June 14, 2014 posted by

The Wind-up… The Pitch…


Remember when every normal, red-blooded American kid wanted to play baseball, and only the real weirdo’s wanted to draw pictures? Major league players like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were paid very handsomely to endorse products, but what about their cartoon counterparts? Are you kidding? Bugs Bunny didn’t get any extra carrots for his commercial activities, even when he put on a baseball hat and stepped out onto the pitcher’s mound. Anyways, here’s a selection of animated spots that invoke our national pastime. No, I don’t mean sitting around and watching television…

Shell Oil

Directed by Paul Fennell, with narration by Art Gilmore.

Old Pro – Dingbat

Eddie Mayehoff returns as the voice of The Old Pro. This was the only Old Pro spot I’ve come across that was animated by Robert Cannon. Made by Playhouse Pictures in 1957.

Goebel Beer

Our cartoon mascot can play baseball really well. Our beer MUST taste good.

Bugs and Sam

Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam are stoked about the free baseball trading cards on the backs of Post cereals. Virgil Ross animates the opening sequence. The tag looks like it was animated by a hopeful assistant.

Rice Krinkles

Another on for the Post trading cards. This maybe the first appearance of So-Hi. He has a different voice here, possibly Herb Duncan. Good thing they changed it later. Animation by George Bakes.


This is one of the few beer commercials I’ve seen where the patron at the bar appears to be blotto already. Animation by Michael Lah.

Fruity Pebbles

From Playhouse Pictures, 1989. Directed by Gerry Woolery. Storyboard and layouts by Scott Shaw, and animation by your truly. I don’t believe this spot ever aired. After we completed it, somebody panicked because we showed Rubble in drag. Baffling. It wasn’t as if he’d never put on a dress before…


  • I always enjoyed those Fruity Pebbles commercials. Better than the cereals they were shilling!

  • That bar patron is Bill Idelson.
    And talk about a lost opportunity: why would you have a rooster mascot for a beer named “Goebel” rather than a turkey?

  • Was the Fruity Pebbles thing made after Mel Blanc’s death.

    • Yes. I think that was Joe Alasky doing Barney’s voice.

    • Yes. I think that was Joe Alasky doing Barney’s voice.

      And yet I have some memory of possibly seeing that commercial on the air anyway. I don’t know why but it sticks out in my head as having been up during that time in ’89.

  • Doesn’t really count, but since the special was a sponsored film for Coca-Cola I just had to mention this sponsor tag and live-action commercial. It fits!……..

  • Is that Dick Slattery as the bartender in the Hamm’s spot?

    • By George, that does look like him, doesn’t it?

    • The bartender in the Hamm’s commercial is Harry Swoger.

  • Another great batch of spots, Mike! I vividly remember cutting those baseball cards off the backs of Post cereal boxes! Thanks for the memories!

    I’m always so impressed with your ability to spotlight who animated these commercials . . . and also that you have access to so many spots. How do you do this??! Did you buy libraries of film from different commercial studios? Did they come with ‘credits’ or some kind of documentation of who worked on them . . . or are you identifying the animators by familiarity with their styles?

    • Some of the spots we spotlight are from my own collection, but a lot of them are up on youtube already. I mostly ID the stuff by eyeball, but sometimes I turn up more concrete info from the trades, studio documents or like that. Sometimes, like today’s Goebel beer ad, I know that UPA made spots for them in that period, but I don’t know if they made this particular spot, and there’s nothing that would positively identify it as such.

  • Mike, what does “Palatka” refer to, a local Detroit brand of beer?

    • Palatka is a small town in Florida.

  • That Fruity Pebbles ad you did with Scott Shaw was funny and well-animated. In addition, I didn’t know that Playhouse Pictures lasted that long.

    • They certainly were a die-hard in their craft.

  • Two Questions: Where’d you get the Shell plug and who produced the Hamm’s adverts?

    • Howard Swift (Swift-Chaplin Productions) originated the animated Hamm’s Bear spots in the early 50s and produced them for many many years. The studio closed somewhere around 65-66 as Swift began working at Hanna Barbera in 1967. If Swift-Chaplin produced this one it would’ve been one of their last.

    • Thanks Jerry. I Recall several model sheets of character poses credited to the studio that appear in a book entitled “The Paws of Refreshment: The Story of Hamm’s Advertising” by Moira F. Harris.

  • that shell oil ad is beautiful.

  • I remember a Hamm’s commercial in which the bar patron is a cartoonist or animator, who draws the bear on a napkin and he “comes to life” a la Out of the Inkwell. Any chance you could find and post this?

  • Okay, okay, I’ve said this before, but there really has to be another collection of animated spots from Thunderbean, perhaps focusing on even live action commercials with an eye toward WTF moments, and I know, from watching so much TV, that there were many of those, and they weren’t just local ads!! Some of the stuff here could fall under that category! Thanks for posting these things; some of ’em were hilarious!

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