In April, University Press of Mississippi has published two new books on animation CHUCK JONES: CONVERSATIONS, edited by Maureen Furniss, and LIVING LIFE INSIDE THE LINES: TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF ANIMATION by Martha Sigall. The books will sell for $50 in cloth bound and $20 in paperback.
CHUCK JONES: CONVERSATIONS brings to life the legendary Warner Bros. artist who helped shape the history of American animation, defining our impressions of such characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and Pepé le Pew. These interviews span more than 30 years, beginning with a 1968 conversation in which Jones (1912-2002) shares the spotlight with science-fiction giant Ray Bradbury.
Throughout, the interviews illustrate the development of Jones's career, including shifts that came after the Warner Bros. animation unit closed in the early 1960s from the uncertain years of American animation during that decade and the 1970s through the "rediscovery" of Jones and Hollywood studio animation during the 1980s and 1990s. Jones candidly discusses his aesthetic sensibilities, providing tips for aspiring animators and describing Warner Bros. animation in its heyday.
Maureen Furniss, Savannah, Georgia, professor of animation and film at Savannah College of Art and Design, is the founding editor and publisher of ANIMATION JOURNAL. She is the author of ART IN MOTION: ANIMATION AESTHETICS, and her work has appeared in many periodicals.
LIVING LIFE INSIDE THE LINES: TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF ANIMATION is an insider's account of the wild and wacky teams that created cartoon classics for Warner Bros. and MGM Animation, featuring a foreword by animation historian Jerry Beck.
Sigall worked with all the classic cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom & Jerry, Droopy Dawg, Beany & Cecil, Tweety, and Porky Pig-and the madcap artists who created them like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, Friz Freleng, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Bill Melendez, and Ben (Bugs) Hardaway.
As a teenager, Sigall became an apprentice painter working in the Golden Age of Hollywood at the Leon Schlesinger studio, making $12.75 per week coloring animation cels that would introduce Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd to the world. She recounts her experiences with the Warner Bros. cartoon crew, working and laughing all day with the animators, partying all night with the Looney Tunes gang on the bowling and baseball teams and participating in weekend scavenger hunts. She was president of the in-house "Looney Tunes Club," co-wrote the company gossip column,and performed in the company's theatrical troupe.
After World War II, Martha joined MGM Animation (Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery) in Culver City as an assistant in the camera room and later freelanced her ink and paint services, creating art for many classic features, shorts, commercials and TV series-including GARFIELD, PEANUTS and THE PINK PANTHER.
Martha recalls her lifelong friendships with writer Michael Maltese, animators Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Herman Cohen, Paul Smith, Bob Matz and many others. She writes of her experiences of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, particularly during the war years when she was one of the first women camera operators in the industry.
Recipient of numerous awards for her artistry, Martha Sigall, Culver City, California, worked in animation production from 1936 to 1989.