Gruen Guild Playhouse - 1954-1955

The Lone Ranger television show

Dietrich Gruen, a watchmaker from Switzerland came to Columbus, Ohio in the late 1800's and began making and selling pocket watches and wristband watches. In 1898 Father and son moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and built the Guild House pictured above, to manufacture watches. Until WWII wrist watches were only for women, men wouldn't be caught dead wearing one, but during the war they were the best way for soldiers to carry a watch, and from then on wrist watches became acceptable to men, and pocket watches slowly fell out of favor.

In 1951 the Gruen family was looking for a way to advertise their watches and increase sales. Possibly because of their location in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of Procter and Gamble, the company that created 'Soap Operas' on television to advertise their goods, the Gruen company sponsored a half hour anthology series for broadcast on both the ABC network and the DuMont network. I've only been able to find one of the episodes, and offer it below. The show must not have brought the increased watch sales that the company expected, because it was never renewed after that 1951-1952 season, and in 1953 the family sold their company and the name to new owners.

Click on the episode to watch and download:


December 20, 1951 - Gruen Guild Playhouse, Joe Santa Claus
Starring Ray Montgomery, Maria Palmer, Houseley Stevenson and Jeri Lou James