The Great Rupert (1949)
makes his first screen appearance.
first motion picture feature was The Great Rupert (1949)
as part of a two picture deal with Eagle-Lion Production Company. The
real star of the film is Rupert, a very talented squirrel. Rupert was
in actuality a stop motion puppet not unlike Pal's earlier puppetoon
characters. Although by today's standards with computer animation and
image enhancement Rupert seems crude, we must also remember that it
was the efforts of George Pal, Windsor McKay, Willis O'Brien and Ray
Harryhausen which paved the way for films such as Stuart Little
and the Jurassic Park films.
is not whimsical, as the Puppetoons were, but it is like them in that
it is a clear, round story, a wholesome subject which the whole family
can enjoy. I have always regarded the film audience as being composed
of family units, and have tried to give it subjects that would prove
interesting and amusing to the youngest and eldest member of each
unit. The family audience regarded my Puppetoons with their favor,
and I am hopeful that by following the same principles I may experience
the same result with my feature pictures."
a positive attitude which was evident in his Puppetoon films as well,
that of hope and man's ability to overcome his obstacles.
Moon proved to be one of the top grossing films for Eagle-Lion
in 1950 and earned George Pal an Oscar for Special Effects. Another
significant aspect of Destination Moon is the
strengthening of the friendship between George Pal and Walter
Lantz. George called upon Walter to provide the Woody Woodpecker
cartoon used to explain the theory of rocket propulsion. George
would salute walter in many of his features. For example, in The
Time Machine a small girl is carrying a Woody Woodpecker
doll as she runs toward the fallout shelter in the 1966 sequence.
Girl carrying Woody Woodpecker doll
in The Time Machine
second film with Eagle-Lion was based on Rocketship Galileo
by Robert Heinlein, Destination Moon. Unlike
films as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Destination Moon
would be the first film to take a serious look at space travel.
Filming had already begun when The Great Rupert
was released and was not doing well at the box office causing
distress among the studio executives regarding the future of Destination
Moon. After much discussion of the script, the film was
finished on April 1,1950.
George Pal, Conrad Nagel,
Duke Goldstone (film editor)
success of Destination Moon, Pal had laid the ground
work for science fiction films for decades to come.
Great Rupert Available on DVD
Moon Available on DVD
Years 1950-1955 Next >>