Posts from the ‘UPA’ Category

Gerald McBoing Boing

I know I’ve posted this several times before, but it’s a great cartoon and has inspired me after I watched it at the MIAF on Saturday night.

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UPA Retrospective

Tonight I went to the first session of the UPA retrospective at the Melbourne International Animation Festival at the ACMI cinemas. It was a great night with lots of great cartoons. It was good to see such an enthusiastic audience too. It was the first time I have been to see animated shorts on the big screen, and it was good to see people still laugh at these things, although most of the audience seemed to be made up of animation students.

Guest of honour was Tee Bosustow, son of UPA founder Stephen Bosustow. He spoke enthusiastically about the studio and let slip that Sony are finally releasing a dvd box set of the UPA shorts. Actually he said that Sony had outsourced this to two other companies and they will be releasing the DVD. If this is true, and I don’t doubt Tee’s word, this is great for classic animation fans. A UPA set has been a long time coming, and I thikn both John Canemaker and Jerry Beck have in the past tried to persuade Sony to release these cartoons, but failed. If I recollect correctly there was some rights issue with Classic Media owning the Mr Magoo character, despite the Magoo theatrical shorts being owned by Sony.

Most popular cartoon tonight would be a toss-up between

The Jaywalker

Rooty Toot Toot

and Madeline

Gerald McBoing Boing

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.

Rooty Toot Toot

This is another fine UPA cartoon from 1952 that was nominaed for an Academy Award for best animated short film. With Gerald McBoing Boing this is probably the most fondly remembered of all UPA’s cartoons and one of its best.

UPA – The Emperor’s New Clothes

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.

UPA – Mr Magoo – Trouble Indemnity

Van Eaton Galleries has a production cel available for sale for Trouble Indemnity, a Mr Magoo cartoon from UPA.

If you wish to purchase this cel they are selling it for US $1500.

UPA Animation Art

Surfing the internet I found some UPA animation art that is up for sale. The site had these concept drawings but they could not confirm what cartoon they came from except to say that they are from a WWII era industrial short.

My personal thoughts just by looking at the drawings is that they could be from John Hubley‘s Flat Hatting, which is a training film that was used by the US Navy. The films aim was to teach navy pilots about flying safety and that they should not buzz the people on the ground by flying too low or what is known as flat hatting in military speak.

Of course this is just an educated guess on my behalf, as I have never seen Flat Hatting. Amid Amidi posted Flat Hatting last year on Cartoon Brew TV, but it has since been removed. UPA made numerous training films for the military during the war, as did all the other cartoon studios.


These drawings are up for sale on the Van Eaton Galleries website, with prices ranging from US $25 – $100, which is pretty reasonable.