The Last Puppetoon? The Last Puppetoon?
Stop Motion

The Last Puppetoon?

When George Pal stopped producing his stop motion Puppetoon short subjects in 1947, he kept his pioneering replacement animation technique alive in various feature films he made throughout the years (Variety Girl, tom thumb, Wonderful World of Brothers Grimm). He even made one last Puppetoon (The Tool Box Ballet) for Chuck Jones’ Saturday morning series Curiosity Shop (1971).

Stop-motion master Mark Caballero sent me this You Tube embed (below) and wondered if I’d seen it before. No, I haven’t… and it begs the question: Did Pal keep his Puppetoon studio going during the 1950s to do TV commercials? I hadn’t read that anywhere before or seen any others. But then again, how often is the studio and producer given a credit like this on a commercial?

At the time, Pal himself was immersed in producing sci-fi features like Conquest of Space or The Time Machine. It’s interesting that he kept the Puppetoon name (and logo) alive during this period, when the late series was finding renewed interest due to TV syndication.

  • Steve Menke

    Clicking through to YouTube’s source page, the contributor guesses this was shown in theaters (possibly affirmed by the shot of the audience chowing down on Mounds). Check out the brief comment thread there, too.

  • uncle wayne

    ohhhh my Gawrd!! That is pa-riceless!! (And i always thought, too, that the “Chewable Chocks….” (“…in a bottle or a box”)cmcl and Speedy Alka was by him, too! ???

  • Chris

    Is that Thurl Ravescroft singing the baritone?

    • Absolutely. What commercial of the era DIDN’T feature his voice?

  • Steve Menke took the words right out of my keyboard – definitely has the feel of a cinema commercial rather than TV, given Pal’s long tradition of producing such work right back to the early 30s

    Either way – great find. Can never get enough Puppetoons!

  • You have to love the stop motion. The sound track is really interesting. Its all a capella – singers with no instrumental accompaniment – and very well done.

    Hard to say, but it does sound like Thurl Ravenscroft as the Mounds King. He was the go-to guy for that style of vocal. Its quite possible that it was him.

  • FleischerFan

    Thanks for posting this – would that we could get the whole Puppetoon library in quality that looks as good as this!

  • Doodyville 101

    That was awesome!!! Loved it!!! More puppetoons, please!

  • I spoke to an animator who worked for Pal on commercials once. He said that Pal did produce commercials for TV, but most of the puppet commercials were done by Pal’s crew working under their own studio name. He specifically pointed to Speedy Alka Seltzer as being one of the series of spots that Pal’s people made on their own.

  • Brian O.

    Love it!
    Enjoy this while you can before Arnold Leibovit lays claim to it and has it pulled.

  • OMgosh…..that is amazing! I’m scrambling for words or poetry to express myself.

  • David Breneman

    I don’t think that’s Ravenscroft. He sang deeper down in his throat with a rolling emotional quality to his delivery. This singer’s voice is more up in his mouth, without much emotional inflection. Both basso profondo voices, but they sound like different voices. Of course, the quality of the recording sounds like it was done through a telephone, so there isn’t much bass for a bass to work with.

  • djm

    Looks too jerky and stiff to be done by Pal. His work always came off to me to be far more fluid.

  • Doug Drown

    My first reaction to this wonderful little commercial was how arresting it is. It’s a full minute long, but it’s so entertaining that it actually made me think, “Gee, I haven’t had a Mounds in years and years.”
    And I don’t even like coconut.

  • Mac

    It’s Len Dresslar,part of the Singer’s Unlimited,probably the most amazing pop vocal quartet on record.Before that, he was part of the Js with Jamie(which later billed themselves as Jamie with the Jay Silvia Singers). The Js with Jamie did tons of commericals(“Let Hertz put Yooouuu in the driver’s seat,today!”) and on our MOR Metromedia station,they sang “The Sound of Money”for the Cashcall Jackpot giveaway for many years. Len was also the “Ho-ho-ho” for the Jolly Green giant commericials.Len did a couple of spotlight songs with the SU. One “Jennifer’s Rabbit”,which I’m listening to as I type,proves this.BTW,I’m about the age of he kid in the ad and ate few Mounds/Almond Joys because they were a dime in the age of 5 cent candy bars.

    • Mark Lensenmayer

      I agree…definitely Len Dresslar out of Chicago. He was also “Snap” in the Rice Krispee’s commercial.

    • David Breneman

      Yeah, the Jolly Green Giant. That fixes the voice firmly for me. When my voice changed in the 7th grade, I amazed friends by doing both “Theyyy’re Great!” and “Ho – ho – ho!” impersonations. They sounded as different to me then as they do now. With a hangover I can do a great Don LaFontaine.

  • Scarabim

    That was AWESOME!!!!

    And one can only imagine the tedious production process involved in creating that little film. No computers back then, no sir. Amazing. Thanks, Jerry. That was ART.

  • Chris Keck

    Great commercial. As Steve Menke noted the YouTube contributor described this as being shown in theaters – “probably in the late 1940’s.” To me it certainly has a late ’40’s look to it. The subtitle “CIRCA LATE 1950’S” may be an error. If that’s the case it could well be a Puppetoon production and still fit in the known timeline.

  • Will Mendes

    That was great! Thanks, Jerry. I’m going to listen to it again and again. It’s really catchy. I love how perfectly the lip synching was done.