+20: UPA at Its Wildest
'The Boing-Boing Show' — a groundbreaking series ahead of its time.
Happy Thursday! Welcome to another issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter. Today, our subject is one of the most groundbreaking TV cartoons ever made — The Boing-Boing Show.
Also known as The Gerald McBoing-Boing Show, this was a series that, logically, shouldn’t have reached the airwaves. It was UPA at its least commercial — wildly expensive, overambitious and focused on personal artistry. The show is often brilliant, and it set the stage for Rocky and Bullwinkle and TV animation to come.
The Boing-Boing Show claimed a lot of firsts. According to one historian, it was even “the first original animated series by one of the ‘Big Three’ networks (ABC, CBS and NBC).” It proved to be a commercial bomb, though, and still hasn’t had a complete release on home media or streaming. It remains deeply obscure and largely unrestored.
So, we’re rounding up several highlights from The Boing-Boing Show for you below — and telling the story of how a cartoon like this came to be.