Chris Padilla recently hipped me to some visually striking animated spots from the 1970s. Chris actually showed some of these commercials theatrically as part of his late-70s theatrical release Fantastic Animation Festival. The spots have an exciting spirit of innovation and are in a wholly different league from the mainstream work being produced in the industry during that period. Some of the ads are notable for their groundbreaking use of computer animation, while others use processed live-action to achieve an effect similar to Bob Sabiston’s techniques on Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. The agency art director for the Levi’s campaign was Bay Area-based artist Chris Blum.
Levi’s “The Stranger”
AD: Chris Blum
Studio: Duck Soup Produckions
Director: Roger Chouinard
Studio AD: Mel Sommer
Agency AD: Chris Blum
Mark Kausler, of It’s the Cat fame, animated on the “Rodeo” commercial. I asked him if he could share a few memories:
Duck Soup did that one, Roger Chouinard directed it. The late, great Mel Sommer was the art director at Duck. It’s mostly processed live action (the cowboys), Xeroxed onto cels and then we animated the clothes as if they were herds of cattle. I did the opening scenes, it took a lot of hours to do that shot where the clothes “fan out” as the cowboys ride alongside. In the end, I don’t like this spot very much, too much work for too little pay. Animating disembodied pants and shirts was no fun at all, no eyes, no personality. I guess now computers would “animate” stuff like this, they can have it!