Morrell Ham - Un-scary dolls.

This morning I found this ad on my desk, courtesy of the Phil Are Go Effigies and Homunculi team. Well spotted, guys! Wonder of wonders, it's an ad featuring little puppet children that I don't want to stab with a wooden stake! Look!

Unlike the unsettling Borden cows, as ably documented by our humble blorg, these dolls aren't creepy, disturbing or otherwise counterproductive to the ad they inhabit. Their faces are cherubic, if a bit jowly, and their hands are appropriately chubby but not steroidal.

It's still a strange decision, to go with puppets instead of humans, because you'll need to build a miniature set for them to be photographed in (Photoshop didn't exist in 1961). Mini goblets, plates, silverware, chairs, etc etc. I dunno. Maybe it's cheap to find this stuff? Maybe when you're doing an ad with miniatures, you hire a photographer that specializes in miniatures and has all this stuff on hand?

Look at the little boy. He's peeking at his dinner when he should be praying to the twin deities of Rankin and Bass: "Thank you for this enormous ham, and please let me get the part in that Christmas special that starts shooting in spring. By next winter, this gigantic ham will be gone, and we'll need the money to buy another impossibly huge meal, even though we're made of wood, string, and wire, and can't possibly feel hunger."

The product shot has some gorgeous brushwork in it. The highlights on the blue plastic wrap have that loose-but-realistic thing going on where I can see them as A) quickly done brush strokes or B) glints on the shiny plastic, depending on how I look at them. It's great work, there.

I think the Rudolph special is on tonight. The year-round availability of DVDs hasn't changed the fact that I like to watch these stop-motion Christmas shows when they're broadcast. I can't explain why. Tradition or something? It's interesting to note that Rankin-Bass did their best work in stop-motion animation. Their hand-drawn work , like Frosty or that one about the family of mice and the broken clock is terrible. Ugly bucktoothed characters and character animation as stiff as if the drawings were articulated with wire.

So, what have we learned today? Errr, dolls don't have to be creepy, brushstrokes and something about Christmas. Let that be a lesson to you or whatever.


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