Bobe Cannon was one of the real biggies in the history of animation. His animation was always very funny, appealing, and endlessly creative. I’ve spoken to many of his co-workers over the years, and they often expressed their admiration for his work, as well as a genuine affection for the man.
Bobe Cannon spent most of his career working in entertainment cartoons, and he had done animation for directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, and John Hubley before directing his own films at UPA.
The bulk of Cannon’s commercial output was done for Playhouse Pictures, where he was one of the regulars from 1957 to 1960. Cannon also did commercials for Storyboard Inc., Format Films and Jay Ward Productions. Let’s take a look a few of his best…
Burgie Glass Pack
The Burgie Man was voiced by weatherman Eugene Bollay, who had previously worked with Cannon at UPA on The Jaywalker. Another long running series of spots, directed by Bobe Cannon, and often animated by him as well. Here’s one Cannon animated himself. From 1960.
Here’s the Burgie Man model sheet by Bobe Cannon, made from his animation drawings.
Maypo – Marky’s Sister
From Storyboard Inc. and directed by John Hubley. Animated by Bobe Cannon. Hubley also used Cannon in his short films Moonbird and The Tender game. Cannon’s individualistic style of motion worked beautifully with Hubley’s equally individualistic style of design and filmmaking.
Here’s a Cannon drawing from a different Maypo spot:
Part of long running series of spots for the Navy. Directed and animated by Bobe Cannon. Written and designed by Chris Jenkyns. Made in 1959 at Playhouse Pictures.
Here’s a preliminary layout sketch for this spot by Chris Jenkyns.
Plymouth – Shake, Rattle and Roll
Unusual animation to sell Plymouth automobiles. Bobe Cannon animated the first section of this spot, Jim Pabian animates the last bit. Designed by Ed Levitt. Directed By Bill Melendez. The commercial is still here but Plymouth isn’t. From 1959.
Flit, now in aerosol cans, will kill cartoon bugs just as well as the other leading brand. Produced for McCann-Erickson by Playhouse Pictures in 1960. Animation by Bobe Cannon.
Yellow Pages Skunk
Part of a series of spots for the Yellow Pages back when AT&T was still a literal monopoly. Shep Menkin does the voiceover here. Cannon animates and directs. From 1959.
The Alvin Show, produced by Format Films in 1961, is still one of the most entertaining and well put together TV cartoons of all time. Bobe Cannon work on the show doing animation on some of the Clyde Crashcup segments (Directed by his former protégé Alan Zaslove) and also on the commercials for the sponsor General Foods.
Here’s a spot for Jello directed and animated by Cannon. It was written, boarded and layed out by Bob Kurtz. Bob had this to say about the spot:
“Bobe Cannon’s animation and direction was beyond amazing. Bobe opened my eyes even more to what animation really could be. I sill love that spot! I was so lucky to have had Bobe as a friend and to have worked with him. Bobe Cannon was a giant of a talent.”