United Productions of America

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United Productions of America
UPA logo.jpg
Founded 1943
Dissolved 2000
President Henry G. Saperstein
Notable Works The Dick Tracy Show
Mister Magoo
The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo
The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show
What's New, Mr. Magoo? (contracted out to DePatie-Freleng)
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United Productions of America was an American film and television animation studio and distribution company.

History

United Productions of America was founded in 1943 as Industrial Film and Poster Service. Its founders were Zack Schwartz, David Hiberman and Steve Bosustow and was staffed by Disney ex-patriates during an animators' strike at the time. Their films were mainly for industry and government; Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones made Hell Bent For Election there. The studio's stylized use of art and animation succeeded greatly which contrasted to the lush and detailed animation of Disney. They renamed themselves United Productions of America in 1945.

In 1949, Columbia Pictures shut down their Screen Gems animation studio (which never made headway to the other studios). UPA was hired to make cartoons for Columbia release, stylizing Columbia's The Fox & the Crow series and creating Mr. Magoo. The first Magoo cartoon, Ragtime Bear was released in 1949; 1954's When Magoo Flew and 1956's Magoo's Puddle Jumper were Academy Award winners.

Following the middling success for their 1956 CBS series The Gerald McBoing Boing show, Steve Bosustow sold UPA to Henry Saperstein who turned the studio's focus to TV cartoons. Mr. Magoo was adapted for TV animation (he was also featured in a number of specials, most notably Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol) and the studio turned Chester Gould's comic strip Dick Tracy into a syndicated package of cartoons, The Dick Tracy Show. UPA made two theatrical feature-length movies, 1959's 1001 Arabian Nights (with Mr. Magoo) and 1962's Gay Purr-ee (written by Chuck and Dorothy Jones, directed by Abe Levitow).

UPA shut the animation studio down in 1970 but retained the licenses of its properties. In 1977, they contracted DePatie-Freleng Enterprises to produce What's New, Mr. Magoo? for CBS on Saturday mornings. Later in the company's history, they distributed monster movies from Toho Pictures in Japan. After Henry Saperstein died, UPA ceased operations in 2000.


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