Free DVD: "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" and "Suzy Snowflake" (Chicago market)

Discussion in 'Bargains and Deals' started by Steven Wesley, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. Steven Wesley

    Steven Wesley Second Unit

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    Last night as I was watching TV here in Chicago, I saw an advertisement by Walter E. Smithe, a local custom furniture store with a bunch of locations in the area. In the last year, they've elevated their advertising and promotion, with an emphasis on the 3 brothers who now run the company. Often their commercials are humorous and add a bit of satire to current events (like the Olympics or maybe reality TV).

    Anyway, the commercial that ran last night (which can be viewed here, Windows Media format) promoted a free "limited time" DVD giveaway that features two Christmas animated classics: "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" and "Suzy Snowflake". All you had to do is run over to one of their stores and pick up a copy (which is what I did today). They make you fill-out a "guest book", which I assume is some sort of mailing list thing.

    Those of you not from Chicago might be wondering what the heck these stop-motion animated films are, even though I know they've been shown in other markets over the years. Historically considered to be created by a Chicago-based film house called Centaur Productions, "Suzy Snowflake" first appeared around 1953, while "Hardrock, Coco & Joe" appeared in 1956. Along with another short (a black-and-white version of Frosty the Snowman), this trio of shorts were featured on The Bozo Show and have in a small way, become part of the holiday television tradition here in the Windy City. The shorts are still played around Christmas time on WGN's morning news programs.

    From what I've read online, a lot of animation buffs don't really know where these shorts came from, who "Centaur Productions" was, or what ever became of them. They've sort of just survived in the public domain and via tradition for quite a long time. The guys from Walter E. Smithe, in a brilliant piece of marketing, are tying into that Chicago-oriented tradition with this promotion. The back of the DVD reads:The DVD itself comes in your standard single case. There is a menu that points to each short. Before each short, a holiday-themed Walter E. Smithe commercial plays (one with the guys actually singing the "Hardrock" song). I believe there is a commercial at the end of each short as well. The menu has some festive animation and plays an instrumental version of the Smithe theme song in the background. The insert is a $100 coupon towards any furniture purchase made between January 7-31, 2005.

    Just thought I'd pass the word around to those folks who are interested in picking this up. For those of you who'd like to know more about these shorts, I tracked down a few links that might be helpful:

    "Hardrock, Coco & Joe"
    Watch this short (Windows Media, streamed)
    Buy this short on DVD (Not the Smithe Promotion DVD)
    CD featuring new recording of song by an a cappella doo-wop quintet

    "Suzy Snowflake"
    Watch this short (RealVideo, streamed)
    Buy this short on DVD (Not the Smithe Promotion DVD)

    Hope you all are able to track this down. I don't know how long they'll have the free DVD in stock.

    - Steve
     
  2. Chris_Morris

    Chris_Morris Screenwriter

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    I remember growing up with these on the Bozo Show. Is there any way at all for those of us not in the Chicago area to get our hands on this?

    Chris
     
  3. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    I used to watch these every Christmas on Ray Rayner and Garfield Goose on WGN!!! I can't wait to see them!
     
  4. Steven Wesley

    Steven Wesley Second Unit

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    Chris, you might try dropping an e-mail to the address listed in the "Contact Us" section on the Smithe.com website... it's worth a shot!
     

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