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United Productions of America facts for kids

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United Productions of America
Fate Folded into Classic Media
Successor Classic Media
Founded June 19, 1943; 79 years ago (1943-06-19)
Defunct January 1, 2000; 22 years ago (2000-01-01)
Key people
Stephen Bosustow
Robert "Bobe" Cannon
John Hubley
Henry G. Saperstein
Zack Schwartz
David Hilberman
Owner Universal Pictures
(NBCUniversal; a Comcast Company)
Parent DreamWorks Classics
(DreamWorks Animation)

United Productions of America, better known as UPA, was an American animation studio active from the 1940s through the 1970s. Beginning with industrial and World War II training films, UPA eventually produced theatrical shorts for Columbia Pictures such as the Mr. Magoo series. In 1956, UPA produced a television series for CBS, The Boing-Boing Show, hosted by Gerald McBoing Boing. In the 1960s, UPA produced syndicated Mr. Magoo and Dick Tracy television series and other series and specials, including Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol. UPA also produced two animated features, 1001 Arabian Nights and Gay Purr-ee, and distributed Japanese films from Toho Studios in the 1970s and 1980s. Gerald McBoing-Boing (2005–2007) was a more recent television series based on UPA's memorable character and licensed and co-produced by Cookie Jar Entertainment and Classic Media, for Cartoon Network. A French-American reboot television series of Mr. Magoo, another one of UPA's memorable characters has been announced by Xilam as their first collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, and is set to premiere on France 3 in France and Universal Kids.

The UPA library was later purchased by Universal Pictures, after their successful acquisition of DreamWorks Animation.

DVD releases

Classic Media/Sony Wonder began issuing the Mr. Magoo TV cartoon series on DVD in 2001, beginning with Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (which received a Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in 2010). In 2011, Shout! Factory (with Classic Media) released the Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection set which contained all Mr. Magoo television productions (except for Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, for which the DVD copy from the 2010 Blu-ray release was issued by itself). In 2013, Shout! (with Sony) released the Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection containing all the Mr. Magoo theatrical shorts and the full-length feature 1001 Arabian Nights (which was also released through Sony's MOD program in December 2011). The set was originally set for release on February 14, 2012 but then delayed to June 19, then December 4, then delayed to sometime in 2013. It was delayed so that the shorts could be restored from high quality sources (plus newly discovered elements added).

The Jolly Frolics Collection was released on March 15, 2012 through Turner Classic Movies' website. Extras included audio commentaries and an introduction by film critic Leonard Maltin.


UPA Pictures' legacy in the history of animation has largely been overshadowed by the commercial success and availability of the cartoon libraries of Warner Bros., MGM 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 as UPA pioneered the technique of limited animation. Although this style of animation came to be widely used in the 1960s and 1970s as a cost-cutting measure, it was originally intended as a stylistic alternative to the growing trend (particularly at Disney) of recreating cinematic realism in animated films. UPA was also a central influence on the foundation of the Zagreb School of Animated Films in the 1950s. Animators in Yugoslavia were heavily impacted by UPA's work on The Four Poster (1952), a live-action film with animation directed by John Hubley, in his final project at UPA.

Both Gerald McBoing Boing and The Tell-Tale Heart were inducted into the National Film Registry.


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