Confession: I only saw my first UPA short a couple of days ago. Shameful, I know, for a self-professed animation nerd, but after one short, I had no doubts about why the company is so lauded, and how special their art style is. And the short that I started with was this one, Gerald McBoing-Boing.
UPA, United Productions of America, was a prolific animation studio in the 1940s and 50s, that pioneered the use of limited animation that would become a television stable through Hanna-Barbera's use of it. Known largely for their propaganda, industrial and training films, UPA's legacy is largely overshadowed by its rivals of the time, Disney and Warner Bros. But it's effect on animation - particularly on visual style, showing that animation didn't have to be the cutesie Disney style - is huge. Gerald McBoing-Boing is then arguably its greatest hour.
Directed by Robert Cannon and produced by John Hubley, from an original Dr. Seuss story, and distributed by Columbia Pictures in late 1950, the acclaimed short won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and in 1994 it was voted the 9th greatest cartoon ever by 1000 animation professionals. High praise indeed, watch today's Classic Cartoon and see why.