THUNDERBEAN THURSDAY
April 18, 2024 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Drink Milk! At least 3 glasses a Day!

First some really quick Thunderbean news:

We’re working hard to get a big batch of the seven ‘Special’ discs out the door right now, along with the Sneak Preview 2024 disc. We should be through them by Friday. Buster Bear has been freed! We’ve also opened the ‘Special Disc’ vault for old special discs, but only through Sunday— so if you’ve missed any you wanted they’re available at the Thunderbean Shop.


And – onto our reel!

One of my favorite things is finding something really odd while collecting, and even better to be able to use it on one of the sets we do. Here is one of those oddities- a reel of commercials from around 1957, likely produced by the same small studio in Denver, Colorado. I found these all on Ebay some years back; all were 16mm prints from a Denver ad agency. I was happy to have won all of them and strung them together on a reel if memory serves.

In the 50s there was some animation production in Denver, but the bigger production facility in Colorado was called Alexander Film company in Colorado Springs. They opened in 1928 and produced industrial films for many years, but boomed in the 50s with TV production. Years back our very own Craig Davison lent me a print of a short television story about the studio. It’s on the Cartoon Commercials, volume 1 DVD we did years back. I don’t have it handy for this post, but here’s another promotional film from the late 50s for the same studio:

It’s possible Alexander film company made these little spots, but probably more likely they were done by another small studio in Colorado. At any rate, they’re pretty fun- although many are pretty primitive in terms of animation. The Denver Milk Producer spots are some of my favorites with their strange animation and funny slogans. One of the local spots (for a car dealership) features cowboys and Indians, and it seems especially keen to follow some of the more Mid-Century Modern sensibilities happening in the 50s.

As we’re wrapping up the Mid Century Modern, Volume 3 set, I’ve decided to add this reel back onto the set, even though only some of them really have those sensibilities. They’re interesting in their contrast and local flavor.

Here’s the *almost* final version of the reel. There’s some more tweaking to do on grading and steadying, but it’s close!

Have a good week all!

8 Comments

  • I wasn’t around in 1957, and I’ve never been to Colorado, but these commercials seemed very familiar; the jingles and the auto show with Dorothy Lamour rang some very loud bells for me. As well they might, for a little checking confirmed that you posted them here on your Thunderbean Thursday post for December 30, 2021, with a video of you screening them on your projector at home. I’m pleased that you’ve made a proper scan of the reel in the meantime. The clarity and detail are impressive, and these ads will make a fine addition to MCMV3. I hope someone will come forward with information about the agency that made them.

  • I love these little novelty advertisements! I look forward to the great special discs.

  • I got my copy of Sneak Preview 2024 the other day, and the Buster Bear cartoon is certainly an interesting curio! (I thought it was interesting how it used “Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight”, as the opening them music, which is what Harman & Ising would use on the Bosko cartoons). That end title card is pretty wild!
    By the way Steve, I was excited to see to that “The Butcher, The Baker, The Ice Cream Maker” was also on the set and is going to be included on the upcoming Modern Century Vol. 3. That’s one of my favorite 1950s non-Sutherland animated industrials!

  • This is interesting! You may know that the Alexander company, or more specifically inventor W.J. Conkie, threatened legal action in 1934 against Disney, Iwerks, Lantz, and essentially every other cartoon producer in the business for patent infringement. Conkie claimed that his patents covered “films whose footage is determined by the time required to play a related music score,” and other technicalities related to synchronizing music and picture. His examples were all drawn from Alexander films — not advertising films, but mainly song reels. The various cartoon studios (and their lawyers) conferred about this threat and agreed to just ignore Conkie’s letters, and nothing ever came of the matter.

  • I must be experiencing Dej Vu. Is it my imagination or have those milk PSAs been shown on this column before?

  • Love those 1950’s commercials! I ended up with a slew of American Dairy Association ads on 16mm. These (“its time for CHEESE” followed by cheesy and cheesier recipes), along with cigarette and car commercials, get some of the most enjoyably raucous crowd responses in our “Psychotronix Film Festival” programs. . , although, now that I think about it, “National Drink Jell-o Week” remains tops in that department.

  • I’m glad those are going on the MCM3 set, even if they’re not all a perfect fit. It’s so nice to see stuff like this looking great! I’m going to wait until I have the set to watch them properly.

  • I did a little digging online and indeed found confirmation of Empire Savings at that address in Denver at one time…

    Empire Savings Building and Loan Association
    1654 California Street
    Denver, Colorado 80202

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