July 26, 2014 posted by

A Few Bugs in the System


Summer’s here, and that usually means insects. As much as folks hate ’em in real life, insects in cartoons can sometimes become beloved characters. Advertisers even use them as mascots, hoping that we will clutch the happy little varmints to our collective bosoms. Even Walt Disney allowed Jiminy Cricket to sell the sponsor’s products, and really, that’s a great idea. I mean, if you can’t trust the voice of your conscience, who can you trust?

Wheat Honeys

Years before the Honey-Nut Cheerios Bee, Nabisco had Buffalo Bee out there selling Rice Honey’s and Wheat Honey’s cereal. The always endearing Mae Questel provided the voice.

Buffalo Bee model Sheet (click to enlarge)



Mind you, some of the spots featuring insects were promoting products that killed them. The most famous of these were the Raid spots directed by Tex Avery. Here’s a late 60’s example animated by Grant Simmons and Irv Spence. Paul Frees and Mel Blanc are the bugs. William Schallert narrates.


That lovable rapscallion Louie the Fly was brought to life (and then killed) by the Eric Porter studio.


Flit bug spray first went on sale in the 1920’s, but in the 60’s it was competing with Raid. Witness this Raid-like spot where animated bugs get humorously wiped out. Produced by Playhouse Pictures in 1960. Animated by Alan Zaslove.

The Ford Show

Ford Show opening from Playhouse Pictures. This one is from 1957. Animated by Pat Matthews.

Coca Cola

Another 1953 Coca Cola theatrical commercial produced by Walter Lantz. Animated by Ray Abrams.


Then again there are other types of bugs. Animated by Fred Wolf.


  • I always loved the Raid bugs. Did Paul Coker, Jr. do some character design for them, or were they all this team of wonderful creators?

  • A classic Raid commercial, voiced by Pelusa Suero (as always) y Eduardo Avakián

    Another Raid commercial, voiced by Pelusa Suero (who else?) and Ricardo Brabante

    More Raid voiced by Pelusa Suero (who has been doing these commercials for more than 30 years and still doing them today) and Ernesto Frith.

    And a classic Vollswagen 1500 ad in its instrumental version

  • By their style, I always thought some of the later 70’s Raid commercials might have been made by (or at) De Patie-Freleng. Anyone know if this was the case?

  • Louie the Filthy Fly may have died that wonderfully gross commercial, but he apparently got better and shills for Mortein to this very day–although he’s CGI in his most recent appearances.

  • Ah, yes, Louie the Fly. This commercial ran for many years, and a colour version aired on a regular basis when Australia sstarted transmitting in colour in March 1975 until the new ads were being made.

  • Buffalo Bee wants you to scream and cry and embarrass your mom in the supermarket until she buys the cereal just to shut you up. At least that’s truth in advertising.

  • Speaking of Louie, though not shilling for a product, the 1980’s gave us “Louie the Lightning Bug” in a series of PSA’s produced by Kurtz & Friends, featuring Jack “I’m Just A Bill” Sheldon as the titular bug informing children on electrical safety tips.

  • according to papers posted on Michael Sprons website Vincent Cafarelli assisted and Fred Eng inked. The animator is likely Lu Guradiner

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