Does this image ring any bells? If you were a child in 1966, you might have bought Nabisco’s Puppets Cereal. Crunchy, crappy breakfast food sold in plastic “dolls” in the shape of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Selling cereal was never so competitive as it was back in the 60s. The TV commercial actually urges the kids to “…Have fun with your puppet toys. Play with them… sleep with them!” And Disney, poor Disney, actually went along with this marketing stunt.
They didn’t, however, make the commercial or provide the animation. That fell to Playhouse Pictures, Ade Woolery’s 1952 spin-off from UPA which made some of the best commercials (The original Charlie Brown Ford automobile spots) and movie titles (It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World among many many others) in Hollywood.
I do not know who actually did the animation in the spot, but when Playhouse went out of business a few years ago they had a “fire sale” and I was able to pick up many 16mm reels of their TV spots. Among the items for sale was a complete file of material on this particular commercial. It gives us a little insight into its production… here’s the original board provided to Playhouse by the ad agency, William Esty Company, on 8/26/66 (click to enlarge):
Here is the two-page recording script, dated 8/30/66 (click to enlarge):
Here’s the final board, revised at Playhouse Pictures (click to enlarge):
And finally, here is the finished commercial itself. They got Jimmy MacDonald and Clarence Nash to voice their characters – and yes, that’s Marsha Brady (Maureen McCormick) as the little girl:
Now try getting that tune out of your head. Good luck!