Editor’s Note: Thanks to the favorable response to last week’s “Classic Animated Advertising” post, I’ve decided to make this a regular feature. Mike Kazaleh will share the duties with me – some weeks I’ll do a post; other weeks Mike will do the honors; and occasionally Mike and I will co-write them. But every week, on Saturday, you can expect to see a post relating to the original advertising mad men – the animators. In addition to selected TV commercials, future posts here will include pieces of print advertising by animators, information on rare animated industrial shorts, and prints of rare theatrical advertisements. I’ll also talk about how animation itself was advertised to the public. Today, Mike assembles a group of spots from one our favorite animators of the golden age, Rod Scribner. - Jerry Beck
To many cartoon fans, Rod Scribner is best remembered for his work for the Leon Schlessinger/Warner Bros. studio. He was a top animator who had worked with directors Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, and Bob McKimson, and his creative and crazy animation always stood out. But when Warner Bros. temporarily shut it’s doors in the mid-fifties, the staff had to find other work, and many key people didn’t return after the studio re-opened. Rod Scribner was one of the ones who didn’t come back.
Rod’s services were very much in demand in the period from the mid fifties to the mid sixties, and much of his work was on commercials. He went on staff at Ade Woolery’s Playhouse Pictures, and also did work for UPA, Jay Ward, Cascade and John Hubley’s Storyboard Inc. Rod had no trouble working with the new-type character designs, and was able to put his own unique spin on them with wonderful results.
Bullwinkle for Cheerios. Here’s an example of Rod’s work for Jay Ward. The ballet steps have some basis in fact here, but are still very stylized and ridiculous. As usual, Bill Scott speaks for Bullwinkle with Paul Frees narrating.
Ford – Sidewalk Cafe. Playhouse Pictures did a lot of work for the Ford Motor Company. Here’s a spot animated by Scribner – featuring Mel Blanc!
American Oil. Funny spot with loose hip graphics and expressive animation. Byron Kane is the announcer at the end.
Mellon Bank Card. A Stan Freberg musical extravaganza, featuring Byron Kane as the little man.
ABC Cartoon Promos. These were produced by John Hubley for ABC television promoting, of all things, cartoons! Rod’s animation here is bordering on the abstract, but is perfectly fitting for the graphic style. June Foray and Jerry Hausner provide the voices for the kids.
Here’s a trade ad for John Hubley’s Storyboard Inc. showing off several of their well known commercials, including two by Rod – which we’ve embed below.
Foremost – Cow Train. Another one from the John Hubley studio. Hubley used Scribner a lot (his animation can even be found in the short films A Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass Double Feature and Urbanissimo) and this spot will show you why.
Instant Money. Another Hubley/Scribner spot. Can you imagine Bank of American soothing frayed nerves instead of causing them?