“Inspiration! Imagination! Animation!”

Thanks to Jack Theakston for sending along this article on UPA from the May 1952 issue of Production Design, the magazine put out by the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors. (What other animation studio could such a magazine feature?)

Note the date, when UPA was in its darkest hour and was forced to get a “loyalty oath” from its “Communist” employees or lay them off, otherwise they would lose the Columbia Pictures contract. As we all know, that’s when the studio lost most of its creative core: John Hubley, Bill Scott, and Phil Eastman. The cartoons were never the same (or good) again.

Knowing the time-sensitive nature that’s always been part of the publishing world, I can’t help but be impressed by the prompt hackjob the magazine did with removing any mention of those artists, save of course crediting Hubley for directing Rooty Toot Toot in a caption. Still, it features some interesting photos and drawings I’d never seen before and I can’t help but appreciate the “shop talk” that goes on for paragraphs and likely went over contemporary readers’ heads.


Filed under classic animation

4 Responses to “Inspiration! Imagination! Animation!”

  1. J Lee

    You can see why some of the UPA staffers down the line would be irked at the creative credit Bosustow got, especially the part about Guisel being inspired by ‘his’ work to take his idea for Gerald to the studio. Would have been interesting to see the original draft of the story, and if it was as heavy with giving the majority of the creative credit to him before Hubley was edited out of the picture (though at least a 1952 article in high praise of UPA can be justified. The same sort of praise 5-10 years down the line for the studio was done more by people who knew the proper position on animation was to praise UPA at the expense of other studios, but hadn’t bothered to watch any of their recent cartoons like the audiences did).

  2. Anthony

    So, Scott was fired for Communist “ties” as well?

    I remember reading somewhere that Scott was a sacrificial lamb to make Hubley and Eastman’s firing not seem political.

  3. Ian L.

    Not on topic, but have you heard about the upcoming Ren & Stimpy re-release? http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Ren-Stimpy-Mostly-Complete-Collection/23796 . What a missed opportunity. Instead of going back and getting the uncut versions of the episodes, they’re seemingly just repackaging the nine discs from the 2004/2005 releases. I keep hoping for a distributor other than Paramount to grab the R&S license and give us a proper release, but thanks to this pointless re-release, that possibility isn’t happening anytime soon. Ugh.

    • Cool. Good to know a new generation will see those bastardized versions of the Spumco classics and that John K. will get more royalties for his shitty audio commentaries.

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