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Collecting Pinky and Perky

Pinky and Perky were two adorable puppet characters that first appeared on the BBC in 1957. The two puppets starred in their own show which at its peak had a television audience of 15 million. In this Collecting Pinky and Perky feature, we take a brief look at how the puppets were created and explore some of the Pinky and Perky collectibles and Pinky and Perky merchandise over the years.

Pinky and Perky six piece childrens tea set in original box from Keele Street Pottery
Pinky and Perky six piece children’s tea set in original box from Keele Street Pottery. Sold for £20 at Reeman Dansie, December 2013.

The creation of Pinky and Perky

In 1948, Jan and Vlasta Dalibor were living in London as Czech immigrants. Jan was a painter and sculptor and Vlasta an actress. Vlasta suggested that Jan created some pig puppets. Drawing inspiration from their homeland’s traditional puppetry, and where pigs were a symbol of good luck in Czechoslovakia, they created two pig characters initially called Pinky and Porky. The piglet puppets were party of a puppet show that appeared in the Summer Season ay Heysham.

Pinky and Perky Pelham Puppets
Pinky and Perky Pelham Puppets. Estimate for very good boxed examples £30-£50.

The show and the puppets Pinky and Porky were discovered by Margaret Potter, the wife of producer Trevor Hill. There was an issue around the name Porky and eventually, it was Margaret who renamed Porky to Perky. So the duo became Pinky and Perky.

The show itself was set at their own fictional TV station “PPC TV” where they would sing, dance and perform comedy sketches usually with a human host.

Actor John Slater worked with them as a straight man for many years, enduring soakings from water pistols and similar pranks. Other human companions included Roger Moffat, Jimmy Thompson, Bryan Burdon and Fred Emney.

Pinky And Perky With Jimmy Thompson Original Postcard Size Autograph
Pinky And Perky With Jimmy Thompson Original Postcard Size Autograph. Sold for £8 on ebay, May 2022.

The Pinky and Perky look and Sound

Pinky and Perky looked exactly the same with Pinky sporting red clothes and Perky wearing blue. However, as the show was made in black and white, to differentiate the two, Perky would often wear hat.

Mid 20th century Chad Valley Pinky and Perky velvet with felt dressed bodies
Mid 20th century Chad Valley “Pinky” and “Perky”, velvet with felt dressed bodies, 15cm high. Sold for £80 at Cotswold Auction Company, March 2012.

Pinky and Perky enjoyed a very successful recording career releasing a number of records. They used their high-pitched voices to lip-sync along with contemporary pop music.

Pinky and Perky spoke and sang in high-pitched voices, created by re-playing original voice recordings at twice the original recorded speed; the vocals were sung by Mike Sammes while the backing track was played at half normal speed.

Pinky and Perky and The Beatles

Pinky and Perky also traveled overseas and had some success in the USA appearing on The Ed Sullivan show six times. In 1964 Pinky and Perky actually shared were on the same show as The Beatles, where they performed “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” and “Speedy Gonzalez”.

The Pinky and Perky Show had various other puppets including a parody of The Beatles called The Beakles. These were an Avian looking band with Beatles style haircuts. Other puppets in the show included Topo Gigio.

Pinky & Perky Jigsaw Puzzle
Pinky & Perky Jigsaw Puzzle

The show ran from 1957 to 1968 on the BBC and the moved to ITV from 1968-1972. A CGI Pinky and Perky show was released in 2008. The pair have had a influence on modern culture and have been referenced in TV shows such as The Good Life, The Goodies and Call the Midwife. For many people of a certain age, Pinky and Perky is a reminder of their childhood and a symbol of British culture.

Pinky and Perky collectibles and Pinky and Perky merchandise

pinky and perky mugs
Pinky And Perky Mugs. This set of two sold for £12 on ebay, July 2022.

In addition to their starring roles on television and their legendary music career, Pinky and Perky have also appeared on countless pieces of merchandise and collectibles over the years. From t-shirts and coffee mugs to lunch boxes and puppets, there’s no shortage of ways to show your love for these beloved characters.

 

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