Events &UPA 16 Dec 2009 08:42 am

UPA Show

– I’m sad to report that Roy Disney died this morning. He would have been 80 on January 10th. He was battling cancer. The obvious connection to the family of the founders is going to be missed in the boardroom. I suggest you read Nikki Finke‘s commentary on his backroom career at the Disney of Eisner.

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- Monday night there was the tribute to UPA that was hosted by the Motion Picture Academy and moderated by John Canemaker. A number of UPA-NY alumni gathered for the occasion. If you go here you can see a group photo of those artists in attendance.

The 35mm film prints were brilliant beyond my expectation. I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen the extra-ordinary colors of The Tell Tale Heart or Rooty Toot Toot. There was a point in the latter film when a character dissolves from white on light gray to a pale blue color. There are unbelievable white on whites of the final section of the film. It becomes such an amazing and daring choice by John Hubley when you can see that it wasn’t just a deteriorated print – which is the way I’ve seen this film my entire life – but a decision. Every inch of this film is a masterwork that only grows with every screening I see.

Attandance at the show wasn’t as good as I’d expected, but the theater was half full. Very few younger people. I suppose it’s not easy to compete with YouTube’s degenerated copies of these films. They offer the luxury of no effort.

Going to the show I realized that this is probably the last time in my life I’ll see these films projected with such loving care with prints as rich as they were in the original. Certainly, this is the last time the group of ex-UPA workers will be assembled and honored. Howard Beckerman, Tissa David, Vinnie Cafarelli, Ruth Mane, Edna Jacobs have all been a part of my life. Emily Hubley and her husband, Will, were also there. It was fun talking with them throughout the dinner afterward.

Here are some quick snaps (meaning bad quality, my apologies) of some of the guests.

1 2
1. Ruth Mane and Tissa David. 2. Edna Jacobs and Ruth Mane.

3 4
3. Tissa David alongside Joe Kennedy, John C’s companion.
4. Howard Beckerman and his student.

5 6
5- Vinnie Cafarelli and Candy Kugel – partners.
6. John Canemaker once he’s taken the podium.

7
Patrick Harrison, the Academy leader for the NY chapter, introduces John Canemaker.

8
John Canemaker at the podium leads us into the films.

Here’s the program we received, front and back. Tissa mentioned that she would have liked to have seen some of the artists printed alongside the films.

F R
(Click any image to enlarge.)

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- Yesterday, I posted something about The Brave Little Tailor. I received an email from Tim Hodge saing that he had an original drawing from the film going on auction in January.

    “It’s part of a fundraiser to benefit my son who was in an auto vs train accident in August of this year. His recovery is ongoing, but slow. Being a self employed artist, our short term insurance was adequate for most things, but not quite something of this magnitude.”

You can check out his site here to get more information and to see other art for auction.


This is the drawing to be auctioned in January.
I think it’s a Frank Thomas drawing.

17 Responses to “UPA Show”

  1. on 16 Dec 2009 at 9:08 am 1.richard o'connor said …

    Schedule prevented me from leaving the studio until hours after the screening begun, and your write up makes me regret it even more.

    I would like to think that end of semester workloads prevented many students from making it, but I’m sure that had little bearing on their absence.

  2. on 16 Dec 2009 at 9:20 am 2.Tim Hodge said …

    Thank you for posting the auction link, Michael!

  3. on 16 Dec 2009 at 10:14 am 3.Ray Kosarin said …

    I had a schedule conflict too, otherwise wild horses, as they say, wouldn’t have kept me away from the UPA screening. Very sad I missed this.

  4. on 16 Dec 2009 at 10:29 am 4.David Nethery said …

    Any chance that these pristine 35mm prints will ever make it to DVD or Blu-Ray disc ?

    I’m sad to say I’ve probably never seen any of these films in a really good print. I have seem some “ok” 16 mm prints over the years , but mostly what is available for viewing is on YouTube and some of that is almost unwatchable in my opinion. I can’t imagine how a younger person who has never seen even a half-way decent film print of these films would be able to look at what is on YouTube and really understand what’s so great about the UPA films. The color and design is so important in these films, that if the colors have bleached out or gone magenta then we’re not truly seeing the films.

  5. on 16 Dec 2009 at 11:26 am 5.Dave Levy said …

    Monday night meant teaching my final class for the semester at Parsons that night. So frustrating. I wanted to be in two places at once. Thanks for the post. I hope one day we see a UPA archival DVD collection that features stellar prints like the ones you saw.

  6. on 16 Dec 2009 at 11:28 am 6.Ted said …

    I wish I could have gone to the UPA event. Is that the program? John Canmaker’s books are wonderful but his bio takes up a quarter of the program! Lol!

  7. on 16 Dec 2009 at 11:55 am 7.richard o'connor said …

    As always, Tissa makes an excellent point.

    Why list only Stephen Bosustow, and not even any of the directors? It seems like he could have been credited as producing them all and have at least the directors given their due without any layout issues.

  8. on 16 Dec 2009 at 1:17 pm 8.Larry Ruppel said …

    It truly was a wonderful evening. There really is nothing like seeing these films projected on the big screen with an appreciative (and star-studded) audience.

    A highlight for me was the last cartoon (Magoo’s Puddle Jumper), as it was projected in full CinemaScope. It always thrills me to see screen curtains open > to accommodate the aspect ratio.

  9. on 16 Dec 2009 at 1:26 pm 9.Tim Rauch said …

    Many thanks to John Canemaker for organizing the event. I really enjoyed seeing these films “on the big screen”. “Madeline” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” were the highlights for me.

  10. on 16 Dec 2009 at 2:01 pm 10.Tom Minton said …

    The best UPA cartoons were designed for 3 Strip Tech and watching them in any other incarnation is a markedly lesser experience. You were fortunate that pains were taken to obtain the goods.

  11. on 16 Dec 2009 at 8:13 pm 11.Len Glasser said …

    During my 4th year of of art school in 1957 (Now called The University of the Arts, Formerly called The Phila. Museum School of Art)there was a screening of UPA cartoons.3 of them changed me forever: “The Wounded Bird” by Ernest Pintoff,” Fight on for Old” by Mordi Gerstien, and “Winter Sports” by Fred Crippin.Of the three, The Wounded Bird really affected me. The total dumbness of the story contrasted with the amazing jazz track by Shorty Rogers and the utter simplicity and painterly quality of the design made me say (I was already a jazz musician) this is the kind of stuff I want to do with my life! Upon graduation (Steve Busustow was guest speaker) the Dean set up a meeting with Steve and myself so that I might get a job at UPA. Busustow, embarrassed,told us, “We’re going out of business.” Later that month I went to NY and met Ernest Pintoff at Pintoff Prods.He wasn’t going out of business and hired me.2 weeks later he laid me off when he lost his only client for refusing to remove big round teeth from a character for an Army commercial.I got a job in a pharmaceutucal agency for a few months and then was hired back by Pintoff, then fired. Then I was hired by Gene Deitch (another UPA alumni) at Terrytoons, then fired when Deitch was fired, and then re-hired on and off by Pintoff with a 3 year stint inbetween at Robert E Wilson, an ad agency.as a producer/writer/art director. Finally I returned to Pintoff until I started my own company in 1962, Stars and Stripes Productions Forever.

    Len Glasser

  12. on 16 Dec 2009 at 9:34 pm 12.RacattackForce said …

    “Very few younger people.”

    I wish I could have gone to this (I’m 15), but even if I didn’t have to quickly piece together a bunch of my art for a scholarship interview I had this afternoon at “Parsons”, my parents would have forbid it anyway…

  13. on 16 Dec 2009 at 11:12 pm 13.Liesje Kraai said …

    I REALLY wanted to go to this (at 27 I hope I might pass a one of the ‘younger people’).

    Unfortunately, I’ve got no one to blame but myself. For some reason I thought it started at 8, not 7. Thanks for the great write up and pictures, though (even if it does make me even more angry at myself for missing it).

  14. on 17 Dec 2009 at 9:28 am 14.Michael said …

    Len, the on again off again trajectory of the early days of your career should give hope to all the students out there looking to enter a difficult field. Back in the 60s and 70s animation was a tough racket to break into. Yet, you made yourself into one of the more important animation designer-directors in its history. My story isn’t much different than yours. You had Ernest Pintoff to keep going home to and I had John Hubley. On again off again. Thanks so much for the comment.

  15. on 17 Dec 2009 at 1:55 pm 15.David Rickert said …

    I agree; it would be nice to see the UPA shorts collected on DVD. Surely there would be a market for that.

  16. on 18 Dec 2009 at 9:33 am 16.Mike Rauch said …

    It was great to see these films in 35mm on the big screen. Gorgeous! Madeline was my pick from the night. If only we saw this much art in animation more often these days. I found it strange that only the producers were given mention as well. In any case, it was a real treat.

  17. on 18 Dec 2009 at 2:37 pm 17.Robert Schaad said …

    What a fantastic event! Like many others, I’d seen many of these films throughout the years…one or two in the occasional screening, VHS, etc. But, the quality of the colors and sound (reiterating) and to see them on a big screen…Wow!
    I can’t recall the last time I’d seen Fudget’s Budget…and I’d never seen Georgie and the Dragon (great character design).
    John Canemaker’s opening remarks cited a quote about UPA’s commitment to telling each story with its own look and approach (unique to itself)really says it all. While many studios strive for a “look”, this (to me) may be one of UPA’s greatest strengths.

    Great to see the UPA luminaries in attendance too.

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