The Smithsonian is having a competition for the one item that says "Smithsonian" like no other. Included as part of the *Culture* category is Chuck Jones's Wile E. Coyote. Now, we can't think of anything more iconic, more American, more unique, more popular than Wile E. Coyote! It's pure "Genius" is what it is! Follow this link to vote today, tomorrow, until the final vote is counted! We thank you for your vote. Remember that www.ChuckJonesNow.com is your portal to all things Chuck Jones.
Michael Markowski, a composer and longtime fan of Chuck Jones, recently was commissioned by the Wind Ensemble of Dakota High School in Macomb, Michigan to create a musical work for them. The result was "Famishius Fantasticus" a four-minute "wild concert-closer" in the words of the composer. Mr. Markowski writes in a letter to Chuck Redux: "Thank you so much for allowing me to share my music with you. Chuck Jones has been a surprisingly big part of my creative life, from watching Looney Tunes as a kid to studying them in college as a film major. Famishius Fantasticus was so much fun to write, and I'm excited that I will be able to share my love for the original Looney Tunes cartoons with the current generation of high school and college music students who, in most cases, have never even seen one."
In the foreword to the score, he's said, "When I was first asked to write a piece that "captured the energy of the students," I couldn't help but think that Wile E. Coyote was the man (or animal) for the job. The title, Famishius Fantasticus, is a direct allusion to the faux binomial (the scientific Latin name) of Wile E. Coyote, as shown in the opening freeze-frame of the 1956 Looney Tunes cartoon, There They Go-Go-Go!
"...[Famishius Fantasticus] is dedicated to all my friends and colleagues who vehemently go after their dreams, who never give up, and who continue totry new things no matter how many crazy ideas might blow up in their faces."
And we agree! Here, then is the Dakota High School Wind Ensemble of Macomb, Michigan, performing Michael Markowski's Famishius Fantasticus. Enjoy!
(Clicking on the title in the above paragraph will take you to the performance. Please pay close attention to the percussionists, they work overtime for this piece. You may also note that ping-pong balls, an air horn and the magnificent Mahler Hammer are utilized to produce some delightful sounds.)
On Friday, September 21st at 8 PM at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA the Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration Film Festival will be an evening devoted to honoring the artist who brought to life such famous cartoon characters as Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Pepé le Pew, Marvin Martian, and Marc Anthony. Hosted by the family of Chuck Jones, the evening will include reminiscences from noted artists* whose careers and lives have been impacted by Chuck Jones and the work he created. The Alex Theatre is located at 216 Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203. The phone number is 818-243-ALEX (2539.) Tickets from $10.00 to $50.00, benefiting the programs of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity are available at the Alex Theatre Box Office or online at www.AlexTheatre.org. Of course, there will be cartoons, many of them from Jones’ personal 35mm collection. Chuck Jones, whose credits include four Academy Award-winning short films, directed over 300 films in his lifetime, with such memorable titles as “Rabbit Seasoning?”, “Robin Hood Daffy”, and “Feed the Kitty”. In 1992 his “What’s Opera, Doc?” was the first short animated film to be inducted into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, subsequently two others have been added, “One Froggy Evening” and “Duck Amuck”. Jones, an honorary lifetime member of the Director’s Guild, is considered to be one of the pioneers of the animated film, feted and honored at dozens of International Film Festivals from Annecy to Zagreb. In 1985 Jones was the subject of a film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1999, Jones founded the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, a non-profit public charity whose vision is to inspire the innate creative genius within each person that leads to a more joyous, passionate, and harmonious life and world.
Presenters this evening will include:
*Carl Bell, animator and clean-up artist, will be one of the presenters. A Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Bell worked with Jones in the late 1960s and early 1970s at MGM. His career includes work with Clampett Productions early in his career and most recently with Disney Studios.
*Eric Goldberg: Eric Goldberg joined Disney Studios in 1990 as the supervising animator responsible for the movements, personality and soul of the Genie in Aladdin. Goldberg’s strong background in animation next earned him his directorial debut on Pocahontas, which he followed up as the supervising animator on Phil, the salty satyr and trainer of heroes in Hercules. Goldberg also directed the “Carnival of the Animals” and “Rhapsody in Blue” segments of Fantasia 2000, the continuation of Walt Disney’s 1940 masterpiece.
Goldberg not only served as the director of animation for Warner Bros.’ 2003 live-action and animation hybrid feature “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” but he also provided the voices of the cartoon characters Marvin Martian, Tweety and Speedy Gonzalez. Working with Bob Kurtz of Kurtz + Friends, he animated the title sequence of MGM’s 2006 remake of “The Pink Panther”. His relationship with Chuck Jones began in the early 1990s and continued until Jones’ passing in 2002.
*Jerry Beck is an animation historian, author, blogger, animation producer and industry consultant to Warner Bros. Studios and has been an executive with Nickelodeon and Disney.