|This is a very good used condition, vintage ORIGINAL 16mm B&W
sound film 1950's UPA cartoon animated television commercial for...
STATE LINE POTATO CHIPS
One ten-second ID commercial printed on 1957 KODAK B&W film stock...
with brief silent graphic tag ID for WNHC-TV Channel 8 (New Haven, CT).
It's mounted on a small plastic reel... all ready to project with original leaders.
This RARE motion picture reel has no vinegar smell or warping.
The image shown is only for illustration and is not from the actual print.
United Productions of America, better known as UPA, was an American animation studio of the 1940s through present day, beginning with industrial films and World War II training films. In the late 1940s, UPA produced theatrical shorts for Columbia Pictures, most notably the Mr. Magoo series. In the late 1950s UPA produced a television series for CBS hosted by Gerald McBoing Boing. In the 1960s UPA produced several Mr. Magoo and Dick Tracy series and specials, the most popular of which was Magoo's Christmas Carol. UPA also produced two features, 1001 Arabian Nights and Gay Purr-ee, and distributed Japanese films from Toho Studios in the 1970s and 1980s. The latest animated series is with Gerald McBoing Boing for Cartoon Network.
UPA Pictures' legacy in the history of animation has largely been overshadowed by the commercial success of the vast cartoon libraries of Warner Brothers and Disney. Nonetheless, UPA had a significant impact on animation style, content, and technique, and its innovations were recognized and adopted by the other major animation studios and independent filmmakers all over the world.
UPA was founded in the wake of the Disney animators' strike of 1941, which resulted in the exodus of a number of long-time Walt Disney staff members. Among them was John Hubley, a layout artist who was unhappy with the ultra-realistic style of animation that Disney had been advocating. Hubley, Bobe Cannon, and others at UPA, sought to produce animated films with sufficient freedom to express design ideas considered radical by other established studios.
In 1943, Zack Schwartz, David Hilberman, and Stephen Bosustow formed a studio called first Industrial Film & Poster Service and later United Productions of America, where they were free to apply their concepts. Finding work in the then-booming field of wartime work for the government, the small studio produced a cartoon sponsored by the United Auto Workers (UAW) in 1944. This Chuck Jones directed cartoon was entitled Hell-Bent for Election, and was produced for the (third) reelection campaign of FDR. The film was a theatrical success, leading to another cartoon entitled Brotherhood of Man (1945), also sponsored by the UAW. The short was groundbreaking not only in its message but in its very flat, stylized design, in complete defiance of the Disney approach. With its new-found fame, the studio renamed itself UPA Pictures (UPA).
UPA moved to the crowded field of theatrical cartoons to sustain itself, and won a contract with Columbia Pictures. The UPA animators applied their stylistic concepts and storytelling to Columbia's characters The Fox and the Crow with the shorts Robin Hoodlum (1948) and The Magic Fluke (1949), both directed by Hubley. Both shorts were nominated for Academy Awards and Columbia gave the studio permission to create its own new characters. UPA responded, not with another "funny animal," but the star was a human character, a crotchety, nearsighted old man. The Ragtime Bear (1949), the first appearance of Mr. Magoo, was a box-office hit, and UPA's star quickly rose as the 1950s dawned.
With a unique, sparse drawing style that contrasted greatly with other cartoons of the day, not to mention the novelty of a human character in a field crowded with talking mice, rabbits, and bears, the Mr. Magoo series won accolades for UPA. Two Magoo cartoons won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons): When Magoo Flew in 1953 and Magoo's Puddle Jumper in 1955.
In 1951, UPA scored another hit with Gerald McBoing-Boing, based on a story by Dr. Seuss. Gerald McBoing-Boing won UPA another Academy Award, and several UPA cartoons would receive Oscar nominations in the next few years, fifteen between 1949 and 1959. The "UPA style" began to influence significant changes at the other major animation studios, including Warner Bros., MGM, and even Disney, ushering in a new era of experimentation in animation.
By the mid-1950s, UPA also began producing very clever and stylized TV advertising commercials for major clients like Coca-cola, Tang, Aqua-Velva, Bell System, Piel's Beer, Proctor and Domino Sugar.
In 1956, Steve Bosustow secured a CBS contract for UPA to produce a television series that brought new talent to the studio, and a brand new energy emerged under the supervision of Bobe Cannon. Talents such as Ernie Pintoff, Fred Crippen, Jimi Muricami, George Dunning, Mel Leven, Auri Batalia, Ozzie Evans, and many more, gave this short lived show a wide variety of new looks in animation. But, as the major Hollywood studios began cutting back and shutting down their animation studios in the early 1960s, UPA was in financial straits, and Steve Bosustow sold the studio to a new producer, Henry G. Saperstein. Saperstein turned UPA's focus to television to sustain itself. UPA expanded the Mr. Magoo series and brought it to television, along with other animated series, including an adaptation of the comic strip Dick Tracy.
Saperstein kept UPA afloat in the 1960s and beyond by abandoning animation production completely after the animation studio closed permanently in 1964 and sold off UPA's library of cartoons, although the studio retained the licenses and copyrights on Mr. Magoo, Gerald McBoing-Boing and the other UPA characters. This led to UPA contracting with DePatie-Freleng Enterprises studio to produce a new animated series called What's New Mr. Magoo? in September 1977.
In 1970, Saperstein led UPA into a contract with Toho Studios of Japan to distribute its "giant monster" movies in America. Theatrical releases, and especially TV syndication, of the Toho monster movies created a new cult movie market for Japanese monster movies, and such long-running television movie syndication packages such as Creature Double Feature exposed the Toho movie monsters to young American audiences, who embraced them and helped them maintain their popularity throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
When Toho began producing a new generation of monster movies in the late 1980s, beginning with Godzilla 1985, UPA capitalized on its Toho contract and helped introduce the new kaiju features to the Western world.
Because of its long association with Toho, UPA is better known to cult-movie fans today as Toho's American distributor rather than a pioneer of animated cartoons. But the legacy of UPA is an important chapter in the history of American animation.
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