Posts Tagged ‘UPA’


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.


Here’s a list of the 100 cartoons that I enjoy the most. These are NOT the greatest cartoons ever made, just the ones that I enjoy watching over and over. Other than the top 10 these cartoons aren’t really in a strict order. Hopefully I will later go through each cartoon and describe why I like it so much… or maybe I’ll just be really lazy again and not do that. I must also specify that I have not seen every cartoon ever made and there are some that I am not that familiar with such as Terrytoons. Perhaps if these were somehow released onto DVD or were more readily available to be viewed then I would have a higher opinion of them.

I also realise that there are no Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew or Foghorn Leghorn cartoons and very few Tweety and Sylvester or Tom and Jerry ones. There is a reason for this. I am not saying that this is correct, just my opinion, but I do find these cartoons to be a bit formulaic and repetitive. Maybe it’s a case of familiarity breeding contempt (whatever that means) as these cartoons were screened endlessly on TV when I was a kid and they are now perhaps a bit too familiar. I still enjoy them, but maybe just in small doses.

I also have to clarify, so it seems, that these are all theatrically released cartoons, not those that were made for TV. This is why there are no Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Rock & Bullwinkle etc cartoons listed. I think that a lot of people don’t realise that cartoons were shown in cinemas before the main feature which means that a Porky Pig cartoon would have been shown prior to one of Warner Bros. gangster films or Woody Woodpecker would have been on the same bill as a Universal horror film. Heck, I’ve even had someone tell me that in 1970 in NYC they played Looney Tunes cartoons before showing Fritz the Cat.

Made for TV cartoons are different to the theatricals  in other ways. From the 1960s or so, most TV cartoons were made exclusively for children and are quite childish as a result. It wasn’t until the arrival of The Simpsons (or just slightly earlier) that TV cartoons became a little bit more mature.

# Film Director Character Studio Year
1 One Froggy Evening Chuck Jones Michigan J Frog Warner Bros. 1955
2 Duck Amuck Chuck Jones Daffy Duck Warner Bros. 1953
3 The Band Concert Wilfred Jackson Mickey Mouse Disney 1935
4 Gerald McBoing-Boing Robert Cannon Gerald McBoing-Boing UPA 1951
5 Little Rural Riding Hood Tex Avery The Country Wolf/ The City Wolf MGM 1949
6 The Great Piggy Bank Robbery Bob Clampett Daffy Duck Warner Bros. 1946
7 Puss n’ Booty Frank Tashlin Rudolph Warner Bros. 1943
8 Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1936
9 You Ought to Be in Pictures Friz Freleng Daffy Duck & Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1940
10 Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century Chuck Jones Daffy Duck Warner Bros. 1953
11 Red Hot Riding Hood Tex Avery Red Hot Riding Hood/The Wolf MGM 1943
12 The Fox and the Grapes Frank Tashlin The Fox and The Crow Columbia Screen Gems 1941
13 What’s Opera, Doc? Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny Warner Bros. 1957
14 The Ugly Duckling Jack Cutting The Ugly Duckling Disney 1939
15 Rooty Toot Toot John Hubley Frankie & Johnny UPA 1952
16 Tortoise Beats Hare Cecil Tex Avery Bugs Bunny Warner Bros. 1941
17 Ragtime Bear John Hubley Mr Magoo UPA 1949
18 Goonland Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1937
19 Peace on Earth Hugh Harmon MGM 1939
20 Feed the Kitty Chuck Jones Marc Anthont/Pussyfoot Warner Bros. 1952
21 The Big Snooze Bob Clampett Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd Warner Bros. 1946
22 Puss Gets the Boot Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera Tom & Jerry MGM 1940
23 Bimbo’s Initiation Dave Fleischer Bimbo Fleischer 1931
24 Hockey Homicide Jack Kinney Goofy Disney 1945
25 Sh-h-h-h-h-h Tex Avery Walt Lantz 1955
26 Lost and Foundry Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer
27 Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs Bob Clampett Coal Black Warner Bros. 1943
28 Ferdinand the Bull Dick Rickard Ferdinand the Bull Disney 1938
29 Minnie the Moocher Dave Fleischer Betty Boop Fleischer 1932
30 Der Fuehrer’s Face Jack Kinney Donald Duck Disney 1941
31 Bad Luck Blackie Tex Avery Bad Luck Blackie MGM 1949
32 The Old Mill Wilfred Jackson Disney 1937
33 A Clean Shaven Man Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1936
34 The Three Little Pigs Burt Gillett The Three Little Pigs Disney 1933
35 Brave Little Tailor Burt Gillett Mickey Mouse Diseny 1939
36 Snow White Dave Fleischer Betty Boop Fleischer 1933
37 Lonesome Ghosts Burt Gillett Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck/Goofy Disney 1937
38 A Wild Hare Tex Avery Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd Warner Bros. 1940
39 Rabbit of Seville Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd Warner Bros. 1950
40 Porky Pig’s Feat Frank Tashlin Daffy Duck & Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1943
41 Symphony in Slang Tex Avery MGM 1951
42 Chow Hound Chuck Jones Warner Bros. 1951
43 Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1936
44 Thugs with Dirty Mugs Tex Avery Warner Bros. 1939
45 Clock Cleaners Ben Sharpsteen Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck/Goofy Disney 1937
46 Who Killed Who? Tex Avery MGM 1943
47 Brotherly Love Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1936
48 Donald’s Cousin Gus Jack King Donald Duck Disney 1939
49 Northwest Hounded Police Tex Avery Droopy MGM 1946
50 Giantland Burt Gillett Mickey Mouse Disney 1933
51 Goofy and Wilbur Dick Huemer Goofy Disney 1939
52 Three Little Bops Friz Freleng The Three Little Pigs Warner Bros. 1957
53 Fresh Airedale Chuck Jones Shep, Cat Warner Bros. 1945
54 Daffy Doodles Robert McKimson Daffy Duck/Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1946
55 Tubby the Tuba George Pal Tubby The Tuba Paramount (Puppetoon) 1947
56 Donald’s Crime Jack King Donald Duck Disney 1945
57 Horton Hatches the Egg Bob Clampett Horton The Elephant Warner Bros. 1942
58 From A to Z-Z-Z-Z Chuck Jones Ralph Phillips Warner Bros. 1953
59 King-Size Canary Tex Avery MGM 1947
60 A Bear For Punishment Chuck Jones The Three Bears Warner Bros. 1951
61 Farmyard Symphony Wilfred Jackson Disney 1938
62 Daffy Duck Slept Here Robert McKimson Daffy Duck/Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1948
63 Modern Inventions Jack King Donald Duck Disney 1937
64 Porky in Wackyland Bob Clampett Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1938
65 The Dover Boys Chuck Jones The Dover Boys Warner Bros. 1942
66 I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You Dave Fleischer Betty Boop Fleischer 1932
67 A Gruesome Twosome Bob Clampett Tweety Warner Bros. 1945
68 The Hypo-Chondri-Cat Chuck Jones Claude Cat, Hubie, Bertie Warner Bros. 1950
69 Mickey’s Service Station Ben Sharpsteen Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pete Disney 1935
70 Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid Bob Clampett Bugs Bunny Warner Bros. 1942
71 Me Musical Nephews Tom Johnson Popeye Famous Studios
72 John Henry and the Inky Poo George Pal John Henry Paramount (Puppetoon) 1946
73 Magoo’s Puddle Jumper Pete Burness Mr Magoo UPA 1956
74 The Barber of Seville James Culhane Woody Woodpecker Walter Lantz 1944
75 Tulips Shall Grow George Pal Jan, Janette, Screwball Army Paramount (Puppetoon) 1942
76 Duck! Rabbit! Duck! Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Elmer Fudd Warner Bros. 1953
77 Cartoons Ain’t Human Seymour Kneitel Popeye Famous Studios 1943
78 The Blue Danube Hugh Harmon MGM 1939
79 The Pink Phink Friz Freleng The Pink Panther DePatie Freleng 1964
80 Wynken, Blynken, and Nod Graham Heid Wynken, Blynken, and Nod Disney 1938
81 Baby Bottleneck Bob Clampett Daffy Duck/Porky Pig Warner Bros. 1946
82 The Tell-Tale Heart Ted Parmelee UPA 1953
83 Thru the Mirror David Hand Mickey Mouse Disney 1936
84 The Magic Fluke John Hubley The Fox and The Crow UPA 1949
85 Mickey’s Mechanical Man Wilfred Jackson Mickey Mouse Disney 1933
86 A Dream Walking Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1934
87 Mickey’s Trailer Ben Sharpsteen Mickey Mouse Disney 1938
88 Little Hiawatha David Hand Little Hiawatha Disney 1937
89 The Old Man of the Mountain Dave Fleischer Betty Boop Fleischer 1933
90 The Paneless Window Washer Dave Fleischer Popeye Fleischer 1937
91 The Little House Wilfred Jackson The Little House Disney 1952
92 A Language All My Own Dave Fleischer Betty Boop Fleischer 1935
93 Pigs Is Pigs Jack Kinney Disney 1954
94 Madeline Robert Cannon UPA 1952
95 Lambert the Sheepish Lion Jack Hannah Lambert the Sheepish Lion Disney 1952
96 The Hungry Goat Dan Gordon Popeye Famous Studios 1943
97 Clash and Carry Jack Hannah Chilly Willy/Wally Walrus Walter Lantz 1961
98 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B Walter Lantz Walter Lantz 1941
99 Munro Gene Deitch Munro Rembrandt Films 1960
100 Betty Boop M.D. Dave Fleischer Betty Boop, Bimbo, Koko Fleischer 1932

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.

UPA

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.

Boing!

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.


I vaguely remember seeing The Emperor’s New Clothes on TV when I was a kid. I tried to search for this cartoon on Youtube and Daily Motion but could not find it.
Here are some animation cels available from Van Eaton Galleries.