Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jones and Freleng Interviewed in 1980

Chuck Jones (top) and Friz Freleng. That's a Blackwing pencil in Jones' hands and he spends the interview playing with it. I don't know where the Jones interview was shot, but Freleng's is in his office at DePatie Freleng. I met Freleng there in 1978.

For years, Elwy Yost hosted a show called Saturday Night at the Movies on TV Ontario. He would run classic films and TVO would send him to Hollywood once a year to film interviews that related to the films he scheduled. In 1980, he interviewed Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng.

Elwy was very much a fan, and not a particularly informed one. His questions were often naive and his reactions were overly enthusiastic. However, he did speak to a great many important Hollywood figures and was genuinely interested in their careers.

I have these interviews on VHS somewhere and remember being disappointed by how superficial they were. If I recall correctly, you could see Freleng's patience getting a little thin at times. However, how many on camera interviews are there with Freleng? Jones certainly received a lot of coverage in those days and had his stories down pat, but it's still nice to see and hear him again.

Michael Barrier has recently printed an interview with Warner Bros. director Robert McKimson from 1971. That's essential reading and frankly way better than Yost's interviews. If you hunger for more Warner directors looking back, though, you can watch Yost's interviews with Jones and Freleng here.


JPilot said...

Hey Mark,
A long time ago at the Sheridan college library I saw a three quarter inch video of the Chuck Jones interview from when he visited the NFB in 1968. I previously saw that film 3 years before at Concordia University from one of the NFB filmmakers who brought it in.
It's about an hour and a half and it was never released to the public, more of an internal distribution at the NFB. Maybe you can track it from there. Or they still have the video copy at Sheridan (scavenger hunt anyone?)

Zartok-35 said...

BOB Tytla?!? Elwy Yost is very green indeed!

I like Frizs' run down on making Fantasia-esque musical cartoons. He would know.

Pete Emslie said...

I love ol' Elwy, but I agree that these particular interviews are a bit embarrassing. I have no idea why he kept asking Friz questions pertaining more to Disney than his own cartoons for Warners. Chuck seemed to handle the interview with much good humour and grace, even though Elwy's questions did seem naive.

Mark, I also recall Elwy Yost devoting an entire couple of hours to animation on one show that must have repeated a couple times over. I know I saw it at least twice, but sadly it aired a year or so before I had my first VCR. It featured some neat shorts that had been shown at Zagreb, including the memorable one-joke film, "Crunch Bird". It also featured an interview with Frank Thomas, as I recall. Did you see that by any chance?

I'm certainly happy to see these interviews from the TVO archives now being made available. There's one with George Sidney I'm planning to watch soon, and I gather that this batch will be followed by more releases later.

Mark Mayerson said...

Hi Jean. Trying to find something old at Sheridan is a real long shot. I'll ask about the Jones interview, but I'm doubtful that anyone will have heard of it.

Peter, I'm not familiar with that other TVO show on animation that you mention. Maybe it will turn up on their online archive.