Friday A/V Club: The Art of the Ad

George Pal's beautiful advertisements for Philips Radio


For your "yes, advertisements can be art" files, here's Ship of the Ether, a spot George Pal made for Philips Radio in 1934:

If I hadn't told you that was an ad, you probably wouldn't have realized it before the sales pitch at the very end. Until then, it's just a lovely little film about radio. Pal, who today is probably best known for the science-fiction movies he produced in the 1950s, directed several animated advertisements like this in the '30s. In that pre-TV era, they would be screened in theaters; I have to say I like them a lot better than most of the commercials projected before the main feature at the movieplex today.

Bonus trivia: Half a century after Ship of the Ether was made, a fragment from it appeared in a 1987 episode of Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

(For past installments of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)