6/15/11

Harrison Automotive Air Conditioning - The bear from another world.

Setting: Day. Interior office of a successful ad agency. Scenery: Desk, walls, window with sophisticated downtown backdrop. Props: Various matted art boards and comps of artwork for advertising accounts. A busy and important art director sits behind a desk, flipping through a proposal, smoking several cigarettes at once and looking very focused.
[Sound FX: Knocking at door.]

ART DIRECTOR: Come on in.

[COMMERCIAL ARTIST enters]

ART DIRECTOR: Good morning, Jerry. I have a fun one for you this week. Cigarette?

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: Great, Kent! I'd love a cigarette, and a drink or two on the job! I sure am glad it's nineteen fifty-nine!

ART DIRECTOR: Right you are, chum! I'm still drunk from that funeral yesterday afternoon. [Both laugh]

 [ART DIRECTOR pours drinks. Gives cigarette to COMMERCIAL ARTIST]

ART DIRECTOR: Jerry, this one's for Harrison. Big account. Build "air conditioning" systems for cars. Lots of dough. Wanna make a big impression with this ad. You're my best photo comp man, so you're on the job.

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: Thanks, Kent! What's the dope?

ART DIRECTOR: We have these photos of a swanky yard and a pool. You're going to comp in a picture of a polar bear jumping in the water. Should look refreshing. Summery. You know. The boys down in photography just finished blowing up the bear shot to the right scale last night. It's all ready for you.

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: Uuuh, fur can be tricky. The edges of the figure are vague and irregular. And the edges between the figure and background are indistinct. You know ... fuzzy! There's bound to be foggy halos at the edges ... And this bear has wet feet. The splashing water is impossible to paint out completely.

ART DIRECTOR: Bushwah. You're a magician. Just X-Acto it out and fuzz the edge with airbrush. It'll be fine.

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: But, Kent, it won't make sense. The patio is bone dry. We can't have a polar bear with water streaming off his feet onto dry stones. It'll look like he's stuck in grey chewing gum.

ART DIRECTOR: It's summer. The patio is hot. The water evaporates.

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: The patio is so hot the water instantly flashes to vapor on contact? Where is this back yard? On mercury?

ART DIRECTOR: No. Mercury is not a GM brand. What are you talking about, kid?

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: ...And the reflection of the bear in the water. I can't fake that. I only have an airbrush. It's not a magic wand, Kent.

ART DIRECTOR: Yes it is.

COMMERCIAL ARTIST: We should abandon this photographic approach and just do a nice painting. People love a nice rendered ad. It would be great.

ART DIRECTOR: Painting is out, grandpa! Photos are the new thing. Get on it, or out you go! You have till tomorrow morning. Here, take the rest of the gin. It's going to be a late night for you.

[COMMERCIAL ARTIST stares in disbelief, then exits in a daze. Comes back for bottle of gin, and exits again]

[ART DIRECTOR laces his fingers behind his head and leans back in his chair]

ART DIRECTOR: There's no way anyone will ever make fun of this on any kind of globally accessible communications network. I sure am earning my fifteen grand a year in 1959's money.

7 comments:

Sue said...

That ad sums up a reoccurring nightmare from my youth (when I say youth, I mean up and including yesterday!) A huge beast of an animal on our property up close to the house! Thank you 1959!

Do love the car!!

Phil Are Go! said...

Don't be afraid of that bear. He's just teleported in from another dimension and in any case, his feet are rooted to the patio with that gummy adhesive looking stuff. Besides, he must be a good bear. Look at that halo around his head.

Thanks Sue!

Craig F. said...

I love the days when not only car companies, but CAR COMPONENT COMPANIES could take out a full-page ad in Life or Look or Peek or Poontang magazine.

For the record, with the Harrison AC in my '68 Buick -- with ozone-depleting R12 Freon flowing comfortably through its veins -- I can store pork at a safe temperature.

Phil Are Go! said...

The odd/cool/interesting thing about a few of these old magazines like Life, and Saturday Evening Post is that there are ads for some pretty obscure things like roller bearings for railroad cars and Jacobs Chuck (the metal fist that hold the bit in your drill). These magazines were still truly "general interest", and were read by damn near everybody. No ads for a screw manufacturer in Scrapbooking Monthly, I'll bet.

Thanks Craigf!

Craig F. said...

"Cool Air by the Carload"

"Compressor by Frigidaire"

"Belts by Dayco"

"Wardrobe provided by: Botany 500"

"Travel consideration by Braniff"

Anonymous said...

Did Harrison's polar bear mascot ever have a name? In his later cartoon images he's always wearing googles or some form of eye protection. I think he could have given Cal Worthington a real run for the advertising dollar. Still love him (the bear)! Sincerely, Michael P Franklin

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