- At 8, the major networks and the news networks will have the Presidential News Conference.
- The CW has a new Reaper at 8.
- PBS has a new Nova at 8, then a new Frontline.
- TCM has Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood at 8, followed by several Jones cartoon shorts.
- At 9, ABC has a new Dancing with the Stars, followed by a new Prime Time: What Would You Do?
- CBS has a new NCIS at 9, then a new episode of The Mentalist.
- NBC has a new, two-hour episode of The Biggest Loser.
- Food Network has a new Food Detectives at 9.
- Also at 9: Sci-Fi has a new ECW.
- At 10, Food Network has a new Chopped.
- Bravo has a new Real Housewives of New York City at 10.
Check your local TV listings for more.
After the jump, the late night talk shows.
For whatever reason, the name Chuck has turned out to be very popular this year. On TV, Pushing Daisies has a major character named Chuck and, of course, there's the new series Chuck. in the theaters, Chuck and Larry were happily married and Dane Cook was a Chuck with extraordinary luck. All these Chuck's got me thinking (not to mention craving a hamburger) some of the greatest people on television have been named Chuck. Here are a few.
Chuck Cunningham (Happy Days)
When the Cunningham family first made their appearance, Chuck was clearly the funniest part of the family. Unfortunately as the show progressed, it became clear that there simply wasn't enough room for Chuck in the house or on the series. Chuck Cunningham lives on, however, as the most famous forgotten character of all time.
A Charlie Brown Christmas will always be about eight billion light years above all other holiday specials in my mind, but that's not to say I don't enjoy those other old standards that pop up on TV this time of year. How the Grinch Stole Christmas remains one of my favorites: a perfect blend of all things Seussian and Jonesian.
To be honest, from a visual standpoint How the Grinch Stole Christmas is pretty much a Chuck Jones special. The only characters who really resemble Dr. Seuss' graphic style are The Whos, and even the precocious Cindy Lou Who (who was no more than two) is given the doe eyes and adorable but dopey face that made Jones' characters instantly recognizable. Jones did much the same thing when he took over the Tom and Jerry shorts for MGM which were originated by William Hanna and Joe Barbera: he redesigned the characters and made it his own thing.
According to the network's press release, this "sepcial edition will include a "making of" documentary, including interviews with Theordore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, director Chuck Jones, and many of the other people who helped put the show together back in 1966. Considering Geisel, Jones, and many of the other people involved are dead, I'm curious to see how long ago these interviews were done.
Before he passed away in 2002, one of the last cartoons iconic animation director Chuck Jones helped to create was a Flash-animated series called Thomas J. Timberwolf. You can watch every episode here, and if the animation seems a tad primitive, keep in mind this was created in the early days of Flash, but even with that stipulation the cartoons still look pretty damn good. The smooth talking but accident prone Thomas J. Timberwolf was voiced by Joe Alaskey, one of the voice actors to take over the voices of many of the Looney Tunes after the death of Mel Blanc, and the voice of Plucky Duck on Tiny Toons, among many, many other characters on numerous animated programs. Nancy "Bart Simpson" Cartwright, also did voices for the internet series.
[via Cartoon Brew]
There's also a quick history of animation, from Max Fleischer and Walt Disney to Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Adam, are you reading this?
While each of the Looney Tunes characters had their own personality, even those personalities would differ depending on which era the cartoon was made, and who was directing. Porky Pig, for example, was often portrayed as the neurotic foil, but in later cartoons with Daffy Duck he was often the calm voice of reason. Daffy also differed greatly in personality from his early days under the supervision of Bob Clampett when he truly lived up to the name "daffy" to his eventual evolution into the selfish but lovable duck most people know him as today. Trying to keep these two sides of Daffy's psyche in mind, I've come up with five of what I think are his best shorts:
Duck Amuck (1953): "And on this farm he had an igloo...." This was one of my favorite cartoons growing up, and still is today. Daffy finds himself at the mercy of an unseen director who erases and paints in new scenery, erases Daffy himself, and even messes with the music soundtrack and Daffy's own voice. Al the while Daffy tries to reason with him, but to no avail. In the end it's revealed that the man with the magic pencil and paintbrush is actually Bugs Bunny.
Joseph Barbera returning to Tom and Jerry to direct a brand new short got me thinking about all my favorite episodes of Tom and Jerry from the past. The famous duo starred in a ton of cartoons together, so I had to leave a few out. At any rate, here's five of my faves, friends. Grab a stick of dynamite and join in the fun:
Which leads me to Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" column in this Sunday's Chicago Sun-Times. In it, he talks about the history and underlying messages in three classic Chuck Jones shorts -- Duck Amok, One Froggy Evening, and What's Opera, Doc? -- all of which have been included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
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