Raggedy Ann & Andy (1977) TV spot

I found this original TV spot for Richard Williams’ Raggedy Ann & Andy (1977) in my collection, and thought it was a hoot. Note the “rolling eyes” reaction of the adult at the 32-second mark. With all the great respect Williams showed for – and credited to – his master animators, it saddened me back then that this film was simply marketed by distributor 20th Century-Fox as a typical kiddy film; pure Saturday matinee fodder. Obviously is was a children’s film – but it was also a rare challenge to Disney’s cartoon dominance (The Rescuers was released two months later) in a what was debatably the worst decade ever for animated features (Bakshi’s work excepted).

To commemorate Friday’s release of Fox’s Horton Hears A Who!, I thought this comparison in how an animated film was sold back then, versus today’s massive marketing campaigns, was worth noting.


  • droosan

    There were several animated features besides Disney’s & Bakshi’s in the 1970′s .. and they weren’t all THAT ‘bad’; there were two ‘Peanuts’ films (Snoopy Come Home & Race for your Life, Charlie Brown), the H-B production of Charlotte’s Web, Chuck Jones’ The Phantom Tollbooth, and the quirky, ‘enjoyable-in-spite-of-its-ugliness’ Shinbone Alley (among others). None of these were any sort of challenge to Disney’s dominance; and I don’t think they were particularly trying to be. Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH (begun in the late-70′s), on the other hand ..

  • http://www.agent44.com Jake

    1977. That was before children became jaded, and actually had a childhood. Most of those kids were boys and looked to be between 7 and 10. Can you imagine a Raggedy Ann & Andy film ever being marketed to boys between 6 and 10 today? It would be reserved for toddlers and preschoolers. And Ann would have to have anime eyes with hooker make up and bare abs with a belly ring. They’d probably drop andy all together if they hadn’t turned him into an effeminate sexually confused confidant to Ann.

  • Barbara

    “The music got to me in a very certain way” future film critic indeed.

    Aw, kids are adorable.

  • Animation Pimp

    so, I guess the American education system (payed for the Vietnam war) was already in pretty bad shape in the 70s:

    “I give it 11 stars.”

  • http://michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    I remember the ad well. It’s more in line with how Broadway shows are sold today. The movie ended up being bad for a number of reasons, so even selling it well wouldn’t have helped.

  • http://www.alanrhodes.com protogenes

    “what was debatably the worst decade ever for animated features (Bakshi’s work excepted)”

    Excepted? Oh dear god, “Lord of the Rings” is the low point surely.

  • http://bobjinx.blogspot.com Bob Flynn

    I recently stumbled upon the animated sequence that features the candy blog creature called “The Greedy.”

    http://bobjinx.blogspot.com/2007/04/greedy.html

    6+ minutes of animation bliss :)

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=q4QV4o_Qq2c

  • Kris

    I kind of like that they weren’t ashamed to sell Raggedy Ann as a kids’ movie. This trailer just tries to convince the adult that, yes, kids think this movie is great, so you should take your kid to this movie.

    Nowadays it’s all about trying to convince the adult that the movie will be funny and full of pop culture jokes for them, but still “safe” for their kid to watch.

  • joecab

    I love the animators, but to be honest, *rant-on* I never liked this cartoon as a kid. The rag dolly song got too much play in the commercials, the animation always felt too “busy,” and the color palette was so damn dark that it was depressing. *rant-off*

    I guess I should give it another look-see with adult eyes to see if it’s changed at all for me…

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    I think the film is wonnnnnnnnnderful!! Its animation is about as unique as it gets….and eye-candy from A to Z!

  • http://billfieldtrip.blogspot.com/ Bill Field

    It’s a charming ” theater exit reation ” ad-There are still ads like this all the time- in most every movie genre- but some of the kids sounded like their reaction was scripted – like the kid commenting on the music, but the Mom and son seemed genuine- most every Mom would roll her eyes if their kid’s favorite part involved a sea of candy.
    The classic, soft voiced announcer and the family attracting placement of a Mom in the background, this ad style has now turned loud, excitement instilling and insistent that you see the movie a second and third time.Yeah, Jerry- things HAVE changed in cartoon movie ads, they seemed a lot calmer and classy, 30 years ago.

  • http://afrokids.com Floyd Norman

    Loved the book. Hated the movie.

    Seriously, what I meant was the wonderful “making of book” that I still regard as a classic. I had many friends and colleagues who labored long and hard on this film. Unfortunately, it just never came together, and that’s too bad.

  • joecab

    Michael Sporn: it’s funny, I always consider commercials where they poll the audience for their opinions a sure sign of a lousy movie or show. (Another sign: adding junk like Santa hats or July 4th gear to the print ads around the holidays.) I’m juuuuust snobby enough not to trust their opinions. :) But I’ll bet kids respond better to this technique than the adults do.

  • Animation Pimp

    I had an incident involving Raggedy Ann when I was about 4-5 years old. She haunts me to this day.

  • Percival H.

    Bobbs-Merrill (bankroller of the 1977 “Raggedy Ann and Andy” film) was a book company; their making-of volume far surpassed the movie. It’s shocking how a film with such visually arresting animated sequences suffers when just a few severely cropped-for-TV-cutoff, choppy snippets are grabbed by a live action trailer editor unaware of how uneven the animation is in the very shots he or she selected to sell selected abbreviated story points. I recall how quickly this movie came and went in the multiplexes back in the day. If one blinked, one missed it. If this film ever gets a decent DVD release, let’s hope it’s in the proper wide screen aspect ratio in which it was so painstakingly made.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “I give it 11 stars.”

    It’s obvious where the producers of “This Is Spinal Tap” got its inspiration! Only a shame I was just born that year this film came out but I did see RA&A on video later on.

    droosan did forgot one film of mention to make, “Watership Down” in ’78, a film a parent should never let their kid watch alone as far as I’m concerned. :-)

    Of course there was a lot of other bizarre foreign stuff that might also get stuck in kiddie matinées like “Jack & The Beanstalk: A Musical Fantasy” (Japan, 1974), German cartoonist Rolf Kauka’s “Once Upon A Time” (W. Germany/Italy, 1975) or another 20th Century Fox release of an American-Hungarian co-production, “Hugo the Hippo” (1976). Murakami-Wolf Productions animated a film for Sanrio based on a book called “The Mouse & His Child”, I only wish that was out on disc over here (having bought the Japanese R2 release that doesn’t even have an English track).

    Let’s not also forget Bruno Bozzetto’s “Allegro non Troppo” (though for the grown-up set of course).

  • http://www.ryanestrada.com Ryan Estrada

    Today all of the advertisements just relate to the stars in the movie…. I was sharing a booth with much of the Horton crew at SanDiego ComicCon…. Afterwards, we all went out to dinner, and I congratulated them on how great the upcoming film looked. “Someone’s got to save Dr. Seuss adaptations from all that crap starring Jim Carrey!” I politely noted. There were about 20 seconds of uncomfortable silence before one of them noted “Jim Carrey plays one of the main characters.” Aaaaaaaaakward!

  • JOSEPH

    little off subject but, why is Bakshi’s work excepted?….to me it’s a perfect EXAMPLE of the lowly 70s. he’s never made a good movie.

  • http://billfieldtrip.blogspot.com/ Bill Field

    Joseph, that’s your opinion on Ralph- not everyone’s. I have to agree in part, with you- few of his films seem complete- American Pop was complete- full circle, for me, and Wizards’ only failing, to me, is also the story’s greatest asset- the unexpected ending. But most everything else has great moments but not enough to fill in the gaps and holes of the films en total. The Seventies was the Golden Age of Adult(PG-13 and up) Animation, a small sub genre, but still growing— one, was even nominated for the Oscar this year.

  • Dave Levy

    Hey Joseph,
    I get the criticism of Ralph Bakshi’s work, but to judge his series of features strictly based on the traditional merits of each film, is a mistake. You have to put the man’s work and the times in which those films were made in context. Bakshi was the first american animation director to make cutting edge ground breaking feature films on his own terms and got them released into the theatres all with major movie company backing. He expanded animation’s vocabulary and decades later, the medium is still struggling to take Bakshi’s pioneering steps to the next logical level.

    You don’t have to like his films to have an enourmous respect and appreciation for all he accomplished. I’d also argue that Heavy Traffic also happens to be an incredible film. Perhaps his most successful all around film.

    My apologies to commenting on a tangent of this dicussion.

  • Andy

    Comparing the upcoming CGI vomitable “Horton Hears a Who” to the equally nauseating 1977 “Raggedy Ann and Andy” is merely arguing which shade of brown is the correct color of s**t.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Here in Adelaide Australia,Raggedly Ann & Andy was not released until December 1982! I remember seeing this ad on tv at the time. I really liked the ‘America’s Toughest Critics’ bit.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I remember that trailer. I think I saw it in front of Freaky Friday.

  • Lucy

    How cool is that?! :D I don’t care what anyone says, I saw this movie as a tot, then again as an adult, and I fell in love with it all over again. This trailer certainly is much different from the make-me-what-to-chew-on-tin-foil catchphrase of “All Who Breaks Loose”, although I’m not as worried about Horton as I have been about other Seuss vehicles. The animation, although I tend to be very old school, is some of the better CGI I’ve seen.

    At least it’s not as bad as the l’il dead-eyes kids in ‘The Polar Express’. Twenty-one, thirty-one, or ninety years old and that movie will still freak me out. So I’m kind of optimistic for ‘Horton’, weird as that might sound. But then again, I’m also optimistic for a release of the Raggedy Ann & Andy movie :\. Seriously, the Winnie the Pooh touching-is-bad video is going to see a release before this film on DVD :,(

    Thanks so much for the post and giving us the chance to see this little spot in the evolution of pitching an animated movie to an audience.