On the 75th Anniversary of BUGS BUNNY, Remembering That Time I Met Bugs’ Creator CHUCK JONES

Happy 75th, Bugs!

Happy 75th, Bugs!

I have been blessed many times in my career to be placed in some fairly oddball situations – I’m no stranger to events where there are bizarre mash-ups of iconic personalities in the entertainment and publishing world. One such event was in the early ’90s during my first year as the writer/producer on motorsports TV series THE SUPER CHARGERS. Our production team headed down to the Houston Film Festival for the awards ceremony. My second father figure and–at that time–employer, TV personality Jan Gabriel treated us to an unforgettable dinner and performance at the exclusive Magic Island in Houston. The next night, we attended the Houston Film Festival Awards, where we won a Gold Star Award. Featured guests that year were Chuck Jones, Rod Steiger, and Ginger Rogers. I know, right? What an oddball mashup of entertainment icons!

I walked into the art museum where the event was being held, and I happened to look up at the top of the stairs. There was Jan Gabriel, talking to a tall, thin man in a tuxedo. He had a tuft of white, fluffy hair that hang down on his forehead, and these oversized, too-large-for-his-face, black plastic-framed eyeglasses. In my signature silliness, I quipped to Kenny our cameraman, “Look! Jan’s talking to Bugs Bunny!” having no idea that it was actually Bugs Bunny creator Chuck Jones, the featured guest! D’oh! Mr. Jones really did look a lot like the cartoon character he created, and I never forgot that about him.

At the same event, Ginger Rogers was in the sunset years of her life, getting around in a wheelchair. There were no separate restroom facilities for dignitaries, and while I still feel bad about it, I was full of champagne and I raced past Ms. Rogers’ wheelchair to reach the bathroom ahead of her. I just barely made it. She didn’t have to wait too long for me, but it was a very human moment. I was once again reminded that we all put on our panties one leg at a time.

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Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes, Herding Cats

Star Wars Celebration 6

Star Wars Celebration 6 – For those of you with magnifying glasses, Dave is 4th from the right

So I sent a quick media pitch to CHICAGO TONIGHT yesterday on Dave’s reaction to the new museum and they liked it. Right as Dave was rushing out the door to buy groceries, I told him he would be on TV tomorrow night. Always the comic book artist introvert, Dave remains my most reluctant “client.”

Jack’s reaction: “Yay! That means we get pizza tomorrow night!” (I have no idea why he said that. And that would make the 2nd time this week we’d have pizza. I’m so over it.)

Dave’s reaction: “Really? I have to get dressed up and drive into the city?”

For dramatic impact, he added a heavy sigh and his famed eyeball rolling. Dave lives in a t-shirt and sweat pants. He creates his own reality. He cannot fathom why the rest of the world isn’t on board with his fashion code. The thought of putting on jeans just unglues him.

And then we argued about whether or not WTTW had their own makeup person. Dave says yes, I say no.  (I will be bringing makeup, just in case.)

But it’s never just as simple as Dave just driving into Chicago to be on TV. This kicked off a whole series of madcap events. We had to meet friends at the last minute who used Dave’s favorite Star Wars “Darkside Alley” bowling shirt as a pattern to make him another shirt. This meant driving to Stone Cold Creamery at 8:30 last night. Dave can’t be on TV without his lucky shirt.

Dave Dorman with Faith, Hawk and Kim Evans Worley last night, in the new shirt made by Hawk

Dave Dorman with Faith, Hawk and Kim Evans Worley last night, in the new shirt made by Hawk

And then there was the mad scramble on Facebook to find the needle in the haystack–the person who had the high-resolution version of the Star Wars Celebration group photo for the TV producer. Fortunately, the 501st cosplay group are the most organized and responsive in the world, so we had an answer almost immediately. Now we’re scrambling to find the high-res version of this image for the studio:

Dave Dorman and George Lucas

Dave Dorman and George Lucas

And oh yeah, did I mention I run a business, I have a 9-year-old interrupting me every 5 minutes, I’m still in my PJs at 11:45 a.m. setting a grand example for our son, and the doorbell keeps ringing with endless package deliveries for my aging parents living downstairs? And that I didn’t get to sleep until after 3 a.m. due to my anxiety-inducing heart palpitations? Through clenched teeth, I declare, “Today will be FUN!”