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?
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.
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.