Friday, 10 April 2015

The Planet Moo

UPA cartoons became pretty much all about design, so let’s look at some designs from “Gerald McBoing! Boing! On Planet Moo.” First some backgrounds.

And character designs.

I still don’t understand why it’s called the planet Moo. The characters there don’t say “moo.” Shouldn’t they? (The King is voiced by Marvin Miller like something out of Amos ‘n’ Andy).

Lew Keller was the designer.


  1. It is a puzzling cartoon in that respect. We could blame the writing here I guess, this one already stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest with it's straying from the rhyming formula of the narration/dialog.

    Seeing some of these on DVD recently, I sort wonder if this cartoon was meant to be seen in Cinemascope or in a shorter aspect ratio? Previous DVD releases such as on the Hellboy DVD had it at something like a 1:85.1 and I thought it looked adequate enough, seeing it wider has this odd look of everything looking slightly stretched in my eyes, but certainly we've came far from the old VHS release of some 30+ years ago that went with presenting the film in what I like to call "Distort-O-Vision", pretty much left it un-Scoped but not pan & scanned, so everything was on the screen even if it made everyone as thin as sticks.

    Those backgrounds are still pretty interesting with the intersecting lines in space.

  2. The layouts and designs do infer in hindsight the world's most ornate episode of "Rocky & His Friends" involving Cloyd and Gidney, but the script -- as is the case for most of the post-'53 UPA efforts -- lacks any sort of bite at all.

    It may have charmed contemporary critics who were disposed to be charmed as soon as they saw the UPA logo come on screen, but it didn't have the same effect on audiences and certainly is not something that ages well under the repeated viewing demands of television.

  3. I saw this cartoon for the first time on "Totally Tooned In" last year, and my first thought was "That king sounds like the Kingfish!".

  4. The bubble domed space cars look very much like those in The Jetsons. Could this have been an inspiration for the Jetson's car design, much like the Seattle Space Needle inspired the style of the buildings?

  5. I wouldn't say so, Paul. Bubble domed space cars aren't unique to this short or even animation; for example, John Sutherland produced an industrial cartoon set in the future (and with George O'Hanlon as the futuristic suburban father).
    From what I gather, the designers at HB went through various science publications and cribbed ideas from them.

    1. Oh well.

      Similarly, I noticed in "How Now Boing Boing", the appearance of the "Bell System" logo on a phone booth in one or two shots almost resembles what Saul Bass gave AT&T later on.