May 24, 2014 posted by

Detectives, Spies, and Private Eyes


They look for clues, solve mysteries and fight crime. No, I don’t mean those nutty teenagers and their talking dog. I’m talkin’ about the detectives, spies, and private eyes that once occupied large chunks of the airwaves. What would make a man want to risk his life battling bad guys just to sell you cereal or motor oil additives? It must be those cool clothes.

Let’s take a gander at a few animated gumshoes right now…


One of a series of spots for Bardahl from the Ray Patin studio.

Morning Milk

I don’t know anything about this unusual but strangely compelling (and inexpensive) spot. I don’t even remember the seeing the product anywhere.

Home Safety PSA

This unique spot was animated by Bill Littlejohn. The eyeball heads used to weird me out as a youngster.

Vote Toothpaste

Designed by the brilliant Rowland B. Wilson and animated by Jack Schnerk. Lennie Weinrib and Mel Blanc are Colmes and Plotzen. From Phil Kimmelman’s studio.

Cheerios Kid

The Cheerios Kid as a Spy? Too bad they didn’t give him a number like James Bond. They could’ve used Cheerios for the 0’s. The animation looks like the work of Emery Hawkins. You’ll hear Paul Frees at the beginning.

Dick Tracy

From Terrytoons. Featuring the voices of Everett Sloan and Dayton Allen. Deputy Dawg must’ve called for reinforcements on his two-way wrist radio.



  • MK-

    Here’s an animated ad for Andersen from the late 50s(?). I have no idea who produced, animated, or voiced this plug.

    Here’s the link:

    • Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding did the voices in the Andersen’s spot. Bob, Ray and Ed Graham were producers with Ray Favata directing the animation.

    • Bob & Ray capitializing on their McBeeBee twins characters.What Fun!If you never thought that Bob & Ray were indeed different,the idea of two guys reading a script just a nanosecond apart,like two radios tuned to two different cities of a national feed,well,this should prove a point in a delightfully bizarre way.

  • “If you don’t have color TV, save your money; I’ll describe the can.” I love that line for some reason; as cheap as that Morning Milk commercial was, it’s still memorable.

    I wonder what went through Chester Gould’s mind when he saw that Soaky Bubble Bath commercial…

  • I’ll give Terrytoons credit, at least Dick Tracy is chasing a criminal in that commercial. That’s more than what UPA ever did with him.

    • Tracy taking a bubble bath in this spot is a disturbing sight – but I love the rare pairing of the great Everett Sloan (of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre) with comedian / Terrytoon voice Dayton Allen.

    • Tracy taking a bubble bath in this spot is a disturbing sight – but I love the rare pairing of the great Everett Sloan (of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre) with comedian / Terrytoon voice Dayton Allen.

      You have to give them credit for that. Getting both guys out to do this.

  • Whenever I see a Bardahl commercial I always miss the sound effect created by Pelusa Suero for their endings more than 40 years ago. Here it can be heard it is full glory:

    • I recall some brand of oil that had a detective with a full cast of villains representing automotive ills. Was it Bardahl, or were the bad guys always as ethereal as in this spot?

  • It’s hilarious to hear Dick Tracy singing any kind of jingle, let alone one for a bubble bath! Terrific stuff, as usual. I’m kinda guessing that Steve Stanchfield’s forthcoming second volume of classic animated TV commercials is going to be amazing, judging from all the vintage TV ads that have shown up here, lately!!

  • A very UN-typical Mel Blanc voice in the Vote commercial. And I remember how Vote always referred to the quantity of toothpaste you put on your brush as a “nurdle.” (Can’t even imagine how they came up with that!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *