Fumes From The Fjords
Who Made These Films?
A lot of questions around the production history of these commercial films still have to be answered. According to the Norwegian censorship cards, Desider Gross and Gasparcolor were the two main producers of animated commercials for Norwegian companies in the late 1930s. I know of 18 films credited to Desider Gross, and 11 that are produced by Gasparcolor. But in Prague, they don't know of this Desider Gross company. And Gasparcolor was a color film patent, not a production company. Why, then, are these films credited as being produced by Gross and Gasparcolor?
Fischinger made Komposition in Blau in 1935, and after he left Germany, it was made into commercials for at least 17 different cigarette brands all over Europe by Tolirag, Fischinger's collaborators. Several of the films credited to Gasparcolor are definitely made by Fischerkoesen, while others like the 1938 Radiorør-revolusjonen were made for Phillips by George Pal in the Netherlands. Why then, this mis-crediting?
In Czechoslovakia, several of the pioneers of Czech animation like Karel and Irena Dodal, George Pal and Hermina Tyrlova made excellent commercials in the 30s for the production company Propaga-Film. BATA, the leading Czech shoe producer and industry giant, made its own film company to produce commercials, and Czech avant-garde filmmakers worked for them. Several of the Desider Gross films I have registered are for shoes. Are these films originally made by BATA? Maybe Desider Gross and Gasparcolor served as agents for advertising films aimed for the Scandinavian market.
A lot of research is still to be done in this area. In any case, these films represent a most interesting collaboration between filmmakers and advertisers in different European countries. Several of the leading animators before the war were involved in the production of the films, and different versions of the same films have been made for the different countries. The films themselves are wonderful examples of high quality art which still make an impression among advertising films today.
With the beginning of World War II, both shortage of goods and the new political situation made an effective stop in the production of these advertising films. After the war, it was impossible to re-establish this fruitful collaboration between Norwegian companies and animated filmmakers in Germany and Czechoslovakia. What was probably the most fascinating period in the history of Norwegian animation was over.
Agde, Günter. Witz und Werbung: Der Trickfilmpionier Hans Fischerkoesen. Paper presented at the 38th Internationale Kurzfilmtage. Oberhausen, 1992.
Goergen, Jeanpaul: Julius Pinschewer, Künstler und kaufmann, Pionier des Werbefilms. Article in epd Film 3/92, Berlin 1992.
Jungstedt, Torsten. Kapten Grogg och hans vanner. Sveriges Radios Forlag/SFI Stockholm.
Mastrasova, Vera. Tchechischer Werbefilm (1928-1937). Article in festival program for 38th Internationale Kurzfilmtage. Oberhausen, 1992.
Loiperdinger, Martin & Harald Pulch: Geschichte des Werbefilms in Deutchland. Article in festival program for 38th Internationale Kurzfilmtage. Oberhausen, 1992.
Moritz, William: Resistance and Subversion in Animated Films of the Nazi Era: The Case of Hans Fischerkoesen. Animation Journal 1.1, 1992.
Sejersted, Francis & Arnljot Strømme Svendsen (ed). Blader av tobakkens historie. J.L.Tiedemanns tobaksfabrik 1778-1978. Oslo, 1978.
Skretting, Kathrine. Reklamefilmens kommunikasjon: Norske reklamefilmer 1922 - 1988. University of Trondheim, 1988.
Strøm, Gunnar. "Fanden i nøtten" til " Fargesymfoni i blättAnimasjonsfilm i Norge, 1913 - 1939. Volda College, 1993.
Westbrock, Ingrid. Der Werbefilms. Hildesheim, Zürich , New York. 1983.
Gunnar Strøm (Gunnar.Strom@hivolda.no) is Associate Professor at Volda College in Norway, where he is head of the animation department. He has published a number of books on animation and music videos. He is president of ASIFA Norway, and a board member and former secretary general of ASIFA International.
Who Made These Films?