Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bonanza and Chevrolet

It was in 1961 that Chevrolet began sponsoring the TV show Bonanza. The car company's association with the Western would be a long one, lasting over a decade. Not only did Chevy's commercials appear during Bonanza, but the characters from the show would even appear in the company's print advertising. In 1964 Lorne Greene appeared as Ben Cartwright in a promotional record for Chevrolet.

Given the close association between Bonanza and Chevrolet, it should come as no surprise that the cast of Bonanza also appeared in sales films sent to dealers. A  1965 sales film not only featured cast members from Bonanza, but Robert Vaughn from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, and Agatha Moorehead from Bewitched as well. Here it must be pointed out that this was not the first "all star" sales film made for Chevrolet. A 1962 sales film featured the casts of Bonanza, My Three Sons, and Route 66. The 1965 sales film is below (if you have ever wanted to see Hoss interact with Endora, here's your chance...).

The following year, 1966, would see more sales films. Among them was this one, part of a series called "Impact 66."It begins with animation from the Jam Handy Organization, who had been associated with Chevrolet since 1936. While the above sales film was something of an all star project, this one only features Lorne Greene dressed as Ben Cartwright.

Of course, there were several other Chevrolet sales films that featured members of the Bonanza cast over the years. A few can be found on YouTube or at Chevrolet ended its sponsorship of Bonanza with the 1971-1972 season. By that point the company had sponsored the show for 11 years.

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