#63) Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)
OR “The Boinging of a New Era”
Directed by Robert Cannon
Written by Bill Scott & Phil Eastman. Based on the story by Dr. Seuss.
Class of 1995
The Plot: In Dr. Seuss fashion, a story in rhyme
Of a boy who speaks sound effects all of the time.
I’m kidding. How much would you hate me if I did this whole post in verse?
Why It Matters: The NFR cites the film as a representation of UPA’s more cartoonish style of animation, versus Disney’s more realistic style.
But Does It Really?: UPA was a game-changer in the world of animation, and I’m glad there’s a place for them on the Registry. “Gerald McBoing-Boing” is harmless enough as far as shorts go. It tells a good story with inventive animation, which is really all you can ask for.
Everybody Gets One: Among the animators who worked on the film was Bill Melendez, who would go on to turn the “Peanuts” comic strip into a series of acclaimed animated TV specials.
Wow, That’s Dated: Doctors paying house calls, kids playing marbles, radio dramas.
Seriously, Oscars?: In one of the rare cases where Oscar actually embraced something new, “Gerald McBoing-Boing” won the Best Animated Short category against more traditional fare like “Tom & Jerry”. UPA would continue to have a strong showing in this category throughout the ‘50s, most notably in 1957 when all 3 nominees were from UPA!
- Bill Scott, one of the writers, would go on to voice Bullwinkle in “Rocky & Bullwinkle”.
- UPA’s animated shorts were called Jolly Frolics? Were all their other names taken?
- So what do you think causes a boy to speak in sound effects? Is it a recessive gene that finally made its way through? Or is this yet another side effect from a generation that smoked and drank during pregnancy?
- I do have to update the NFR’s statement that UPA is “still in business today”. While that was true when “Gerald” first entered the Registry in 1995, the company closed for good in 2000. The current rights to the UPA library are owned by NBCUniversal, though UPA still holds the licensing rights to its most famous creation; Mr. Magoo.
- Gerald had three animated follow-ups; “Gerald McBoing Boing’s Symphony”, “How Now Boing Boing” and “Gerald McBoing! Boing! on Planet Moo”. Notice that there is no consistency on his last name’s punctuation.
- Following these shorts, Gerald moved to television with “The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show”, which was revamped in the mid 2000’s.
- And I’m gonna go ahead and blame Gerald for Michael Winslow in those “Police Academy” films.
Further Viewing: If you’re looking for another Dr. Seuss film adaptation that’s not based on his classic books, might I recommend the incredibly bizarre “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.” It’s…weird, it’s just weird.