'Gerald McBoing Boing,' other UPA shorts coming to DVD

Classic animation buffs will be glad to hear today’s announcement from Turner and Sony.

Long talked about, a treasure trove of UPA animation, “UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection,” is going to be released on DVD March 15 through Turner Classic Movie’s online store.

United Productions of America isn’t as familiar a name as Disney or Warner Bros., but they’re responsible for several Oscar-wining and -nominated shorts, and enduring characters such as Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing.

Audio commentaries on many of the remastered shorts will be provided by animation/film historians Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck.

I know Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing (based on a Dr. Seuss story), of course, but I’ve heard little or nothing about a lot of these shorts, aside from the fact that they exist, so I’m super excited to see this set. One that sounds particularly interesting is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” narrated by James Mason, and “The Unicorn in the Garden,” based on a fable by author and cartoonist James Thurber.

UPA’s heyday was the late ’40s and ’50s, and a lot of their cartoons have a funky, more minimalist style that seems more experimental. That seems especially true with this concept art from “The Tell-Tale Heart”:

"The Tell-Tale Heart" concept art (TCM)

Here’s the full list of shorts:

“Robin Hoodlum” (1948) – Oscar nomination
“The Magic Fluke” (1949) – Oscar nomination
“The Ragtime Bear” (1949)
“Punchy De Leon” (1950)
“The Miner’s Daughter” (1950)
“Giddyap” (1950)
“The Popcorn Story” (1950)
“Gerald McBoing Boing” (1951) – Oscar winner
“The Family Circus” (1951)
“Georgie and the Dragon” (1951)
“The Wonder Gloves” (1951)
“The Oompahs” (1952)
“Rooty Toot Toot” (1952) – Oscar nominee
“Willie the Kid” (1952)
“Pete Hothead” (1952)
“Madeline” (1952) – Oscar nominee
“Little Boy with a Big Horn” (1953)
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (1953)
“Christopher Crumpet” (1953) – Oscar nominee
“Gerald McBoing Boing’s Symphony” (1953)
“The Unicorn in the Garden” (1953)
“The Tell-Tale Heart” (1953) – Oscar nominee
“Bringing Up Mother” (1954)
“Ballet Oops” (1954)
“The Man on the Flying Trapeze” (1954)
“Fudget’s Budget” (1954)
“How Now Boing Boing” (1954)
“Spare the Child” (1955)
“Four Wheels No Brakes” (1955)
“Baby Boogie” (1955)
“Christopher Crumpet’s Playmate” (1955)
“The Rise of Duton Lang” (1955)
“Gerald McBoing Boing on Planet Moo” (1956) – Oscar nominee
“The Jaywalker” (1956) – Oscar nominee
“Trees and Jamaica Daddy” (1958) – Oscar nominee
“Sailing and Village Band” (1958)
“Spring and Saganaki” (1958)
“Picnics are Fun and Dino’s Serenade” (1959)

Oscar nominee "Christopher Crumpet" (TCM)

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.