Monday, June 7, 2010

Bringing back Mr. Magoo with new Colors

Do you remember the nearsighted cartoon character, Mr. Magoo? He is practically blind old man would get into trouble because he couldn’t see reality and yet wouldn’t admit to the short coming and he always walked around with his eyes in a permanent squint, trying to visually decipher things that were right in front of him.

Mr. Magoo is back again. More than three decades after he disappeared into syndication obscurity, cartoon character Mr. Quincy Magoo, the oblivious, nearsighted geezer too stubborn to wear glasses, is back to amuse a new generation of viewers, and to tickle the memories of their Baby Boomer parents and grandparents. Only now, instead of stumbling across black-and-white TV screens, Magoo is out on DVD another instance of old pop culture being recycled for contemporary pop culture.

In a similar move, Warner Bros. is bringing back the Looney Tunes characters in a new series for the Cartoon Network in the fall starring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. The studio also will send Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner back to theaters in a new 3-D cartoon short.

The old Magoo, voiced by the late Jim Backus (so memorable in Gilligan's Island), can be seen and heard in “Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest” ($9.93), a re-release of an old favorite from the 1960s TV show. (Magoo plays Friar Tuck in the Robin Hood tale.)

The new Magoo, voiced by Jim Conroy, is out in “Kung Fu Magoo” ($14.93), in which Mr. Magoo and nephew Justin fight giant robot spiders, ninjas on jet skis, and a clutch of super-villains in a kung-fu-style comic adventure.

Who knew that the first animated Christmas special on American TV involved Magoo? It was 1962's “Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol,” a musical adaption of Dickens' story. It was a huge hit, involved major musical stars of the era, and inspired the TV tradition of holiday specials we have to this day, says Van Citters, author of “Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special.”

In 2000, Classic Media acquired the successor of the old UPA animation studio (known for its lush style of animation) that created Magoo, along with other Boomer-familiar cartoon characters such as Casper the Friendly Ghost.


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