If your favorite cartoon character told you to buy something, you’d buy it, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. That’s why cartoon characters make such wonderful pitchmen. I mean, if it came down to taking the advice of Popeye, or some semi real-life celebrity like, say, Durward Kirby, you’d go for the sailor man every time. I know I would.
This unusual spot featuring Woody Woodpecker dates from 1953. Interestingly, Walter Lantz had the animation done at the Grantray studio, home of Grant Simmons and Ray Patterson. This was probably because ’53 was a very busy year for the Lantz studio. Ray was the younger brother of Lantz director Don Patterson, and perhaps it was Don who recommended Grantray to Walter Lantz. I’m guessing that it was this spot that led Lantz to subsequently job out two shorts to Grant and Ray. Grace Stafford was Woody’s voice by this time, and provides it for this commercial.
Cantankerous Mr.Magoo didn’t fit the profile of typical cartoon spokesman. He may not have been kind or cuddly, but he sure sold a lot of beer and lightbulbs. This spot from 1959 was likely directed by Rudy Larriva. Gil Turner does most of the animation. Jovial Jim Backus is Magoo as always.
One of the many Kool-Aid commercials directed by Tex Avery featuring Bugs Bunny. Herman Cohen animates the spot, except for the final shot which is by Ben Washam. Hal Smith and Mel Blanc speak as usual. Made at Cascade in 1964.
Even the bad ol’ puddytat was sometimes brought out to be a pitchman, usually for cat food. Here Sylvester is selling Purina Cat Chow. Animated by Ted Bonnicksen. Based on the box, I’m guessing this is from the early seventies.
Without a doubt, Mighty Mouse was the product pushin’ powerhouse of Terrytoons. Even feisty Farmer Al Falfa was no match for the mouse of tomorrow. Here we see Mighty Mouse hawking… chewable vitamins? This looks like a pretty late spot, but it still sounds like Tom Morrison is doing the voice. There’s re-use a plenty here.
Popeye, Olive Oyl and Brutus (Nee: Bluto) sell bath soap in this action-packed spot. Several scenes were animated by Martin B. Taras, who may have also directed it. I don’t know who the other guy is. Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, and Jackson Beck return for vocal duties.