This film is part of Free

South Sea Sweethearts

Say aloha to a Technicolor cinema ad for Horlicks from the master of the Puppetoon, George Pal

Advert 1938 6 mins


Aloha! When the hero’s sweetheart is kidnapped you know he’s going to rescue her - but does it usually take six weeks sitting around drinking Horlicks first? The master of the ‘Puppetoon’ George Pal made five cinema ads for Horlicks in the late 1930s. Advertising agency J Walter Thompson were the British link with Pal’s Dutch studio, with the scripts developed by JWT agency employee Alexander Mackendrick, the future Ealing and Hollywood director.

The Puppetoon animation technique relied on the production of a series of different puppets, heads, faces and limbs for each character in different stages of motion or expression. These could be swapped between filming, frame by frame. It brought the squash and stretch qualities of the cartoons to the physicality of puppets (hence the name Puppetoon). Pal successfully took his formula to the US in the 1940s, before moving into special effects features like War of the Worlds (1953).