January 4, 2012

A Rare UPA Cartoon Narrated By Stan Freberg!

1949 was a very good year for an animation studio named United Productions of America, UPA for short. That year, UPA released a cartoon called The Ragtime Bear, and this marked the screen debut of a character that would prove to be the studio's biggest star, the nearsighted Mr. Magoo.

In 1949, young Stan Freberg, having enjoyed some success providing voices for a handful of Warner Brothers cartoons, secured a steady gig as puppeteer on Bob Clampett's soon to be Emmy-winning televised puppet show Time For Beany.

Now, through the magic of YouTube, here is Big Tim, a little-known sales film produced by UPA in 1949 for the Timken roller bearing company, featuring voicework by Stan. The uploader, Eastwillis, states his assertion in the comments section that the animation for this project was done by "Paul Smith, Art Babbitt, Grim Natwick, Pat Matthews, and Willy Pyle," a claim I can neither confirm nor deny.

2012 promises to be a very good year for UPA fans, too! Let Jerry Beck fill you in.

Stan Freberg is still going strong as well, having released (in collaboration with his wife Hunter) Songs in the Key of Freberg, in 2010. You can sample every track from the album on Amazon.

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