Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Nearsighted Mr. Magoo

The nearsighted Mr. Magoo began his career in 1948 in “Ragtime Bear,” which was followed by a long series of short cartoons from UPA. He appeared in shorts, a full length feature, commercials and public service films. Magoo won an Oscar for his creators in 1954 for “When Magoo Flew” and 1956 for “Magoo’s Puddle Jumper.”

A one hour musical special, “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” had such high ratings that a half-hour series, “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo” was produced for NBC-TV in 1964 with “the greatest writers in the world” on board. “Famous Adventures” featured Magoo in classics by Rudyard Kipling, Miguel de Cervantes, Alexandre Dumas and Herman Melville. Magoo played Friar Tuck, Long John Silver and D’Artagnan.

A comic strip began on 7 December 1964 and was drawn by animator Pete Alvarado (1920-2003) with assistants. The jokes were nothing special but Alvarado was a thorough professional and it showed in the great art and layouts. Jim Backus (“Rebel without a Cause,” “Gilligan's Island”) was the voice of Mr. Magoo.

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