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Saturday Commercials

By Billy Ingram and his TVparty Superfriends!
Thanks to Jeff Valencia for the rare video!

Saturday morning TV commercialsCheerios

"He's got Go-Power!"

The Cheerios Kid was introduced in the early-sixties - and this is one of the first spots featuring the cartoon character (that was only recently retired).

In the early sixty second commercials, everything rhymed and the kid went from saving the entire community to rescuing just his girlfriend Sue (when he only had thirty seconds).

In the politically correct Eighties, girlfriend Sue didn't need rescuing - she would eat Cheerios along with the kid and kick some major butt herself!


Fruit Stripe GumBeechnut Gum

Two incredible finds from the early-sixties.

First - a stop motion puppet animation spot for Fruit Stripe Gum that elicited this response:

"Viewing that Beech Nut gum commercial sent chills down my spine. I remember as a 5-year-old living with my family in Hollis, Queens, NY (not far, by the way, from the old Ideal toys factory) being engrossed by that gum ad whenever it came on.

"I'm 39 now and throughout my life, every couple years or so, that "Buy Beech-Nut, Buy Gum" jingle would bubble up from the deep recesses of my brain for no apparent reason before I'd push it back down. So to see that spot only reminds me that TV advertising can be insidiously memorable, even if it doesn't prompt one to buy the product immediately. (I just might go out and buy some Beechnut tomorrow.)"
- Leroy W

In the late-Sixties Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons starred in this memorable Beechnut Gum commercial, a reworking of one of their biggest hits.

5 MintAnother Beech Nut product, 5 Mint Gum, featured scenes with young people frolicking in the summer sun at the beach, appropriate for the debut of this new, youth-oriented gum product.

Wholesome, fresh and hip, Beech Nut commercials of the Sixties were always a treat.


Bugs Bunny was the character associated with this instant orange drink throughout the Sixties and he sold a lot of powder. This commercial is from early in the Sixties, before Tang became known as "the drink of Astronauts".

In this spot, Bugs tricks Daffy into taking shots at his own relatives for a taste of Tang - it's that good, apparently!

Remember Grape Tang?

Post Cereals

This spot is promoting a contest sponsored by Post that gave away the most popular toys of the day like Spider bikes, the cool Vvvroom Motors (a noise contraption that attached to your bike) and Baby First Step Dolls.

There is some great subliminal advertising going on here.


I was extremely surprised to find my commercial, Post Cartoon Contest, on the TVparty website.

This ad only ran about six weeks, timed to coincide with the time Post was taking contest entries in their national coloring contest. The contest featured images of popular Post cartoon characters of the time, such as Sugar Bear and the AlphaBits postman.

The production company for the commercial was located in my home town. A scout was sent out in July of 1965, looking for children who looked like "real" children. I was five years old and attending day camp when I was scouted to attend an audition. One of the other campers was cast as my "brother" in the ad. (My own brother also tried out, but the producers didn't think we looked enough alike, and he did not have red hair or freckles.)

Though this was a black and white ad, redheaded children were already in demand for television. My hair is red, and the boy who played my brother is a strawberry blonde. We both had tons of freckles!

Just after my sixth birthday, we shot the ad. It took two days of filming. Commercials were sixty seconds in those days. We had an outdoor scene and an indoor scene, and did many takes of each camera shot. (It seemed like sixty of each shot, but that may have been my hyperbolic childhood memory.)

Despite the required breaks that were part of child labor laws at the time, we were exhausted. My mother says she had to "carry me to the car" each night, and that was probably right. We were supposed to look like we were walking to school in September. However, filming was in August, and it was extremely hot. To make me look dressed for fall, I had to wear a sweater over the itchy "good" dress that had been chosen for me to wear.

We were surrounded by a dozen 1000-watt TV lamps at all times. After every take, we were mopped by production people running in with towels, milk and juice. During breaks, the audio tape would be run through each take again, I assume in a search for the best audio quality that could be used with the video. We heard our voices over and over and over, saying the same things: "Hey, I want one of those!" "Hey, I want one of those!"

The production company also had a man on set who seemed to be there just to entertain us kiddies. He kept pulling wiggly rubber toys and other surprises out of his pockets.

My recollection is that there were four key scenes. The first was standing outside on the sidewalk, watching the bicycle with the Vroom motor whiz by, and commenting on the various toys that were prizes in the contest. These shots were done on the first day, the outdoor day of shooting. The rest of the scenes were indoors.

First we colored the contest entries. I liked this. Then we were turning around the cereal boxes, which had been stacked one upon the other so that all the different types of cereal in the contest could be shown to viewers who might want to enter. There is a screen capture of that scene, with my face between the boxes.

Finally, we had to sing the little Post jingle. At that time, every Post cereal ad ended with the red Post logo flipping up, and people (or cartoon characters) from the commercial would be standing there, singing the jingle "Post Cereal makes breakfast a little bit better." I liked to sing, so I enjoyed that part.

The ad ran during the contest duration, mostly during Saturday morning cartoons, but it also ran on Lassie, Sunday nights on CBS. This was an extremely popular program with a valuable advertising spot.

Years after the ad ran, I found my royalty pay stubs. Lassie paid much, much better than the other shows I was on! Benton & Bowles was the advertising agency. Though I didn¹t have to visit the agency in New York in connection with this commercial, I was invited there later for a few other auditions. My parents did not like the idea of "professional children," and were horrified at the way the other children at the New York auditions were gussied up. They looked just like JonBenet Ramsay at a beauty pageant, and these casting calls were at 8 am. (I showed up in shorts and sneakers, looking like a "regular" kid.)

After a few of those auditions, my parents decided not to audition me for any more TV work. The boy who played my brother in the ad did an ad a few months later, for AlphaBits. That ad ran for ages and was very well known. The kids spelled their names in their spoons. That ad, though, involved a lot of eating, which the Cartoon Contest ad had not. The kids were getting sick, eating twenty bowls of AlphaBits in two days of shooting, and their moms had to stop feeding them anything else while the ad was shot!

I really enjoyed the experience of shooting the commercial and have always been glad that I was able to do it.

- Rachel




soakingRemember the jingle, "McDonalds is our kind of place?"

McDonaldsWhen the fast food chain starting becoming a national phenom, they decided to target kids. After all, this was the baby boom generation and, for the first time in history, children had some say in what the family purchased.

Even before coming up with their Ronald McDonald character, they were extremely successful in their first attempts - like this contagious musical number, one of the infectious tunes ever written.

A TVpartyer writes: "I got a big charge out of your old TV ads, but something in one of them bugged me. I remember Mcdonalds having signs that said "over 50 Million served", which were updated each year as part of their PR campaign, and only in the last 10 years or so it became the more permanent "billions and billions".

"However, on your clip with copyright 1967, it says "billions and billions served ". How can this be? My younger brothers noticed this discrepancy also. Are these the actual clips from the earlier times or reenactments? Thanks!"

It's authentic - sounds like wishful thinking (that came true) on McD's part?!?

Creepy Crawlers

Mattel toy you can still buy today - but it's probably a million times safer than it was in 1965. At least I hope so.

Metal plates are super-heated to solidify colorful goop poured into molds - forming insect shapes. The coolest toy of the Sixties!

Trix Cereal

Everyone knows that Trix are for kids. They should, after thirty years of the same slogan. That's what you call staying on message!

Here is the first appearance of the Trix rabbit from 1960, who was always trying to get the fruit flavored cereal from those darn kids! The original voice of Trix the Rabbit was done by Delo States, the voice of Stanley Livingston in the Underdog Show/Tennessee Tuxedo & His Tales.

In a cereal commercial today, you couldn't have the little girl saying: "When I grow up I gonna have a whole house full of Trix."

"In the 70s, they had an election -- as to whether or not the cruel Trix-withholding children should, in fact, give the Trix rabbit some Trix. I remember voting -- kids all across America did -- and, in fact, the Trix rabbit did win the right to have a box of Trix. (The post-Nixon era 70s was a time of sweeping reform....)

"They aired a commercial in which the Trix rabbit ate his box of Trix. And then realized that he would never, ever, get another one.

"The end.

"The only thing more existentially disturbing is the way kids used to torment Sonny the Cuckoo Bird with his obvious psychological addiction to Cocoa Puffs."

- David Cassel



From 1965 - can you spell your name with Alpha-Bits?

The mailman character on the box was named 'Loveable Truly'. He didn't last that long, but this was a catchy tune that you'll remember if you ever heard it. That is, if anyone is still alive from 1965.

Jets Cereal

Bullwinkle and Rocky sold Jets cereal in commercials produced by the Jay Ward studio. The cartoon duo pitched other 'Big G' cereals from 1959 - 1970.

The Ward studio eventually churned out hundreds of fantastic cereal commercials for Quaker Oats in the 60s & 70s - including Cap'n Crunch and Quisp & Quake.

Here's another commercial for the product from 1954 - when it was known as Sugar Jets.


Cute long-running animated series for the cereal aimed at younger kids.

This spot was art directed by the great Joe Harris, creator of Tooter Turtle, The Cheerio's Kid and Underdog among many others.

Tony the Tiger

Sugar Frosted Flakes

In the Sixties and Seventies, cereals were proud of their sugary content, and many cereals featured the word "sugar" prominently in the product name.

That practice went out with the health conscious Eighties, the word 'sugar' was replaced by words like 'golden' or just dropped entirely.

Today this Kellogg's favorite is known simply as Frosted Flakes.

Tony the Tiger has been the pitchman for this cereal since the 1951. The voice of Tony from the beginning, Thurl Ravenscroft, died in May, 2005.

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