236. So Much for So Little – Chuck Jones

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SUMMARY: An educational short on the importance of a good health service.

WHY IT’S HERE:”2,621,392. A nice even figure. That’s the number of babies who’ll be born next year in the United States. Of these babies, 118,481 will die before reaching their first birthday.” So begins Chuck Jones’s ‘So Much for So Little’, an Academy Award winning cartoon. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for comedy gold, does it? Well, the truth is ‘So Much for So Little’ is not primarily a comedy short. It is an educational picture about the importance of a good health service. Sounds dull, right? Fortunately, Chuck Jones works his magic on this public information film to create a thoroughly entertaining cartoon. Although he’s basically illustrating a voice-over narration, Jones manages to draw us in to the story of Johnny Jones, one of those 2,621,392 babies who may end up being one of the 118,481 dead. Why should we care? Well, Jones makes us care by segueing into the story of Johnny’s life, incorporating his school days, his falling in love, marriage and retirement. He does this so engagingly that we forget we are hearing the tale of a baby we’ve been told has a good chance of being amongst the percentage that will die. Jones returns to this fact right at the end of the short, abruptly reminding us of the information that we have forgotten while becoming emotionally involved in the character’s potential life. ‘So Much for So Little’ advocates a worthy cause in a totally convincing, captivating and (crucially) entertaining way and was fully deserving of its Oscar win.

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