Watch down-on-his-luck cowboy star Hoot Gibson in a 1954 infomercial for chinchilla breeding

"Find out what chinchillas can mean to your future security."

That's the message for viewers who tuned into The Hoot Gibson Show in 1954.

Hoot Gibson was born in Tekamah, Nebraska in 1892. When he was a child, his family moved to California, and he worked on a ranch and competed in rodeos. Francis Boggs, the director of silent westerns in 1910, was looking for real cowboys and recruited Hoot for his films. His career quickly took off, and he became the highest-paid cowboy star behind Tom Mix. He continued to star in films until the 1940s. It was all downhill after that. From Wikipedia:

Gibson's years of substantial earnings did not see him through his retirement. He had squandered much of his income on high living and poor investments. By the 1950s, Gibson faced financial ruin, in part due to costly medical bills from serious health problems. To get by and pay his bills, he earned money as a greeter at a Las Vegas casino. For a time, he worked in a carnival and took virtually any job his dwindling name value could obtain. At one point he hosted a booth at rodeos that encouraged ranchers to raise nutria [a a large semiaquatic rodent]. He also appeared in an episode of Groucho's You Bet Your Life, filmed in December 1955. He made the final game with his contestant, but did not win the big money, though he earned himself a share of the $440 prize money for the show.

Hoot was also married several times. His final marriage was in 1942 when he wed 22-year-old cowgirl yodeler Dorothy Dunstan.

In this episode of The Hoot Gibson Show, Hoot shows a neat lasso trick, but rarely speaks or appears on screen after that. Clearly, Hoot doesn't give a hoot. When he does appear, he looks bored and eager to introduce the house band (the excellent Jimmie Haskell Trio). He leaves all the talking to his "ranch foreman" (Allin Slate) and to the president of Aristo-Blue Chinchillas (a company owned by Hoot).

Here's the sponsor's message:

Friends these are the famous Aristo-Blue chinchillas, probably the most valuable animals for their size in the world because of their delicate and luxurious fur.

The demand for fine chinchilla breeding stock usually exceeds the supply. Thousands of people in all walks of life raise these valuable little animals in their garages, their spare rooms.

They're clean animals to raise, easy to care for, and at the same time are a wonderful investment. Many people in the fixed income bracket are supplementing their present income and building toward a highly profitable business of their own raising chinchillas.

Most people start with one pair, and as chinchillas have offspring on an average of two or three times a year herds have been built up worth thousands of dollars. You can do the same thing. All you have to remember is to start with good breeding stock such as Aristo-Blue.

Every adult pair of Aristo-Blue chinchillas is graded by prominent fur judges and assigned grading certificates vouching for their high quality, and every pair of Aristo-Blue chinchillas is unconditionally guaranteed by Aristo-Blue a national concern with a fine reputation.

If you'd like to get started in something for yourself, a business that offers security and independence, stay tuned for further details to be heard later in the program. This may be just what you've been looking for!

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