Thursday, 5 August 2021

Backgrounds from UPA's Spring

Can anyone explain who was supposed to be entertained by the “Ham and Hattie” series from UPA?

In watching and listening to Spring (1957), I get the feeling it exists for little ones in cribs who can be diverted by the pretty colours and the calm, child-like song.

Hattie, her expression never changing, skips rope and rides her tricycle as other characters move with no in-betweens. Animator Fred Crippen doesn’t appear to have been overloaded with work on this short.

Something I do like are some backgrounds by Jules Engel and Erv Kaplan. Very attractive.

And here are the happy characters seen in this short. They don’t move. The camera pulls back and the cartoon is over.

Lew Keller, who went over to Jay Ward, is the director.


  1. Hans Christian Brando8 August 2021 at 14:51

    I think by that point UPA had regressed, perhaps from the strain of the brilliant early years and then losing so many artists owing to the Blacklist. The irony is that UPA was originally instigated to move the animated cartoon away from the merely "cute."

  2. Adam Abraham's book shows what a revolving door that place was. For what was supposed to be Animation Utopia, most people didn't stay there very long, even after the blacklist.
    Except for maybe the first year or two, UPA never really got away from cute. Bobe Cannon loved populating cartoons with kiddie whimsey. The McBoing-Boing Show seems to have shorts aimed at young kids (mixed with things that weren't). It just wasn't "Disney cute" with little chirping birdies and rounded, smiling young animals, singing as a happy chorus.