In 1948, William Boyd made a large bet on television, and on demographics. He had an idea that the first wave of the baby boomers — kids born to newly affluent parents — would be a large and untapped audience for the 66 “Hopalong Cassidy” movie westerns he’d starred in, so he bought the rights and sold them to TV stations that were starved for programming. He also made deals with dozens of consumer goods companies to market authorized Hopalong Cassidy merchandise, from wallpaper to cookies to roller skates with spurs on them. America’s kids snapped them up, and Boyd made millions.
” ‘Hasbeen’ Hoppy Gallops Thataway on TV Spurs to $200,000,000 Industry,” Mike Kaplan, Variety, May 24, 1950
“Hopalong Hits the Jackpot,” Oliver Jensen, Life, June 12, 1950
“Wild-West Fever: Will It Sell for You?,” Sponsor, September 11, 1950
“Keep Your Bill Boyds Straight,” immortalephemera.com“Maxwell House Coffee Time with George Burns and Gracie Allen: George the Cowboy,” May 5, 1949