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The best way to identify United Productions of America is to say "They're the people who made 'Gerald Mc Boing-Boing.' " And the best way to identify the quality of their product is to say that every time you see one of their animated cartoons you are likely to recapture the sensation you had when you first saw "Steamboat Willie," the early Silly Symphonies, "The Band Concert"--the feeling that something new and wonderful has happened, something almost too good to be true.
Gerald McBoing-Boing was a 1950 7 minute Animated Adaptation of a Dr. Seuss Book of the same name. It was about a young boy named Gerald McCloy who only spoke in sound effects. Unlike other cartoons at the time, this used a more cartoonish, simplistic style and Limited Animation, although this was more Doing It for the Art than making a cheap cartoon. It became the first successful theatrical cartoon produced by UPA, and three more "Gerald Mc boing boing" shorts would be produced over the years, as well as a short lived primetime animated cartoon (the first ever, too, predating The Flintstones by a 3–4 years) in 1956. Aside from a few appearances in a couple of Mr. Magoo shorts, and playing the role of Tiny Tim in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Gerald would fade to obscurity soon afterwards.
Recently, in 2005, he returned in a new series with his family, two speaking friends, Janine and Jacob, and a dog named Burp. It featured short sketches with him interacting with the world around him and his friends, sound checks (with animals and other objects switching sound effects) and fantasy tales in between featuring him, Janine, and Jacob, being told in Seussian Rhyme like the original shorts.
The original shorts have examples of the following
- Bedsheet Ladder: When Gerald is running away.
- Limited Animation: one of the Ur Examples.
- The Dark Age of Animation: It was made during the very start of this period (there's a considerable overlap in the 1950's between this and the golden age), and is one of the best-regarded shorts coming out of it, having been named number 9 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- The Unintelligible
The 2005 animated series has examples of the following.
- Black Best Friend: Jacob
- Bumbling Dad: Gerald's dad.
- Cool Big Bro: Jacob to his little sister.
- Costumer: The fantasy tales have the three kids in costumes depending on the setting of the story.
- Free-Range Children: Most of the time, Gerald and his friends can go to places like the baseball stadium or the movies alone, although on some occasions, Gerald's parents are with them.
- Meaningful Name: Guess why the dog is named "Burp."
- Meganekko: Janine.
- The Prankster: Gerald does this sometimes with his sound effects. It's usually in good fun, though.
- Three Amigos: Gerald, Jacob, and Janine.
- You Gotta Have Green Hair: Janine's hair is green in one of the fantasy tales.