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Preston Blair abstract TV spot


Animator Fred Cline has posted a rare 50s Air Force Reserve TV spot by Preston Blair featuring early abstract motion graphics. Click Here and enjoy.

  • Heheh looks more like they are throwing a great party at the reserves! :)

  • Groovy and stylish! In a hi-tech, computer-dominated world, it shows what you can do with a little paper and a clear vision.

  • Chuck Rekow

    Interesting, but I can’t imagine that was an effective spot.
    I wonder how many would-be servicemen decided to move to Cuba and take up jazz after seeing that pitch!

  • Great spot. Wouldn’t call it “abstract” however. It’s pretty on-the-nose representational with the music.

    It does seem a bit off the mark for a recruitment piece. Reminds me of a Monty Python sketch where we could modify the punch line to “No, I joined the air force for the music and the graphics, not the bombing and the killing”.

  • …….my impression too ! It is a little odd considering the context.
    Do you have any other information on Blair’s work Jerry ? I see that you had hunted down for quite a while his most prized animation book. From what I can gather, this kind of work, although in line with the graphic culture of the time, seems quite out of step with Blair’s career. Could anyone shed more light ?

  • GeeVee

    Great. I was too occupied enjoying it to think about contextual issues.

    In regards to motion graphics, I’d rather watch this than 85% of After Effects stuff out there. Then again, I’ve always had a snobby bias toward film grain and scratchy sound tracks.

  • I worked at TV Graphics (aka Film Graphics). It is possible that Lee designed this spot, but it’s very likely that the spot was designed by someone else, if not Mary Blair there was also Bernice Rankin, a top notch designert. it was either animated by Lee or just as likely one of several animators working there at that time. Usually for a spot like this, if it wasn’t done as paint on cels as you indicate, the animator made layouts and exposure sheets and the cameraman placed the cutouts accordingly and shot each frame. Aurelius Battaglia also did some free lance design for them. They were a very busy studio in the mid 1950s, and included live-action and stop-motion shooting on many commercials. I remember working on the opening animation for the credits to the I Love Lucy Show. Lee did animation and design, but was more often taking care of the business end of things.

  • Jennifer Rankin

    I know this is an old post but I came across it today and the link is now gone…I’d love to see the spot because Bernice (Greenwald) Rankin is my mother in law and we love to find Granny’s old work! You can send me the link at [email protected]. THX!