Several years before classic TV specials such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown secured the place of Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters in the hearts of millions of Americans, Charlie Brown and his friends came to life to sell cars. In 1959, Ford Motor Company secured licensing rights to the Peanuts for use in a series of color TV commercials for its cars and the intros for Ford-sponsored The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. The first spots appeared in January 1960 and marked the first time that Schulz's creation had been animated. Here's one of those early show intros: While that show left the air in June 1961, the Peanuts' association with Ford was just getting started. The gang's most high-profile (and memorable assignment) was to he
Some time in 1954, Life magazine photographer Yale Joel ventured to an unknown destination. His assignment was to photograph a group of brand new cars -- 1955 Ford and Mercury models, to be precise. I don't know how many of these pictures ended up in the magazine, as I've been unable to find any associated article in the Google Books archive, but some of these are real stunners. I wasn't sure at first if these were actually 1954 models, but the dead giveaway was the distinctive look of the '55 Ford Fairlane. That stainless steel Fairlane stripe on the side was what tipped me off, as the Fairlane debuted in model year 1955 (replacing the Crestline). Also present -- as far as I can tell -- are the Mercury Montclair and Monterey, as well as a Ford station wagon. Owing to the fact th...
Print advertisements, brochures, and TV commercials help give us a glimpse into the automotive past. Today’s ad collection shines a spotlight on the 1960 Ford Motor Company domestic American car lineup, which featured four main models — the brand-new, compact Falcon, full-size Fairlane and Galaxie, and the second-generation, luxury Thunderbird -- as well as the usual assortment of wagons and trucks. 1960 was a fairly significant year for Ford in terms of change. On the consumer front, the recently introduced Galaxie was completely remodeled, while the Falcon made its debut. The Falcon represented Ford's entry into the compact car market, and its development was spearheaded by company president Robert S. McNamara -- who in 1961 became United States Secretary of Defense under Presiden
I've never been a big car guy. Sure, I love to go to car shows and look at all the chrome, fins, and white walls, but I couldn't tell you the difference between a flathead V8 and a glass of V8 if my life depended on it. But I do know this much -- I love the 1949 Ford full-size car and have for years. When it was introduced it gave Ford the shot in the arm they so desperately needed, and that freshness of design is still evident more than 60 years later. One of these days I'm going to own a '49 Ford, but until then I'll just have to gaze lovingly at these classic advertisements. (To see other car lineup advertisement galleries, click here. Got a request for other years and makes? Let me know in the Comments section.) (more…)