Jolly Frolics And Labor Disputes

by John Holbo on April 17, 2012

Oh joy! “Gerald McBoing Boing”! “Rooty Toot Toot”! And thirtyplus other titles, many of which I’ve never seen! All these lovely old UPA cartoons are finally available on DVD – UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection [amazon]. And, while I wait for my copy to arrive, I am reading When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA, by Adam Abraham. Obviously you’ve got to be a bit of a fanatic to want to read a whole book about UPA (but at least the Kindle edition is inexpensive, I see.)

You can read a short version of the UPA history on Wikipedia. Really short version: UPA was founded by disgruntled former employees of Uncle Walt who pioneered some simplified techniques while working for Uncle Sam, which – admixed with artistic ambition and modernist design sensibilities – led to some great animation. Then there was the Red Scare and they got into the Godzilla business and … well, more of a whimper than a bang. Ah, well. [click to continue…]