Who else—but the weatherman?

25 03 2010

A few months ago, a friend of mine discovered an intriguing animation package from the 1950s, posted on YouTube by way of Bedazzled.

Still from 1950s weatherman cartoonIt’s a series of clips, each about 25 seconds long, that describe various types of weather conditions in general terms: “overcast and warmer,” “fair with increasing clouds,” “snow and cold,” etc.

Each clip is accompanied by a variation of the series’ insanely catchy theme song, which always ends with the question, “Who else—but the weatherman?”

The idea was apparently for local TV stations to buy the full set of clips, then pick a weather-apropos segment each day to insert into their programming, either on newscasts (perhaps in lieu of an actual weatherperson?) or at other times of the day. I wondered about the clips’ heritage until today, when I found a short post about the clips on Cartoonbrew.com. Turns out they were produced around 1956–57 by a Miami-based animation studio, Soundac, that also produced the first color cartoon for TV. The style is unmistakably Cartoon Modern, which was omnipresent on early TV ads.

That infectious theme song keeps pulling me back, but I also love the weatherman himself—a triangular figure with umbrella in hand and anemometer/wind vane on his head—and the riot of typographic styles. Well worth a peek.

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