1001 Arabian Nights (1959) - Production on UPA’s first feature, 1001 Arabian Nights, commenced with long time Magoo director, Pete Burness, at the helm. At some point early in the process, Burness and UPA studio chief Stephen Bosustow had a falling out so Jack Kinney, a Disney veteran most well known as the director of the Goofy shorts was brought in to direct Mr. Magoo’s feature debut.
Kinney brought Abe Levitow over from Warner Bros. as his animation director so that he could concentrate on the overall film. Abe, as an animator, was responsible for the Wazir character in the film, a design that later became the prototype for most of the villains in the TV series, The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo. Bob Dranko, who had designed many of the Magoo shorts was the production designer, with assistance from newcomer Shirley Silvey. Although Mr. Magoo was a box office draw for UPA and it’s distributor, Columbia, the film flopped at the box office. It was a serious blow to UPA’s already precarious financial situation and eventually resulted in the studio’s sale to merchandising pioneer, Henry G. Saperstein.
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Wazir model sheet by Abe Levitow
Cel set-ups of the Wicked Wazir:
Animation by Abe Levitow, BG and layout artist unknown
Animation by Abe Levitow, over a printed card
Abe's copy of the script: