THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
August 6, 2020 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Cartoon Commercials, Volume 2 Blu-ray

News from the Thunderbean cave (and upstairs too):

Sometimes it’s just overwhelming to get all the things done that need to be done with this little company. As I listen to Stu’s Show while typing, I understand his frustration that its taken so long to get so many of these projects done. I hear and understand that.

Thunderbean, as a company, is a *tiny* venture. It’s located in two places: from where I type this (in my living room with a setup on a small 1930s desk) and a small office with the stock and shipping stuff. I have (and can afford) only a handful of people to help, although revenue has been increasing allowing more folks to help. I teach full time and Thunderbean is this ever burgeoning venture that threatens to entirely take over my life (happily sometimes).

It’s been growing this year more than any other – though still small comparatively. I think it’s always important to note that *you* folks- also a small group, the collectors, the people with the history knowledge, the people who help work on these, lend things, keep me sane when I’m off the rails about this or that– have been the lifeblood of this whole thing. Without additional customers discovering us on Amazon, we wouldn’t be anywhere near as able to do what we’re doing— but this core little group, especially, has been essential in propping up this labor of love, and, with any luck, we’ll be able to grow just a little more in the coming year, getting the kinks out and being able to offer an even greater variety of classic animation through licensing. Although I’m not always properly dressed for the occasion and definitely behind, I’m working hard to make each of these projects a reality. I’m sorry for dropping the ball multiple times over these years in so many things. Hopefully these projects, as they’re getting released, will make everyone smile. With Covid, it’s become difficult for people to get films from their storage areas, but despite that, there’s many things here that are waiting each week for scanning.

Having a new scanning situation here has been helping to move so many of the Thunderbean projects forward. The little staff here has been taking on more and more as I bury my head in finishing things. The ‘special’ sets are moving forward the fastest since once everything’s scanned they’re ready to make a master. Doing the ‘Official’ sets require tons of work in all different ways. Dubbing has been our biggest bottleneck at the moment, along with the revenue to get everything shipped faster, but we’re working hard on it- and I can see this year as being a pivotal one despite the challenges. In the coming weeks and through the rest of the year, I hope to scan new things every week and finish at least one new project each week. Having lots of projects close to being finished is exciting- and I hope to send multiples out the door together as they’re getting finished. More Stop Motion Marvels is making the best headway this week, along with animation for the titles on ‘Rainbow Parades’. Can’t wait to show them!

This week’s new title is Cartoon Commercials, Volume 2. I think its a decent follow-up to the DVD we did 12 years back. While I’d love to update that one to Blu-ray, getting all the spots back from all the sources seems like an impossibility!

I think it’s safe to say the commercials produced from the late 40s through the 50s and 60s will never be documented as well as so much other animation has been. Even seeing vintage commercials has been a real catch as catch can. While there’s a lot of commercials that have survived, they’ve become harder to collect as eBay auctions have driven prices up (as it has for cartoons in 16mm or 35mm). You still get lucky sometimes – and I live for good luck in getting things these days. I was thrilled to finally be able to both have enough material for this set, but being able to do nice scans here in a short period of time has been a big game changer.

I think this is the first collection (that I know of) of just vintage commercials in HD. The set was greatly aided by a few collections of material, and a smattering from other things I had scanned. Some of the materials I’ve collected here, others were lent. One really cool thing that happened was being able to borrow a whole bunch of commercials produced by UPA from a collector in Columbus, Ohio. The prints were all nearly in perfect shape-put together from unused materials that an ad agency had. While it’s not a complete history of the commercials they produced (!) there’s a ton of really cool ones on the set. The reel sometimes had 6 copies of one spot, so I had to scan 80 minutes of spots to get 25 minutes of original footage! I did an HD scan on UPA’s Dr. Suess Ford commercials to include as well, and they’re right at home with the other UPA material.

For bonus material on the Blu-ray, we included a theatrical commercial for Chevy Used Cars (by Jam Handy), a few Philips cel-animated theatrical shorts, and a really fun ‘Elf’ snack bar intermission time clock (from the late 40s or early 50s). There’s a still gallery as well.

While it’s just a little set of commercials, it’s nice to have a pretty good ‘primer’ of TV spots from the 50s into the 70s in such nice quality. I imagine this set would be a nice ‘primer’ in an animation history class or a cool show of old TV shows- or features. I hope to scan more in the future for another volume… but not for a while! There’s a few other projects brewing with commercials- and I’ll let those take the spotlight next should they step up to it!

Most of the commercials on the set were brand new to me before scanning- so the set is almost as new to me as anyone else. It’s a BDR disc. I’d like to have this set eventually replicated (pressed) but revenue just isn’t enough to replicate this one at the moment. Pre-orders have started to go out, and sales are helping to get all this stuff shipped.

Here’s a little smattering of the spots that are on the set. The whole set now available on Amazon here.


Click these to enlarge:

27 Comments

  • The designs are terrific on these spots, especially the ’50s one. And great voices like Paul Frees, Marvin Miller, Daws Butler, Phil Kramer and Allen Swift. And Bob and Ray.
    I didn’t know Jay Ward animated spots for a cereal shaped like Bugles.

  • Thanks for sharing all of this. And thank you for the work of preservation that you do, despite having a full plate and many other pressures besides. Your interest and concern will keep some of these animation treasures alive for another generation to discover and enjoy.

    The “intermission Elf” is referred to in the lyrics of “Alone at the Drive-in Movie” from “Grease.” Had an idea what it was referring to, but it’s nice to catch a glimpse of it at last.

  • I remember the Dr. Pepper ad with Bugs Bunny. There were others with Popeye and Fred Flintstone. “Yabba dabba doo! I’m a Pepper, too!”

    Were Sugar Cones just sugar-frosted Bugles?

    • Wasn’t there one with Sylvester and Tweety? I thought I saw one (or a commercial for another product mimicking those ads) on YouTube a long time ago, but it appears to be removed.

    • Nic:

      Yes. Tweety says “I t’ought I taw a Pepper-Cat!” To which Sylvester responds, “Bein’ a Pepper is where it’s at!”

      I might just be in this set… 😉

  • Steve, on something of a different tangent; in a FB group I follow, a gentleman posted some pictures of Australian glass advertising slides, for motion pictures, that he had. Two of them were for Iwerks ComiColor cartoons, very unusual ones done for the British market. You might want to look into this.

  • Oh boy! The Old Tradmarks Home commercial! Worth the price of admission, right there.

  • I loved the Arm & Hammer’s baking soda commercial that appears at 9:18 am !! It was produced by Richard Williams’ studio, right?

  • Neato! So that’s what Jack Davis animation would look like 🙂

    I had forgotten about David Naughton hocking Dr. Pepper too 😛

    • I messed up and didn’t get the full Jack Davis spot on the preview– sorry about that!

    • You want to see more animated Jack Davis characters? Look no further than the Rankin-Bass produced Jackson 5 animated series! (I believe he also had a hand with the consequent Osmonds animated series, also a Rankin-Bass production).

  • To clarify a technical issue, scanning transfers of 16mm prints are not “restorations” in the true sense. A true restoration would be going back to original negatives, whether striking new prints from the source, or making a scan transfer from that source. Digital restorations include the cleaning up of picture and sound. These do not display those qualities. What they represent is the prints that were distributed to local television stations. The challenge with this material is that because so many commercials were produced over the past 60 years, and that they were made in the full knowledge that their life was limited, the ad agencies and production companies may not have archived the elements. So this is what we have at this point in time.

    • Hi Ray,

      I was just watching Toby the Pup and thinking about you. Thanks for the release you did. I love Mark Kaulser’s commentaries for the set too. You can find Ray’s Toby the Pup release here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/TOBY-PUP-Blu-Ray-Collection-Marcus-Huemer/dp/B07PJG61ND/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=toby+the+pup&qid=1596775234&sr=8-1

      I looked through the article I wrote above, and I was pretty sure I didn’t use the word ‘restorations’ here, purposely. I know some folks refer to them that way and I have on occasion.

      You do mention the cleaning up of picture and sound. These *are* things we do, sometimes pretty extensively as you know. None of the prints on this set looked like they do in the original scans–we’ve cleaned up quite a bit of dust and dirt, negative problems, sound pops, etc. That’s why the stills above are so clean. I tend to refer to this work as ‘clean up’ more than any one thing, but I guess you could say that our 4k ‘cleanups’ on some of the titles we’re working on could technically be called ‘restorations’ in that they’re cleaned up from original camera negs and fine grains- and those cleaned up scans that could easily be imaged back to film- in the original’s quality. You don’t have to be properly dressed for a restoration occasion!

      Steve

  • Really neat to see a commercial designed by Jack Davis.

    From what I could find in a quick online search, General Mills introduced Bugles in 1966 and Sugar Cones in 1967.

  • I see the newest Popeye set is available via Amazon. Those of us who supported this several years ago…have the sets been mailed out?
    Dan

    • We’re working on sending all…..hopefully by the end of the weekend.

    • I was wondering about that too.

    • My Popeye Blue Ray has arrived. I can’t wait to watch it.
      Dan

  • Thanks Steve, can’t wait for my copy..I ordered it the first day it was announced on cartoonresearch.

  • Tommy Stathes uses the “intermission elf” during the intermissions of his virtual Cartoon Carnivals.

    I didn’t remember Bugs Bunny plugging Dr Pepper!

    I would love to see the commercial for “Kix” cereal with the creature that literally eats three boxes of Kix every day. Yes, he eats the boxes, claiming that they’re the best part!

  • The Sugar Cones spots were animated by Fred Wolf of Murakami-Wolf. I liked that Roman Meal “Growls” ad with the lion, looked sorta like Rod Scribner, funny stuff. Women seem especially sensitive to growls n’ other underleg noises. The animation of Bugs Bunny in the Dr. Pepper was pretty wooden, so little “give” to the shapes in that one.

  • So when will the Blu-Ray Reissue of Stop Motion Marvels be finished ????

    I missed out on the DVD Version

  • I am 52 year old Native/Formative Californian from San Leandro/Oakland, respectively. I remember M+D Bath Tissue. Being aged 52, however, the Animated ads I remember featured Female Humans named, iirc, “Maisy” and “Daisy”.

  • Great stuff!! I love the old animated commercials. Any updates on the Missing in Action or Censored discs?

  • Just Ordered!

  • Loved the art and character designs in the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ad at 9min17. I’d totally dig a series/feature with these pussycats, minus the litterbox detais if possible.

    Is it Don Cheadle at 10min22?

  • My own Cartoon Commercials wishlist would include the whole series of Yellow Pages Donnelly Directory TV ads featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, all “narrated” by Len Maxwell in his typical comic-type voice he uses for most of the comedy shorts and ads he voices on. So far, I’ve only seen one of the early ones uploaded to YouTube. The earlier ads from the series had more limited animation than (surprisingly) the Rudy Larriva-produced Format Films shorts from the 60’s. However, as the series progressed through the 80’s, the ads were much more fully-animated, no doubt because Warners directly comissioned professional animators for the later ads, as the Looney Tunes brand was being revamped at the time, following the release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit . I fondly remember seeing the ads air on WCAU and other TV stations in the Philadelphia.area. No doubt they aired on every TV station throughout Pennsylvania, The only other markets I know of where the ads aired was on Connecticut stations, and likely aired in several other markets along the East Coast, as well.
    Also on my wishlist: the whole series of animated ads for the Great Bear service centers. I’m especially curious to see those first ads that aired in the 50’s.

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