Charles Martin "Chuck" Jones™note (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, director, and writer, and is one of the most revered figures in the History of Animation.
If Tex Avery — hypothetically put forward as the original animation gag man — was the Trope Maker, then Chuck Jones could well have been the Trope Codifier of much of what we consider cartoon comedy on the Western Animation side of the fence. During his tenure with Warner Bros., he directed an impressive 207 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts (220 if you count his Private Snafu work), four Looney Tunes television specials, the feature-length compilation The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, and seven modern Looney Tunes shorts.
During The Golden Age of Animation, Chuck began working as a cel washer (and eventual inbetweener and animator) for Ub Iwerks before being hired as a full animator at Warner's in 1934 (his first credit appeared on the conspicuously Disney-esque Merrie Melodies short "The Miller's Daughter", directed by a young Friz Freleng). Increasingly specializing in elegantly-executed character scenes, Jones, alongside fellow animator Bob Clampett, was appointed by studio head Leon Schlesinger the following year to staff a newly-formed unit helmed by incoming director Tex Avery. Avery would subsequently become a quasi-mentor to Jones, enabling him and Clampett to climb the studio's ranks over the following year. In 1937, Clampett and Jones were tasked with restructuring several Looney Tunes shorts (beginning with "Porky and Gabby") outsourced to Jones' former employer Ub Iwerks, which were deemed tonally dissonant with the studio's style; while often documented as co-directors on these shorts, Clampett alone (for unknown reasons) was subsequently promoted to an official credited director by the studio, sparking a bitter, decades-long rivalry between him and Jones. After spending a year animating for Clampett's earliest shorts, Jones finally received a shot at directing a cartoon, inheriting the crew of the recently departed Frank Tashlin. His early work mirrored Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies in content and tone, heavy on childlike fantasy and lavish, slow-paced animation and almost completely lacking in comedy; many featured the ever-so-cute Sniffles the Mouse as the main character. After a few years at Warner Bros. (and threats from upper management), however, Jones would eventually grow the beard and adopt the more humorous and zany style of his studio contemporaries. Sniffles would become a bit of a cute prankster with an uncontrollable Motor Mouth before Chuck ended his series and began writing for other characters, eventually inheriting Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the more famous Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters.
Chuck's work as an animation director for WB from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s took the elements Avery had laid out and stretched them to their most logical (illogical?) extremes. On the one hand, his most prolific original characters, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, used no real dialogue, instead relying on expertly timed facial expressions and slapstick that even The Three Stooges might have envied. On the other end of the spectrum, Jones's work with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, although not discarding the slapstick, brought comedic wordplay to a level that has never bern seen in animation up to that point. In addition, he refined their personalities, such as making Bugs a Karmic Trickster who'd generally bedevil people only after they'd threatened or mistreated him, and refashioning Daffy into a self-centered, insecure, and invariably unsuccessful pretender to Bugs' trickster throne. As Jones himself later put it:
- "In my dreams, I am Bugs Bunny; when I wake up I find that I am Daffy Duck."
On top of all that, with shorts ranging from "One Froggy Evening" to "Duck Amuck," as well as other recurring characters like Elmer Fudd,note Hubie and Bertie, Charlie Dog, Pepé Le Pew, Marvin the Martian, Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog, Marc Antony and Pussyfoot, and the Three Bears, Jones created some of the best-loved shorts in the Looney Tunes series. His magnum opus for Warner Bros. (and possibly the short-form animation as a whole) was the epic Richard Wagner parody "What's Opera, Doc?" which condensed the entirety of Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen into six minutes AND provided an excellent deconstruction of the (by the time already clichéd) Bugs and Elmer schtick.
After decades as the studio's arguable top director, Jones's time at Warner Bros. ended rather abruptly in 1962, after it was discovered that he had violated his exclusive contract – a violation that was discovered when he left his name on an independent project that was subsequently shopped to the studio for distribution, that being the UPA feature Gay Purr-ee. (Earlier, during Warner's temporary shutdown of its cartoon studio in 1953 as it hopped on the 3-D Movie fad, Jones spent four months at Disney, where he chafed under that studio's rigidly hierarchical structure and evidently made no real contributions save for some minor uncredited work on Sleeping Beauty.)
Post-Warner, Jones still had a few tricks up his sleeve. He went to MGM, where he took over the Tom and Jerry series for a time (although, because of a lower budget and Chuck's self-admitted ignorance about the characters, his T&J shorts are often criticized for not being up to either his own standards or those of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who had originated the series – never mind that the Gene Deitch cartoons that came in between were deranged and far worse on a technical level than what Jones put out), while also creating a few memorable one-shot cartoons based on children's books, most notably the Oscar-winning "The Dot and the Line". Jones also found himself reuniting with Ted Geisel, a.k.a Dr. Seuss, and with the help of the voice of Boris Karloff, created the much-beloved television adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which is still rebroadcast every holiday season on Warner Media-owned networks. Jones is also famous for his well-animated version of The Phantom Tollbooth, making him and Frank Tashlin the only Looney Tunes directors to direct a feature film that wasn't just a compilation of old shorts.
Jones's later projects came less frequently. He produced several TV specials in the '70s and '80s (including three hailed adaptations of stories from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book), tried his hand at Newspaper Comics with the short-lived daily strip Crawford, contributed to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and helmed several '90s Looney Tunes revival shorts such as "Chariots of Fur" and "Superior Duck". He also started inking and painting collectible cels for sale at various venues. His absolute last project would be the Adobe Flash web series TimberWolf, hosted on the Warner Bros. official site.
In addition, it can be claimed that the animated segments he did for Stay Tuned and Mrs. Doubtfire make him a One-Scene Wonder for a couple of films he didn't technically appear in. Oh, and he has cameos in Gremlins and Innerspace. He was also seen at the launch of The WB Television Network, drawing Michigan J. Frog, the network's mascot, who then came to life and flipped the switch to start the network.
- The Miller's Daughter: First animation credit.
- Those Beautiful Dames
- Buddy of the Legion
- My Green Fedora
- Buddy Steps Out
- Hollywood Capers
- Gold Diggers Of '49: Animated for Tex Avery on the short.
- The Blow Out
- I Love to Singa
- Milk and Money
- Porky the Wrestler
- Picador Porky
- Ain't We Got Fun
- Porky and Gabby: Co-directed with Bob Clampett, although Ub Iwerks was credited for direction.
- Porky's Super Service: Same as above.
- Porky's Badtime Story
- Get Rich Quick Porky
- Rover's Rival
- Porky's Party
- Dog Gone Modern: Debut of the Curious Puppies characters.
- Robin Hood Makes Good
- Prest-o Change-o: Second appearance of the Bugs Bunny prototype. Second appearance of the Curious Puppies.
- Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur: Chuck's first experience with Daffy Duck. This short is interesting, as it shows Daffy as more calculating than he was at the time, possibly a foreshadowing of his later characterization, whereas during his time he was usually a Screwball Squirrel-type character.
- Naughty But Mice: Debut of Sniffles the Mouse.
- Old Glory
- Snow Man's Land
- Little Brother Rat: Second Sniffles short.
- Little Lion Hunter: Debut of Inki.
- The Good Egg: Third Sniffles short.
- Sniffles and the Bookworm: Fourth Sniffles short. First appearance of The Bookworm.
- Curious Puppy: Third appearance of Jones' "Curious Puppies" characters.
- The Mighty Hunters
- Elmer's Candid Camera: Fourth appearance of the Bugs Bunny prototype. Jones personally loathed this cartoon and trashed it in his autobiography.
- Sniffles Takes A Trip: Fifth Sniffles short.
- Tom Thumb In Trouble
- The Egg Collector: Sixth Sniffles short.
- Ghost Wanted
- Stage Fright
- Good Night Elmer: A rare case of an Elmer Fudd solo cartoon.
- Bedtime for Sniffles: Seventh Sniffles short.
- Elmer's Pet Rabbit: Jones' first use of the officially named Bugs Bunny character – however, he still hadn't nailed Bugs' character, as he is portrayed as an extremely foul-tempered heckler here.
- Sniffles Bells the Cat: Eighth Sniffles short.
- Joe Glow, The Firefly
- Toy Trouble: Ninth Sniffles short.
- Porky's Ant
- Porky's Prize Pony
- Inki and the Lion: Second Inki cartoon.
- Snow Time For Comedy: Another appearance of Jones' Curious Puppies.
- Brave Little Bat: Tenth Sniffles short.
- Saddle Silly
- Porky's Midnight Matinee
- The Bird Came C.O.D.: Debut of Jones' short-lived pantomime character Conrad Cat.
- Porky's Cafe
- Conrad the Sailor: A Daffy Duck short. Notable for Jones experimenting with Match Cuts.
- Dog Tired: Final appearance of Jones' Curious Puppies.
- The Draft Horse: A short that Jones considered a turning point in his career when he started beginning to make funny cartoons.
- Hold the Lion, Please!: Second use of Bugs Bunny.
- The Squawkin' Hawk
- Fox Pop
- The Dover Boys: Jones considered this the point where he found his voice, so to speak.
- My Favorite Duck
- Case of the Missing Hare: Third use of Bugs Bunny.
- To Duck or Not to Duck
- Flop Goes The Weasel
- The Unbearable Bear: 11th Sniffles short.
- The Aristo Cat: Debut of Hubie and Bertie and Claude Cat.
- Wackiki Wabbit
- Fin N' Catty
- Inki and the Mynah Bird: Third appearance of Inki. Animator Shamus Culhane contributed much animation to this short.
- Coming Snafu: A promo for the Private Snafu shorts.
- Spies: A Private Snafu short.
- Infantry Blues: A Private Snafu short.
- Tom Turk and Daffy
- Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears
- The Weakly Reporter
- Angel Puss: One of the Censored Eleven.
- From Hand to Mouse
- Lost and Foundling: 12th Sniffles short.
- Hell Bent For Election: A UPA short that Jones moonlighted on.
- Private Snafu Vs. Malaria Mike
- A Lecture on Camouflage: A Private Snafu short.
- Gas: A Private Snafu short.
- Outpost: A Private Snafu short.
- Odor-able Kitty: Debut of Pepé Le Pew.
- Trap Happy Porky
- Hare Conditioned
- Fresh Airedale
- Hare Tonic
- In the Aleutians-Isles of Enchantment
- It's Murder She Says
- Going Home: unreleased
- No Buddy Atoll: unreleased
- Seaman Tarfu in the Navy: unreleased
- Mop Up (How to get a Fat Jap out of a cave): A Private Snafu short that was planned, but never finished.
- Quentin Quail
- Hush My Mouse: 13th and last Sniffles the Mouse short.
- Hair-Raising Hare
- The Eager Beaver
- Fair and Worm-er
- Roughly Squeaking
- Scent-imental Over You
- Inki and the Circus: Fourth Inki cartoon.
- A Pest in the House
- Little Orphan Airedale
- A Feather in His Hare
- What's Brewin' Bruin?
- Rabbit Punch
- Haredevil Hare: Debut of Marvin the Martian.
- You Were Never Duckier
- House-Hunting Mice
- Daffy Dilly
- My Bunny Lies Over The Sea
- Scaredy Cat
- The Awful Orphan
- Mississippi Hare
- Mouse Wreckers
- The Bee-Deviled Bruin
- Long-Haired Hare
- Often an Orphan
- Fast and Furry-ous: Debut of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
- Frigid Hare
- For Scent-imental Reasons: Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
- Bear Feat
- Rabbit Hood
- The Scarlet Pumpernickel
- Homeless Hare
- The Hypo-chondri-cat
- Eight Ball Bunny
- Dog Gone South
- The Ducksters
- Caveman Inki: Final Inki cartoon.
- Rabbit of Seville
- Two's A Crowd
- Bunny Hugged
- Scent-imental Romeo
- A Hound for Trouble
- Rabbit Fire: One of the most iconic Bugs Bunny shorts.
- Chow Hound
- The Wearing of the Grin
- Cheese Chasers
- A Bear for Punishment
- Drip-Along Daffy
- Operation: Rabbit
- Feed the Kitty
- Little Beau Pepe
- Water, Water Every Hare
- Beep, Beep
- The Hasty Hare
- Going! Going! Gosh!
- Mouse Warming
- Rabbit Seasoning: Second of the Duck Season, Rabbit Season trilogy.
- Terrier Stricken
- Don't Give Up The Sheep
- Forward March Hare
- Kiss Me Cat
- Duck Amuck
- Much Ado About Nutting
- Wild Over You
- Duck Dodgers in the 24˝th Century
- Bully for Bugs
- Zipping Along
- Duck! Rabbit! Duck!!: Third of the Duck Season, Rabbit Season trilogy.
- French Trunk
- Feline Frame-Up
- No Barking
- Cat's Bah
- Claws For Alarm
- Bewitched Bunny: Debut of Witch Hazel.
- Stop, Look and Hasten
- From A To Z-Z-Z-Z
- Lumber Jack-Rabbit: The only 3-D Warner Bros. cartoon.
- My Little Duckaroo: Remake of "Dripalong Daffy".
- Sheep Ahoy
- Baby Buggy Bunny
- Beanstalk Bunny
- Ready.. Set.. Zoom!
- Past Perfumance
- Rabbit Rampage: A sequel to Duck Amuck, but with Bugs Bunny being the victim.
- Double or Mutton
- Jumpin' Jupiter
- Knight-Mare Hare
- Two Scents Worth
- Guided Muscle
- One Froggy Evening
- Bugs Bonnets
- Broom-Stick Bunny
- Rocket Squad
- Heaven Scent
- Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z
- Barbary Coast Bunny: Only Bugs Bunny short where he appears with Nasty Canasta.
- Rocket-bye Baby
- Deduce, You Say!
- There They Go-Go-Go!
- To Hare Is Human
- Scrambled Aches
- Ali Baba Bunny
- Go Fly A Kit
- Boyhood Daze
- Steal Wool
- What's Opera, Doc?
- Zoom and Bored
- Touche and Go
- Robin Hood Daffy
- Hare-Way to the Stars
- Whoa, Be-Gone!
- To Itch His Own
- Hook, Line and Stinker
- Hip Hip-Hurry!
- Cat Feud
- The Fastest with the Mostest
- Who Scent You?
- Rabbit's Feat
- Ready Woolen and Able
- Hopalong Casualty
- High Note
- Zip 'n Snort
- The Mouse on 57th Street
- The Abominable Snow Rabbit: From here on out, Maurice Noble would frequently get co-director status.
- A Scent of the Matterhorn
- Compressed Hare
- Beep Prepared
- Nelly's Folly
- A Sheep in the Deep
- Zoom at the Top
- Louvre Come Back to Me
- Martian Through Georgia: Co-directed by Abe Levitow.
- I Was A Teenage Thumb
- Now Hear This
- Hare-Breadth Hurry
- Mad as a Mars Hare
- Transylvania 6-5000
- To Beep or Not to Beep
- Pent-House Mouse: First short produced in the newly-formed Sib Tower 12 studio. Also his first Tom & Jerry short.
- War and Pieces: Last short for the original Warner Bros. animation studio.
- The Cat Above and the Mouse Below
- Is There a Doctor in the Mouse?
- Much Ado About Mousing
- Snowbody Loves Me
- Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse
- The Dot and the Line
- Ah-Sweet Mouse Story of Life
- Tom-ic Energy
- Bad Day at Cat Rock
- The Brothers Carry-Mouse-Off
- Haunted Mouse
- I'm Just Wild About Jerry
- Of Feline Bondage
- Tom Thump
- The Year of the Mouse
- The Cat's Me-Ouch!
- Jerry Go-Round
- The Bear That Wasn't: The final MGM short of the golden age of animation.
- Cat and Duplicat
- Cannery Rodent
- Gillette commercial
- The Pogo Special Birthday Special
- A Christmas Carol: Executive producer of this special.
- Curiosity Shop: Notable as Jones' only television series.
- The Cricket in Times Square
- A Very Merry Cricket
- Yankee Doodle Cricket
- The White Seal
- Carnival of the Animals
- Mowgli's Brothers
- Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court
- Raggedy Ann and Andy in: The Great Santa Claus Caper
- The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
- Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special
- Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales
- Raggedy Ann and Andy In: The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile
- Soup or Sonic
- Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over
- Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2 Century
- Heineken commercial
- Warner Bros. Golden Jubilee: Animation producer on it.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Storyboarded the original idea for the "Dueling Pianos" sequence with Richard Williams.
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch: Animated Bugs Bunny and Daffy's brief appearence during the film's opening and end credits.
- Mrs. Doubtfire: Did the character animation in the film's sequence during Daniel Hillard's voice acting session.
- Another Froggy Evening
- Superior Duck
- From Hare to Eternity
Tropes Associated with Chuck Jones' works:
- Abusive Parents: Pa Bear in the Three Bears shorts.
- Acme Products: Jones was the originator of this Running Gag.
- Amusing Injuries: His characters are often injured, but always for one temporary gag.
- Animated Adaptation: Some of his cartoons are based on pre-existing stories, mainly in his later works:
- The Mighty Hunters, a 1940 Merrie Melodies short he directed, is based on James Swinnerton's Canyon Kiddies picture stories for Heart's Good Housekeeping magazine.
- Tom Thumb in Trouble, another 1940 short, is based on the English Folklore of Tom Thumb from The History of Tom Thumb (1621).
- The Dot and the Line is based on the 1963 Norton Juster book The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics.
- The Bear That Wasn't is based on the 1946 children's book by Frank Tashlin.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a made-for-TV adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story.
- The Pogo Special Birthday Special, a made-for-TV special based on Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip.
- Horton Hears a Who! (1970): Another made-for-TV adaptation of a Dr Seuss story.
- The Phantom Tollbooth, a feature-length adaptation of the 1961 book by Norton Juster.
- He was also the Executive Producer of the 1971 Richard Williams adaptation of A Christmas Carol (1971).
- A Cricket in Times Square is a made-for-TV adaptation of the 1960 George Selden book The Cricket in Times Square.
- His studio also did three made-for-TV adaptations of stories from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book; Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (1975), The White Seal (1975) and Mowgli's Brothers (1976)
- His studio did two made-for-TV specials inspired by Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann books: The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978) and The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile (1979).
- He also did a cartoon adaptation of Peter and the Wolf in 1995.
- Aside Glance: A subset of his frequent fourth-wall-breaking, Jones was the absolute master of the animated slow burn.
- Author Appeal: He was a big fan of classic literature, particularly the stories of Mark Twain, and it frequently shows in his works, especially in his later cartoons.
- Art Evolution: While always having a strong visual style, Jones' cartoons looked strikingly different depending on the era: His early cartoons (1938-1942) had a strong Disney influence, especially prominent in Old Glory and Mighty Hunters, the latter having backgrounds painted by cartoonist/illustrator Jimmy Swinnerton. Between 1942 and 1948 he took a more modernistic approach, predating the UPA style by a few years. After 1948 he began to develop what would become his signature style, once again drawing inspiration from Disney, which in turn had changed its style to resemble that of the Looney Tunes.
- Black Comedy: Jones's shorts are often quite cynical and jaded in their humor; he was quite fond of portraying characters as hapless Chew Toys (such as Wile E. Coyote) and/or more nasty and flawed than the other directors (such as his iconic Straw Loser take on Daffy Duck, turning Bugs into a more vengeful, passive-aggressive trickster with somewhat less playfulness, creating Marvin, an alien villain who wants to destroy the earth for blocking his view of Venus, etc.). Some of his one-shots, like "Fresh Airedale", the Censored Eleven short "Angel Puss", and "Chow Hound" are some of the darkest cartoons in the Looney Tunes series.
"Human beings will line up for miles to buy a bucket of catastrophes, but don't try selling sunshine and light — you'll go broke."
- As visually stunning and evocative of romance as they are, the Pepe Le Pew cartoons also have their moments of dark comedy. Besides the modern-day accusations that the Pepe shorts make light of sexual harassment and stalking, there's also the ridiculous lucklessness of the victim (usually a female black and white cat) being unable to escape from Pepenote , the unbound optimism, relentlessness, and narcissism of Pepe Le Pew himselfnote , the idiocy and borderline masochism Pepe had in "Wild Over You" when he went after a wildcat that escaped from the show and actively beat him up to escape him, and, of course, the three cartoonsnote that end with Pepe getting chased himself by the female cat.
- Some of this was undoubtedly due to the input of Mike Maltese, who was the primary writer for Jones's unit from the mid-'40s through the late '50s. Following Maltese's departure, Jones's cartoons became considerably lighter and sometimes even sentimental in tone. However, Jones himself was quite a pessimist—in his biography, he quipped the following;
- Book Ends: His first cartoon, "The Night Watchman" (1938) has the opening titles set to the overture to Tannhäuser. Almost two decades later, "What's Opera, Doc?" (1957), which he and many consider being his greatest film, ends with the exact same music cue from the Tannhauser overture.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens regularly in his work, most notably in "Duck Amuck" and its less successful sequel, "Rabbit Rampage".
- Creator Backlash:
- He did not look very fondly at his earlier work, and openly claimed he would get rid of all his filmography before 1948 if he could.
- He also did not think much of his Animated Adaptation of The Dot and the Line. When he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award primarily for that film, his acceptance speech was pretty much a gracious apology.
- Disney Owns This Trope: Chuck trademarked his own name so that he could use it as a brand in his later years when he formed his own studio, Sib Tower 12.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Everyone knows and loves Jones late 40's and 50's shorts which got him his reputation, but take a gander at his pre-'42 shorts and you'll be shocked to find those were directed by the same guy who made gems like "What's Opera, Doc?". To elaborate, Jones was going in a very different direction from Tex Avery and Bob Clampett by doing Disney-esque cartoons. While well drawn and animated, they also suffered from sluggish pacing and from being overbearingly cute. Jones even said himself that, if he could, he'd get rid of everything he made before 1948, as everything prior to that was not considered his best work.
- Excuse Plot: In his biography Chuck Amuck, he says he believed in using this, saying characters were more important than a story for its own sake."An idea has no worth at all without believable characters to implement it; a plot without characters is like a tennis court without players. Daffy Duck is to a Buck Rogers story what John McEnroe was to tennis. Personality. That is the key, the drum, the fife. Forget the plot. Can you remember, or care to remember, the plot of any great comedy? Chaplin? Woody Allen? The Marx Brothers?"
- Facial Dialogue: Compared with many classic animators Jones' cartoon characters have very subtle facial expressions that sometimes tell you more than actual dialogue.
- Friendly Rivalry: With his fellow WB animation directors, most notably Bob Clampett.
- The rivalry with Clampett became decidedly less friendly when the two had a personal falling-out in the late '70s, after Clampett gave an interview claiming to be the sole creator of Bugs Bunny and Sniffles The Mouse, the latter of which was famously Jones' creation (Sniffles may have been an Old Shame to Jones, but the character was his to disown). There's even a rumor that his dissatisfaction with the dueling pianos scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit was largely because the filmmakers used Clampett's "zany" version of Daffy Duck rather than his own "selfish jerk" version.
- Jones clearly regarded Walt Disney highly, being influenced by the man and working at Disney Animation and Sleeping Beauty for four months before he was convinced to return to Warner, politely telling Walt "The only job I really want here is yours." Jones would work with Disney a second time on the famous "Dueling Pianos" sequence in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, though he was far from fond of this result. Disney also appointed him as one of the 12 founding heads of the Alumni Association at CalArts in 1965.
- Hidden Depths: You'd be forgiven for thinking he was wacky and eccentric based on his cartoons, but Jones in real life was a very intelligent man who took education and the art of animation very seriously. On top of that, he was a dedicated fine artist outside of his animation work.
- Let's See YOU Do Better!: Jones apparently created the Road Runner series as an Affectionate Parody of chase cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, mocking the simplistic formula and slapstick. A couple of decades later, MGM actually hired Jones to work on the T&J series itself, which he admitted was more complex to get down pat than he had expected.
- Lighter and Softer: His pre-Dover Boys shorts compared to the cartoons Tex Avery and Bob Clampett were making around the same time. His later cartoons downplayed the Black Comedy present in his '40s and '50s cartoons and tended to be much more sentimental in tone.
- Limited Animation: A pioneer of minimalist, heavily stylized cartoon animation, beginning with The Dover Boys' use of smear drawings and continuing into many of his more famous works, both for theatrical shorts and TV. He was also closely associated with the early works of UPA, a studio who famously boiled animation down to its bare essentials and whose films were heavily influenced by the minimalism of modern graphic design. However, Jones was vocally adamant about how the practice was used in TV animation as a monetary shortcut, famously calling Hanna-Barbera cartoons "illustrated radio," and, when forced to rely on it himself, always made sure the drawings could carry the story as well as the dialogue.
- No Cartoon Fish: He had an interesting observation about why this is used, quoted in his second biography Chuck Reducks:"Fish cannot be caricatured. Nature has already imagined every funny-looking personality. The skate family, for example, anticipated Picasso by millions of years. Although these flatfish spend their lives cruising around on their side, they are born upright, with eyes on each side of the head like any other fish. Gradually one eye crawls over to join the other so that a diver staring down at the ocean floor sees a mouth in profile and two eyes on the same side—just like a Picasso portrait. This arrangement lets the fish look up for enemies, and if he wants food, he just flips over."
- "Not So Different" Remark: Jones did not think highly of Bob Clampett's egotism and accused him of stealing credit from him and other members of Termite Terrace. However Jones shown similar silent inspiration, his character Charlie Dog was heavily based on Clampett's one-shot in "Porky's Pooch", even borrowing several gags and scenarios for his first few cartoons. While Friz Freleng was not impressed by Bob's glory seeking either, he believed his and Chuck's rivalry was childish, claiming they were both as hubris driven as the other.
- Pun-Based Title: Several cartoons have puns in their titles.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Quite a few, including Pussyfoot the kitten, Playboy Penguin, Kotick the white seal pup, Cindy-Lou Who, and more.
- Screwball Squirrel: Jones had a very vocal hatred for such characters, but nevertheless used them a lot during the 40s, and even created recurring examples such as Hubie and Bertie. As his work refined during the early 50s they were phased out, in particular Jones was a large pivot in evolving Bugs and Daffy out of such roles.
- Show, Don't Tell: Strongly believed in the power of visual storytelling in animation, and ripped into shows that had poor animation and relied on voice acting as a crutch as "illustrated radio". His belief was that if you could turn off the sound and still follow what was going on, you were watching a cartoon with good storytelling.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Can go in either direction. However, when he isn't directing a short about a Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, his films are surprisingly quite cute, sweet, and optimistic.
- Snake Versus Mongoose: His adaptation of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi: It's an adaptation of the Trope Codifier, Rudyard Kipling's story about a heroic mongoose saving the humans who adopted him from a family of cobras.
- Strictly Formula: Was notable for making iconic formulas for many recurring characters who had previously interchanged into endless random scenarios and personas throughout their evolution. He was largely responsible for reinventing Bugs as a Karmic Trickster who brought fantastic retribution to a foe bullying him at the start of each short while reinventing Daffy as a hero wannabe who walked into endless beatings against an obviously outmatching foe. His Road Runner shorts perhaps exist as the most formulaic cartoon series ever made, to the point you could interchange gags and scenes between shorts with little effect on the story whatsoever (with Art Evolution and Animation Bump as the only way you can tell the cartoons apart if you're an especially eagle-eyed cartoon viewer).
- Take That!: In his later years, Chuck became known for his broadsides against made-for-TV animation, believing it did nothing but bring down the struggling art form of full animation (when Bart Simpson was voted one of the greatest cartoon characters ever by TV Guide, a livid Jones mailed a protest letter "signed" by hundreds of his animation colleagues, both alive and dead. He did make exception to Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, which he liked for its biting satire), and was extremely critical of the direction of the Looney Tunes series and its spinoffs from the late '80s and on, referring to shows like Tiny Toon Adventures as a "retarded stepchild" of the original series in a talk show, and ripped so hard into Space Jam at a Warner Bros. studio dinner held in his honor that it got him escorted off of the studio lot.
- Talking with Signs: Wile E. Coyote holds up signs as a frequent way of communication in the Road Runner cartoons.
- Timber!: One of his internet cartoon series features a timberwolf who had a tree fall on him everytime he said "Timber".
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Many of his characters are greedy, egotistical, rude, often bring forth their own downfall, and are drop-dead hilarious. Wile E. Coyote, Pa Bear, and Claude Cat are fine examples, but his reinvention of Daffy Duck (partially based upon himself) is one of the greatest instances of this trope in fiction.
- Un-person: Due to his distaste for Bob Clampett, he gives him only the briefest of mentions in the biography Chuck Amuck, interviewers were explicitly barred from bringing him up, and he refused to talk to any media that associated with him. Additionally, the Compilation Movie The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, which was directed by Jones and exclusively featured Jones shorts, snubbed Clampett in the list of Bugs' co-creators and classic-era directors.
- Wild Take: His cartoons very rarely use them. Chuck admitted in his biography that he only allowed himself to draw one wild take per year, on his birthday.