Every year around the holidays, the Franklin Park Conservatory is decked out from head to toe in lights, with poinsettias in every available spot, and a holiday train to delight the young and the old. This year, there’s something extra special on display and its been a holiday classic on American television sets since 1966.
From the Grinch himself to Cindy Lou Who, the conservatory is proudly displaying the largest exhibition of original artwork of Chuck Jones straight from “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Legendary animator and director Chuck Jones had over 250 films under his belt and a nearly 70 year career. More famous than his name are the everlasting characters he brought to life such as Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, Elmer Fudd, and the list goes on.
Bonnie Roche, Curatorial Assistant at the Franklin Park Conservatory, tells the story of how the film came into existence. “Chuck Jones originally met Dr. Seuss [Ted Geisel] in World War II when they were in the animation department and they did a cartoon called “Private Snafu”. “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” came years after that and [at the time] Dr. Seuss didn’t want to make any more movies because he was done with Hollywood.” If not for Chuck Jones’s convincing, the enduring holiday classic we have come to love might not have existed.
Roche also discusses the animation process that made “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas” come to life. “Back then there were no digital [movies], they had to draw every single second, every single movement they had to have a drawing for. Understanding that there’s so much more appreciation that goes into the film.”
You can appreciate the process yourself at the Franklin Park Conservatory through January 4th, 2012. Accompanying the original artwork from the Chuck Jones Center for creativity are gingerbread houses inspired by Jones’s legendary characters. Visit http://www.fpconservatory.org/ for hours and more information.