My first cartoon memoir, I chose wisely. This book is truly a monument to animation, and to one of its legends.

Chuck doesn't tell his full life story but rather what parts of it influenced his cartoons, thus avoiding the horror of enduring his political and religious opinions.

It is still mind-boggling the amount of thought Chuck put into the comedy of his films, even to the point of the ways the characters move and walk. It's stunning.

As much as The Illusion of Life is listed as the ultimate book on character animation, this book does the same thing more clearly in less pages and less words. This is not to doubt Frank and Ollie; instead it says tons on Chuck's genius.

Like with most of Chuck's retellings, many of his anecdotes are funny, but probably exaggerated, either a little or completely, like as the numerous Eddie Seltzer stories, and Henry Warner's belief that their studio made Mickey Mouse cartoons. Read with a cautious eye!


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  1. I have this book, and it might be due for re-reading; I'm sure it's been at least ten years. Jones was well-read, admired Mark Twain and had a similarly epigrammatic writing style and wit. It's also as telling for what it doesn't say as for what it does; for example, there's no mention of Bob Clampett. Maybe Jones was just remembering what Thumper's father said.

    A while ago I read on Andreas Deja's blog that after "The Little Mermaid" came out, Chuck Jones invited the Disney animators to his home to congratulate them on their achievement. They all wanted to talk to Jones about his work, but he only wanted to talk about theirs.

    1. That's funny about Chuck. The ego accusations aren't fair. He had one, but not on Clampett's level, who's activism may have been self-serving for "Bugs Bunny's creator". I'm sure many of Chuck's stories are slightly exaggerated, for the sake of the narrative.

      That Thumper quote was what I thought about Mike Barrier's book, in fact EXACTLY.

  2. Opinions on Jones differ. It only proves that he was a complex personality whose work will continue to be discussed and debated for as long as people watch cartoons. So it's good that he left us an account of his life and work in his own words.


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