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COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS : How 'Mr. Magoo' Came Into Existence

October 30, 1995

In the opening sentence of his letter (Calendar, Oct. 23), Henry G. Saperstein wrote: "We, at UPA, are the creators and owners of 'Mr. Magoo.' "

"Magoo" was created by John Hubley and me in the late '40s. Our names appear on the credits of the first "Magoo": he as the director, I as the writer. At the time of "Magoo's" origin, UPA was under the executive aegis of three men: Steve Bosustow, Dave Hilberman and Zack Schwartz, who had formed the company. Mr. Saperstein bought the studio and its backlog of animated cartoons [in 1960] many years after "Mr. Magoo" was born.

Perhaps it might interest Saperstein to know that "Magoo's" character was modeled on both John's and my respective uncles, who seemed to have had much in common. Their myopia was not physical; they simply insisted on seeing the world through eyes that interpreted it in a highly subjective manner. They saw only what they stubbornly wanted to see.

Physically, the character was based on a dear friend John and I shared--an animator named Leo Salkin. Leo died about five years ago. John died about 10 years ago. I left animated pictures many years ago to write live-action features like "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Raintree County," "Take the High Ground" and many more.

MILLARD KAUFMAN

Los Angeles

Giving Credit Where Due

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