My friend Bill Peckmann, who worked at Phil Kimmelman & Associates back in the '70s sent me a wonderful surprise gift earlier today. Bill wrote, "I came across 4 old thumbnail boards of mine from 1973. They were done for CHEETOS. The most popular one was "Cheesey Rider".
I asked Bill if he could recall what the going rate for a frame was back in the early '70s. Of course being on staff Bill wouldn't have been paid by the frame... but I thought he might have heard what freelancers got, since people like the great MAD magazine cartoonist, Jack Davis did boards for PK&A.
Bill replied, "I believe back in them there olden times, there wasn't a panel rate. We charged by the board and you're right, I was on staff. Sorry, I can't remember the rates... they were decent, there was lots of work, we were young and stupid and lived for "art"! Life was good. Ha!"
"And, to add insult to injury, I was only 32 years old, I'd worked my way up thru apprenticeships, inbetweener, ass't animator etc. and, here I was doing S/B's for a national brand, I would have worked for nuttin'!!!"
Bill continued, "These 4 boards are from 1973. We had done the previous CHEETOS spot at another studio (Focus Design Inc.). That one and these were all done without the help of Paul Coker Jr. who had designed the original Cheetos mouse at that time. I realize now that the Adv. agency probably saved a lot of money by not going back to Coker."
"And we thought it was because they loved us. Ouch!"
* For anyone interested in learning a little more about the origin of the Cheetos "Cheesy Rider" Mouse, there's a great little post on WaffleWiffer's blog that includes a link to a 1971 Cheetos commercial featuring the mouse. Bill told me that "The art at that link, mouse in suit, Hail Cheeser, is all mine. I still have my Cheesey Rider t-shirt!"