PLAY VALUE. Tonight's CBS Christmas special, "The Man who Saved Christmas," might just be a Christmas heart-tugger, or it might be a shameless ploy for paid family leave, day-care at the office, and saying no to the overtime treadmill, or it might be Franklin Roosevelt's first opportunity to say happy days are here again, but it is based on a real person. There was an A. C. Gilbert, and his company did make Erector sets, and later the American Flyer line of S gauge toy trains (they did make some three-rail O Gauge as well). Gilbert's inspiration for the Erector sets is the latticed metalwork installed as part of the New Haven Railroad electrification, according to this source, and American Flyer might be the only toy manufacturer to have named a series of railway coaches. The lightweight coaches manufactured for the New Haven and assorted other railroads by Osgood-Bradley were simply intended as full-length streamlined coaches. Because many of these coaches ran through New Haven, the Gilbert Company built models of them for their American Flyer line and offered them for sale. Enthusiasts often refer to the full-size coaches as "American Flyer cars," although as far as I know no railroad ever referred to them in those terms.

Endorsement: there are six of the new Weaver coaches as well as four from other sources now running on the railroad. The Weaver coaches are a good buy for the money although some might want to modify a few things to achieve full prototype fidelity. I will allocate time to building the diners and parlor cars to go with them.

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