Thursday, May 22, 2014

Join the Club--The Warner Club, That Is! :)

Hello Everybody!

An incredible piece of ephemera just joined the Kellection. It's the November 1958 newsletter for "The Warner Club", an organization for employees of Warner Bros. west coast studios.

In 1958, TV screens were filled with popular Warner Bros. shows such as Maverick. However, the Warner Club newsletter reveals that these exciting productions were created in an environment which was surprisingly like any other factory. Behind the cameras was an army of technicians, crafts people, and other rank-and-file personnel.

And, the chatty newsletter is pretty much like most other internal house organs. On its 17 black and white pages, new employees are welcomed, retirees are wished the best of luck, and passings are mourned. Newlyweds and new parents are congratulated; vacations and other events of interest are detailed ("On her recent trip back East, Mrs. S. picked up quite a collection of teacups.")

Warner Bros. employees could sign up for blood drives, dinner dances and even bowling teams. The cartoon department's bowling team was called--wait for it--"The Looney Tunas" (it was sponsored by a local seafood restaurant).

However, most other house organs didn't have photos of Jack Kelly posing with a couple of delighted fans (and his ride!):

The caption reads: "JACK KELLY FANS: When Martha Fuhrmann, daughter of our back lot superintendent 'Fuzzy' Fuhrmann, visited the studio with her roommate, Ruth Van Dyke, it was discovered that they were fans of Jack 'Maverick' Kelly. Result, Jack posed with Martha, left, and Ruth, beside Kelly's Willys Jeep station wagon, presented by Henry Kaiser of Kaiser Industries."

Of course, Kaiser Industries was one of the sponsors of Maverick. Not only did Kaiser own Willys Motors Incorporated, maker of the Jeep at the time, but it also manufactured Kaiser Foil. Although it's hard to see in the grainy photo, that's cartoon foil huckster "The Kaiser Kid" and his horse "Quilty" decorating the door of JK's Jeep (I believe Maverick is also hanging on to Quilty). The Kaiser Kid and Quilty can be seen in this ad:

Starting in 1958, Willys began offering a "Maverick Special" Jeep station wagon, which is no doubt the vehicle JK was presented with. Which is probably why he placed this amazing used car ad in the Warner Club newsletter:

If one could find a silver 1956 T-Bird in "faultless condition" with a continental kit and only 11,700 miles for $3,000 today, it would still not be a bargain. It would be a MIRACLE. These iconic cars now usually sell for well-over $30,000. (If only I had a time machine...)

And, if that's not enough Warnerstalgia for you, JK was also a co-sponsor of the TV division's bowling team, which was called--you guessed it--"The Mavericks". No loud shirts for this team: the Mavericks strutted the lanes at Kirkwood's Bowling Alley attired in black vests and string ties.
I wish I could find more of these wonderful newsletters, but for now, as another Warner Bros. employee used to say: "That's All, Folks!" :)