Archive for the ‘UPA’ Category

This 1951 UPA cartoon is one of my favourites. Whilst it does not have as many laugh out loud moments as the best Warner Bros. or MGM cartoons of the 50s I think that it is quite cute and that their is always something new to discover somewhere in the cartoon. (I don’t think I articulated myself too well there!) It won the 1952 Academy Award for best animated short film and was adapted from a story by Dr Seuss and directed by Robert ‘Bobe’ Cannon.

This is one of the few UPA cartoons that is available on DVD. None of the Magoo cartoons are available on DVD, whilst Gerald can be found on Cartoon Adventures With Gerald McBoing Boing and on the Hell Boy dvd. The 1952 Academy Award nominated cartoon Madeline, which is a straight forward retelling of Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic story, can be found on the Madeline live action film as an extra.

I was looking through some old posts at Stephen Worth’s ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive and came across some UPA model sheets. Like the magpie (thief) that I am I thought that some of these would be good for my own blog. Here is one of UPA’s most famous cartoon, Gerald McBoing Boing.

Google can sometimes be your best friend. Whilst looking around the net on something, anything, to post about UPA, I stumbled across some photos from Gerald McBoing Boing on Google. Apparently back in 1952 Life magazine did a big feature on Gerald and took photos of the cells specifically. I’d like to comment on a couple of these just to show what I think makes this cartoon so special.

The first picture is basically Gerald, his Mom and Dad and may not look too special, except when you look at the background. Unlike with other studios there is not a great deal of detail in the background.

This is perhaps one of my favourite scenes in the film. I just love the child like drawing of the school-house and the school yard. It looks like it would be easy to draw like this but I assure you it’s not Another great background where less detail is more.

Great use of shadow, light and perspective.

Mmm, you’d almost think that I know what I am talking about. I must confess that I am not really artistic and cannot draw for quids. Unfortunately I am just someone who admires art but cannot create it myself.


More UPA

Posted: June 22, 2010 in Animation, UPA

Stage Door Magoo

Magoo’s Puddle Jumper

Christopher Crumpet’s Playmate


Posted: June 22, 2010 in Animation, UPA

Here are some UPA cartoons that have been uploaded to Youtube and Daily Motion. I wish that Sony and Classic Media would just organise to get these out onto DVD.

When Magoo Flew

Gerald McBoing Boing Symphony

The Unicorn In The Garden

The Magic Fluke

Hotsy Footsy

Punchy De Leon

Ragtime Bear

Here’s a commercial that UPA created for GE lightbulbs featuring Mr Magoo.

I have previously posted some of the print ads featuring Magoo for GE (including this one and this one and finally this one as well), and there was also an album of music for selling light bulbs to, but this is the first time I have seen the animated version.

Gay Purree

Posted: June 17, 2009 in Animation, UPA
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I earlier posted a clip from UPA’s Gay Purree. That exact seen that I posted gets a mention in this Time article.

Well, It Isn’t a Dog
Friday, Dec. 21, 1962

Gay Purree, an 86-minute UPAnimated cattoon, is all about Mademoiselle Mewsette, a pretty little kitty who has never seen the city. In her catnaps she dreams of the Felines Bergère, the Place Catalle and the Mewlin Rouge, so one day she departs for Purree in pussuit of happiness. Her boy friend, a hair-trigger mouser called Jaune Tom, hurries off to Paris as soon as he gets the bad mews, but he arrives too late to avert catastrophe: Mewsette has al ready fallen in with Meowrice Percy Beaucoup, a sinister allée cat who has designs on her chatsteté. As for Jaune Tom, what happens to him in the big city shouldn’t happen to a dog, but in the end the hero hangs a mouse on the villain, and everything comes up catnip.
UPA’s art work often suggests stale Disney sprinkled with Kitty Litter, but at one point the picture wittily displays Mewsette as she might have been painted by Monet, Van Gogh, Seurat et al. Judy Garland, as the voice of Mewsette, yowls enchantingly. And even those who think that the plot is a very old sardine may admit that it is often amewsing, in a clever script by Dorothy and Chuck Jones, to read between the felines.

This article shows that by 1962 the critic’s love affair with UPA was over. I know a lot of people who today dislike UPA do so because the critics of the time loved everything that they did, even the rubbish. In 1953 they were considered as artistes while by 1962 they were just stale imitators of Disney.


Posted: June 11, 2009 in Animation, Disney, UPA
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A few months ago (February) I did a few posts on UPA. I was looking through Time magazines archives to see if they had an interview in which Walt Disney apparently outs many of the UPA animators, many of whom used to work for Disney, as Communists. I was reading in a biography of Walt that he did make such comments to Time in the 1950s, but could not find the interview on the Time website. Instead I found an article on UPA’s Gerald McBoing Boing and perhaps the first signs of critics abandoning Disney’s product for UPA’s films.


Monday, Feb. 05, 1951

Walt Disney did not father the animated cartoon, but he has been its outstanding foster parent. Disney’s child, however, seemed no brighter or more grown-up in 1950’s Cinderella than in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Last week a different kind of movie cartoon was being turned out by a one time Disney hand named Stephen Bosustow and his bustling United Productions of America.

For five years Bosustow’s U.P.A. has been trying to break away from such familiar Disneyisms as animal slapstick for its own sake, careful airbrushing to give figures the illusion of three dimensions, painstaking imitation of live movement. In their latest short, already delighting moviegoers at Manhattan’s Paris Theater, the U.P.A. craftsmen make a clean break.

Gerald McBoing-Boing tells a funny story about a small boy whose efforts to talk produce only such sound effects as “Boing! Boing!” Everything about the film is simple but highly stylized: bold line drawings, understated motion, striking color and airy design in the spirit of modern poster art, caricatured movements and backgrounds as well as figures.

Producer Bosustow (rhymes with adjust so), 39, who spent seven years with Disney, has built his outfit from six employees to a company of 75, with a $500,000-a-year business and a modern studio in Burbank, Calif. Since Columbia began releasing his cartoons two years ago at the rate of one a month, bookings have almost doubled.

U.P.A.’s plans call for full-length treatment of a collection of James Thurber stories (half live, half animation), Ben Jonson’s Volpone, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Meanwhile, half the company’s shorts will feature a nearsighted bumbler named Mr. Magoo. Little Gerald’s talents are too specialized for many other stories, but in its own way, his “Boing!” may prove as resounding as the first peep out of Mickey Mouse.

I wonder whatever happened to the planned versions of Ben Jonson’s Volpone, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas as they were again mentioned in another interview with Bosustow two and a half years later but it seems nothing ever became of them.

Mr Magoo’s Car

Posted: January 18, 2009 in UPA
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001_bigIn 1961 Hubley toys released this toy of Mr Magoo’s car onto the US market. Almost fifty years since its release, one of these cars in near mint condition with box will cost you around $350.