Today's Tidbit... 1963 Ford Football Tele-Viewer - Punt, Pass & Kick
I enjoy vintage composite football schedules and brochures and own a number of them. Besides the fabulous period graphics in each, most were pocket-sized, so the designers jammed the maximum amount of information into the limited space. Of course, no one had access to the internet then, and newspapers did not always provide the information fans wanted. So, the vision was to create handy brochures providing vital information about the coming season and available only at a local retailer.
Under those conditions, the Ford Motor Company published a dealer giveaway before the 1963 NFL season, which may have set the high-water mark for these brochures. It is 8 x 11 inches with period-gorgeous cover artwork, dominated in blue, though not the darker Ford Blue. But it is what's inside that matters.
The brochure has so much great information it will require Today's Tidbit, Tomorrow's Tidbit, and the Day After Tomorrow's Tidbit to cover appropriately. Today, we will look at pages 2 and 3, which cover the Punt, Pass & Kick contest which began in 1961. At the time, Ford was a national sponsor of the NFL national television broadcasts, so the Ford dealers nationwide sponsoring the Punt, Pass & Kick contest was a natural. The contest required parents to sign up their kids at the local Ford dealer, though the ads specifically encourage kids to bring their dads.
The 1962 PP&K saw 431,921 kids participate with help from youth and community service organizations. The competition fit with the aims of President Eisenhower and Kennedy's youth physical fitness programs and allowed kids to advance from local to national competitions.
The brochure also included tips on passing, punting, and kicking from NFL stars Tommy Davis, Bart Starr, and Don Chandler in case one or two of the 400,000 kids were not experts in those techniques.
My siblings and I signed up every year confident we could hone our extraordinary talents with two or three days of concentrated practice on the street in front of our house. Unfortunately, I never brought my best game to those contests, but I felt sure the next year would be different.
Best as I can tell, Ford dropped its sponsorship in the late 1970s, at which point the Jaycees seem to have taken over. Next, Pizza Hut joined the fray for a few years, then Pepsi and Gatorade, sometimes working with Sears. The contest ended in 2017, so you no longer see the finalists tossing and booting the ball down the field during halftimes of select games. Instead, we must watch goofballs throwing footballs into giant Dr. Pepper cans using techniques that do not constitute football moves.
There will be more coverage of Ford's brochure tomorrow, focusing on the 1963 national television schedule. Still, we will end Today's Tidbit with the 1964 Ford Falcon coupe advertisement from the brochure's back cover. The Falcon was an economy brand, though the ad tells us it still offered a plush ride. A 1964 Falcon station wagon was the family vehicle during my youth, and while I learned to drive in that three-in-the-tree vehicle, I do not recall any aspect of the car being plush.
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