thought - that is a Freleng Bugs. Of the hundreds of cartoons Chuck directed and the thousands of drawings available - they picked that one!

Perica and Toshke said...

Is this that exhibition
http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/exhibitions/2010/chuckjones.html

Same mistake is in a slide show

Skim said...

HAH!!! that's hilarious.

Pokey said...

Will, I would say that the picture you posted of Bugs Bunny there that looks Freleng-ish is much more of an insult to Freleng and other non-Jones directors since Jones is credited.

Sorry, Roberto, but instead of "One Froggy Evening" or "What's Opera, Doc", made when Jones started jumping the shark and getting too artsy, I'd susggest an earlier shot of a late 40s-early 50s ones. Besides, "Evening" and "Opera" are far from unknown to cartoon fans and casual fans..A tribute to other or all the WB directors in my humble opinion could have been the utmost.