With Ghostbusters celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and a new Ghostbusters film being released in 2016, there is renewed interest in this classic film and we look at some of the collectables and merchandise being released for the event. HotWheels Elite GHOSTBUSTERS ECTO-1 30th Anniversary Edition The Ecto-1 is the legendary vehicle that the Ghostbusters used to travel throughout the city busting ghosts. The vehicle used for the Ecto-1 was a 1959 Cadillac professional ambulance, built by the Miller-Meteor company and converted by Universal Studios. “GhostBusters” is the famous 1984 American comedy film about three eccentric New York City parapsychologists-turned-ghost exterminators. MattyCollector Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Figures Pack 1: Ray Stantz™ and Winston Zeddemore™ Pack 2: Peter Venkman™ and Egon Spengler™ LEGO Ghostbusters™ Ecto-1 Celebrate 30 years of ghost-busting action with the iconic Ghostbusters™ Ecto-1 car! Selected by LEGO® Ideas members (formerly known as CUUSOO), this fun and iconic vehicle from the blockbuster ‘80s movie is fully loaded with all the paranormal detection equipment needed to track down those ghastly ghosts. It also features cool Ghostbusters™ logo decoration, removable roof, tracking computer and seats for 3 minifigures. This unique set also includes a fascinating booklet containing building instructions, selected images and behind-the-scenes details about the classic Ghostbusters™ movie. So if there’s something strange in your neighborhood, strap on your proton pack and get ready to help Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore bust some ghosts! 4 minifigures with proton packs included. Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Commemorative Print Collection A number of fantastic prints have been created by artists such as Dan Mumford, Scott C, Anthony Petrie, Rich Kelly, Tara McPherson and others visist https://www.ghostbusters.com/ to view all the wonderful 30th Anniversary prints Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition Super Deluxe Vinyl The Traveler has come! Legacy Recordings celebrates the 30th anniversary of the classic comedy Ghostbusters in the biggest, fluffiest way. The Stay Puft Super Deluxe Edition Vinyl is a limited edition collectible vinyl package in honor of the terrifying but tasty Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. This package contains the No. 1 hit single “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. and the fan-favorite “Ghostbusters” rap by Run-DMC for the film’s hit sequel featured on a white 12” single in a deluxe collectable package.
Britain is a nation of gardeners; I’ve heard that 80% of houses in Britain have private gardens, covering an area twice as large as Surrey. That’s fifteen million gardens in our green and pleasant land. Every weekend sees thousands of us making our way to garden centres, where we choose plants, bulbs, seeds and sundries to try to make our garden beautiful. Slugs, aphids and caterpillars eat most of them, but gardeners are a tolerant bunch – it’s not just the plants, it’s the general feeling of well-being and of feeling at one with nature which urges us to plunge our hands into the soil to embed yet another plant into the ground. Pictured right: Alpine Strawberry by Roy Kirkham plate Some of us build conservatories, or maybe garden shelters, so that we can use the garden as an extension of our homes even when the weather is inclement. We dot ornaments around the flower beds, nesting boxes and insect homes along the garden walls and we build ponds and fountains so birds can bathe. When we dine in the garden, we use floral plates, butterfly-decorated glasses, flowery cutlery – and all these things can be deemed collectable, whether you use vintage pieces or go for modern or retro designs. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still create a garden feel indoors by collecting items with a floral or naturalistic theme. I’ve known people who have created an indoor garden by displaying pretty flowered plates against white wall-mounted trellis and hanging a few indoor plants to enhance the effect. Another way of ‘garden collecting’ is to collect old gardening items, from tools to seed packets, and from statues to lawnmowers. The most obvious choice for garden collectables is probably the well-known ‘Botanic Garden’ range of tableware made by Portmeirion pottery. Portmeirion, though, have produced many other beautiful designs which would look stunning at an alfresco meal. Pictured right: 1980s Portmeirion British Birds One of my personal favourites is the ‘British Birds’ design, based on illustrations from the Natural History of British Birds by Edward Donovan, published in 1794. Forty birds were featured in the collection, and because the designs are in a antiquated style the pieces have a timeless quality about them, which is probably why they have remained in production for so long. This pattern was originally conceived in 1974, and sadly is not now sold in Britain, though is still available in America. I acquired my items in the 1980s when visiting the shop in Portmeirion village, but pieces do crop up at collector’s fairs. Pictured left: Portmeirion Strawberry Fair I’m also very fond of the ‘Strawberry Fair’ decoration – perfect for serving scones on a summer’s day – and the ‘Pomona’ design of varieties of fruits. There are many other Portmeirion designs with a ‘garden’ theme, amongst them the recent ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ which is based on the popular picture book by Eric Carle. Incidentally, if you are visiting North Wales, do try to visit the village of Portmeirion. The pottery isn’t made there, though there is a shop selling the current range – but the village is stunningly quirky. It’s as though a slice of a sleepy Italian village has been deposited on a beautiful stretch of Welsh coastline; it’s a restful place and one of my all-time special spots. Pictured right: Meakin Poppy Jug 1960s Many ranges of tableware from the 1960s and 70s employed the flower motif – these were the days of flower power. Think Meakin, for the delicate pink floral ‘Filigree’ design, or the more bold ‘Poppy’, while ‘Topic’, with its blue stylised flowers is classic 60s elegance. Even more stylised is the swirling 1960s ‘Spanish Garden’ from Midwinter, while their ‘Country Garden’, with its pattern of leaves and buds symmetrically curling from either side of a large blue and pink flower, is beautiful. It would be impossible to mention all the floral ranges – practically every manufacturer of tableware has included a floral design at one time – but they range from delicate chintz type patterns to vibrant, bold roses. Pictured left: 1960s Meakin Filigree & Viners Love Story Floral china is perfect for a meal in the garden on a summer’s day, and can be themed with pretty cutlery, such as the 1960s’ Viner’s ‘Love Story’ which bears a design of tiny silver daisies. Don’t forget glasses; there are plenty of beautiful designs to look out for, both vintage and modern, featuring flowers, leaves or butterflies. You could look out for a suitable vintage tablecloth, too – ‘lazy daisy’ stitch was very popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s and will complement your garden theme. If you’re worried about risking your treasured china in the garden, then there are plenty of modern plastic pieces around – and some, such as the gorgeous retro sixties floral designs which Asda came up not so long ago, might even become future classics! As well as tablecloths, other fabric items can be used outside including cushions, throws and canopies; look out for vintage patterns, such as the large-flowered round-petalled daisy types from the 1960s and the bold flowered orange and deep green 1970s’ designs. It’s best, though, to bring them in at night as they could get damp, and also not to keep them in the sunlight for too long, in case they fade. Floral handbags and scarves, or wicker shopping baskets and hampers look good artlessly dotted around at a garden party or a get-together. They add an element of fun, and are a great way of displaying a collection of traditional or retro items. I’m a Simon Drew fan – he is an artist with a quirky sense of humour. He’s based at Dartmouth where he has a shop and gallery, and many of his designs are based on puns such as a ‘receding hare’ or ‘joined up whiting’. Some of his garden themes, including ‘Incapability Brown’ have been featured in a range of ‘bug proof’ mugs. They come […]
If you are a fan of the works of William de Morgan, then a visit to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford should be on your itinerary. The De Morgan Foundation has on semi-permanent loan, since 2017, a fine collection of William de Morgan works. The display includes tiles, dishes, and vases, and works from different periods and factories. Below are some images from the collection. William de Morgan Related Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – https://www.ashmolean.org/ De Morgan Collection – https://www.demorgan.org.uk/ William De Morgan – the Arts & Crafts Pioneer William De Morgan Price Guide
200 years of Frankenstein books, collectables and toys With the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, what better time than to look the work that still inspires new editions, collectables and toys. Authored by Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) when she was just 19 years old, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus was first published in London in 1818 to a mixed reception. Frankenstein tells the story of gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen he imagines that it will be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general. The Monster seeks its revenge through murder and terror. The book is much more complex than the modern re-workings and films that most of us know the story through and is Number 8 in The Guardians Top 100 Best Novels. The first edition of Frankenstein was published in three volumes on New Year’s Day 1818, anonymously and dedicated to William Godwin. The Shelley’s Ghost exhibition at the Bodleian says of the book “According to When Shelley sent the fair copy manuscript of the novel to the publishers, Shelley made clear that it was not his work, but did not reveal who the author was: ‘I ought to have mentioned that the novel which I sent you is not my own production, but that of a friend who not being at present in England cannot make the correction you suggest. As to any mere inaccuracies of language I should feel myself authorized to amend them when revising proofs.’ Nevertheless, when they saw the dedication to Godwin some readers, including Sir Walter Scott, speculated that Shelley was the author.” (Details of the Shelley’s Ghost exhibition are still available online and includes information on not only Mary Shelley and her drafts of Frankenstein but also Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft – visit https://shelleysghost.bodleian.ox.ac.uk for more details). The first edition of 1818 was issued in an edition of just 500. A second edition appeared in 1822 to cash in on the success of a stage version, Presumption. A third edition, extensively revised, came out in 1831. For collectors the ultimate would be a first edition but this is one of rarest and most valuable books. Very few Frankenstein first editions come to market: a rebound first edition sold for $58,000 in April 2017 at Heritage Auctions. The most exciting edition to come to market was an edition actually inscribed to Lord Byron himself. The edition was presented to market by Peter Harrington Rare Books – the exact sale price is unknown but expected to be in excess of £350,000. Early editions of the book are sort after especially the third edition in October 1831 which included a new 8-page introduction by the author, and was issued with the first part of Schiller’s The Ghost-Seer! as volume 9 of Bentley’s ‘Standard Novels’. This was also the first single edition as well as the first illustrated edition. A very good clean copy was sold by Forum Auctions in May 2017 for £2,600. For many people the Frankenstein that they recognise is from the 1931 film of the same name, where Boris Karloff played the monster. The Frankenstein horror monster film from Universal Pictures was directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling. The movie stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and Garrett Fort with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film in history. The iconic posters and lobby cards from the movie are amongst the most collectable and expensive of all the Frankenstein items. In 2015 the most valuable Frankenstein movie poster ever sold at public auction by Heritage Auctions. The poster was found in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater and is the only 6-foot example from the 1931 Universal horror classic known to exist. The poster sold for an amazing $358,000 (click for more details on the poster). The same company also sold another rare 1931 Frankenstein poster for $262,900 (click for more details on the poster). Although the 1931 movie version of Frankenstein is iconic one that most merchandise and collectables are based on, the first Frankenstein film adaptation was made by Edison Studios in 1910 and written and directed by J. Searle Dawley, with Charles Ogle as the Monster. The brief (16 min.) story has Frankenstein chemically create his creature in a vat. The monster haunts the scientist until Frankenstein’s wedding night, when true love causes the creature to vanish. For many years, this film was believed lost. The Edison version was followed soon after by another adaptation entitled Life Without Soul (1915), directed by Joseph W. Smiley, starring William A. Cohill as Dr. William Frawley, a modern-day Frankenstein who creates a soulless man, played to much critical praise by Percy Standing, who wore little make-up in the role. The film was shot at various locations around the United States, and reputedly featured much spectacle. In the end, it turns out that a young man has dreamed the events of the film after falling asleep reading Mary Shelley’s novel. This film is now considered a lost film. There was also at least one European film version, the Italian Il Mostro di Frankenstein (“The Monster of Frankenstein”) in 1921. The film’s producer Luciano Albertini essayed the role of Frankenstein, with the creature being played by Umberto Guarracino, and Eugenio Testa directing from a screenplay by Giovanni Drivetti. The film is also now considered a lost film. (Source Wikipedia). Frankenstein has featured in hundreds of films since 1931. My favourites would be those featuring Abbot t and Costello and the films by Hammer. The Frankenstein Hammer films included The Curse of […]
With the 50th Anniversary of the James Bond franchise, the release of Skyfall and the use once again of the Aston Martin DB5 as the Bond car we thought we would look at the toy and collectable cars that have been released over the years to tie-in with the James Bond movies. We are using a nice feature by James Riswick who has written on the Top 10 James Bond Cars. James Riswick has the Aston Martin DB5 as top, here at WCN we are split for looks with the DB5 and for the amazing chase and then turning into a submarine the fabulous Lotus Esprit S1. Also at 4 he has the BMW 750iL from Tomorrow Never Dies, yes a functional car for a spy but not for a Bond car. 1. Aston Martin DB5 — Goldfinger, Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall Was there really any doubt about No. 1? We could be controversial for the sake of being controversial, but how can you possibly go against the car that started it all? The car that didn’t just have a starring role in one film, but went on to appear in five others? The car dubbed the most famous in the world? Say “James Bond’s car,” and everyone knows which one you’re talking about. Pictured right: Corgi No.261 “James Bond” Aston Martin DB5 taken from the film “Goldfinger” – gold body, red interior with “James Bond & Bandit” figures. Sold for £150 at Vectis Auctions. Image Copyright Vectis. Now, the Aston Martin DB5 wasn’t really the first Bond car. In Dr. No he drove a Sunbeam Alpine and in most books he drove prewar Bentleys. However, the novel Goldfinger actually features an Aston Martin DB Mark III with a few special spy additions like a hidden gun compartment. For the movie, the filmmakers obviously had bigger ideas. Production Designer Ken Adam chose the latest Aston — the DB5 — to outfit with machine guns, an oil sprayer, tire shredders, rotating number plates, a tracking system and, of course, an ejector seat. Despite what you might suspect, Aston Martin didn’t bend over backward to help out. Eon Productions had to twist Aston’s arm just to “loan” the film a development prototype and there wasn’t any sort of product placement deal. The overwhelming publicity generated for Aston Martin by Goldfinger is a major reason such placement deals exist today. Not only did the car shortly thereafter feature in Thunderball, but it went on a worldwide tour to promote both films. Pictured left: Gilbert No.16701 James Bond Tinplate Aston Martin DB5 – from the film Goldfinger and Thunderball, silver with plated trim, black bullet shield. Sold for £340 at Vectis Auctions. Image Copyright Vectis. The car itself would inspire all of the gadget-laden cars that came after it, and made a reappearance years later as the personal car of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond — albeit without the gadgets and a slightly different number plate (BMT 214A versus 216A). In Casino Royale, the modern Bond’s ownership of the car is explained when Daniel Craig wins it in a poker game. Like James Bond himself, the Aston Martin DB5 will return in Skyfall. 2. Lotus Esprit S1 — The Spy Who Loved Me The DB5 is the icon and the original, but if it were our choice for a spy car, the Lotus Esprit S1 featured in The Spy Who Loved Me would be it. Not only does it participate in one of the series’ best car chases, it tops it off by taking a plunge off a pier and turning into a submarine for an underwater boat chase. How cool is that? Pictured right: Corgi No.269 Lotus Esprit “James Bond” taken from the film “The Spy Who Loved Me” – white, black, with “007” bonnet label – Mint including harder to find late issue window box with detachable header card – comes complete with missiles attached to sprue. Sold at Vectis Auctions for £180. Image Copyright Vectis. “I thought its shape could make it a believable submarine,” Production Designer Ken Adam said in the book The Art of Bond. “An American submarine company built it for me. And it traveled underwater — it was not pressurized but it could do 7 knots underwater. Stunt divers with oxygen tanks operated it and we also had it as a model.” Lotus provided seven vehicle “shells” that were used to create the submarine and show individual transformation elements. However, getting fully functional road-going cars proved more difficult. During the making of the film, the second unit realized the only other car that could keep up with the Esprit for car-to-car shots was another Esprit. As it was so early in the car’s production, they were informed that the only other one available was owned by Lotus Chairman Colin Chapman. He was only too happy to loan it to them. The exotic Esprit also proved to be a handful for the stunt driver unaccustomed to midengine dynamics. With director Lewis Gilbert dissatisfied with the speeds being portrayed on film, Roger Becker, a Lotus employee Chapman had personally instructed to aid the production, stepped into drive for many of the featured shots. The result was a ground-breaking action sequence. 3. Aston Martin V8 Vantage — The Living Daylights With Timothy Dalton taking over the part for 1987’s The Living Daylights, the Bond producers were eager to use elements that tied the film to those that came before it. At the same time, Aston Martin was facing hard times (not exactly an uncommon occurrence) and was thrilled to rekindle the relationship that had made it so famous. Pictured left: Western Models No.ML1 “James Bond” Aston Martin V8 taken from the film “The Living Daylights” – grey, chrome trim, complete with side skis – Mint including lift off lid box and outer carded sleeve – harder issue to find. Sold for £140 at Vectis Auctions, February 2010. Image Copyright Vectis. The Aston in question was a Volante that Q’s boys in the workshop somehow “winterize” to become a regular Vantage coupe. Probably best to overlook that one. […]
Dumbo by Walt Disney Productions premiered on October 23, 1941 and celebrates its 75th Anniversay in 2016. It was Walt Disney’s fourth animated feature and was based upon a storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The main character is a baby elephant Jumbo Jr., who is nicknamed “Dumbo” due to his big ears. Dumbo is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy. A number of Dumbo related collectibles and art have been created or are being released to coincide with the 75th Anniversary. Jim Shore Sweet Snow Fall – Dumbo 75th Anniversary Figurine Jim Shore celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Disney classic Dumbo with this unique design featuring the beloved baby elephant decked out for the holidays. Disney Dumbo 75th Anniversary Musical Ornament This delightful Hallmark Gold Crown Exclusive is designed by Kristina Gaughran and features Dumbo being cradled by his mother. The ornament plays Baby Mine. Lionel Dumbo 75th Anniversary Boxcar This little gem from Lionel features a traditional boxcar featuring Dumbo designs. It is priced at $84.99. New Zealand Mint Dumbo 75th Anniversary Coins The New Zealand Mint has been minting legal tender collectible coins, gold bullion and medallions for more than four decades and has released to coins for Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary – the Dumbo 1 oz Silver and Dumbo 1/4 oz Gold Coins. Thomas Kinkade Company Disney Dumbo Limited Edition Art Continuing the work of Thomas Kinkade, this wonderful new release from the Thomas Kinkade Company celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the release of Dumbo. Disney Dumbo by Thomas Kinkade Studios portrays the happiness and pride that his circus friends feel for Dumbo as he soars above the crowd. This painting captures Dumbo’s shining moment, reminding us, as Timothy tells him, “The very things that held you down are going to carry you up and up and up!” Disney Dumbo’s 75th Anniversary Facts Disney premiered Dumbo in movie theaters across the United States on October 23, 1941. Dumbo was the fourth movie in the “Walt Disney Animated Classics” series. The story was based upon the “Roll-A-Book” written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The film was conceived during the Great Depression and Disney’s goal was to give Americans a story with an uplifting message as they faced difficult times. Walt Disney acted out each part of the movie, as it was being planned. With a run-time of 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of Disney’s shortest animated features
Collecting Annie Dolls – When the Annie musical first hit London, in 1978, following on from the Broadway production a year before, it was a smash-hit. It gave numerous young girls a chance to shine, amongst them a very youthful Catherine Zeta Jones, who played the lead role in a Swansea production, aged just ten. Little Orphan Annie made her debut in a cartoon strip in the Chicago Tribune in 1924, brainchild of artist Harold Gray. The story of the twelve-year-old girl surviving by her wits as she made her way in the world proved enormously popular. In 1927, according to the cartoon, Annie was living with a kind lady called Mrs. Pewter, who decided the little girl needed a new frock. She made her a red dress, with a white collar and cuffs – and the Annie image was born! Today, the carroty curls and red, white-trimmed dress, are instantly recognisable to people on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to the musical, and, even more so, the movie. The London show, at the Victoria Palace theatre, starred Sheila Hancock and Stratford Johns, with Andrea McArdle playing Annie, and ran for 1,485 performances. It was a resounding success, and was soon followed by a movie version, which today graces not only our television screens but is often still shown at cinemas, too. Most of us know the story of the orphan girl who was adopted by the benevolent millionaire Daddy Warbucks, but cruelly tricked by scheming Miss Hannigan into believing that her parents were still alive. Songs such as ‘I think I`m gonna like it here`, ‘You`re never fully dressed without a smile’, ‘It`s a hard knock life’ and, of course, ‘Tomorrow’ led to a happily ever after finale – and spawned loads of memorabilia, including dolls. Annie was very much an all-American icon; she lifted spirits during the dark days of the depression, and has always had a special place in the hearts of the American people. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the dolls are American, some dating from the musical and movie days, others more recent, and a few which were made in the 1930s and 40s. When the musical first came out, manufacturers were quick to realise the marketing potential, but it was the release of the movie in 1982 which really triggered the mass interest. At the time toyshops featured colourful displays of the scarlet-dressed Annie, though, certainly in Britain, most of the dolls were of the cloth doll type. It might be just as well to clear up a popular misconception here – Annie is not the same character as Raggedy Ann. Raggedy Ann was a doll dreamt up by American writer Johnny Gruelle in 1915 to amuse his sick daughter. The doll was a pinafore-wearing rag doll with a triangular nose and red hair. By contrast, Annie (or Little Orphan Annie) was a fictional child whose character became world-famous through the medium of cartoons, musical theatre and cinema. Many of the Annie dolls are easy to find, though often you will need to purchase from America as the more unusual types were not sold in Britain. Those that are easy to find over here include a selection of cloth dolls. One of the most appealing was made by Knickerbocker in the early 1980s. She stood 16 inches tall, and her gingery hair was sewn in tight wool curls. A tiny furry Sandy, the dog which she adopted in the film, was tucked inside a pocket in her red dress. The company also made a smaller, 6 inch, Annie doll, but she was not so well detailed, as well as several larger sizes. Applause was another company who made Annie cloth dolls, including some with reinforced, stiff faces. The interesting thing about the Applause dolls was the way that the company tried to capture the blank-eyed expression of the original cartoon character by giving the dolls printed eyes which appeared to be gazing upwards. These dolls were similarly dressed to the Knickerbocker girls, but their curls were looser and softer. Applause Annies were made in various sizes, including some small clip-on types. Expect to pay around £15 for a cloth Annie doll depending on condition. Also available in Britain was a delightful small vinyl Annie doll, made by Knickerbocker. This doll stood just six inches high and was sold in the ubiquitous red Annie dress. A ‘gold’ locket was included in the box with the doll, large enough for a child to wear. In the show, the locket was a vital piece of evidence in the search for Annie’s parents. The outfits issued at the time for this little doll included a pale yellow floral dress, a cream two piece, a blue coat, a pink floral nightdress and a blue play-suit, with accompanying hats and shoes. Other characters were issued in the same series, but were much harder to find in the UK, and today you would probably need to try ebay if you want to add them to your collection. Punjab, an Indian doll, looked handsome in his white cotton suit and turban with a bright red and black striped sash tied around his waist. Daddy Warbucks wore a black satin evening suit with a white shirt, black bow tie and red cummerbund. Knickerbocker managed to achieve some great characterisation in these small playdolls, capturing Daddy Warbuck`s expression – and his bald head – very well. Scary, intoxicated Miss Hannigan was also included in the set, dressed in a mauve two-piece patterned with small multi-coloured shapes, while little Molly, Annie’s friend at the orphanage, wore a green pinafore over a floral long-sleeved blouse. Molly had a delightful smile and her brown hair was cut into a short bob with a fringe. Knickerbocker produced several accessories to go with these dolls, amongst them a super blue 1929 Model Duesenberg Limousine, complete with chauffeur. It measured 15 inches long, and there was room in the back seats for two Annie dolls. The company also made […]
Bécherel The City of Books. One of the highlights to a recent trip to Brittany was a visit to Bécherel The City of Books also the Village of Books. Being a collector of first editions, antiquarian and children’s books it was exciting to visit the 15 or so bookshops all within a short walk of each other. Located northwest of Rennes, Bécherel officially became a Book Town in 1989 when the first Fête du Livre was held; it is now an annual event, which takes place at Easter and is complemented by a series of events throughout the year including a reading festival in October. Sadly my visit did not coincide with an event or the book market that takes place on the first Sunday of every month. The tourist information office (Maison du livre et du tourisme) has an excellent map of the village detailing the places of interest and most importantly the bookshops and their book subjects and specialities. Each shop has their own appeal and character. Most are in old shops and houses with many rooms and winding corridors. The village is full of character and every bookshop and related shops are within a couple of minutes walk, with some next door to each other. So what was I looking for as being a French town the majority of books are in French. There were small collections of English books in the shops but I was looking for Asterix, French comics and vintage French Agathie Christie books which have fantastic covers. The Librarie Abraxas and Pochoteque Abraxas has over 125,000 books including sections on literature, sci fi, manga, thrillers, children’s books, science and humanities. I also found a great selection of Asterix and French comics at Le Donjon, and a great selection of Agathie Christie and The Saint (Le Saint) books at Les Perseides (which also has a small cafe). The only problem I had was not having enough time to do fully explore every bookshop. You could happily spend a couple of days in Becherel. If you love books and are in the region Becherel The City of Books is a must.
Whether the young people of today would find these as much as fun as I did when I was given a Give a Show Projector as a present in late 1970s is open to question. My guess is probably YES but there a lot of middle aged children who are collecting these great toys. The Give a Show Projectors was a toy slide projector introduced by US toy company Kenner Products in 1959. In the UK and Australia it was sold under the Chad Valley brand. The set I had was a general one with multiple single slides similar to the one pictured below. There were 16 strips featuring 7 slides so a total of 112 colour slides picturing stories from cartoon characters, TV shows and stories. The set below includes Popeye, Cinderella, Noddy, Woody Woodpecker, Goldilocks, Robinson Crusoe, Oswald Rabbit, Buffalo Bill, Maverick and more. The projector was a large torch with a slot that allowed the user to feed a strip of film through the light it emitted to create projected images. The torch and images were projected on to a blank wall in a dimmed room and the show could then proceed. Most slides had word and pictures, so was a great educational toy as well. The standard projector could project well up to 5 feet. What makes them even more interesting and collectable is that there were many sets were licensed for the system including popular TV series, movies and cartoons such as: Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Daktari, Thunderbirds, Stingray and more. Some later sets included sounds in the form of accompanying records which would be manually advanced when a tone sounded. A Chad Valley Daktari ‘As Seen on BBC TV’ Give a Show Projector set A Chad Valley Stingray ‘Gerry Anderson’s Exciting TV Series’ Give a Show Projector set A Disney Jungle Book set A Kenner Star Wars Give A Show Projector As well as sets with projectors individual slide sets were also available. We will be adding a price guide and value guide for individual sets but movie related sets in complete and good condition can sell for up to £80/$120. Related Chad Valley information at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_Valley_(toy_brand) Kenne Products information at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenner_Products
In the 1960s, movie posters were an art form. Studios would commission artists to create beautiful quad posters that would entice audiences into cinemas. While The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movies were not as successful as the television series, they did produce some amazing quad posters. These posters are a beautiful example of the artistry that went into movie marketing in the 60s. We take a look at the fantastic UK movie quad posters created for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. films from the 1960s. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. films were not originally made as films, but as the show rated so highly in America and the UK, the producers decided to film extra footage initially for two of the first season episodes and release them to cinemas after they had aired on TV. The original The Man from U.N.C.L.E. pilot The Vulcan Affair was renamed To Trap a Spy and the The Double Affair which was renamed as The Spy with My Face. The films were released as double feature and included colour pilot footage, additional footage and additional subplots. The films were first released in Hong Kong in late 1964 and later shown in the U.S. as a double feature in early 1966. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. IN COLOUR An added feature to the The Man From UNCLE films was that were being shown in color, at a time when most people had only black and white TVs. The words “in color” or “BIG screen in colour” featured prominently on the posters for the film releases. Eight films were released: To Trap a Spy (1964), The Spy with My Face (1965), One Spy Too Many (1966), One of Our Spies Is Missing (1966), The Spy in the Green Hat (1966), The Karate Killers (1967), The Helicopter Spies (1968) and How to Steal the World (1968). How to Steal the World – the last Man from U.N.C.L.E. film