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July 12, 2014 posted by

More Spots Animated by Bill Littlejohn

56-Ford-Carpet600

Today we take another look at the work of the very wonderful Mister Bill Littlejohn. Always humorous, always expressive, the easy-going look of his animation often masked his enormous technical abilities.

One of my favorite memories of Bill was the time we got to talking about Leo Salkin’s animated version of the Brooks and Reiner “2000 Year Old Man” routines. It was some fifteen years earlier that Bill had done animation for the film, but he remembered it well. He acted out one of the scenes, and it looked exactly the way he animated it. It was pretty funny, but it also showed what a good memory he had.

Glo-Coat

One of the reasons I admire Bill Littlejohn is that he can take something like a man lecturing you about linoleum, and produce some engaging animation anyways. Bill probably could’ve gotten away with doing less thinking here, but that just isn’t how he did things. Announcer Frank Simms does the rhythmic voice over.


Maypo – Strongman

The circus runs away to join Marky Maypo’s dad. Directed by John Hubley.


56 Ford

Two spots made in 1956 for the ’56 Ford. Designed by Chris Jenkyns. Voices by Daws Butler with grumblings by Billy Bletcher. From Playhouse Pictures.


Old Pro – Teetering Rock

Another one from Playhouse Pictures. Eddie Mayhoff is The Old Pro. 1957.


Cheerios – Diving

Bullwinkle actually wears more clothing when he goes swimming. Bill Scott is Bullwinkle as usual. From Jay Ward Productions.


Cap’n Crunch – Robinson Crusoe

Very early Cap’n Crunch spot also from Jay Ward Productions. Featuring the voices of Daws Butler, June Foray and Bill Scott. Shep Menkin is Mr. Crusoe.


Carol Burnett Show

Two early openings for the long running Carol Burnett Show. I love how the first one works out of the CBS color logo.

9 Comments

  • Mike:
    Great post! The Glo-Coat ad was catchy and creative,and the others were simply delightful! And i agree with you on the clever animated blending of the CBS color logo withh the Carol Burnett open! Who did the animation for that?

  • Two things, MK-

    The Carol Burnett openings are just too good! Especially the 1st one!

    I remember seeing pictures of that Falstaff spot in the background of a picture from another post.

  • Bill Littlejohn was a wacky animator. If you wanted to do a good Snoopy scene, he’d be the one doing it!

  • It’s hard to ignore how good the voice-overs are in these spots too; of course Daws Butler was always terrific, but even Frank Simms in the Glo-Coat ad gave the animator some “life” and personality to work with. He was doing more than just “announcing.”

    The Carol Burnett Show openings really brought back the memories. Every night on TV back then, you could see great entertainers; Carol, Dean Martin, Jackie Gleason, Flip Wilson, Red Skelton, Sonny and Cher (whose show also included some pretty fine animation by John Wilson)…and we took it for granted. Now what do we get? Honey Boo Boo. Serves us right, I guess…

    • I didn’t say Frank Simms was an announcer to be demeaning. I like announcers. I said he was an announcer because that was the thing that he was primarily known for. Frank’s delivery here is great. I just thought floor wax was a dull subject.

    • floor wax was, is and always will be a dull subject to talk about!

    • No it’s not, it’s a SHINY subject to talk about! : )

    • All seriousness aside, I share your respect for announcers. From Don Wilson and Harry Von Zell to Gary Owens and Ed McMahon, they’ve contributed a lot to radio and TV comedy over the decades. (And not to overlook Robert Bruce, Jr., whose perfectly straight delivery enhanced Tex Avery’s travelogue-spoof Warner cartoons!) The best announcers are both performers and personalities, and that certainly applies as well to Frank Simms and his Glo-Coat spiel.

  • I didn’t realize that Bill Littlejohn was responsible for the animation that opened “THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW” and, yes, voice over talent can inspire animators to do extraordinary work. If you want to go back further than any of these advertisements, just check out Frank Graham’s work for Warner Brothers and MGM.

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