Making it Move pt. 4: Crass Commercialism

Continuing on the earlier posts about my early animations on the Atari 8-bit computers using MovieMaker.


During the period I was making these animations I got together with a couple who were likewise interested in trying to find some business outlets for computer graphics. With them I solidified the idea of taking some of the animations I’d been playing with and assembling them and some new ones into a demonstration presentation. One of the ideas was to figure out how to make commercials for local TV to advertise local businesses.

I wish I could remember how this idea popped into my head, but I’m sure it was simply a matter of literalizing “the hills are alive” from the opening number of The Sound of Music. This lead to the idea of animating a parody of the opening of the film, and then using that as a hook for a video rental business.

Julie Andrews gets what's coming to her.

Click to start the animation here (opens new window)

Due to Moviemaker’s limits, this actually consisted if three separate animations. One was the title card (not shown here) that read “The Sound of Marshmallows”, followed by this segment of Julie Andrews being devoured by the lively hills, and finally the plug for the company. In this case it was a fictional video store called “Oasis Video” (which was the name of the video business belonging to the guy who did the taping of the animation for me). For this I animated a completely stereotypical Hollywood dancing girl, paying no mind to anything real or realistic.

Just where in the world is this?

Click to start the animation here (opens new window)

In retrospect while this is a moderately funny gag, it doesn’t really sell the idea of a commercial spot because I didn’t make the plug at the end feature basic stuff like an address or phone number. The logo I came up with is also, frankly, terrible, and the scratchy little weeds around the bottom left don’t help matters one bit.

Two additional notes:

  1. The colors in these animation clips and the frame grabs aren’t quite accurate to the way the original animations looked because I “recovered” these animations by running them through an Atari emulator which does a great job but never gets the colors quite the way they looked on a NTSC TV (for instance, the sky in “Marshmallow” was actually a bit more purplish than seen here).
  2. The voiceovers you hear in these clips are all replacements done by the amazing Erik Braa, since the original audio on the VHS copies I have is awful.


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