Creators of Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing, United Productions of America (UPA) was the most significant animation studio of the 1950s. Ushering in a whole new way of making cartoons, combining modern art with slapstick comedy, UPA challenged the way Disney made toons and dominated the Academy Awards during that decade. There’s no doubt of their inspiration on international and independent animators for decades to come.
Charles Solomon (who did a great job hosting the Mary Blair tribute last night at the Academy) recorded an audio editorial championing UPA that will run on L.A.’s public radio station KPCC (89.3 FM), Off Ramp, Saturday at noon and Sunday at 7pm. Solomon points out that a current local art show cooperative – Pacific Standard Time, which celebrates southern California’s contributions to pop culture – omits the UPA studio’s significant influence on art and animation. KPCC has just posted his piece online, in advance of its broadcast: Download or listen to stream here.
Meanwhile, I will be doing my part by mounting a tribute to UPA at my next Animation Tuesday screening, on Tuesday November 1st at 8pm. I will be introducing rare 35mm prints of the studio’s undeniable classics on the big screen – including their acclaimed adaptation Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, Oscar winner When Magoo Flew (in wide screen CinemaScope), and rarely shown The Jaywalker, Willie The Kid and Fudget’s Budget and more – along with a selection of rare commercials, industrial films and TV films not seen in public for over 50 years. More info and tickets: click here.