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When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA Hardcover – March 9, 2012
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“At last! The story of UPA, the influential little-studio-that-could―and did―challenge Disney’s domination of animation design and content, has finally been told accurately, with wit, clarity, and insight.” (John Canemaker, Oscar-winning animator and director of animation at the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University)
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book about a very interesting time in animation! Always happy when I can find a book that gives new information about a subject I love and this is definitely one of those... Read morePublished on August 13, 2013 by Disneymarvel
Excellent overview! I teach a class on the history of animation, and this book provides information unavailable anywhere else. Highly recommended.Published on December 20, 2012 by Arn McConnell
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. Read morePublished on July 14, 2012 by M.B.
This is a history of United Productions of America. They went beyond Disney and Warner, to do some innovative things. It's a good history, better documented than some.Published on July 8, 2012 by David
I've grown up in southern California [USA] & I thought this book would be about the "art" & "production" of the films the U.P.A. made...........but it's not. Read morePublished on June 26, 2012 by Keith Black