fashion flareup by botany 500

Vintage Ad #389: Budding Game Show Hosts
"Fashions by Botany 500." For years, this acknowledgement was a staple of the end credits for game shows. While other clothiers provided wear for emcees, Botany 500 remains the butt of most jokes.

Today's ad was originally shot during auditions for a failed ABC game show, Masterpiece, with neither of these two gentlemen becoming the next Bob Barker or Bill Cullen. The set featured mod colours with a Jackson Pollock-inspired flair. Two teams competed, each consisting of a contestant and celebrity (the pilot featured Vincent Price and Alastair Cooke). Two rounds of questions revolved around the arts. The winning team moved on to the final round, which featured an obscure piece of art or classical music by a well-known artist, presented by a leggy model. Audience testing revealed the show was too highbrow for network television, though a version with Ivy League professors as the "celebrities" briefly aired on PBS in 1970. Not wanting their model shots to go to waste, Botany 500 received permission to use them in a print ad campaign.

Source: Playboy, September 1968


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