Thursday, January 07, 2010

Keitz & Herndon

There seems to a joyful consensus among animation and drive-in bloggers about Keitz & Herndon, an animation studio out of Dallas, Texas, operated by Larry Herndon and Roddy Keitz. I have an affinity for their style of animation that reminds me of the old UPA style from the late 1950s and 1960s, which might explain my attraction to the old Mr. Magoo cartoons I watched on television after school, as well as the many cold war cartoons found in education films aimed at deterring any and all childhood fears of thermonuclear annihilation.

Of Keitz & Herndon's animation, they produced two of my favorite snackbar commercials, whose animation and music styles take me way, way back to the drive-in. The first is a Dr. Pepper commercial, well fitted with a hip brassy jazz orchestration, and peppy animation evoking the heyday of drive-in theaters, jazz and animation.

The second is what I call the "Witch Doctor" snackbar ad.

Now, I know that this ad isn't exactly politically correct, for obvious reasons. But let's not froth at the mouth. We're adults. Let's just examine it as a pop culture artifact. And a wonderful artifact it is. Note the music, a jazzy-Tiki Club variation that was indicative of the exotica music popularized by the likes of Denny Martin and Les Baxter, to name a few. Both of these snackbar ads are pitch perfect for the monotonic drive-in speakers. Hearing them ring out in the night air makes one swoon.

For far, far more on Keitz & Herndon visit a great blog and by his book, CARTOON MODERN: STYLE AND DESIGN IN FIFTIES ANIMATION.

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