March 2, 2023 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Commercials from the “Linus the Lionhearted” Show!

First — in Thunderbean news:

Next week is spring break at the school, so that’s usually catch up time at Thunderbean in various ways. This year, I’ve already been going sort of full speed with the current projects, so the break is more of a chance to catch some of the people in the Thunderbean freelance pool up to some of the upgrades. We’ve switched software for the digital restoration pipeline for the bulk of that process, and it’s a much more robust package- so much so that we’ll be hopefully switching the freelancers to it as soon as we can afford more ‘chairs’ of the software and faster machines to run it. Ah, technology. I really can’t complain- it’s speeding up the process so much to get the sort of results we’re looking for. Now the big debate is how to grow the little business enough to get it to another level of capability.

The best news of the week makes all of the growing pains, well, not painful. A few days back we managed to acquire what may be the rarest thing we’ve ever managed to get. I’m very excited to talk about it- but will wait until the scanning is done. You’ll be amazed this exists. Really.

I’m hoping to do another bigger scan session in the coming week too if all the pieces fall into place. It has always been a challenge to juggle all the things involved in the business along with the full time work and life, but when really good things happen as a result in terms of being able to scan or release this or that I couldn’t be happier. In some ways I’ve always been reluctant to have a business with all the moving pieces through these years. Still, when something becomes available and Thunderbean and other contacts made from it make it possible to share it – or I’m able to help move other things forward or get chance to lend or show things then everything seems worth it. Accessibility is everything. Each day when I get done with teaching, I can’t wait to get back to working on some aspect of the various projects going on here. I guess if I’m still having that much fun after all these years I should probably stick with it. The Little King and Flip are just about ready for replication now. I can’t wait for them to be actual finished sets.

Now – onto today’s animation!

A handful of years back I managed to get a bunch of negatives from Linus the Lionhearted shows. I’m currently loaning them to a new project (not Thunderbean) that is compiling the series for physical media release, on DVD/blu-ray. What I have are b/w negs with commercials, prepared for the Saturday airings of the show on ABC affiliates.

I thought it might be fun to share the commercials from one of those negatives this week – so here’s a reel of spots from that show. In the comments, talk about your favorites. We’ll show more sometime soon.

Have a good week everyone!


  • As always, I am very much looking forward to the “Linus the lionhearted“ set. I am hoping that these commercials might be a special feature, although there are so many commercials directly connected to the show of course.

  • Oh, and as far as one of my favorite commercials from this group that you’ve submitted here for our approval? I like the CORN CRACKOS commercials, and I wonder if the cereal still actually exists! I don’t even think you can find a box of CRISPY CRITTERS anymore! Think of all the other animated mascots without their own television show!

  • I heard that CBS successfully won the bid to distribute the “new project” – the condition being that they put out The Complete Terrytoons boxset at the same time.

    (Warner Brothers lost because they could not find another 101 Porky Pig cartoons)

  • How about colorizing the show?

    • That’s a very stupid idea. No one wants to see B&W footage colorized.

    • Jerry, we may need a ruling here. My family didn’t purchase a color TV set until 1971; I have no idea whether or not “Linus the Lionhearted” was produced in color.

      It strikes me that 1965 was a little late to produce an animated network cartoon show in black-&-white; CBS had already announced plans to go to color in 1966 and ABC was also making moves in that direction. If only for the future value of the program, it makes sense that Ed Graham would have opted to produce the show in color.

      The “Linus” Wikipedia page suggests that the show was later colorized, which seems difficult to imagine. Other sources say that the show’s first season was produced in b-&-w and the second season was produced in color.

      Can you clarify this when you get a chance?

      • The Linus show was produced in color from the outset. Not counting anime series like Astro Boy, Prince Planet, Gigantor, Amazing Three and 8th Man – I think the last US cartoon produced in black and white was Tom Terrific in 1956-57.

  • I could never get enough of the Linus the Lion-Hearted Show as a kid. Sheldon Leonard had a very distinctive voice that was perfect for the character of Linus, and I loved the interstitials linking the short cartoons.

    For some reason, critics and parent groups have always slammed this cartoon as being “potentially harmful” for children. The only thing I could figure is that it was essentially a program-length commercial for Post cereals–which did get drummed into one’s head over and over during the show. But beyond that, it presented humorous and delightful characters promoting pro-social values such as friendship and loyalty–with good scripts and a stellar voice cast.

    I remember it as a Saturday morning show at first. Later on, I believe in the early 70’s it returned briefly on Sunday mornings–but was quickly yanked from the airwaves, probably due to pressure from some overzealous groups serving as watchdogs over children’s programming.

    The commercials bring back memories. I saw several of them when they originally aired. The one I remember best is the Bugs Bunny ad for Kool Aid. I also remember the Honeycomb song. What a great excursion back in time! Thanks for sharing!

    • The “Honeycomb” song is indeed familiar — and even a little memorable — in part because Post licensed the existing (and very successful) Bob Merrill-penned tune for the cereal’s commercials.

      Merrill (who also composed “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?,” “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” and “Mambo Italiano,” and later wrote the lyrics for the Jule Styne scores for “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and “Funny Girl”) wrote the song in 1954; Jimmie Rodgers’ recording of “Honeycomb” was a #1 Billboard hit in 1957. Post brought out its Honeycomb cereal in the mid-’60s and used the Merrill song in its commercials for years.

    • (in my best Sheldon L.voice)
      Hey,pssstt..I have loved it tooo since its original Sat.AM run!


  • I remember another commercial for Alpha-Bits cereal where the kids were spelling out their names in their spoons. In this one, a boy with glasses kept fishing letters out of his bowl and at the end held out a giant serving spoon containing his name: HOLLINGSWORTH!

    The United Way angel looks like Charlie Brown.

  • Really excited to hear about what you’re scanning. If it’s THAT rare, is it Cultoons? What it is, I’m looking forward to seeing it!

    Really enjoyed these charming commercials, looking forward to getting the Linus set whenever it happens

  • Is the little Asian kid in some of these clips another cereal mascot or a character in the show?

    • That character is So-Hi, the mascot of Post’s Rice Krinkles. The character also appeared in cartoons on the Linus TV show.

      • I got kind of a kick out of So-Hi joining a group declaring your day will be “a little bit betta, wit’ Post!”

        The Cracko commercial, when all the people become “activated,” I wanted to hear the Waldo Wigglesworth “machine” sound.

        The Honeycomb Kid, is that Quake trying to make a comeback by putting himself through the transformation machine again?

  • A shame that Post didn’t want to spend the extra bucks to produce the show in color. Granted, in the years of the show’s original first run, few CBS affiliates had color facilities anyway but they probably could still pass network color if CBS had provided the show in that format.

    • The Linus The Lionhearted show WAS produced in color. There were several reasons black and white 16mm negs (and prints) were made – won’t go into that explanation here – but the show was broadcast off 35mm Color prints at the time, even though black and white television was still predominant in the mid 1960s.

      Steve happens to have several b/w negatives – but the Linus physical media project will restore (as best can be from existing materials) the show in color.

      • Jerry, I can think of possibly one reason.

        Many countries were still broadcasting in black and white (Australia included) and I suspect the show’s distributor would have made prints available in both black and white as well as in colour.

        I remember seeing Linus on TV here up until the mid 1970’s, where there was no reference to being cereal mascots (as Post wasn’t around in Australia back then).

    • CBS aired the program in Black and white. when ABC began showing it in the fall of 1966, they aired it in full color, albeit with edited opens and closes

    • CBS was the last network to adopt color, and only did so because William Paley’s board of directors forced his hand. Paley was still bitter about losing the “color television war” with RCA/NBC in the early 50’s, and he would have preferred CBS remain black and white forever. It’s fortunate RCA did win, CBS’s mechanical color system delivered a low quality picture (400 lines, 24 scans per second,) worked only on UHF frequencies, and could not be received on existing b/w sets.

      When Joey Bishop’s show moved from NBC to CBS for its final season, production switched from color to b/w. Bishop asked a CBS exec why, and the answer was “Because we’re not in business to help RCA sell their goddam color sets!” Lucille Ball saw color coming, and paid the extra cost of color production on “The Lucy Show” out of her own (deep) pockets.

      CBS refused to buy color cameras until Norelco (yup, the electric shaver people) marketed an impressive one in the mid 60’s. Even then, the grapes were sour there. I wish I could attach a photo here (you can find it online) of Cher looking through the viewfinder of a CBS color camera; the black-anodized-and-chrome panel with the Norelco logo was painted over with gray enamel! So ordered from on high…

  • Gotta say, my favorite ad of the bunch is still the Manny Gould animated Bugs Bunny Kool-Aid ad. Despite its limited animation, the drawings are really tight and appealing. Manny Gould’s strength in volume and weight can still be even when the budgets are slim. I’ve been curious how he got the assignment though. Since 1966 Gould had been animating at DePatie-Freleng. Was this a freelance gig from Bill Hendricks’s WB/Seven Arts studio or did DFE Films animate this ad themselves? There’s another one of these live-action Kool-Aid ads from the same period where Bugs is wearing a button down shirt and the animation looks a lot like Manny Perez’s work (another DFE veteran). So maybe these were DePatie-Freleng ads? Maybe someone more knowledgeable could enlighten me. But thanks for sharing these ads Steve! Looking forward to this secret new Thunderbean project!!

  • Will any of the episodes of Linus have the full length opening and closing theme song?
    Tell me

    • That is the plan. As far as I know each episode will be complete with opens, ends and any commercials (like these) we can find.
      That said – the project is still in production right now and the final contents will be finalized in a few months.

  • did anyone realize that the honeycomb kid was voiced by Jonathan Winters….he also did some uncredited voices on Linus the lionhearted….

  • All Linus cartoons were made in color, but CBS didn’t air it in color till 1965-66. As for ABC, I didn’t watch it on that network so I don’t know.

  • When I first heard about this project, I thought it was too good to be true, But it certainly seems like it’s coming to fruition. I can’t wait to re-experience these cartoons again. I appreciate it so much more now that I know about all the voice actors. I remember my mother telling me Sugar bear sounded like Bing Crosby, whom I had never heard of.

  • Old enough to remember the original commercials, in which Linus would get stampeded whenever anybody said “Post Crispy Critters” (a men’s chorus would bellow “The one and only cereal that comes in the shape of animals!”). If memory serves, the Linus balloon appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for some years after the show and the cereal had vanished.

    So … Post had Linus and his friends … Kellogg’s had a long run with Hanna Barbara characters in their commercials, sometimes serving as mascots on the boxes … General Mills booked Bullwinkle and company for a while, then Quaker Oats had long-running campaigns from Jay Ward … What other cereal/animation alliances were there back in the day?

    • General Mills also sponsored Total Television, creators of King Leonardo, Tennessee Tuxedo and Underdog.

    • Kellogg’s had been doing stuffwith Walter Lantz.


  • I have a dim memory of a commercial for some kind of breakfast cereal with… chocolate elephants! There was an animated big game hunter who periodically exclaimed “Chocolate elephants!” in an English accent. I remember asking my parents to buy it, but they refused; most sugary cereals were OK, but my parents drew the line at having chocolate for breakfast!

    Any information about this product would be greatly appreciated.

    • I believe that was Cocoa Krispies…they had a few elephant mascots during the 60’s and 70’s.

    • Are you certain you aren’t thinking of General Foods Toastem Pop Ups? These were toaster pastries like Pop Tarts and were made in the 1960’s. They did have chocolate ones with an elephant embossed on them. You can find a commercial for these on You Tube (will also try to link it here). The commercial shows an animal hunter who exclaims “Chocolate elephants!” when he sees these pastries.

      • Yes, that’s it! Thank you! I’m sure I would have remembered Toast’em Animals if I had ever convinced my parents to buy them. The animation of Jungle Fred is quite good; I wonder who did it?

  • Thanks for sharing these! Some of those kids were working pretty hard at the letters in the first one. As always seeing it in great quality really ups the appreciation. I enjoyed all of them though I’d put the raisin guy and United Way last.

  • This was all warm nostalgia for me! Somewhere I still have a record album from the LINUS THE LIONHEARTED show! I sure do remember ALPHA BITS cereal and CORN CRACKOS! I never was a big fan of SUPER SUGAR CRISP, though!

    Seems to me that the show was in color. I would computer “colorize” the footage if the color material no longer exists. After all, if you use “colorization” to RESTORE film, what’s wrong with that? Can a computer device “read” black and white prints of films that were originally color and then apply the color tones instead?

  • I don’t remember this show. I had to go look up the Saturday morning TV schedule for that time period and saw it was first up against the Casper Cartoon Show, which I watched, and then against the Beatles, another show I watched. You forget how much sugar they were pushing on kids. They should have been sponsoring Diabetes the Duck and the Obese Ostrich show.

  • The kid at 1:08 sure looks like Larry Matthews of the Dick Van Dyke show, but the ad would have had to have been shot several years before its 1967 copyright for him to look that young.

    The Kool-Aid spot was shot on the Warner Ranch backlot, because down the street behind Bugs is the Stevens’ house from Bewitched.

    • The Kool Aid commercial was actually shot on what was then known as the Columbia Ranch aka the Columbia backlot. Back then it was rare when a studio would rent out its facilities to a competitor but at the time, a TV commercial was not considered competition.

      Warner Bros. eventually took over the ranch and recently sold it.

      • Quite right, it was Columbia at the time.
        Anyway.. Bewitched house sighting! 🙂

  • Speaking of that 1967 copyright, that’s a further indication that it’s a rerun print. Another would be the fact that there are visual and audible splice marks between the commercials—usually the ads in sponsored shows would be incorporated into the negative as originally produced, and thus would be seamless. For reruns, they’d have to swap them out.

  • Two things stood out to me in the 1967 Post commercials: David Janssen’s voiceover in the live-action, Raisin Bran spot and the crudely-drawn close-ups of Victor Vicious in the (mostly) Paul Coker, Jr.-animated Super Sugar Crisp commercial that were probably never noticed with the sub-NTSC resolution of period TVs.

    For what it’s worth, the “The End” flash at 3:37 bears a 1966 copyright date…

  • Speaking of that 1967 copyright, that’s a further indication that it’s a rerun print

  • I’m looking forward to another larger scan session for Linus the Lionhearted and hoping that everything falls into place.

  • I saw the original Linus in Black and White, but as Jerry Beck Indicated, it was always produced in color. Our local independent TV station, WJAN-TV 17 in Canton, Ohio, showed Linus on a daily hosted Kid’s show called “Milton the Milkman.” in around 1972. They were sourced from horrible looking prints.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *