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TV series turns to Tigard for tips on slaying zombies

When it comes to defeating the undead, the cast of 'The Walking Dead' turn to Tigard company Gerber Legendary Blades
by: Photo courtest of AMC Actress Melissa McBride wields a Gerber knife during the first episode of The Walking Dead's new season, on AMC

More than 7 million people tuned in for the season premiere of the smash-hit horror series 'The Walking Dead' on Sunday, and observant TV-watchers might have noticed that the cache of weapons used in the zombie-drama series looked a bit familiar.

Gerber Legendary Blades, the Tigard-based knife and tool maker announced last week that a number of its products - including knives, axes and machetes - would appear in several episodes of the show's second season, which premiered Oct. 16.

'It was a meeting of the minds,' said Gerber spokesman Andrew Gritzbaugh. 'We were looking for partnerships where our tools could be utilized.'

The horror cable series, which follows a group of survivors after a zombie outbreak, has proven widely successful and is one of the most watched drama series on cable television.

''The Walking Dead' is one of the most talked about shows right now,' Gritzbaugh said. 'It is huge and people absolutely love it. At Gerber we are all about being prepared for anything, and although it's fantasy that does include being prepared for things like the apocalypse.'

The ultra violent series is not for the faint of heart, and neither are the weapons featured in the series premiere, but Gritzbaugh said that the products are tools, not weapons.

'It is not so much about killing zombies as it is about survival,' Gritzbaugh said, 'and that makes it a great fit for Gerber, we are all about survival.'

In the season opener, the characters come across an arsenal of Gerber weapons which soon prove invaluable to the rag-tag group.

The company didn't create new products for the series, Gritzbaugh said, but instead used its already existing line of machetes, knives and other blades to arm the characters against the undead.

Gritzbaugh said he expects about a dozen different machetes and knives to make their way onto the show during this season, and as each new product is revealed on the show, the product will be added to Gerber's 'Apocalypse Survival' line on its website.

'In only its second season 'The Walking Dead' has become one of the most talked about shows on television and is a prefect fit for the Gerber brand as we broaden our leadership position outside of the knife and tool industry,' said Corey Maynard, Gerber's vice president of marketing.

This isn't the first time that Gerber's products have been seen on the small screen.

The Tigard-based knife company has made a name for itself as a world-wide supplier of outdoor, hunting and military gear and its products have been seen on shows such as 'Deadliest Warrior' and the FOX series 'Terra Nova.'

The company's line of products by Bear Grylls - who appears on the Discover Channel series 'Many Vs. Wild' - have also proven widely successful for the company and Gritzbaugh said that the new ties to one of cable's hottest shows will be a moneymaker as well.

'This gets our exposure out into the average consumer's minds and they can see first hand how great these products really are,' Gritzbaugh said. 'Although it is a little bit funny, because the show is about zombies, but these really are great products.'

The second episode of 'The Walking Dead' airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.