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,Dot and the Line, The

The Dot and the Line

Charles M. (Chuck) Jones created some of the most enduring characters in cartoondom, including Road Runner and Coyote, Pepe le Pew, Marvin Martian, Michigan J. Frog, and many more. He began as an animator at Warner Bros. in 1934, working under such directors as Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, and Friz Freleng. When Frank Tashlin left the studio in 1938, the relatively young Jones took over his production unit and began his long directing career.

When Warner Bros. slashed their budgets for cartoons in the early 1960s, Jones left for MGM, where he picked up the Tom & Jerry series from directors Hanna and Barbera, who had gone into television production. Toward the end of his run at MGM, Jones co-produced and co-directed (with designer Maurice Noble) the unique one-shot cartoon The Dot and the Line (1965 - aka The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics). This cartoon was based on, and closely adhered to, a book by Norton Juster which told the story of a straight line in love with a dot; the line is in competition with a more exciting squiggle, however, for the affections of the dot. Jones and Noble had already had some practice in giving expression to geometric shapes - at Warner Bros. they had created the memorable High Note (1960), about the doings of a staff full of musical notes.

In his book, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, Leonard Maltin describes some of the technical challenges that Jones faced with this cartoon. "At one point a hairy line was needed, and this led to a variety of experiments. Finally Jones inked his line on Japanese rice paper, let it bleed, and photocopied the result onto cels." The Dot and the Line, narrated by Robert Morley, was a great success - it won the OscarĀ® for best Cartoon, and it was picked up for showings in schools for many years.

Producer: Chuck Jones, Les Goldman
Director: Chuck Jones
Story: Norton Juster
Music: Eugene Poddany
Production Design: Maurice Noble
Animation: Ken Harris, Ben Washam, Tom Ray, Phil Roman, Richard Thompson, Don Towsley
Backgrounds: Philip DeGuard, Don Morgan.
Narration: Robert Morley. C-10m.

by John M. Miller



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