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Contrast between Burbarnk and New York premieres of 'Gerald McBoing Boing'


Central figures at UPA
Jules Engel Film-maker
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The names that we walked into was John Hubley, [Herbert] Herb Klynn, [William] Bill Hurtz and myself. We were the group that around us - because I took care of background, Bill Hurtz took care of the layout, Herb Klynn took care of the whole studio. And the place was owned by [Stephen] Steve Bosustow. Steve Bosustow owned UPA [United Productions of America]. In other words, that means that when UPA came about, he bought more stocks from the previous owners. So Steve Bosustow became the president of UPA. And that was a sad story but we're not gonna dwell on that because we had 15 years of magic. We had the whole damn world at our bag. People from Europe were coming, and all that stuff because they've never seen anything like that in animation, you know? Like what we were putting on the air. But the studio - Universal did not like the stuff. They only wanted Magoos, Mr Magoo, that's the only thing they wanted. But the contract was such that we could do three films a year, anything we wanted to do, anything. So that's where Gerald McBoing Boing, Madeleine, Frankie and Johnny came. But that stopped eventually because the hierarchy of the studio could not take anything, it can only look at the Mr Magoo. I mean, that's Hollywood, that was strictly Hollywood. And Hollywood meantality that only [Mr] Magoo could satisfy their needs. But if you did something like Alvin the Chipmunks - not Alvin and the Chipmunks, but Madeleine and Frankie and Johnny, Unicorn in the Garden, those are masterpieces. And they're still running. And people buying them and running them.

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Bill Moritz Tamara Tracz

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Tags: Alvin the Chipmunks, Mr Magoo, United Productions of America, Gerald McBoing Boing, Frankie and Johnny, Madeline, Unicorn in the Garden, John Hubley, Herbert Klynn, William Hurtz, Steve Bosustow

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008