Saturday, 13 December 2014
How to Move a Bleep
And then there was Colonel Bleep.
Outer space was big in 1957, and a TV film commercial producer in Florida decided to take advantage of it. Soundac Productions created “Colonel Bleep,” starring an alien in a space helmet, a puppet cowboy named Squeak and a caveman called Scratch. By mid-1957, it was ready for syndication by Richard Ullman of Buffalo (Weekly Variety, June 19, 1957). Future research is needed to discover when it first aired, but it debuted on WGR in Buffalo on September 23rd. It was still running on WNBC in New York as late as 1971 (on Saturday mornings, to no surprise), but the series’ heyday was in the late ‘50s.
The cartoons certainly had their own graphic style which many people appreciate today. The animation? Well, let’s be kind and say the characters jerked from pose to pose, though they seem to have been stationary a lot of the time. On occasion, characters moved through a kind of smear animation with brush lines. Here’s a good example from one of the cartoons. These are consecutive drawings.