Sunday, October 3, 2010

Breyer's Davy Crockett, Part 2

Sorry about the brief hiatus. I was feeling a little bit down the past couple of days, with the crummy weather and all that. Finding out that the rerelease Man o' Wars finally sold out at the WEG didn’t help, either.

(Everything I needed to say about the crazy-stupid prices some of the rereleases have been bringing on eBay, I said on Blab. I said what I felt, and I meant it. It didn’t win me any friends, I’m sure, but so be it.)

So, let’s get back to Davy Crockett.

As I demonstrated in my last post, we’ve finally determined that Breyer’s Davy Crockett was a 1955 release, and was probably a part of the fad spawned by Disney’s Davy Crockett episodes on Disneyland. Now comes the question: what happened after that?

Disney had come up with a couple of new Davy episodes by the fall of 1955, and would re-air all the Davy Crockett episodes for some time to come, but the fad was pretty much over by the end of 1955. Crockett-themed merchandise was still selling - but not at the insane pace it was at the height of the craze, and not enough to justify continued production.

That probably included Breyer’s Davy Crockett, too.

It’s certainly possible that Breyer continued production of the Davy Crockett somewhat into 1956 to fill late Christmas 1955 catalog orders, but by the spring of 1956, the Davy Crockett mold has already been rebranded - repainted, retooled, with a new horse and accessories - as Kit Carson:

So while we can’t determine when Davy was discontinued with absolute certainty, it appears that he was almost exclusively a 1955 release. The Kit Carson set remained in production considerably longer, through at least 1958; he appears in both the Pricelist, and the Dealer’s Catalog from that year.

In spite of the longer production run, the Kit Carson is a harder set to find than the Davy Crockett. It’s not so odd, when you give it more than a moment’s thought: Breyer’s Davy Crockett was released at the height of the fad. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if all of Breyer’s resources, for the summer of 1955, were dedicated exclusively to meeting the demand.

There’s some tangential evidence of that: the 1956 Breyer line. Breyer released not one or two, but at least five new molds in 1956:

  • Brahma Bull
  • Horned Hereford Bull
  • Lassie
  • Rin Tin Tin
  • Robin Hood

The money to make and market all of these molds had to come from somewhere, and the most obvious source is the windfall from the Davy Crockett.

What about the MasterCrafters Davy Crockett Clocks - where do they fit in? I’m not sure. The theory that they might have engineered another models for mold tradeoff, just like the Western Horse, is still a viable one. It would have been much quicker - and neater - to simply make the necessary arrangements between each other, rather than get the banks involved in the first place.

If that’s the case, then it would mean that the Clocks and the freestanding Davy Crockett figurines could have been released simultaneously, allowing both of them to cash in. And in Breyer’s case, cash in enough to significantly expand the business.

Ah, if only I had more evidence!

We’ll finish up next time, with Kit Carson. (More to him than meets the eye? You bet!)

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