Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center will host an opening reception for three separate collections of animation celluloids (cel) on Thursday, October 25 from 5:30-8 PM. The event is open to the public with free admission and refreshments will be served. “Animation Art” features the work of animation artists Chuck Jones, who brought Looney Tunes to life, and Friz Freleng, who cleverly created The Pink Panther. Included in the show will be a group of Disney cels from the private collection of Mayor Nic Hunter. 

In the 1960s the animation process progressed from stop-motion to cel animation. This method involved drawing the character on a clear plastic sheet and placing it over the background illustration. This allowed characters to be drawn and redrawn to appear as if they were moving without redrawing the background over and over again. The cels would then be photographed one by one to create motion. 

For more than seventy years, the funniest, most recklessly irreverent characters ever drawn on cels have been Looney Tunes. “On With the Show: Chuck Jones and the Animation Art of Looney Tunes” features original drawings of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester the Cat, and a slew of others created by Chuck Jones. 

Jones was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films including Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. With a career lasting over sixty years, Jones made more than 300 animated films, won three Oscars as director and in 1996      received an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. During the Golden Age of animation in the 1930s and 40s Chuck Jones brought to life many of Warner Bros. most famous characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig. 

“Indelible (P)ink: The Pink Panther and Popular Culture” showcases Friz Freleng’s creation for the opening title sequence of Blake Edwards’ 1963 film, The Pink Panther (MGM/United Artists), starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, out to catch the thief of a legendary diamond called the pink panther. The epitome of cool, the Pink Panther takes over every situation he encounters with his calm manner and feline poise.

Accompanied by Henry Mancini’s mod jazz beat, Freleng’s animated Pink Panther spun off into his own theatrical cartoon in 1964. This hip cat of unparalleled sophistication captivated audiences in 140 cartoon shorts. A second series debuted in 1984 and continued for the next decade.  This exhibition is a blast from the past, spying on the Pink Panther as an example of popular culture while uncovering his contribution to 20th century animation.

Mayor Hunter commented, “Growing up, like many kids, Disney cartoons were an exciting pastime for me. For some reason, The Great Mouse Detective was always one of my favorites. When I grew older, I realized better who Vincent Price was and that he was the voice of Ratigan, the villain in The Great Mouse Detective. At some point, I became fascinated with the prospect of collecting Ratigan animation cels. I’m very honored to share my collection with Lake Charles.”

The Looney Tunes and Pink Panther collections are organized and circulated by the Daura Gallery, University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, VA., Warner Bros. Studios.© TM and The Pink Panther TM © 1964-2006, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. The exhibit will hang through December 29

Historic City Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m.to noon. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com.

Animation Art