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Jazz Music

A Date with Dizzy Gillespie - by John Hubley [1956]

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Storyboard, the independent animation studio foundedby John Hubley in 1953.As I've learned from Amid's book, Date with Dizzy was the first of Hubley's many personal films.

When Hubley married Faith Elliot in 1955, they agreed to produce one "serious film" per year in order to balance out Storyboard's creative output.

While Date with Dizzy is hardly a "serious film," it does provide a coyly subversive commentary on creativity in the commercial marketplace.

The plot of the film involves two advertising executives trying to get Dizzy Gillespie
to score a commercial for an "Instant Rope Ladder."
Although Dizzy is unable to provide an adequate score, the joke is ultimately on the two adversisers.

The sound of Dizzy's group simply can't be comprimised for a silly commerical.


To show Dizzy an example of how jazz can be integrated into marketing,
the advertisers present three commercials
(actual television spots produced by Hubley's Storyboard studio).
The first spot, "Bop Corn," is an ad for Ez-Pop popcorn that features a spoken-word narration,
syncopated with a walking bass line.
Rim-shots are played on the drums as the popcorn pops.
It's astounding to think that for a short instance in American history,
"Bop" could be used to sell popcorn. Granted, the soundtrack isn't really be-bop,
but popular perceptions of be-bop culture are
invoked between the bass line and the beatnik dialogue.

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