Animator Chuck Jones was born on this day in 1912. He's best known for the thirty-some years he spent at Warner Brothers, where he brought to life such characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck (my favorite WB cartoon character, incidentally), Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Pepé Le Pew, Marvin the Martian, Wile E. Coyote, and the Road Runner.
The characters Jones didn't bring to life include Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, the Tasmanian Devil, and, for those of you with long memories, Bosko. Also, his Bugs, Daffy, Porky, and Elmer look and act a little different than they do in shorts directed by Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, or Robert McKimson. I bring this up to remind you that the animation studio founded by businessman Leon Schlesinger (whom Jones, Avery, Tashlin, Clampett, Freleng, and McKimson reportedly disliked) was no assembly line operation but a progressive arrangement that encouraged artistic freedom, innovation, and individuality. As long as the cartoon took no more than two weeks to make and turned a profit. Hell, I don't know. The system worked somehow. Maybe it was just dumb luck. Variously called Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies, the cartoons were both commercial and artistic successes (though a whole generation would pass before the latter was acknowledged.)
Chuck Jones is now generally recognized as the most artistic, innovative, and individualistic animator ever to have emerged from the studio. Predictably, this almost got him fired early on.
Jones first cartoons for Schlesinger/Warners were cute Disney-like things, many starring a squeaky, motormouthed mouse named Sniffles, an innocent adrift in a world of antisocial basso profundos. These cartoons were lovely to look at but not all that funny. Jones was told to change his style. He did, and came up with this hilarious short. Except his bosses weren't all that amused. Done in a kind of too slow-then too fast-then too slow again-then too fast again style, with minimalistic backgrounds and abstractly drawn characters, it was considered downright radical in 1942. Jones himself abandoned the technique for a while, until he took it up again about five years later, most notably with his popular Road Runner cartoons.
So, here, then, is The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall, a parody of a once-popular, now-obscure series of books for adolescents. I really don't think you have to be familiar with the source material to find any of this funny.
Schlesinger/Warners never did fire Jones. World War II was on, and good cartoon directors were in short supply. So at least something positive came out of that attack on Pearl Harbor.