Friday, December 11, 2015

Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)

The animated short Gerald McBoing-Boing was produced by United Productions of America and released by Columbia Pictures near the end of 1950. It won that years Academy Award for Best Animated Short and years later in 1995 it would be heralded for preservation by the Library of Congress' United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The short tells the story of Gerald, a youngster whose entire oral communication output consists of various sound effects but no recognizable speech. This condition proves difficult for Gerald, but he eventually overcomes and also redirects his unusual communication style into something very positive.

Originally the story appeared on a record with musical accompaniment from Billy May and was written by Dr. Seuss. Directed by Robert Cannon, the adapted short was rendered in an artistic approach that spurned the realistic style of animation that Walt Disney Studios favored at the time and instead utilized a more limited animation and stylized caricatures.

The short proved so popular that three sequels were subsequently produced: Gerald McBoing Boing's Symphony (1953), How Now Boing Boing (1954), and Gerald McBoing! Boing! on Planet Moo (1956).  A character who very closely resembles Gerald also makes a brief appearance in 1962s Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol.

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