Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Magoo!

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.

The film that started it all:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim Backus was brought into the picture as John Hubley said "From a very early stage" . When most people think of Mago0 they think about his voice- Jim Backus . Dare I say if it had not been for Jerry Hausner suggesting to Hubley to use Backus, Mago0 would not have continued or been as popular. Hubley's design of Mago0 can never be overlooked either. Waldo, As Hausner stated via phone in 1990 , was an accident and created at the last second. The Bear's design is also clever but his only function apart from being funny was to appease Columbia Pictures because they did not want take a chance with UPA and a new character- they were wrong! The Mago0 Admirer