Robin Williams on Chuck Jones
“Which artistic image is more famous: the slight, enigmatic smile that da Vinci gave to Mona Lisa or the know-it-all, wisenheimer sneer that Chuck Jones gave to Daffy Duck? Which artistic image conveys more emotion: the angst-filled face in Munch’s painting The Scream or the look of comic fear on Wile E. Coyote’s face when he learns that his Acme Spring-Propelled Catapult has just flung him off a 200-foot precipice toward a certain-to-be-uncomfortable face-first rendezvous with a huge granite slab? Which artistic image most accurately conveys man’s intellectualism: Rodin’s The Thinker or Bugs Bunny?
“Chuck Jones deserves a seat of honor right alongside all of those ”artistes.” Sure, Picasso painted some of the world’s classic works of art, but he never drew a Daffy Duck tantrum. That takes real talent. Monet never turned a skunk into one of the world’s most amourous and debonair gentlemen. Michelangelo never turned a meek, stuttering pig into a comic Everyman. Van Gogh probably would have given his left ear to have created such works of art as the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. If any of these artists were alive today, they’d be pea-green with professional jealousy over the accomplishments of the Great Jones.
“Why? Look at Chuck’s body of work. Talk about prolific. I bet that if you were to watch one Chuck Jones cartoon per day, you might actually reach Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century. Think of each painstaking drawing needed for one Daffy Duck short film compared to one measly canvaas required to paint Van Goghs’ Starry, Starry Night. One measly canvas! Heck, Chuck probably thows away more unfinished art (animators refer to these precious gems as “mistakes”) than Monet ever even attempted. Obviously Chuck didn’t draw each and every panel by himself. Naturally he had help from the Animation Elves who diligently tinker away in his studio all night long with sketchpads and magical pencils while Chuck sleeps, happily dreaming of opportunities that will leave Daffy and the Coyote puzzled, bewildered, and frustrated by their own ineptitude. The point is that while Cézanne’s name went on relatively few works of art, Chuck Jones’s name is...well, it’s on lots of stuff.
“Best of all, you don’t have to travel all the way to the Louvre or the Sistine Chapel to enjoy the works of Chuck Jones. You could if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t find it there. You can, however, find Chuck’s work just about anywhere else in the world. Porky Pig can be heard speaking Spanish in Spain, German in Germany, Irish in Ireland, Icicle in Iceland, Belge in Belgium, and Liecht in Liechtenstein. Chances are, if you flip on your TV right now, anywhere in the world, night or day, a Chuck Jones original is on display. You can have it right in the privacy of your own home. Can you get a da Vinci that way? Heck no. But then again, none of Chuck’s drawings of Bugs Bunny are hanging in the Louvre. Not yet, Doc.”