Tuesday, December 18, 2012


One of my favorite commercials from the 1970s featured a dapper version of the Invisible Man. This gentleman ghost was the official spokesman for 3M Scotch Magic Tape. For most of the 70s, the Invisible Man promoted Magic Tape, virtually an invisible adhesive tape that was invented in 1961. Click on the video below for one of the Invisible Man's Christmas commercials that aired during Frosty the Snowman in 1978.  

There's not much information online about 3M's Invisible Man commercials. Apparently the 3M company archives are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society and according to their website the Invisible Man commercials were produced by the ad agency D'Arcy-MacManus and Masius. Listed are six commercials; a Christmas commercial, a commercial titled "Invisible Man and Son", one commercial from 1974 and three 30 second commercials from 1975. Unfortunately the commercials can't be viewed online and there's not much info in the descriptions. ---Update--- The Invisible Man and Son can finally be viewed.

Anyone know who did the voice for the Invisible Man? I haven't been able to figure that one out. I'm wondering if it might be Alan Swift, a voice actor who worked on hundreds of commercials and cartoons. (Hmm...he was the voice of the Invisible Man in the Rankin/Bass classic Mad Monster Party) 

Back when I was a kid, I wondered how they made the Invisible Man invisible. The mystery behind his disappearing act was created by the famous Chroma Key effect. Many invisible men before and after have used this same effect to disappear. Some of the other invisibles - 1930s and 40s Universal Pictures Invisible Man series, 1950s British TV show H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, 1960s Invisible Man from the Code 10 Hair Dressing commercials, 1975 NBC TV show The Invisible Man, 1977 The Invisible Hanes Man commercials, 1984 BBC TV mini-series The Invisible Man and the 1992 Chevy Chase movie Memoirs of an Invisible Man.      

Unbeknownst to me when I was a kid, 3M and Hasbro teamed up for a very cool offer. Kids could order their very own Invisible Man Weeble. I still haven't found evidence of the actual offer either in the form of a newspaper ad, TV commercial or from a Weebles box, but I do have one of the Weebles.  

Ooh and it glows in the dark!

He would fit right at home in the Weebles Haunted House

In 1977, the Invisible Man had his first sweepstakes. 3M gave away six ten day trips to England and Scotland to visit creepy castles just like the one the Invisible Man lived in.  

The next year in 1978, the Invisible Man promised to make eight families of four disappear and then reappear at Disneyland or Disney World!

At the bottom of the newspaper ad there's an exciting premium offer for an official Invisible Man Magic Trick set! Wow, I've never been able to find one of these and I'm hoping one will magically appear one of these days.

The last item I have to share is a Sunday newspaper ad from 1979 and it's for another sweepstakes. Out of the three I've posted, I think this prize is the coolest. A trip to the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY!!! I hope whoever won this sweepstakes took in a few hockey games!

This Tape-Me-A-Face contest was used a few times by Scotch. Click here to see an example from 1953.

I checked 3M's Scotch website and was disappointed they snubbed poor old Invisible Man in their timeline. Not sure the reason for the omission as he played a big role in the branding of Magic Tape. C'mon 3M! Show a little love for the Invisible Man!!!

If you have any info or memories of the Scotch Magic Tape Invisible Man, please share in the comments below!


Justin S. Davis said...

Oh, man--GREAT retrospective. I loved those commercials.

And seeing his look again reminds me of DC Comics' villain, The Gentleman Ghost. All that our I.M. is missing is a monocle!

Wings1295 said...

Great post! I had forgotten about the Invisible Man ads! So cool. Love that there was a Weeble!

Bubbashelby said...

That has to be the greatest Weeble ever (and there were some great Weebles, so that's saying something!)

Paul Duca said...

I wonder if Dick Cavett got his face on a box of Corn Flakes...Wally and the Beav did.

plastic card said...

GREAT retrospective. I loved those commercials.So cool....:)

GenXLadyoftheSouth said...

I was about 4 yrs old when those were on...they scared the crap out of me and I've never forgotten them!