The Phantom Tollbooth: Just Dead Inside

Do you find yourself whining about how bored you are? Do you feel like life has lost its luster and you just don’t know what to do with yourself anymore? Well, worry no more! Join us on a fantastical journey where you learn about…learning.  It’s Phantom Tollbooth time!

This episode we discuss Chuck Jones’s baby, 1970’s The Phantom Tollbooth.

Aly starts us off by actually giving us a positive, uplifting biography of an author/illustrator team where nobody dies, there are no affairs and no childhood trauma! Norman Juster and Jules Feiffer were an excellent (and entertaining) team, and Aly gets to tell us all about their crazy schemes (like Juster’s fake secret society), their army inspirations, and how they got where they are today by pure gumption. She also teaches us a little bit about a condition known as synesthesia, and how Juster may have used it as inspiration in some of his work.

Sarrah gives us a refresher course on Mr. Chuck Jones, colouring in more detail on certain aspects of his life. Some of the stories you may remember from our Gay Purr-ee episode, so for the full she-bang, listen to both! Sarrah also teaches us about the “10,000 shitty drawings” theory and tells us some fun stories about early animation studios not run by a mouse.

Our recap has us wondering how a ten-year-old child could be so dead inside, moaning about more boring songs, and completely amazed and impressed at how a mind could think up all of the wordplay and puns that fill this story.

Some Of Our References:

Norman Juster Books:

Feiffer Art and Books:

Chuck Jones:
Private Snafu / Sniffles the Mouse / Tex Avery's Wolf

So sit back in your child-sized toy car, cross the tollbooth (only once is necessary, please), and start driving onward to adventure!

And remember…..

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Our Sources:

IMDb page for Phantom Tollbooth
Wikipedia Article for The Phantom Tollbooth
Wikipedia Article for Chuck Jones
Wikipedia Article for MGM Animation Review of Phantom Tollbooth

The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth. Norman Juster. Illus. Jules Feiffer. Annotated by Leonard S. Marcus.
The Phantom Tollbooth Audio Book. Narrator David Hyde Pierce. HarperFestival. 2008