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YMMV / Columbia Cartoons

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  • Archive Panic: 369 shorts from the Mintz era alone, 104 theatrical shorts from the UPA era, and then five made for tv cartoon series, two tv specials and two animated features, and a lot of animated commercials.
  • Award Snub: The 1937 short "The Little Match Girl" was nominated for the academy award, but lost to Disney's "The Old Mill".
  • Fair for Its Day: Mr. Magoo's schtick of getting into hijinks by blindly stumbling about was a reflection of the stubbornness of old-world men who were "blind to progress." Nowadays, he's remembered more for being nothing but cheap blind jokes.
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  • Growing the Beard: The studio improved drastically in the early 40's with the arrival of Frank Tashlin and several ex-Disney animators. The UPA shorts are considered to be where the Columbia cartoons really found their own identity.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: UPA was originally founded out of the ashes of a horrible strike at the Disney studio by artists who walked out in protest of Disney's refusal to experiment with bolder design and more sophisticated stories. The company's most popular character, Mr. Magoo, would later be adapted into a live-action movie... by Disney.
  • Hype Backlash: The UPA shorts have received unanimous critical praise both in their time and today, but their appeal is generally elusive and mixed in regards to audiences and animation fans, who tend to find the shorts overrated and rather tame compared to other stylized cartoon efforts from other studios.
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  • Nightmare Fuel: "The Tell-Tale Heart," not unlike the short story it was based on.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: UPA's minimalist, stylized approach to animation was a unique thing when it came out, but not unlike the Disney aesthetic it was meant to rebel against in the first place, it became such a lasting, ubiquitous approach to animation, that it's hard to appreciate the cartoons without their proper context.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The consensus of the pre-UPA shorts, which are generally considered some of the weakest cartoons of the Golden Age of Animation.
  • Tear Jerker: The Mintz Studios adaptation of The Little Match Girl, with enough emotional power to rival even the best works of Disney.
  • Vindicated by History: The UPA shorts, despite their acclaim and being widely imitated in the industry, were never particularly popular with audiences save for the Mr Magoo shorts. They didn't get their lasting reputation until many years later.


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