If there’s one question I’ve received more frequently than any other since the release of Cartoon Modern, it’s “Where can I see the UPA films?” There’s a lot of Golden Age animation being released onto dvd this year (Droopy, Popeye, Lantz cartoons, Tom and Jerry, etc.) but the catalog of classic cartoons produced by United Productions of America (UPA) during the 1950s remains completely off the radar. The studio produced just over ninety shorts and these films have not enjoyed a major release since a series of VHS tapes released the late-’80s.
It’s depressing that the only suggestion I can offer to folks looking for these films is to search for twenty-year-old out of print VHS tapes. I think it’s about time that Columbia pulled together a decent box set of all of the studio’s shorts, a package that gives us the classic characters (Gerald McBoing Boing, Mister Magoo, the Fox and Crow) along with the studio’s groundbreaking one-shot shorts (The Unicorn in the Garden, The Tell-Tale Heart, Rooty Toot Toot, The Jaywalker and Madeline). Until then, you can find some of the UPA shorts on video sharing sites. I’ve included links to all the ones I could find below, though unfortunately, if there’s one animation studio whose work doesn’t deserve to be seen in this crummy compressed Flash format, it’s the graphically intensive filmmaking of UPA.