Friday, March 27, 2009

Guy Williams, Black Pete, and a Host of Others!

This is just too good not to post!

It’s the opening and closing to a Walt Disney’s ZORRO show from the late 1950s – with embedded 7UP commercials.

But consider the amazing number of actual persons and fictional characters that come together for this frantic five-and-one-half minutes!

Of course there’s Guy Williams, who starred as ZORRO and will be a forever-favorite of mine as John Robinson in LOST IN SPACE.

Oddly, the announcer for the series appears to be Dick Tufeld – who was also the announcer for LOST IN SPACE, as well as the voice of The Robot!

So, here we have Mr. Tufeld narrating the “Next Week Scene” for ZORRO (starring Guy Williams)… and IN THIS POST, we have him narrating a “Next Week Scene” for LOST IN SPACE (also starring Guy Williams)!

Familiar, but unexpected members of the production crew are Sixties LOONEY TUNES and F-TROOP composer William Lava – and, as "Assistant Director", Vincent Mc Eveety, better known for directing such well-known shows as STAR TREK (The Original Series), THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER, PERRY MASON, and COLUMBO.

The confluence is made all the odder by the addition of two animated characters, seen in the 7UP commercials that were apparently produced by the Disney animation studio.

First, there’s 7UP spokes-bird “Fresh-Up Freddie”. Now, Freddie was a fixture of the back covers of late 1950s DELL COMIC BOOKS (see the ad below).

But, what the comic ad covers do not convey – and the animation DOES – is that “Freddie” is actually the next evolutionary step for THE ARACUAN BIRD (!) that ultra-zany creature from the 1947 DONALD DUCK cartoon “Clown of the Jungle”! If you’ve seen that great cartoon, compare “The Bird” with “Freddie” and see for yourself!

The print ads never portrayed Freddie as particularly “wacky”, but the commercials sure do – especially the “tag” scene of each one, where Freddie “pops” around the big bottle of 7UP!

And finally, in the first Freddie 7UP commercial, who turns up as the villain? Why, none other than Mickey Mouse’s most enduring foe – Black Pete! Seemingly voiced by Paul Frees. How can I not love anything that somehow manages to showcase both Guy Williams and Black Pete!

After all this, there’s not much more I can say but… Watch and enjoy! …And, if a wacky red bird offers you a 7UP, take it or suffer the consequences!

1 comment:

Chris Barat said...


Wow! What a curio. When reading those Freddie ads on the backs of Disney comics (many years AFTER the fizz had flattened, of course), it never occurred to me that Disney may have had something to do with the origins of the character. Freddie's "popping" out from behind the bottle is definitely reminiscent of the Aracuan Bird, however. Wonder who did the voice -- it almost sounds like Gracie Lantz, but is perhaps a little too deep to be hers.

I wonder if Dick Tufeld did promos for OTHER Disney live action series in addition to his Irwin Allen work. He'd seem to be a logical candidate, since both Jim and Brian Cummings were presumably still in diapers. :-)