The Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection (1949-1959)
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Since 1949, Mr. Magoo has bumbled his way to good fortune for more than six decades. His endearing misadventures in everyday life and his stubborn self-confidence have entertained generations.
Voiced by the multitalented comedic actor Jim Backus, the nearsighted Mr. Magoo was an instant hit and went on to become a classic animated character starring in two Academy Award winning theatrical shorts, three television series and two television specials.
This special collectors edition brings together for the first time on DVD all 53 theatrical cartoons, including 12 cartoons in anamorphic widescreen for the first time, and the feature film 1001 Arabian Nights, all in one deluxe collection.
• Photo Gallery With Storyboards, Drawings And Merchandise
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Needless to say, both the film and the shorts are dazzling. The initial shorts were directed by John Hubley, but most of the later ones are directed by Pete Burness, who also directed a 1952 short in a series of UPA one-offs known as Jolly Frolics UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection [DVD]. But the most amazing thing is Jim Backus ad libbing through the shorts, making good use of his sense of humor and voice talent from radio. An early writer was Bill Scott, one of the main writers later on Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Magoo shorts really hit their stride under Burness, with sumptuous colors and modern design from former Disney animators, artists and designers, who eagerly fell in with the modernist motifs of UPA and producer Steven Bosustow. Since the stories are usually so much better, the Magoo shorts are, in many cases, more representative of UPA's intent. This is ironic, as UPA's initial idea was to make every JF short different, with no continuing characters. However, in the process, they created one that is still continuing today.
So popular was Mr. Magoo, that his second full-length movie, Mr, Magoo's Christmas Carol, was the first animated Christmas special (yes, even predating A Charlie Brown Christmas). Darell Van Citters has written a book about it (now unfortunately being scalped for way too much money) Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition, as well as interviewed principal players on the deluxe DVD reissue MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (2011),MR. MAGOOS CHRISTMAS CAROL COLLECTORS EDITION BD/DVD COMBO [Blu-ray]. In addition, his recent book on Jay Ward Studio animation traces some of the animators and artists from Disney to UPA to Jay Ward Studios The Art of Jay Ward Productions.
Guess who plays Aladdin in the film? Dwayne Hickman, and Shout has just released the box set of the entire series of his most famous and delightful show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series. As one of the historians says in the documentary, the only thing missing from this Magoo set are the commercials for GE light bulbs, in which Mr. Magoo used to say, "it's easy to see, the best bulbs are GE."