This film is part of Free

Willie Does His Stuff

White elephant Willie becomes a volunteer collector for the National Savings scheme in this Technicolor animation

Advert 1948 4 mins


Willie is a white elephant, the star of a National Savings scheme poster exhorting the message "If you don't need it - don't buy it!" This film brings him to life, and he steps down from the wall to become a volunteer collector – one so successful that naughty children even put down their cigarettes to follow him. This charming animation is filled with winning touches, such as Willie turning himself into a film projector with a cranking tail.

Listen to the singing children at the end of the film and you can detect an accent in their English. The film was produced in Bern, Switzerland by a German pioneer of animated advertising, Julius Pinschewer. A short black and white film looking at the production process titled Willie Comes to Life also survives, revealing that British animator Harold Mack was part of the production team.