Happy end of Summer everyone! Things are busy as usual here, but happily so.
Quick Thunderbean update: I’m happy to say that the Willie Whopper set, with all luck, will be back from replication next week. I’m hoping the special glass made for the pre-orders are back too. Snafu is now in the que as well, and will be most likely replicated and back here by mid-October. The Thunderbean Thursday special set is nearly completed, and we hope to send them at some point next week or early the following week.
As I was looking through some of the hard drive archives of things we’ve transferred, a reel we transferred for Mid Century Modern, Volume 1 caught my eye. It was lent for the project by Dave Kirwan producer and historian, who also provided a very nice commentary track for the film on the DVD.
Shamus Culhane Productions was, of course, just one of many small outfits producing commercials in the early days of Television. This is a 16mm print that was most likely sent around to ad agencies or owned by a sales representative. It has a variety of ads from the studio, and from the looks of it, these are spots of varying budgets and timelines.
My guess would be that Culhane didn’t ask for top dollar on their spots, even the fully animated ones, and that they were bidding against many other companies to win the jobs. Culhane discusses this period a little in his book Talking Animals and Other People, detailing some of the dealing with companies in producing spots.
You get a pretty good idea of what the studio’s output looked like in the early 50s from this showreel. The Muriel Cigar ‘Come Up and Smoke Me Sometime’ commercials are still the standout, and one wonders how many spots Culhane sold on the popularity of those commercials alone. They may be the most clever spots on the reel. Does anyone know if the Van Dyck or Muriel spots were made first?
It’s a but of a bummer that none of the Ajax spots are on the reel, but the ones that are here are fun. It’s nice to be able to see them in good quality with clear sound- many copies of the Muriel spots have fair at best sound.
While not officially in production yet, I do hope before too long to do a Blu-ray of animated commercials- either lots of various spots, or one concentrated on a specific studio.
It’s really hard to find good copies of so many of these films if you’re looking on video, and there’s really amazing things out there, often preserved by the film collectors, like this reel was. Make sure to turn it on HD if your computer is fast enough to run it.
Have a good week everyone!