Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Breyer and LIcensing

Alan Young passed away last week. For those of you not old old enough to remember, he played Wilbur Post on the TV show Mr. Ed.


Mr. Ed may have been responsible for my obsession with horses: in my pre-Kindergarten years, I lived for the early afternoon TV lineup on our local UHF Channel 50 that consisted of The Adventures of Superman, Mr. Ed, and Bill Kennedy’s At the Movies.

One of my childhood crusades was trying to get Breyer to make a Mr. Ed model. (And also, to a limited degree, Super-Horse. Which in light of the Supergirl TV show, might be an idea worth looking into again. But I digress…)

I learned later that there had been some motion on the notion, but a Mr. Ed model never came to fruition, obviously.

Sometimes a license is too expensive, or it’s too difficult to work with, or the marketing research tells you that there’s not enough of a market there to make a go of it.

Breyer has also not always had the best of luck when it comes to licenses, either. By the time they had finally committed to expanding their “Breyer Animal Creations” line in the 1950s, Hartland had already locked up most of the TV Western licenses.

Breyer did eventually manage to secure licenses for Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Circus Boy (Corky and Bimbo the Elephant) and Fury. Lassie, Rinty and Fury ran well into the 1960s, and they recouped any losses they might have incurred with the short-lived Circus Boy by releasing the Elephant as a separate item into the 1970s (and beyond).

But it wasn’t until the 1970s that Breyer attempted to secure more entertainment industry licenses.

And one of the first big licenses they went after?

Benji and Tiffany.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well, either.

It went so not-well that the leftovers Gift Sets haunted the Bentley Sales Discontinued Sales List for years afterward. It’s only the passage of time, and nostalgia, that’s eventually given those dogs some value.

The licensing situation has gotten somewhat better for them, but in light of that history, it’s understandable that Reeves is cautious.

1 comment:

Corky said...

I can remember thinking the same thing as a kid--that I wished Breyer would make a Mr. Ed model. I recall thinking it should be on the Old Timer mold, although Mr. Ed is way more lively than that mold seems to be!