Considering how well known UPA was for its TV commercials during the 1950s, it’s ironic that most of their commercials are currently ‘lost.’ I’d guess anywhere in the range of 95-98% of the studio’s commercial output is currently currently unavailable to see. There’s a handful of spots that are floating around, but there are hundreds of others that never turn up on commercial compilation videos or in film collecting circles.
As a consolation prize, some stills and production materials still exist from the studio’s commercial work. A few months back, I posted a Jack Goodford storyboard for a Borden’s Coffee commercial. Today, I’m posting another storyboard, by an unknown artist, designed for an Old Gold cigarette commercial. The spot is a fine example of UPA’s visual range, veering more into the iconic graphic design territory of Saul Bass than the traditional character-driven style of the studio. The Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that produces the cigarette offers a lot of visual potential, and I imagine this would be a particularly striking spot to see in movement.