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“From Mr. Magoo to Papa Smurf chronicles the story of how television rescued animation and how animation learned to make films at drastically reduced prices in incredibly short time frames. From the 1920s through the 1950s the production and release of animated cartoons were in the care of the major Hollywood studios; the “shorts” didn’t make much money but theater-goes liked them and characters such as Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Tom ‘n Jerry and Woody Woodpecker were, and still are, popular icons. The sudden expansion of television was changing the movie business and the major film studios had to restructure or close. They certainly did not need to make animated cartoons and lose money. Without subsidy, animation, a cottage industry at best, seemed doomed to extinction. It seemed, at the time, as if only Disney would survive. Baldwin’s book tells the story of an aspiring young artist who dreams of being a great mural painter. The idea of being just another screen cartoonist was not a role he found appealing but he needed a job. He learned. He grew, and with growth came the realization that he was perfectly suited to what he finally perceived as exciting potential in the art of animation. From Mr. Magoo to Papa Smurf is a great read for those of us who grew up watching cartoons and always wondered how they came to be.”


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