January 24, 2015 posted by

Is Advertising Good For You?


Over the months we’ve spotlighted ads for beer and automobiles and breakfast cereal, but today we present to you a film that is advertising advertising. This mostly live-action film produced by the Fred A. Niles company is all about how television advertising actually improves your quality of life. To me, one of the big benefits of TV commercials is that without them you would have to wait until your show was over if you had to use the lavatory. For some reason, the host fails to mention this.

They attempt to illustrate their points by showing several existing spots. Three of them are animated. The first one starts at the 00:48 second mark, and was produced by Playhouse Pictures. It’s for the Ford Motor Company, and is called “Just the Commercial.” It was directed by Bill Melendez, written by Chris Jenkyns, designed by Sterling Sturdevant, and animated by Herman Cohen and Bob Carlson.

A very high-style animated spot for Union Carbide appears at the 08:46 mark. I’m not certain who produced this one but I think it may be from Pelican Films.

At the 18:49 mark is another Playhouse spot. This one was made for the Navy and it’s called “Dog and Cat.” It was written by Chris Jenkyns, and directed and animated by Robert Cannon. Herschel Bernardi and Byron Kane speak.

The live-action spots include an extra long plug for General Electric starring Ronny Reagan (at 01:32 and featuring a piece of stock music known as “Hicksville” which should be familiar to fans of Quick Draw McGraw) plus one of Stan Freberg’s Chun King spots starring Jesse White and a very young Arte Johnson (at 19:40.)

As a special bonus we present to you some of Chris Jenkyns’ sketches for “Just the Commercial.” The first one is a very rough sketch where Chris was just jotting the idea down…


Next we have a more complete storyboard. This one was probably used to present the idea to the client. (click thumbnails below to enlarge). And below that, a production still from the final film.

Ford-JTC-Jenkyns-board-1_750Ford-JTC-Jenkyns-board-2-750Ford-JTC-Jenkyns-board-3_750 Ford-JTC-Still-600


  • The Union Carbide spot was actually produced by Academy Pictures in New York.

  • FWIW, the newspaper story at 6:22 is from 1961.
    Joel Aldred was one of the top commercial readers in Canada. He was the voice of Household Finance for ages.
    TC-430A Domestic, aka the Donna Reed Show theme, is also heard on the soundtrack. Sounds like there’s at least one Sam Fox library bed as well.

  • I know this is going to have a conspiracy theory tinge to it but to fast-forward from this film into the present, we know that advertising has accumulated a vast amount of information into our lives over the decades. How color, pacing, music and other variables affects our decisions from clothing, food or politics is constantly being researched and manipulated. Many comments on this site reflect how even the most obscure cartoon has somehow become imbedded in a fan’s memory for decades. What else have we absorbed that we aren’t even aware of? As the narrator mentions in the film, audiences are more sophisticated than the generation before but so are the advertisers. It’s a world of caveat emptor (While checking the spelling of these words, the site wanted to know what prompted me to look them up. Talk about sophisticated!) so all of us buyers need to be aware.

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