March 22, 2017 posted by Mike Kazaleh

Cartoon Voices in Live-Action Commercials


Most of the old cartoon voice actors were not strictly cartoon voices. Many of them also appeared in some combination of radio, records, television and motion pictures. Still, as a cartoon fan it’s always a treat to see your favorite cartoon actors on camera, even those brief glimpses you get of them in the commercials. Commercials like these…

Mattel Tommy Burst Gun – Hal Smith

Though Hal Smith often appeared on camera, he was an exceptionally busy animation actor providing voices for Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers, DePatie-Freleng, Cambria, and Clokey Productions to name but a few. In this spot he can not only be seen (as the cartoonish thug who gets vanquished by the sponsor’s product) but also heard, as he is also providing the narration.

Chunky – Arnold Stang

Arnold Stang, famed foil for Milton Berle and as the voice of Herman the Mouse and Top Cat, made a number of these hilarious spots for Chunky chocolate candies.

American Motors Corporation – Sid Raymond

Actually, you get two Sid’s for the price of one! Sid Raymond, the voice of Katnip, Baby Huey and countless other denizens of the Paramount cartoon universe, and Sid Melton, best know as the zany carpenter Alf Monroe on Green Acres. Car fans will also enjoy the footage of the AMX prototype (Styled by AMC and constructed by Italian coachbuilder Vignale) that provided the inspiration for the production AMX of 1968.

Awake – Bob McFadden

The voice of 60’s New York animation, Bob “The Mummy” McFadden starred in cartoons from Paramount, Terrytoons, Hal Seeger, as well as King Feature’s Cool McCool show where he co-starred with Chuck McCann (also appearing in this post) not to mention an uncountable number of animated commercials. Here is a rare on-camera appearance by Bob.

Maxwell House Coffee – Chuck McCann

Beloved comedian and kid’s show host (and the original voice of Cocoa Puffs’ Sonny and Gramps,) Chuck McCann is ‘cuckoo’ for coffee in this mini epic.

Scott Towels – Mae Questel

Paramount cartoon star Mae Questel (Betty Boop and Olive Oyl among many others) appeared in this long running series of commercials as your loveable Aunt Bluebelle. The copy here is pretty routine stuff, but Mae gives a fun and appealing performance.

Marvin Miller, Storyteller

Not a commercial, but a television show designed to fit in 15 minute time slot. Prolific cartoon actor Mighty Marvin Miller (UPA, DePatie-Freleng, Filmation, and hundreds, if not thousands of animated commercials) tells a dramatic story. One camera, one actor, totally gripping.


  • Bob McFadden also did voices for Rankin/Bass. He was in specials like “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” “The Easter Bunny is Comin’ To Town,” and “The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

    • As well as in the Thundercats,Terrahawks and The Comic Strip.

  • This is an interesting post, and I’m sure that you’re just scratching the surface when it comes to odd appearances like this. William Conrad would be an obvious reference, but what about appearances by others in voice over work, like Sarah Berner, June Foray, and voices who started out as live action character performers and eventually joined the lengthy ranks of voice over talent! Great post.

  • Great post today, Mike! Lots of fun seeing our voice-over favorites on-camera!!

  • I missed these old TV ad posts. Keep ’em coming!

  • I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chuck McCann (and Jim MacGeorge) only once a few years back. It was a great experience working with such pros. Recording was done in one take, only a couple of lines were redone because Chuck felt he could deliver it better, and more comical. Here’s the cartoon with Chuck and George doing a twist of their Laurel and Hardy voices:

  • Chuck McCann did those commercials (for Right Guard, perhaps?) from the late ’60s in which a guy opened the medicine cabinet in his bathroom, and beheld Chuck’s smiling face inside, greeting him with “Hi, Guy!” It must have been some sort of house or apartment complex designed by an insane architect, where two adjoining bathrooms shared the same medicine cabinet.
    Of June Foray’s live-action appearances, she probably had the most face time in the movie “Sabaka” (aka The Hindu), filmed in India, starring Nino Marcel as his Gunga Ram character from “Smilin’ Ed’s/Andy’s Gang.” (and guest-starring Boris Karloff). June played the film’s villain.

  • Bob McFadden’s “Mummy” novelty record was done with Rod McKuen, who billed himself as “Dor”.

    Chuck McCann is still with us, and has an active Facebook page.

    I remember fondly the Scott Towels commercials featuring Mae Questel. I love trolling the Net for old commercials!

  • How about Allan Melvin (“Magilla Gorilla”) appearing (though not speaking) in a Canadian commercial for Esso?

    • Allan Melvin was also Sam the Butcher in The Brady Bunch.

    • …and Melvin was also Corporal Henshaw in “The Phil Silvers Show” and Archie Bunker’s pal Barney Hefner in “All in the Family.”

  • Marvin Miller:,Michael Anthony, the executor of the estate of John Beresford Tipton (voiced by Paul Frees) on the tv series, “The Millionaire”.

  • Don’t forget Mel Blanc for American Express.

  • “Nnnngaaannnngannnnaaaah!” ( That’s my Sid Raymond imitation. How’d I do?)

  • I loved the ending where Sid Raymond goes in the wrong direction! HA!

  • The Marvin Miller show is a fascinating item; it really amounts to a one-man radio show with a camera “covering” it. No production values, only the most minimal of settings…and a damn good radio actor who could pull it off. Research at the Internet Archive mentions a 1953 article or ad in “Broadcasting” magazine stating that 13 episodes were made. A friend of mine owns a 16mm print of an episode of another 15-minute show, “Morgantone News,” in which Henry Morgan, the radio humorist and quiz show regular, narrates clips of old newsreels in a format sort of halfway between Pete Smith and “Fractured Flickers.” Don M. Yowp found a similar trade paper notice that 13 of those were also made. Early TV had an appetite for short programs that could be used to follow movie features, fill odd-length gaps in local programming, or be played as ingredients in a local show… like the Snader/Studio TeleScriptions… and of course, CARTOONS.

  • Further research into Marvin Miller’s career shows that he had an extensive background in “storytelling” shows of this kind. During the 1940’s, Miller did two such network series, “The Story Behind The Story” on Mutual, and “Armchair Adventures” on CBS. The “Marvin Miller, Story Teller” film appears to be a direct outgrowth of a syndicated radio series by that same title he did in 1949-50. 260 five-minute episodes were transcribed and syndicated by a company called Cardinal Features. Miller’s story telling may have had even more “punch” in the shorter format. Cardinal’s best remembered show, still heard on old time radio revival series, was “Adventures By Morse,” created by writer Carlton B. Morse in the same vein as his earlier “I Love A Mystery.”

    Cardinal also offered “Sleepy Joe,” 260 15-minute episodes with actor Jimmy Scribner. Scribner, a white ex-minstrel specializing in “darkie” dialect material, read Uncle Remus-type stories and played all the voices himself. A syndicated TV version, featuring puppets, was released around 1950. The last I knew, the negatives of the TV version were in the hands of the late Keith Smith of Modern Sound Pictures in Omaha, who had acquired them as part of a package buyout of some other distributor’s inventory. No idea where they may be now.

  • Nice to see Kazalah finally return to CR! I found many of these ads very interesting.

  • Cyintha Bachman has a very intresting facebook page on animator Bob Bachman and the TV spots he did. It shows that he animated a couple of the Jolly Green Giant Spots and animated a commercial for the Ford Tornio Cobra. Just look up animaor Bob Bachman and click on the facebook link.

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