PIXAR Tarzan Boy


There were three seminal moments in my youth that suggested to me that I be involved in the visual effects industry, and specifically computer animation.

One was walking out of that crummy run-down urban movie theatre in Detroit, Michigan in 1977 after seeing Star Wars.

Two was walking out of the Capitol Theatre on Ouellette Avenue in Windsor, Ontario after seeing Tron. Man, that day I’ll never forget. I may make a doc “Where Was I When Tron Came Out”. It created a lot of CGI heroes today.

Three was when I was sitting in the frozen food section of Meijers, also in Detroit, bored out of my fifteen year old skull. Mom gave me a few quarters to blow on a rare stand-up Asteroids game and I ran out of things to occupy my decaying brain. But the music caught my attention … I always liked that track “Jungle Boy” from Baltimora. But where was it coming from?

The music played out of a crummy 15 inch tube TV suspended preposterously in an aisle cap near the pharmacy. It had an incredibly worn out VHS tape on loop playing this video, one of about seventy commercials produced by PIXAR. I remember watching this Listerine spot again and again, enough to catch the little wobble they added to the Jungle Listerine swinging on a vine, enough to note the interesting exchange between the old original Listerine and the young one that “tasted fresh”. I would later reproduce that exact same wobble in my animated short film “Goin’ Cuckoo”, and when I saw it today in 2008 it was like I never missed it.

I stole that VHS tape, right out of the deck.

I wish I could find it, because this sad youtube copy just doesn’t do it justice.

As a side note, I have a very limited edition 3D holograph from another Listerine PIXAR spot, that shows the bottle shadow boxing with the camera. It was a mailer from a company called Optigraphics: Magic Motion Dimensional Printing. And across the bottom in tiny mouse print, the byline: Computer Graphics by PIXAR.

I have to credit Amid at CartoonBrew.com for finding this animation and a few others. Sadly, but understandably, PIXAR is keeping a tight-ish grip on these, but I hope they release them in higher quality. I don’t think they have to worry about their ‘sordid’ past doing commercials for hire!

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