Childhood Hero

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By Casey Burchby
Second only to Walt Disney, Chuck Jones was one of the most influential American animators in history. Eleven years after his death at age 89, Jones' style continues to influence animators and cartoonists by the dozen. Closely associated with Warner Bros. throughout his career, Jones directed hundreds of Looney Tunes shorts and created Marvin the Martian, Pepe le Pew, the Road Runner, and Wile E. Coyote.

In the 1950s, Jones directed a trio of Looney Tunes shorts that are considered among the very best ever made: Duck Amuck (in which Daffy is tormented by his animator), One Froggy Evening (starring Michigan J. Frog, later the mascot of the short-lived WB network), and What's Opera, Doc? (the famous Wagner parody).

Jones' exaggerated character design and flat, semi-abstract backgrounds continue to provide the dominant Warner Bros. look. The Cartoon Art Museum, working with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa, presents the centennial exhibition, "Chuck Jones: Drawing on Imagination" through May 5. On Saturday, CAM hosts a special reception for the exhibition with Jones' widow, Marion, his daughter, and grandson, who lead a VIP tour of the exhibition at 6 p.m.

Chuck Jones: Drawing on Imagination" starts at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. for the VIP event) at the Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission St., S.F. Tickets are $10-$50; visit cartoonart.org.
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