Raid spot by Tex Avery Raid spot by Tex Avery

Raid spot by Tex Avery

Mark Evanier posted this Tex Avery-directed Raid commercial on his blog and I couldn’t resist linking to it as well. At the risk of offending pretty much everybody I know, let me say that I could watch hours of every single current animated series on CN, Nick and Disney, and not find five seconds of cartoon animation as beautifully executed as the animation in this spot. From the second these characters appear on the screen, everything about them exudes personality—their posing, distinct styles of movement, and little bits of personality animation, like the big bug scratching himself or the little bug readjusting his cap. The movement is timed funny, and their designs have appealing contrasting shapes (look at the big bug’s lumpy body, gangly arms and couple-sizes-too-small jacket).

What’s amusing is that this Raid spot is not what anybody would ever consider a classic piece of animation. It was probably knocked out by Avery and a couple freelance animators in a few weeks, and viewed by them as little more than a job. But boy, do their years of experience show. The guys who animated in the Golden Age had nailed the art of funny cartoon animation down to a science. Today, even with plenty of animation being produced in the States again thanks to Flash, there are few animators pushing themselves to elevate cartoon animation to this prior level of excellence. Everything I see in the mainstream is generic and blandly animated—as long as it moves across the screen, it’s good enough. It saddens me to look at what we had before, and how funny and entertaining even an inconsequential bit of animation like this Raid spot could be.