Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet Moo (1956)

In 1956, UPA released the final of four cartoons featuring Dr. Seuss’s adorably strange, noise-making little boy, Gerald McBoing-Boing.

This last cartoon in the series deviates from the typical McBoing-Boing short in one important way: the creative, sometimes nonsensical rhyming meter of the previous Gerald entries is gone, replaced by a straightforward narrative. And while I find myself missing the sing-song rhythm of the previous cartoons, there is nonetheless much to enjoy about Planet Moo, particularly in the character of the King, whose daffy insistence that he can “speak” Gerald’s language adds a welcome note of odd humor to the proceedings.

Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet Moo was the second Gerald cartoon to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). It lost to another UPA production, Magoo’s Puddle Jumper. Interestingly, UPA had a lock on the category in 1956: the only other nominee that year was another of the studio’s cartoons, The Jaywalker. It was an all-too-brief high point for UPA, however; the following year would mark the studio’s final nomination (for 1957’s Trees and Jamaica Daddy), and by the end of the decade, UPA was no longer a dominating force in the world of theatrical animation.

Note: you can find Gerald McBoing-Boing and all of his UPA pals (excluding the Mr. Magoo series) on the Jolly Frolics collection from TCM–an essential collection for any classic animation fan.

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