Ad Man Johnny Hart

By | Tuesday, May 30, 2023 Leave a Comment
A while back, I detailed a bit of the history of Johnny Hart's B.C. in animated form. I cited the 1973 Thanksgiving special as the first time Hart's characters had been animated. Apparently, that wasn't quite true. I found these 1960s television ads for Dr Pepper that include short animated sequences very openly attributed to Hart...

A little more research finds that these aren't actually from B.C. itself, but were a separate group of caveman characters Hart had created specifically for a Dr Pepper ad campaign that ran for a few years in the '6os. The ads frequently featured a very Hart-style comic strip called Harmon, created exclusively for the campaign. Here's a few examples...

Clearly, an ad executive was superbly impressed with B.C. (which had debuted in 1958) and hired Hart over to work on this ad campaign. How/why they thought cartoon cavemen selling Dr Pepper made sense, I don't know. But if nothing else, it did lead to additional development on Hart's primary strip; in a later interview, Hart apparently noted that the B.C. character Grog came pretty directly from Harmon.
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