Warhol Schrafft’s Commercial



In November 1968, the Manhattan restaurant chain Schrafft’s hired Andy Warhol to create a television commercial, hoping to make itself look more hip and relevant. Warhol created a one minute long commercial, promoting Schrafft’s new “Underground Sundae,” which Schrafft’s described as, "Yummy Schrafft's vanilla ice cream in two groovy heaps, with three ounces of mind-blowing chocolate sauce undulating within a mountain of pure whipped cream topped with a pulsating maraschino cherry served in a bowl as big as a boat."
Time magazine described the commercial as follows: "Onto the screen flashes a shiny red dot, which turns out to be a maraschino cherry, which turns out to sit atop a chocolate sundae, which turns out to be the focal point for a swirling phantasmagoria of color. All of which, it also turns out, is a 60-second videotape commercial for a venerable Manhattan-based restaurant chain. "The chocolate sundae," proclaims a credit line that rolls diagonally across the TV tube, was "photographed for Schrafft's by Andy Warhol.”
According to Harold H. Brayman: "The screen fills with a magenta blob, which a viewer suddenly realizes is the cherry atop a chocolate sundae. Shimmering first in puce, then fluttering in chartreuse, the colors of the background and the sundae evolve through many colors of the rainbow. Studio noises can be heard. The sundae vibrates to coughs on the soundtrack. 'Andy Warhol for a SCHRAFFT’S?' asks the off-screen voice of a lady. Answers an announcer: 'A little change is good for everybody.'"
And according to Playboy: "His recent widely discussed commercial for Schrafft’s restaurant chain was a long, voluptuous panning shot of a chocolate sundae, with 'all the mistakes TV can make left in,' the artist explained. 'It’s blurry, shady, out of focus.'" Warhol was quite pleased with the results. “‘It's fun,’ he says, ‘and really pretty, really great.’” Apparently, so was Schrafft’s, which claimed, “[W]e haven't got just a commercial. We've acquired a work of art."
Unfortunately, Schrafft’s failed to preserve the commercial, and no known copies exist. Accordingly, on Thanksgiving day 2014, Katrina Dixon & Brian L. Frye recreated Warhol's commercial, to the best of their ability. For the record, the hot fudge is homemade & based on Schrafft's own recipe.
Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 29, 2017
Category: Food, Advertising, Avant Garde, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1960s





Comments
Back in the days before home video recording became common, much of early television's content was lost. Videotape was expensive and got reused, so many programs and commercials simply got wiped from history. Looking back, we're lucky we have as much preserved content as we do.
Posted by Brian in NJ on 06/29/17 at 07:53 AM
Thanks for posting! As it happens, the original was rediscovered! It was acquired by the Kramlich Collection a few years ago at auction & a research copy is held by the Warhol Museum. Hoping to provide access at some point...
Posted by Brian L. Frye in Lexington, KY on 06/29/17 at 01:53 PM
In a way, as it started out, the audio portion reminded me of "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast."
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 06/29/17 at 02:35 PM