The Magic Fluke (1949)
Article 5923 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by John Hubley
Featuring the voice of John T. Smith
What it is: UPA in action
A two-animal music combo is broken up when the conductor hits the big time with a classical orchestra. Nonetheless, the other member remains faithful to his old partner, and when the latter is without a baton for his next gig, the former steals a magician’s wand for him to use.
For me, the most eye-opening moment of this cartoon came to me when I went to the listing at IMDB and was reminded that “Fox and Crow” was a cartoon series at Columbia before UPA came on the scene. Despite the fact that I’d seen several of those cartoons, it never occurred to me that this one was a part of that series; it certainly didn’t advertise itself as such. This discovery more than anything else brings home to me just how revolutionary UPA was in its style; they took characters from an existing series and redid them so vastly that it was hardly recognizable. The story itself is pretty conventional cartoon fodder, but the style, mood and execution are light years away. No, this isn’t UPA’s finest moment, but it is the one where the contrast between the old and the new styles is most clearly demonstrated.