Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the release of Mr. Magoo's debut film, The Ragtime Bear. The film had the working title, Strike Up the Banjo and, as you can see by the model sheet below, nowhere are there any identifying names nor is there any indication that the old man was the star of the film. It's not difficult to believe that any one of the three characters depicted could have been the breakout character. Or none of them. Many characters debuted in films only to never be seen again, simply because they didn't resonate with the audience.Jim Backus might forever have been known to popular culture only as James Dean's father in Rebel Without a Cause and Thurston Howell III.And this blog might have been about Waldo's Christmas Carol.
Below is a line-up showing the evolution of Mr. Magoo from an irascible old coot into the lovable, nearsighted old man we know today.