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When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA Hardcover – March 9, 2012


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When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA + UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection [DVD]
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan (March 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819569143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819569141
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Adam (Abraham) writes well, and certainly did his homework; I learned a lot and pass along my highest recommendation.” —Leonard Maltin, Movie Crazy

“Readers familiar only with the studio’s most famous creation, the nearsighted and befuddled Mr. Magoo, can hardly begin to appreciate the range and diversity of the studio’s best work. But Adam Abraham’s When Magoo Flew, the first full-scale history of UPA, is a good place to start.”—Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal

“The research is impeccable, the writing solid, the story fascinating...”—Amid Amidi, Cartoon Brew

Review

“This splendid, and long-overdue, book traces the colorful history of the studio that sought to reinvent American animation. Abraham has done his homework and weaves the individual stories of UPA’s many artists and personalities into a seamless and highly readable narrative. A first-rate piece of film history.” (Leonard Maltin)

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Customer Reviews

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I teach a class on the history of animation, and this book provides information unavailable anywhere else.
Arn McConnell
I also just purchased "The Jolly Frolics Collection" DVD set, and am looking forward to watching some of the cartoons discussed in Mr. Abraham's book.
M.B.
This is a wonderful history of the legendary animation studio, UPA, creators of Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoingBoing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Thad Komorowski on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Adam Abraham's When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA takes on the unenviable task of chronicling United Productions of America, the most raved about but least known about studio of the Golden Age of animation. In general, he succeeds at making this a key text, the go-to-book for anyone seeking information on the studio.

Like Mike Barrier, Abraham actually uses solid end notes, so you're able to see where the information came from. You'd be surprised how rare this is in animation books; some document or long-dead person is typically quoted without citation or context. Abraham's thorough use of solid research and colorful anecdotes with extensive citations makes his book worth purchasing for this alone.

Some of the usual problems with animation texts do arise in Abraham's book. Displaced chronology is inevitable in an animation history, so leeway should be allotted, especially when Abraham has gone to such great lengths in his research. But he could have still been clearer in many cases. He spends a great deal of time talking about Bobe Cannon as a director before his most excellent "Red Scare" chapter, but he discusses films made both before and after John Hubley's firing [related to his HUAC-offending activities]. While writing about the studio's early 1950s triumphs, he does not discuss Unicorn in the Garden and I was left puzzled by its absence. Abraham discusses the film later, in a chapter about Mr. Magoo: 1001 Arabian Nights, while chronicling the studio's various feature film projects (Unicorn was intended to be part of a James Thurber feature).

Sometimes the displaced chronology works very poorly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JoLynn on March 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Born from the fallout of the Disney artists' strike of 1941, This is the history of the animation studio that eventually became known as United Productions of America (UPA). Like its best known character, Mr. Magoo, UPA often walked to the beat of a different drummer.

Beginning with animated military training videos in WWII, then commercial training videos, cartoon shorts for Columbia Pictures, and eventually television cartoon shows and the big screen feature 'Gay Purree', this is a detailed portrait of the trials and tribulations of the UPA studio. The company faced many challenges, not the least of which were the dark days of the HUAC investigations of the 50's, budget woes, and creative differences.

But through it all, UPA put their product first, and the public was rewarded with some of the most innovative and avant-garde animation of the past century. Many of the techniques that UPA pioneered are discussed in the book.

With cameos by such a varied cast as James Thurber, Aldous Huxley, Ludwig Bemelmans (of Madeleine fame), Jim Backus, Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Eddie Albert and the aptly named T.Hee (!), this is an outstanding and detailed account of the glory that was once UPA.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By classic cartoon lover on March 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haved enjoyed(loved)Mr. Magoo since first seeing one of his cartoons back in the late 1950's in a theater.Until the last 20 years or so I had not seen any of the other UPA theatrical shorts(except Gerald McBoing Boing which I enjoyed quite a bit). When many of the other shorts began to appear on the Columbia VHS tapes,I watched them and wondered why I didn't seem to enjoy them very much.
Part of the problem was they were so much unlike the Warner/MGM/Fleischer(etc.)cartoons that I had grown up watching mainly on television.
After reading this very informative and thoroughly researched book and realising what these artists were all about and what they were trying to accomplish, I am now watching all the Jolly Frolics cartoons on the just released TCM DVD boxed set and I must say I am enjoying them quiet a bit. My problem before reading this book was apparently I wasn't appreciating the cartoons for what they are as much as I was unhappy about what they were not.
I highly recommend this book as I believe it fills in a nice part of the "golden age" of animation that most of us have only read bits & pieces of over the years.
A nice addition to any animation library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M.B. on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well-written, very informative, and, as far as I can tell, quite accurate. One of the most enjoyable books on animation I have read. I especially enjoyed the author's descriptions of the personalities of the people who made UPA's cartoons so unique. I also just purchased "The Jolly Frolics Collection" DVD set, and am looking forward to watching some of the cartoons discussed in Mr. Abraham's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louis Mauriello on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having grown up with watching the cartoons I enjoyed the story of Mr Magoo's creation. My favorite Magoo tale has got to be his Christmas Carol. It was interesting to learn about the history of the company, the different stages of production, and the season differences.
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I really love this book especially the parts on Mr Magoo but the history of the animation is very interesting to read about as well. You learn a lot of stuff in this book about the history of Mr Magoo such as one lady had control of titling the cartoons and suggested that they put Mr Magoos name in the title of each cartoon after they did a few as well as the history of animation. This is a good book. You should get it.
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