From book to film, The Phantom Tollbooth had two of the greatest animators/illustrators of the 20th century involved in making bored little Milo come to life. In preparation for our 35mm screening of the children’s classic this weekend (get your tickets!), here’s a crash course on Jules Feiffer and Chuck Jones…
Jules Feiffer. Illustrator for Norton Juster’s book The Phantom Tollbooth (1961).
In addition to his strip Feiffer running in The Villlage Voice for 42 years (!!), his strips, cartoons and illustrations have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy and The Nation. In regards to his work on the publication of The Phantom Tollbooth he told CBS Sunday Morning, “Norton [Juster] would read me what he had written…and in order to avoid doing the work I was supposed to doing, I began sketching characters for the ‘Phantom Tollbooth.’ And as it evolved, it just seemed like a natural act, that if this book was going to be Illustrated, why not by me?”
Chuck Jones. Animator and director of the film, The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)
Seems silly to even list what legendary Chuck Jones has done since you know him from pretty much every Looney Tunes cartoon ever but here goes…animator of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, creator of Marvin the Martian, Pepe LePew, the Road Runner, and Wile E. Coyote, and the director of animated cartoon shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Pepé Le Pew, Porky Pig. And then he directed that outrageous film we love, The Phantom Tollbooth.
Also, check out this doc, Chuck Jones: Extremes and in Betweens – A Life in Animation: