Thursday, March 06, 2014


I almost did not pick this book up. "MAGOO?," I said to myself.  "No thank yoo!"

Ha ha ha.

But I was wrong.

OK, when I was a kid I did watch the UPA MR. MAGOO cartoons after school. I was never that fond of them. I mean, the main joke is that the guy can't see. It's not like you can't see it coming. The only thing that surprised me was that somehow, things would work out despite all odds.

Another surprise was that there was a MAGOO comic strip -- and how sleekly drawn the feature was. This artist could ink and layout like nobody's business. Although no credits are on the book, except for the copyright of 1977 by UPA Pictures, Inc. and the "Henry G. Saperstein Presentation" notation on every strip, the Internet had the answer to who it was that produced this: Pete Alvarado.

Pete Alvarado (1920-2003) was an Academy Award winning cartoonist. His career began in the 1930s, at Walt Disney, creating storyboards for Disney's SNOW WHITE. But he may best known for his "Termite Terrace" years at Warner Brothers. He worked on some legendary cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck,  Porky Pig and others). He received two Academy Awards. He also drew comic books beginning in the Golden Age. At first, for Funnies, Inc., then for Timely, and finally a long stint with Western Publishing where he produced books based on Walter Lantz, Hanna-Barbera and Disney properties.

The rule in the comic book industry back then: he collected a check, but was never credited or allowed to sign his art in the comic.

He also drew the Roy Rogers and Gene Autry newspaper comic strips for a while. Somewhere during this time, he was also dong Big Little Books and coloring books. From 1964 to 1866, he did the MISTER MAGOO comic strip.

When I looked at the strips, I admired the art so much. I knew that the person who had done them had some serious artistic chops, but had no idea that the person behind those lines had such an amazing résumé; over half a century of comics and cartoons. Take a look at this wonderful technique by the one and only Pete Alvaredo:

1 comment:

Trade Loeffler said...

I absolutely LOVED the Mr. Magoo cartoons when I was a kid. I know it's the same gag over and over, but I could watch it forever. I think what always hooked me was Magoo's personality (especially because he was voiced by Jim Backus). Magoo was never ever in on the joke or that he ever made a mistake about anything. He was always so certain that whatever he did was the right thing, which contributed, I think, as much as his blindness to his utter cluelessness. I think that's the thing that appealed to me most about the cartoons.

I wasn't aware of the comic strip, but these are awesome, and the artwork is phenomenal. Thanks for sharing, Mike.