Saturday, September 17, 2011

Commercial Break! American Dairy Council for Milk / 1964

Right from the earliest days of his career in radio, Bob Crane experimented with sound effects and gimmicks, and using them in commercials. One of his first gimmicks ever in 1950 was the sound of Elsie the cow being milked right in the WLEA studios. According to Bob himself during a 1961 presentation to LA College: 

Bob Crane, circa 1965
Originally, I started out with the simplest gimmick...I was using a little salt shaker that I filled with water. And we had Borden’s as a sponsor. This was up in Hornell, New York. And I would take a glass and the salt shaker. And I’d say, “Borden’s guarantees fresh milk... Go ahead. Go ahead, now, Bessie.” Or no, I think it was Elsie the cow. And I would use the salt shaker as a sound effect with the water coming out going into the glass. And I’d make believe I was milking the cow. And how fresh can the milk be?! ...This is how I got into the gimmicks thing. Then finally I decided if I could do it with sound effects, why not voices. Then I started adding voices.

Eventually, Crane would invent and perform more than 1,000 different voices during his radio routine by the time he left KNX in 1965.

Here is a clip of a milk commercial that aired over KNX in 1964. Too bad Elsie the cow doesn't make an appearance here! But it's still a fun, nostalgic listen. (If only some of those very early recordings from New York and Connecticut still existed...)

American Dairy Council - Milk Commercial
Bob Crane Show / KNX-CBS Radio