September 12, 2007 8:51 am
There’s a ton of rare content posted on this blog but today’s entry is one of the rarest of all. In Summer of 1955, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City hosted an exhibition called “UPA: Form in the Animated Cartoon.” With the exception of Disney, no animation studio had ever received such a comprehensive tribute up to that time.
I, or nobody else for that matter, had ever seen photos of the exhibition or had much of an idea of how the animation material was presented. A few months ago though, while I was working on the forthcoming photo book Inside UPA, Tee Bosustow and I discovered a set of photos from the exhibition. Now, for the first time since people actually attended the show in the mid-’50s, we can get a sense of what the UPA tribute at MoMA was like. The photographs below were taken by Soichi Sunami, a well-known East Coast art photographer who was commissioned to take these for the museum.
Part 1 of the Exhibit was called “An Album of Attitude.” It starts off with a series of montage images combining UPA artwork, studio ephemera and outside influences on the artists.
This first montage has three gag drawings by Fred Crippen on it, among other things.
This second collage compares the real-world art and film influences that inspired various UPA cartoons.
An entire montage was dedicated to John Hubley’s Rooty Toot Toot. Hubley’s storyboard drawings are particularly impressive here. Note that in the credits roll, Hubley’s last name is hidden by the shattered record. One has to assume this was intentional since Hubley was persona non grata at UPA in 1955.
This wall features animation drawings from Rooty Toot Toot, from a scene with the lawyer Honest John. On the far right are strips of backlit strips of film.
Part 3 of the exhibit was called “UPA and the Community.”
Here is a closeup of a couple of the commercial and industrial film displays in that section.
This wall features various examples of pre-production art including color keys from the CBS industrial film Tune in Tomorrow (1954, far left) and examples of Bobe Cannon’s timing bar sheets (center).
Mister Magoo was UPA’s most popular character and he garnered his own section in the exhibit.
A close-up of the previous photo shows this character design progression of Mister Magoo from 1949 through 1955.
Storyboards from UPA shorts: at left are T. Hee’s boards for The Jaywalker (1956), and at right are Aurie Battaglia’s boards for The Invisible Moustache of Raoul Dufy (1955).
This room of the exhibit featured zoetropes. A scene from Bobe Cannon’s short Fudget’s Budget is painted onto the wall.