Trivia / Columbia Cartoons

  • Creator Backlash: Jules Engel, who was working as an inbetweener at the Mintz studio in the 1930's while learning art, did not recall his experience there as a fond one and only did it because he needed the job.
    "Let's say at the Charles Mintz— although the Charles Mintz studio experience for me was a disaster because of the people's lack of sensitivity of what the world was doing, I realized then that there was nothing I can do about that, because I'm a young fellow, I'm a beginner and I'd better keep my mouth shut. Which I believe at certain times is what you're supposed to do. But the whole place was very anti-intellectual, anti-sensitive to art, anti-art, anti-culture. I mean, people were doing that because it was a job, but not with passion, not with tenderness." "But those (drawings) were horrible things. I mean, they were just awful things. But as I say, when you start, you don't complain. It gives you, as you know, the opportunity to work and get experience, and that was important. The environment was bad because the people there were absolutely against anything that was refined or sensitive. In fact, I remember a couple of times, they knocked me a little bit. In other words, you were a kind of an "egghead," and "intellectual," a "snob," and all that kind of thing. So you kept your mouth shut and you worked."
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The bulk of the library is not available, especially in regards to the pre-UPA Columbia library (which has had most of its library restored save for a handful of shorts that are either missing, only exist in fragments or in crude dupe negative form) save for what is available on Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research Garage Sale Web site. Fortunately, the cartoons are now being aired on the Antenna TV program "Totally Tooned In". Jerry has said that he is working with Columbia on a DVD release at this time. UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection is now available from Turner Classic Movies. A set of the theatrical Mr. Magoo shorts has also been released.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: United Productions of America barely lasted more than a decade as a theatrical cartoon studio, during which time their stylized approach to the medium profoundly changed the way cartoons looked for the next few decades (for better or worse). Even today, their influence, direct or indirect, is felt in shows as diverse as Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Beavis And Butthead, Samurai Jack, Home Movies, The Simpsons and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.