Here’s another remembrance from our cartoonist, Randall Enos.

The Only Great Idea I’ve Ever Had

In the 1960’s I worked at at Pablo Ferro Films on a commercial for Orange, Lemon and Lime Rock, three colorful beverages that Schenley Whiskey was promoting in an effort to capture young urban drinkers. It was an interesting job for me because, not only did I get a chance to act in the commercial, but I drew several cartoon animation segments for it.

One problem arose when it came time to show the client a finished “answer” print of the commercial. We generally would have the clients come to a screening room and show our work to them on a large screen. This time, when we viewed the print in our office, it was pretty poor in quality. The orange beverage was looking like brownish mud and the other two weren’t much better.

We sent the print back to the lab. When we got a second print, the orange color was okay but it had forced the lemon and lime colors to be way off. And so it went, with our deadline fast approaching, we couldn’t seem to get all the product colors to show up correctly. What to do? The client was chafing at the bit demanding to see a finished print of the commercial immediately. Now, remember that this was back in the 60’s when the technology wasn’t the way it is now. TV sets were problematic and viewers had to fiddle around with color control knobs to adjust, as best they could, the color on their set. Color programs were pretty poor in quality which set me thinking about the fact that here we were suffering through all these weak answer prints when, in the long run, the viewers were going to see a poor quality picture on their home tvs anyway. Then a light bulb went off in my head.

I said to Pablo and Jose, “Why don’t we show the client, the ad on a large tv set instead of in a screening room ? We’ll tell them that we want them to see it the way the folks at home will. That would allow us to have a technician tweak the color on the tv set, which wouldn’t be perfect but the client would accept it because everyone automatically allowed a certain amount of imperfection in a tv image.”

We did it… and it worked, allowing us a little more time to fight with the lab over a good quality print.

That’s it… the only great idea I have ever had.

Randall Enos

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