Monday, January 16, 2017

A "Model" Maverick Story - Part II

As we saw in the video in Part I, the Ideal Toy Corporation took a huge gamble on Maverick. Ideal became one of the show's major sponsors on October 1, 1961, betting on its new late afternoon/early evening timeslot to introduce viewers of all ages to the company's line of ITC hobby model kits. It was reportedly the first time a toy company sponsored a network television show targeted mainly at adults.

As a build-up, Ideal beat the drum for ITC's pending Maverick sponsorship with splashy ads in toy trade publications. Fortunately for us fans, Jack Kelly was featured prominently in these ads:

A write-up also announced the deal, illustrated with a variation on the Maverick "saloon door" promo photo with JK and James Garner which I hadn't seen before:

Unfortunately, Ideal's sponsorship wager didn't pay off. For one thing, Maverick wasn't exactly a ratings powerhouse at this point and its odd timeslot didn't help matters (it was canceled in 1962). Plus, ITC's motorized "Cam-A-Matic" model kits were relatively expensive and contained sophisticated elements such as programmable motors and lights which were way cool, but far too complicated for younger model builders to properly assemble, prompting consumer complaints and returned kits. The ITC line was discontinued by the mid-1960's.

Oh well, at least we have those Maverick trade ads to enjoy... ;)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A "Model" Maverick Story - Part I :)


As you know, I love finding anything related to Jack Kelly and sharing it here with you in TDS. Sometimes, I even find things I didn't know I was looking for.

For instance, I recently discovered I was "on to" something pertaining to JK and Maverick and didn't realize it until the pieces fell into place in front of me like a jigsaw puzzle coming together. Here's how it happened:

First came a picture of a vintage model car kit I saw online:

Photo courtesy The Boxart Den

Notice the little blurb that says "As Seen On TV - Maverick". Huh? I didn't remember seeing any Mercer Raceabouts on Maverick, which of course took place in the pre-motorized days of the old west. Strange!

Second, I'd read old newspaper stories about Maverick moving to an earlier, 6:30 pm ET timeslot on Sunday evenings in 1961. This meant it aired in the late afternoon in some time zones, pitting its grown-up gamblers against "kiddie" shows such as Lassie on other networks.

Then: I came across some information about a trade journal published long ago for the wholesale toy market. Each issue contained news and ads for the latest playthings. The info for one particular issue mentioned Maverick, so I read further.


Now I saw the connection between the mysterious model Mercer Raceabout, Maverick and its earlier start time...and it was Ideal!

Ideal Toy Corporation, that is, or more precisely, ITC Model Craft, the company's short-lived hobby model kit division.

When I Googled "ITC" and Maverick hoping to find more info, I found this detailed and fascinating history of Ideal and ITC. I also found this PHENOMENAL 1961 promo film. It's an ambitious "pitch" for the ITC line which cleverly explains the tie-in to Maverick (you might recognize a couple of familiar poker players--and their animated "sidekick"--in the film, too. ;>).

How cool was that?!

But, wait, there's more:

Remember that issue of the wholesale toy publication I mentioned? Well, it was for sale--and now it's part of the Kellection! Stay tuned for Part II because you will not want to miss what I found in the pages of this periodical... :)