Lecture: Daniel Goldmark on UPA and Modernist Cartoon Music


February 3, 2017 - 4:00pm

The United Productions of America (UPA) animation studio, which came to prominence on the big and small screen in the years following World War II, profoundly changed animation from the dominance of Disney's naturalistic approach to a more modern, even avant-garde style, with cartoons like Gerald McBoing-Boing and the Mister Magoo series. In my talk I discuss the atypical approach UPA took to music in the animation soundscape, which included music taken from a variety of genres and styles, composers coming from widely different backgrounds, and a general disavowal of the Hollywood approach to cartoon scoring. The lasting effects of UPA’s cartoons can still be seen and heard; scoring practices throughout the industry soon moved away from the larger orchestral styles to more varied ensembles and idiosyncratic compositional voices.

Daniel Goldmark is Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Popular Music Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is the series editor of the Oxford Music/Media Series, and is the author and/or editor of books on animation, film, and music, including Tunes for 'Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (California, 2005).