prehistoric

8 07 2009

in the late seventies RICHARD WILLIAMS opened next to RICHARD WILLIAMS ANIMATION in london soho square his second studio in los angeles. it was located corner barham/cahuenga. the first job the L.A. studio got was a 30 sec commercial for JOVAN and the j. walter thompson advertising agency. dick williams animated and inbetweened everything himself in six weeks, he only had help from an illustrator, REBECCA MILLS, who painted the backgrounds, in oil. the animation was done straight on cels with a black grease pencil. the advertising agency had bought the rights for a FRAZETTA painting of a prehistoric conan-like muscle guy with a sword on top of a mountain. they wanted to use that poster for their campaign and first thought of arnold schwarzenegger and a live action version for the commercial, until dick convinced them he could do it in the frazetta-style in animation. every other studio would have been proud just to have that character animated climbing up the cliff. in dick’s version additional to the climbing the whole background is animated with a camera constantly flying around the character with lightning effects and additional flying prehistoric creatures. it is a masterpiece, probably the most stunning animation I have seen. in the fall 1978 issue of MIKE BARRIER’S FUNNYWORLD # 19 is an interview with richard williams where he talks in detail about the making of this commercial. following are some captured images to give you an idea.

williams jovan comm

frazetta022

williams still23

© frank frazetta
© richard williams
© j.walter thompson + jovan

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7 responses

8 07 2009
Cameron Chamberlain

Yeah that commercial is AMAZING. Williams is brilliant with his use of camera, not only the movement but the sense of shooting with a wide lense. Also check out the basketball commercial he did. Brilliant stuff!

8 07 2009
luca

I’m, curious. Is there a video of this commercial on the web?
Looks amazing by the way!

from hans –
I found some links where you can see a lot of dick williams’ commercials and documentaries. the picture quality is pretty bad, but at least you can get a taste…

mix williams/oscar grillo commercials

richard williams commercials

documentary about dick’s work THE THIEF WHO NEVER GAVE UP

documentary about dick’s work from 1966 in b/w

8 07 2009
Cameron Chamberlain

If you google ” richard williams commercials ”

the first two hits are pretty much all of them in one long movie file, inspiring stuff

8 07 2009
Michael Sporn

I have two cels from the commercial – one very close to the one used in Mike Barrier’s setup and another, a closeup of the guy. It’s a beautiful spot that really shows off Dick’s genius for the medium. I haven’t seen the spot in some time, and it’s great seeing your frame grabs. Inspirational.

from hans –
you are such a lucky guy…

8 07 2009
martin

yer, i like frazettas paintings a lot and i think the commercial is pretty cool. I ike the idea that jovan is coming out of the sky lol
even tho, the hands seem to be oversized, especially at the shot where he puts that perfum onto his skin…or is it just me?

10 07 2009
David Nethery

Here’s a fairly high quality version of the Jovan ad on YouTube:

11 07 2009
Timothy Robert McKenzie

Yeah. Richard Williams is such a great animation man. I mean, I wanna be like him, Genndy Tartakovsky (the creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack), Craig McCracken (the creator of the Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and all those animation people that work for both traditional and computer animation or so! You see, Richard Williams made such excellent work, for example the groundbreaking blend of live action and traditional hand drawn animation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the unfinished Thief and the Cobbler. Too bad that somebody badly damaged Richard Williams’ career and/or reputation or so before he’ll ever finished the Thief and the Cobbler! Maybe one day, I’ll follow the footsteps of Richard Williams, Genndy Tartakovsky, Craig McCracken and all those other traditional and computer animation people or so by making an ambitious groundbreaking live action/animated masterpiece or so that could involve throw in Dexter’s Lab, the Powerpuff Girls and other works or so. I was thinking of calling it Dexter’s Odyssey and I was thinking of having Cartoon Network, Disney, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, and/or the like or so produce, release, and distribute it or so, and having people like Tartakovsky and/or McCracken or so involved as 2D Animation directors or so. I was also thinking of blending 2D Traditional Hand Drawn animation, CGI, Animatronics, Makeup, Live Action Puppetry, Miniatures, Digital Environments and matte paintings, VFX wizardry both old and new and other stuff with live action footage shot (in a 2.40 :1 ratio or so) with 24P HD Digital Video, Digital Stereoscopic 3-D and 70mm IMAX/IMAX digital cameras or so for my Dexter’s Odyssey masterpiece or so, but in a way never before attempted since Roger Rabbit and other films or so. Sorry for rambling on and being off topic. But anyway, Richard Williams is a really great animation legend or so.

from hans –
well, then I would say, you better start working on that…

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