His father, Jones recounts, would start every new business venture by purchasing new stationery and new pencils with the company name on them. When the business failed, his father would quietly turn the huge stacks of useless stationery and pencils over to his children, requiring them to use up all the material as fast as possible. Armed with an endless supply of high-quality paper and pencils, the children drew constantly. Later, in one art school class, the professor gravely informed the students that they each had 100,000 bad drawings in them that they must first get past before they could possibly draw anything worthwhile. Jones recounted years later that this pronouncement came as a great relief to him, as he was well past the 200,000 mark, having used up all that stationery.
Like so many children of my generation, Chuck Jones entertained me endlessly. While his cartoons were made for movie theaters, they were all over the tee vee dial when I was growing up and the cartoons are all that matter. Here are just a few:
"Great Performances," on PBS, profiled Chuck Jones in one of its previous seasons. The program included some terrific behind-the-scenes descriptions of how cartoons are created and clips of some of the great cartoons. [Unfortunately PBS has removed this from its web site. I searched hard to find one with the proper aspect ratio, but could only find bits and pieces and not the entire documentary. Here is the full documentary with the aspect ratio skewed.]