Thursday, December 24, 2015

Howdy, Partner: What the Kiddos Wanted to Be For Christmas in 1959


This will be my last post before Christmas, so before we get into it let me just wish all of my readers that celebrate it a very merry, healthy, and safe one. I hope Santa is good to you!

Today's post is just something quick I observed while going through the 1959 Sears Christmas catalog a while back and that is that apparently every little boy and girl at that time was obsessed with cowboys. I could see if Sears had a few pages of the clothing and accessories, but it was more like a dozen or so...and just when I thought there couldn't possibly be more in the same catalog, it started up again several more pages in. 

I guess it shouldn't be surprising considering the prevalence of Westerns that existed on TV at the time -- Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Wanted: Dead Or Alive, not to mention the popularity of Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger. But it's funny just the same to see so many pages from one catalog devoted to the phenomenon...and only a couple of pages showing alternate dress-up clothes such as a jet fighter pilot and servicemen.

And the toy guns!!! Could you imagine all of this fake weaponry being sold today? Out of curiosity, I did a search on Amazon for toy guns and saw mostly space-related and Nerf pistols. 

It was a simpler time to be sure...and sure makes a better choice than a kid aspiring to be a rap star or a Kardashian. So here's a round-up of cowboy and cowgirl related merchandise, from the 1959 Sears Christmas catalog. Giddy-up!



















Even the littlest Western fans were not left out. 





Gotta be honest -- all of these toy guns and holsters look the same to me. Amazing to think that so many varieties of them existed, based on so many TV shows and characters. 





As a Steve McQueen fan, I love that there was a toy replica of bounty hunter Josh Randall's weapon of choice, his trusty Mare's Leg. 



Could you imagine giving a toddler today a rapid-fire toy machine gun? 





Look at that -- some variety! Superman, a jet fighter, and a baton twirler. Could we finally be done with the Western th--



Nope, I spoke too soon. And we have a bridal dress for a little girl, which seems downright creepy. 

Merry Christmas!

10 comments:

  1. Hope you're having a lovely Christmas season, and thank you for the enjoyable trip through the past.

    Merry Christmas.

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  2. Omigod! I knew about the Wild West thing from this era but never knew it was to this degree! Very much enjoyed this Pam, thanks as always for the fun trip down Memory Lane & hope you had a nice Christmas!

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  3. Thanks so much, guys. I hope your Christmas was nice as well!

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  4. This was sort of the peak of the Western craze. It started to slide after 1960, although slowly at first. I think what is funny is how there is mix stuff that is inspired by the more "kiddie" Westerns of the early 50s and quite a few things from the "adult" Westerns of the later 50s. The "kiddie" Western heroes had a "cowboy code," where as the "adult" shows managed to sneak in some questionable stuff.

    I notice there isn't a Cheyenne Boddie costume, because he walked around shirtless in about every episode. I mentioned to my sister that there was a Miss Kitty Halloween costume and she said "Why would you let your child dress up as a bar maid for Halloween." Then I told her what Miss Kitty actually did for a living on the radio show (which they changed for TV). Lets face it, as funny and lovable as he was, Brett Maverick was a gambling weasel.

    But lets face, like many of the toys we played with, this stuff was still fun. I couldn't tell, did the Have Gun Will Travel gun come with business cards like Paladin carried.

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    1. A few days (of course) after I posted this, I was reading an article about Steve McQueen's "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" that stated that a third of all TV programming in 1960 were Westerns. It's funny to watch vintage toy gun commercials on YouTube -- such toys could never be made or promoted today.

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  5. By the early '60's, the space theme started to push out the cowboys in both toys and TV.

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  6. Changed the site layout, I see. Nice.

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    1. Thanks, Dar! Still working out the kinks and trying to figure out how to make the slideshow featured post work, but I love this new template I found.

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  7. Then there were the cowboy action figure toys, in the "Johnny West" series by Marx. Between my sister and I , we had quite a sizeable collection of these figures with the moulded on clothes, but separate accessories (like pistols, holsters, and rifles!) What I really admired about these figures were the very distinctly designed faces, which looked more anatomically structured than the somewhat bland G.I. Joe or stylized Barbie.

    Here's a good sampling of these great toys on Pinterest:
    https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=ac&len=2&q=johnny+west+toys&term_meta%5B%5D=johnny%7Cautocomplete%7C3&term_meta%5B%5D=west%7Cautocomplete%7C3&term_meta%5B%5D=toys%7Cautocomplete%7C3

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