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Cartoon Modern

Rare Commercials by Tex Avery, Ed Benedict and Tom Oreb

YouTube user ‘VidResidue’ has uploaded a couple of rare 1950s animated commercials worth sharing. The first is a Kool-Aid spot directed by Tex Avery and designed by Ed Benedict. I think it’s amazing that Avery’s last theatrical cartoon–Sh-h-h-h–was released in 1955 when he was only 47 years old. Tex’s flame burned out prematurely. As much as I enjoy his TV commercials (of which I’ve only seen a dozen or so out of hundreds that he directed), it’s disheartening that one of animation’s greatest directors has a late body of work that is comprised entirely of lightweight advertising jobs and cheap TV shows. (Earlier this year I did a lengthier post about Avery’s late-career.)

Next is a Peter Pan Peanut Butter spot designed by Tom Oreb. I’m guessing the director of the spot is Charles Nichols.

Here is the model sheet that Tom Oreb created for the TV version of Peter Pan characters (click for bigger version).

Tom Oreb model sheet
  • Mmmm…peanut butter in a vacuum tin. Delish. I was always curious what the commercials that correspond to these model sheets were like! Thanks for pointing them out.

  • joecab

    Wow, they used to sell peanut butter in big cans?

    Thanks for posting these. I’m a huge Charles Nichols fan and always loved his Fred Flintstone better than anyone else’s.

  • Andrew

    Tom Oerb’s designs remind me of the simplified re-designs to the characters of The Emperor’s New Groove and 101 Dalmations once they brought them back for their respective animated TV spin-offs. It really makes you think about the effort that went into the original films.

  • Mike Caracappa

    The Peter Pan spot was great! Thanks for sharing.

  • PCUnfunny

    At least Tex left theatrical shorts on top his game. I could care less about his TV work. That’s just the crap he did for a paycheck.

  • Katella Gate

    Not only did the Kool Aid spot feature top drawer visuals and direction, but voice work as well with Thurl Ravenscroft as the Pitcher and Mel Blanc as the Beaver. Either the advertising dollar went farther in the 50’s, or people actually cared how the product looked when done.

  • Yep, Charles Nichols and his crew was in 2G in the Animation Building. I was right down the hall from his guys. They did really cool work, and I was surprised they were doing much of their work in black and white.

  • I love Bill Thompson’s voice work.

  • I love that little 2D Tinkerbell.

  • Suz

    Hook looks very like Dick Dastardly, I enjoyed that commercial. Was very cute.

  • Kelly

    I think it’s awesome these things were just short of 60 seconds! When I was in commercial animation and when we had a full :30 for a spot it felt as though we were luxuriously awash in time.

  • John

    The timing and animation of the crock waiting in the water reminds me of Oerb’s designs for Avery in “Symphony In Slang”.

  • Was that Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger) voicing the narrator/Kool-Aid guy on the Tex Avery one?

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    I like Charles Nichol’s drawing of Tom & Jerry better than anyone else’s.