Desert Mid-Century Modern

February 26, 2013 More
festival screening

Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California, is not an animation festival, but a long running yearly celebration, which focusses primarily on mid-century architecture, so our program this time was tweaked ever so slightly to include John Lautner’s design of the UPA studio.  John Lautner is probably best known for his design of the Elrod House in Palm Springs, which was used as a location in the James Bond movie, “Diamonds are Forever”.  Unfortunately, the UPA studio that Lautner designed in Burbank, next to the Smoke House restaurant, was torn down to build a high-rise.  The Smoke House, however, is still there.  In fact, we had lunch there with the Modernism Week organizers to plan our program.

So, this UPA Presentation was a little different than most of our presentations, as Modernism Week folks had never had a program of animation, and although they like the fact that we’d be a different animal at their zoo, but also concerned that most people come for the architecture, and may not have any interest in animation.  The yearly Palm Springs Modernism Week has been running for a dozen years or so and brings in over 30,000 visitors from all over the world, so in the end, they felt our program at least would cut into their overall visitor count, even if our program didn’t bring in much of a crowd.

Palm SpringsOur presentation was held in the Palm Springs Art Museum, and as it turned out, we had a good crowd, and after our presentation several audience members joined presenter, Tee Bosustow, in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden, one couple had come down from British Columbia, not for the architecture, but just for our event.  The hour-long film program included seven UPA shorts, from the early 50s, to coincide with the mid-century modern theme of Modernism Week: Gerald McBoing Boing (UPA’s very first Oscar), Ragtime Bear (the first Mister Magoo, when he was grouchy), When Magoo Flew (one of two Mister Magoo Oscars), Rooty Toot Toot (nicknamed the Citizen Kane of UPA), Unicorn in the Garden (from the wry humor of James Thurber), Fudget’s Budget (a tale just as relevant 60 years later) and Christopher Crumpet (parenting as only can be told using animation).

Category: Festivals