Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lucky Ranger Clock

Ever have one of those weekends where you don’t manage to get a darn thing done?

Yeah, it was one of those. Evil discovered my quilt frame - and the unfinished quilt in it - and, well, it looks like I’ll have to finish that project now, before she does. (As for what she did in retaliation for taking away her favorite new toy - the less said, the better.)

Slow day at the flea market; it would have been decent pickings for most folks, but since I have a rather scary-looking credit card statement arriving in my mailbox this week, I decided to be picky. There was an interesting clock - not a MasterCrafters one, but possibly related - but the dealer seemed more interested in conversating than in selling, so my money went elsewhere. I can only hope his own credit card statement will motivate him to be a little more customer-friendly next week.

Before I forget completely, let’s finish up the conversation we began just before BreyerFest, with the mysterious MasterCrafters Lucky Ranger Clock. This one, in case you’ve forgotten:

So, what’s up with THAT?

I don’t know.

When I first ran across the reference for this clock, on a list of trademarked MasterCrafters names, I assumed that it referred somehow to a clock similar to the Davy Crockett one - with a Lucky Ranger mounted on it, instead of a Davy. The link in question:

Since I had never seen such a clock, I assumed it was either very, very rare, or possibly never put into production. Then I found the clock in question: the case is obviously Breyer-molded, but the horse and rider part? It’s a cast pot metal pendulum, in the shape of a bucking bronco and rider.

Obviously, there has to be some sort of connection between the Breyer Lucky Ranger and the MasterCrafters Lucky Ranger. It’s just too much of a coincidence not to be! The real question is what that connection was.

First off, I don’t think there was any sort of legal or financial dispute over it, or at least one acrimonious enough to end the working relationship between the two companies, as it did with MasterCrafters and Hartland. According to Peter Stone (via Nancy Young, of course), Breyer was still manufacturing cases for MasterCrafters when he formally started working for Breyer in the mid-1960s.

Personally I think the Lucky Ranger connection, combined with an extended work history, suggests that the relationship between Breyer and MasterCrafters was more than merely one of custom molder to client. It may have been collaborative, as well.

A more collaborative relationship, for example, might explain the similarities between the metallic gold/bronze high relief wall clock and the Quarter Horse Yearling. Were the early "Bronze Glo" experiments also related to it?

It might help explain the origins of the Davy Crockett clock, too. Could the Davy Crockett figurine another MasterCrafters commission, "sold back" to Breyer in an arrangement like the original Western Horse?

It's an intriguing possibility.

From what little information I've been able to gather about this specific clock, it is rare, even by MasterCrafters standards. I think the bizarre design is mostly to blame for that: a log cabin, surrounded by cactus, on top of a horseshoe, framing a scene of the Oregon Trail, propped up with metal fencing? You almost get the feeling this thing was cobbled together with spare parts.

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