Back to the 50’s, a mail order catalog owned by Crowne Ventures Corp., Las Vegas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 8. But this summer its owners plan to revive the book, which hasn’t been mailed for more than a year.
The petition listed debts totaling $1.1 million and assets as $812,000.
Introduced in February 1994, the catalog featured licensed “Hollywood nostalgia” products including those with the images of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and James Dean, and some original items manufactured for Back to the 50’s.
According to the petition on file with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada, unsecured creditors include Abacus Direct Corp., which is owed $49,956. In addition, Banta Catalog Group is owed $290,973, D-J Associates $64,642, Quadras Inc. $51,175, United Parcel Service $36,847 and Brigar Computer Services $21,096.
D-J continues to manage the Back to the 50’s catalog buyers file, says D-J Associates general manager Paul Reulbach. “Back to the 50’s has taken a very positive approach, exemplified by the fact that they have authorized a ‘contra’ agreement to pay out list bills as funds are available.”
Crowne Ventures president Ron Robinson says Crowne acquired Back to the 50’s in 1995 from individual shareholders. He cites overproduction, high mailing costs and a marketing campaign that attempted to reach too broad a market as reasons for the catalog’s demise. At its peak, catalog distribution was 1 million.
Robinson says Crowne has entered a “strategic alliance” with At Home Communications Inc., a Charlotte, NC publisher, to launch a magazine next month titled Back to the 50’s with the catalog tucked inside. The first issue is expected to be hand delivered to 550,000 homes in 11 markets, says Lee Tobin, president/CEO of At Home, with plans to increase circulation to 4 million, reaching 80 markets by April 1999.
The Back to the 50’s catalog will be polybagged with At Home, a homeowners magazine which will also be paired with a catalog.
At Home Productions plans to assume production costs, with Crowne managing warehousing and fulfillment. Revenues from the catalog products sold are to be used to pay off creditors named in the bankruptcy petition, Robinson said.