So this week we take a look at the origins of the famous Keebler Elves. I had this industrial film (embed below) from 1970 in my collection for years – it wasn’t already on You Tube, so I put my fading print out for all to share. It’s a supposed recreation of how the first Keebler Elf commercial was conceived and produced at the Leo Burnett Agency. Two things: 1. It’s not the first Keebler Elf spot and 2. I believe all the ad men in the film are professional actors (any help to identifying who’s who is appreciated – is that “Hi Guy” Bill Fiore as one of the singers?).
One familiar face (and voice) is Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone) as the voice of the main Elf. You’ll also hear Joe Flynn as the voice of the window washer.
Not sure why there is a clip from The Funny Company in this – but the commercial animation is credited to Film Fair. Mike Kazaleh says “it’s a good bet that Sam Cornell did the designs (perhaps based on art by cartoonist Roger Bradfield?) and Alan Zaslove did the animation.”
Despite the above, this Keebler Elf commercial (below) seems to precede the above by at least a year or so. This spot, for Keebler Wheat Toasts and Rye Toasts crackers, features an elf here named “Ollie” voiced by Daws Butler. The animation was produced at Hanna-Barbera – Mike Kazaleh says its by Jerry Hathcock and Irv Spence.
Kazaleh did this drawing of Ernie Keebler for an agency pitch board – it’s too good not to include in this post. Print it out and color it in with crayons. Thanks Mike for this, and all your help with this post.