John David Wilson, an English animator who died last year at the age of 93 was the proprietor of his own animation house Fine Arts Films. Among Wilson’s many, many credits are Disney’s Peter Pan and Lady and The Tramp, various Mr. Magoo shorts, Shinbone Alley the animated “jazz adventure” of Don Marquis’ archy and mehitabel (made with Mel Brooks, John Carradine and Carol Channing), the opening for Grease and an animated version of Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka made for television in 1956 with the maestro’s participation. For an innovative body of work mostly seen on The Sonny and Cher Show in the 1970s, Wilson is considered to be the father of the conceptual music video.
I saw this animation for Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” when it originally aired on The Sonny and Cher Show. Like The Lorax, I never forgot it:
Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” This originally had Sonny and Cher singing, but was re-tracked with the original song here (which is why, when Sonny and Cher are seen singing behind the bar that their lip-sync is off):
Sadly, although this animation was originally done to The Kinks’ own version of Muswell Hillbillies’ “Demon Alcohol” this version is sung by Wayne Carpenter:
Cher’s own “Dark Lady”:
An unexpectedly powerful take on “One Tin Soldier” by Coven, made famous in Billy Jack:
Helen Reddy’s somewhat sinister “Angie Baby” hit given a more light-hearted prime-time TV touch by Wilson:
Cher covers Melanie’s “Brand New Key”: