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Meet Mort And Millie, Chicago's Mad Men

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 4, 2013 5:20PM

2013_04_mort_millie.jpg During the gold age of advertising in Chicago, in addition to powerhouses like Foote, Cone & Belding and Leo Burnett there were literally hundreds of smaller "boutique" houses plying the trade. Among them was Morton Goldsholl Associates, a graphic design firm which specialized in animation. The collection of Mort and Millie Goldsholl was bequeathed to Chicago Film Archives, and on Sunday, April 7 the CFA will present a program of delights from the collection, curated by Anne Wells.

Watching the trailer below will give you a good idea of the wonderful hipness and creativity which were hallmarks of the firm. The three "Kleenex X-Periments" in the lineup are still fresh as a daisy, showing off a variety of eye-pleasing animation (all, of course, to sell facial tissue). Another spot for the Science Research Association (SRA) features voiceover and music by Ken Nordine. And check out the incredibly mod ad for Pabst Brewing Company's Old Milwaukee, almost enough to convince you that the beer was the ne plus ultra of sophistication. The Goldsholls also made many non-commercial and experimental films. "Night Driving" is a mesmerizing montage of stylized nocturnal lighting set to some Bill Haley tunes, while "Dissent Illusion" distorts the sinuous movements of an androgynous dancer. One of our favorite shorts in the program is "Up is Down," an animated fable (narrated by Hans Conried!) with a timely message.

Author Amy Beste (Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society) will introduce the show. This is a great program that all fans of advertising and graphic design will enjoy.

"Out of the Vault 2013: MEET MORT & MILLIE" screens Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m. at Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington St. Admission is free.