October 5, 2013 posted by

Commercials Animated by Bobe Cannon


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:


Navy Opera

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.

Chipmunks Jello

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.”


  • McCann-Erickson has always been very uncreative agency and they are absolute incompetents handling GM advertisements. Their pan regional commercials are almost always lousy.

    • They let Coca-Cola launch a whole canon of “Charlie Brown” specials lasting long ater Coke ended it’s career being a sponsor/

  • Check out the singing chops on Thurl Ravenscroft in that Navy spot! That list of specialties would be hard just to say that fast, much less sing.

    • It’s probably meant as a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous Patter songs – “My Name is John Wellington Wells,” or the ever-famous “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General.” They’re very fun to animate.
      (Not that they own patter songs (Rossini’s “Largo Al Factotum” remains eternally cartoonified) but they just did it best.)

      Anna Russell spoofed it brilliantly with “Rich tycoon.” In the space of four measures, you sing “I once nearly went to prison for a shady operation, but I undermined the jury and they changed their tune!” Thurl would have to have had these in mind. ^u^

  • I used to have a bottle opener from Burgie with the Burgie man on it. Now I know what it refered to 🙂 Also, I WANT MY MAYPO!!!!!! 😉

  • The Jello spot is quite effective,especially Alvin looking though the dessert.Jingle is quite forgettable-I suspect Ross Bagdasarian had no say in the music.

  • Thanks, Mike Kazaleh! Great stuff! I can see where you get your inspiration from!

  • “Hello, Bobo!”

    It occurs to me that the “Burgie Man” bears a suspicious resemblance to Bobe Cannon himself, at least from the photos of him that I’ve seen.

  • Enjoy these posts, Mike! I love the Plymouth commercial.

  • Did Bobe Cannon design the Burgie Man or create the model sheet based on another artist’s design?


    Amazing commercial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.