Doll manufacturers were constantly experimenting with materials in an attempt to replace bisque china which so easily was broken. Various substances were tried including wood, celluloid, fabric, metal and a mixture of glue, sawdust and rags called composition. Pictured: Hard Plastic BND doll When plastic was invented it seemed that the search was over – here was a product which was not only virtually unbreakable, but was light to handle and could even be washed. In the late 1940s dolls made from hard plastic flooded the UK market. Companies such as Pedigree, Roddy, Palitoy, Chiltern, Rosebud and BND created all manner of lovely dolls from this new wonder product, while, in the US, Madame Alexander, Effanbee, Arranbee, Ideal, Mattel and Vogue did likewise. A further breakthrough came when vinyl was developed. Now dolls were soft to hold and could have hair rooted directly into their heads, instead of wearing glued-on wigs. By the 1970s, dollmaking in Britain reached its zenith and shops were filled with the classic dolls we’ve all come to love – First Love, Tiny Tears, Katie Kopycat, Tippy Tumbles, Amanda Jane, Babykins, Sweet April, Victoria Rose, Baby Needs You, Baby Won’t Let Go and Sasha. Pictured: Tiny Tears Vinyl Palitoy doll American dolls poured in, amongst them the innovative Cabbage Patch which caused long queues to form outside toyshops in the 1980s. Continental dolls such as those made by Gotz, Jesmar and Zapf came too. Today, most of the British companies have disappeared or been integrated into other concerns. Zapf’s Baby Born is one of the top-selling dolls, while Playmates’ Amazing Amy and Famosa’s Baby Expressions will surely be future collectables. Pictured: First Love Vinyl Pedigree and Bluebird Dolls are becoming even more lifelike as artists create breathtakingly-beautiful high-quality vinyl dolls which rival the finest porcelain, and already collectors are seeking out playdolls from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. They are the antiques of tomorrow!
Retro and vintage have become the new buzz words with those eagle eyed collectors who seek out all things dating from the middle of the twentieth-century onwards.
Holly Hobbie was an artist specialising in drawing greetings cards, lending her name to the characters she drew, which were later issued in doll form. Pictured: 1975 Knickerbocker Holly Hobbie doll During the 1960s, people became intrigued by her designs featuring a little girl, facing sideways, dressed in a long patchwork frock, with a large bonnet totally obscuring her face. This pose tended to create an urge to see the expression which lurked beneath the brim. Grannies, especially, adored this nostalgia theme, imagining it was their granddaughter lurking under that floppy bonnet, and the whole concept happily coincided with the fashionable look of the day – long, floaty dresses, small prints, Laura Ashley, country style, femininity and pastel shades. Holly Hobbie created her designs for the American Greetings Card Company for many years, featuring children in idyllic settings, each illustrated by a motto such as ‘Life’s greatest blessing is a happy heart’, ‘Happiness is found in little things’ or ‘Start each day in a happy way’. The designs appeared not only on stationery items, but on products such as kitchen towels, oven gloves, plates, cups, aprons, bed linen, china ornaments, trays and, of course, as dozens of different dolls. Many of these were rag dolls, as befitting the nostalgia theme. Today, Holly Hobbie lives in Conway, Massachusetts, and is a successful author/illustrator of picture books featuring the adventures of two pigs called Toot and Puddle. Pictured: Tomy Party Days Holly Hobbie Dolls representing Holly Hobbie have been made by several companies over the years, including Knickerbocker, Tomy and, most recently, Ashton Drake. During the 1970s a Holly Hobbie made from a very soft thin rubbery vinyl was issued by the American Greetings Corp. This doll had barely-there features, a round head, straggley hair and tiny eyes. She looked rather strange. Knickerbocker created a whole range of rag dolls in various sizes, and, as well as Holly Hobbie, there were friends such as Amy, Heather, Carrie, Robby and Grandma. Amy tended to wear green, Heather pink or beige and Carrie, red. Robby was a little boy in blue striped dungarees, while Grandma, naturally, was an old lady doll. Pictured: Ashton Drake Holy Hobbie doll As well as the rag dolls, vinyl types were available – one unusual one stood just 6″ tall, but wore an enormous skirt. Underneath the skirt was a three-roomed dolls house, complete with Holly Hobbie-style furniture and accessories, such as a gramophone with a horn, a rocking chair, a butter churn, a kitchen dresser and a round table. Tomy introduced a range of Holly Hobbie dolls in 1989, featuring some beautiful rag types 16″ high, dressed in pastel-coloured dresses, each bearing a message such as ‘Make each day a sunshine day’ and ‘A gift from the heart is the best gift of all’. The box stated ‘Every day is a Holly day’. During the 1990s, Holly Hobbie was revamped again, this time by Knickerbocker, appearing as a vinyl, soft-bodied doll with a snub nose, cheeky smile and masses of curly hair. She wore a long patchwork frock and matching bonnet, available in several colourways. Smaller versions were sold too. The recent Ashton Drake issue of porcelain Holly Hobbie dolls was probably the most delightful representation of the character ever produced. Created by Dianna Effner, and standing 16″ high, they represented the four seasons. Autumn, the first to be released, showed the little girl in her famous patchwork dress and bonnet clutching a flowering twig. The next in the series, Summer, had Holly dressed in patriotic red, white and blue, holding the American Flag, while Winter had her in a red dress and Spring wore green. These dolls had delightful expressions – a combination of a shy smile and a cheeky grin – and the detailing on the costumes was excellent. Related Holly Hobbie Doll Features Greetings from Holly, Sarah & Betsey – feature on Holly Hobbie, Sarah Kay and Betsey Clark
The architect Josef Hoffmann, the painter and graphic designer Koloman Moser, and patron Fritz Waerndorfer founded the Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshop, in 1903. It was a successful association in Vienna, Austria, that brought together architects, artists, designers, and artisans working in the fields of ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture, and the graphic arts. The Wiener Werkstätte was known for their wide variety of styles in glassware and we take a look at some of the designers and their glass designs. The glass designers of the Wiener Werkstätte produced beautiful pieces that were both decorative and functional. Some of the most popular styles included enameled glass, opaque glass, and cut glass. The Workshop also produced a wide variety of stemware, including wine glasses, champagne flutes, and cocktail glasses. Their glassware was highly sought after by collectors and is still considered to be some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau glassware ever created. Some of the most famous glass designers of the Workshop were Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Otto Prutscher and Dagobert Peche. Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) was a co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte and is credited with creating many of its most iconic designs, including the Hoffmann vase. He was known for his unique and innovative use of color in his glass pieces including amethyst, as well as his distinctive geometric patterns.Hoffman’s glass creations, many of which were panel-cut and emulated the shape of early 19th-century Biedermeir glass, were centred on decorative form up until the 1920s. He designs included a range of cameo glass which was typically Viennese, with vertical lines and stylised bell-flowers and geometric shapes. One of his most famous designs is the simple Amethyst Vase, which was made in glass and features a stunning amethyst color.Josef Hoffmann Bowl Moser Karlsbad for the Wiener Werkstätte c1910 Koloman Moser (1868-1918) was also a co-founder of the Workshop and was responsible for designing many of its early catalogs and promotional materials. He is best known for his colorful and intricate glass pieces, which often featured floral motifs. The designs were executed by Bakalowitz and by Loetz. Moser’s work was quite radical and many designs were acid-cut on overlay and embellished with enamelling. Moser was also known for adding ball feet to some of his work. Austrian Otto Prutscher (1880-1949) was a key member of the Wiener Werkstätte more famous for his jewllery and silver, but he was also a renowned glass designer. He was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, and his glass designs are often intricate and ornate, with curving lines and natural forms. Many of his pieces feature etched or cut-glass designs, and are often decorated with gold or silver leaf. His glass table lamps are extremely rare and valuable and his glasses are especially sort after. Prutscher designed and created a suite of glasses in a range of colours including red, black, green and yellow. The stems of these glass were overly long and often featured a trademark chequered motif. The bowl of the glass was often as large as the base. Single glasses have sold for £5000 / 6000 Euros. Many of Prutscher’s designs were made by the Bohemian glass factory Meyr’s Neffe. Dagobert Peche (1887-1923) was a member of the Wiener Werkstätte from 1915 until his death in 1923. He specialized in glass design, and his work is characterized by its simplicity and elegance, often with freely-placed graphic motifs. His pieces were often made in collaboration with the ceramicist Josef Hoffmann, and the two artists frequently exhibited their work together. In addition to his work for the Wiener Werkstätte. Peche also designed glassware for companies such as Lobmeyr and Moser. It is not unusual for different decorators to work on designed pieces. It is known that Dagobert Peche decorated many of Josef Hoffmann’s designs. Pieces by actual Wiener Werkstätte glass designers are very desirable and valuable. If it is not certain a designer created a piece it may be attributed to them. Other notable Wiener Werkstätte designers include Maria Kirschner, Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill and Karl Pohl.
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 […]
Perfume Bottle Collecting has grown in popularity forming a part of our social and design history. Walk into any cosmetics department and the sweet smell of perfume fills the air. You can choose from designer brand names such as Christian Dior and Chanel to celebrity endorsed scents by pop princesses’ Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears. But from a collectors point of view it is not the smell that entices them to the shelves but the collectability of the innovative designed bottles. The word perfume is taken from the Latin word per fumum, which translated means through smoke and has been used for different reasons throughout the Centuries. The Egyptians used scented bandages when embalming, as it was supposed to be a symbol of eternity, in later centuries perfume was used as a method of hygiene to cover up repulsive smells but today it is purely for cosmetic reasons, to make us smell nice and attract the opposite sex. Throughout the ages perfume has been packaged in various shaped bottles made of many different materials. The ancient world used blown glass and alabaster whilst the Victorians favoured silver topped glass bottles. One of the most collected Victorian bottle is the dual-purpose double-ended one, two bottles fused together they are usually found in green, ruby or blue coloured glass, one end contained the flowery scent that the Victorian ladies liked to wear and the other for their smelling salts. Prices vary depending on where you buy but expect to pay £200 retail or £100 plus for one at auction (in April 2005 Dreweatt Neate Saleroom sold a collection of three double-ended bottles for £310.) It was the turn into the 20th Century when the perfume industry began to introduce pre-packaged scents for women to buy directly over the counter. Perfumeries commissioned glass manufacturers like Baccarat and Lalique to produce high quality bottles to house these scents. The Lalique ones have become highly sought after by collectors and some command big money at auction, a rare “Bouchon Mures” Lalique bottle was sold at Bonhams saleroom in 1990 for a staggering hammer price of £38,000, but don’t despair if this is a little harsh for your pocket, as you can purchase Lalique bottles for much more affordable prices. The “Girlandes de Perles” and “Cactus Pattern Globular” bottles each made a hammer price of £240 at Dreweatt Neate’s salerooms, and if you shop around you can buy a small bottle of the well-known scent “L’Air du Temps” by Nina Ricci for about £100. A Lalique perfume bottle of any sort would be a centrepiece for any perfume bottle collection. Baccarat was other leading glass manufacturer that created amazing innovative bottles to house ladies scents. One of their most recognised designs was for French Perfume h ouse “Guerlain”. The bottle has an inverted heart shaped stopper and displays the “Guerlain Paris” label on the front. “L’Heure Bleue” was the first scent to be launched by Guerlain in this bottle in 1912 and they used the same design for “Fol Arome” and “Mitsouko” in the following years. I managed to buy an example in its original box holding half the scent for £85 but I suspect it is probably worth in the region of £120 – £150. As with any female fashion collectable such as handbags or jewellery, perfume bottles really came into their own in the 1920’s. Women became more aware of their looks embracing the Jazz Age with vibrant colours, short skirts and even shorter hair. Many designer houses moved with the times and encouraged the women to complement their looks with classy scents in stylish bottles. Coco Chanel launched its signature scent “No.5” in 1921, the bottle was very stylish and chic epitomising the era that it was launched, very simple in design it oozed class and also enabled women to buy a piece of Chanel at an affordable price, especially appealing to those who could not afford the Chanel clothing ranges. One of these original bottles today, can fetch around £35-£45 if still with box or £20-£25 without the box. “Schiaparelli” was another leading fashion designer who presented her perfumes in beautiful designs, “Shocking” one of her most famous scents was inspired by the actress Mae West, this bottle is very similar to Jean Paul Gaultier’s designs today as it is in the shape of a shopmaker’s dummy, whilst Jean Paul Gaultier bottles are in the shape of female and male torsos. A rare piece, the Schiaparelli bottle can cost £250+ on the secondary market. Another of her sought after bottles are those shaped like candles, they housed the scent called “Sleeping” and were designed by Baccarat, these can fetch around £100 – £200 depending on the size and condition. The fifties continued with imaginative bottles; Max Factor produced the velour covered cat to hold their scents “Electrique”, “Primitif” and “Hypnotique.” These dome covered felines are reasonably common and cost around £10 – £20. The 1960’s saw Avon dominate the novelty perfume bottle industry producing containers for scent in every possible guise, also producing solid perfume containers that could be worn as pins on ladies clothing. Another major fashion designer of the 60s was Barbara Hulanicki founder of the Biba chain. She produced everything from scents to oils in stylised black bottles with the trademark gold logo, and these bottles are highly reminiscent of the Art Deco period in design. Today there is a huge array of different scents and novelty bottles to choose from in the commercial perfume industry but collectors are also attracted to the studio glass bottles that are skilfully made by various glassmakers. All leading manufacturers of these art glass creations, each bring a different trait to their trade and have their own personalities imprinted into their designs, these bottles are made as decorative pieces rather than functional and are to be displayed and admired. Look to manufacturers such as Isle of Wight, Okra and Glasform for high quality hand created art glass perfume bottles. Perfume bottles have […]
Charles Hardin Holley was born in Lubbock, Texas to Lawrence Odell Holley and Ella Pauline Drake on Labor Day, in 1936. The Holleys were a musical family and as a young boy Holley learned to play piano, guitar and violin (his brothers oiled the strings so much that no one could hear him play.) Pictured left: Buddy Holly – A Gold Record award, circa late 1950s, for Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue. Presented in a glass enclosed, green velvet frame. 12 x 12 in. (30.4 x 30.4 cm.) sold for $11,875 against an estimate of $3,000 – $4,000 at Christies rock and pop memorabilia auction, 30 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza. He was always known as Buddy to his family. In 1949 Buddy made a recording of Hank Snow’s ‘My Two-Timin’ Woman’ on a wire recorder “borrowed” by a friend who worked in a music shop (not, as is often reported, a home tape recorder), his first known recording. During the fall of that year he met Bob Montgomery in Hutchinson Junior High School. They shared a common interest in music and soon teamed up as the duo “Buddy and Bob.” Initially influenced by bluegrass music, they sang harmony duets at local clubs and high school talent shows. In Lubbock, Holly attended Hutchinson Junior High School, which has a mural honoring him, and Lubbock High School, which has numerous features to honor the late musician. His musical interests grew throughout high school while singing in the Lubbock High School Choir. Autographs of Buddy Holly and The Crickets, in blue biro on a piece of paper additionally inscribed The Crickets, mounted with colour picture, 26.5 x 18cm (10½ x 7in) overall Sold for £478 at Bonhams – Rock and Roll and Film Memorabilia, 16 Nov 2004, Knightsbridge, London. Holly turned to rock music after seeing Elvis Presley sing live in Lubbock in early 1955. A few months later on October 15, he opened on the same bill with Presley, also in Lubbock, catching the eye of a Nashville talent scout. Holly’s transition to rock continued when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets at a local rock show organized by Eddie Crandall, who was also the manager for Marty Robbins. Buddy Holly – An ivory linen-effect two-piece stage suit, the jacket with deep patch pockets, the inside edge of the cuff on the right-hand sleeve showing signs of wear [presumably from playing the guitar]; the loose-fitting trousers with front pleats and narrow turn-ups, the right-hand trouser pocket inscribed inside in blue ballpoint pen, in an unidentified hand, Buddy Holly; accompanied by two corresponding black and white machine-print photographs of Holly on stage during the 1957 U.S. Tour (printed later), 11x16in.(28×40.2cm.) and 11x14in. (28×35.6cm.) sold for £10,575 at Christies pop and collectable guitars, 26 April 2001 London, South Kensington As a result of this performance, Holly was offered a contract with D ecca Records to work alone, which he accepted. According to the Amburn book, his public name changed from “Holley” to “Holly” on 8 February 1956, when the Decca contract he signed misspelled his last name. That spelling was then adopted for his professional career. Among the tracks recorded for Decca was an early version of “That’ll Be The Day”, which took its title from a phrase that John Wayne’s character said repeatedly in the 1956 film, The Searchers. Decca wouldn’t publish his recordings, though, and dropped his contract. But they also insisted he could not record the same songs for anyone else for five years. An autographed Buddy Holly and The Crickets UK Tour programme, 1958, the back cover signed in blue and black ballpoints by all three and the front additionally signed in blue ballpoint by Buddy Holly sold for £1,140 at Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction, 18 Jun 2008 Back in Lubbock, Holly formed his own band, although at that time it had no name and would only later be called The Crickets and began recording at Norman Petty’s studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Norman had music industry contacts and believing that “That’ll Be the Day” would be a hit single, he contacted publishers and labels. Brunswick Records, a subsidiary of Decca, signed The Crickets. Soon after, they signed Holly as a solo artist on another Decca subsidiary Coral Records. This put Holly in the unusual position of having two record contracts at the same time. Before “That’ll Be The Day” had its nationwide release, Holly played lead guitar on the single “Starlight”, recorded in April 1957, featuring Jack Huddle. The initial, unsuccessful version of “That’ll Be The Day” played more slowly and about half an octave higher than the hit version. Holly managed to bridge some of the racial divide that marked rock n’ roll music. While Elvis made black music more acceptable to whites, Holly won over an all-black audience when the Crickets were booked at New York’s Apollo Theater (though, unlike the immediate response depicted in the 1978 movie The Buddy Holly Story, it actually took several performances for his talents to be appreciated). Buddy Holly’s electric guitar and amplifier, the 1953 Gibson Les Paul ‘gold-top’ model with maple top, mahogany back, neck and headstock, rosewood fingerboard with crown markers, Kluson machineheads with plastic tulip pegs, P90 pickups, trapeze wrapover tailpiece, in original Gibson case; and a Gibson Les Paul model ‘G’ amplifier, original Jensen speaker, Buddy Holley scratched into bacj from Bonham’s Rock n’ Roll & Film Memorabilia including James Bond, 16 Nov 2005, Knightsbridge. After the release of several highly successful songs in 1958, Holly and the Crickets toured Australia in January and later the United Kingdom. That same year, he met Maria Elena Santiago (born 1935 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) while she was working as a receptionist for Peer-Southern Music, a New York music publisher. According to a romanticised version of the truth encouraged by Maria Elena, he proposed to her on their very first date. She initially thought he was kidding, but they were married in Lubbock on […]
Whilst travelling back from a toy fair where I saw a couple of Banana Splits toys, The Dickies version of the Banana Splits Tra La La song came on the radio. I was a massive fan of the show when I was younger so I thought I would indulge myself and cobble together a feature and on Collecting the Banana Splits and Banana Splits collectibles. The feature includes some vintage and newer Banana Splits collectibles and a price guide for the items. In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968. Each show represented a meeting of the “Banana Splits Club”, and the wraparounds featured the adventures of the club members, who doubled as a musical quartet, meant to be reminiscent of The Monkees. The main characters were Fleegle, a beagle (possibly crossed with a flat-coated retriever); Bingo, an orange-furred gorilla (possibly, half-orangutan); Drooper, a lion; and Snorky, called “Snork” in the theme song lyrics, an elephant. Fleegle would assume the role as leader of the Banana Splits and preside at club meetings. The characters were played by actors in voluminous fleecy costumes similar to later Sid and Marty Krofft characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf. They all spoke in English – Drooper with a Southern drawl in the manner of Michael Nesmith, Fleegle with a pronounced lisp – except for Snorky who “spoke” in honking noises. The Banana Splits’ segments included cartoons, songs, comedy skits, and live action features. Cartoons included Arabian Knights, The Three Musketeers and repeats of The Hillbilly Bears, a cartoon segment that previously appeared on The Atom Ant Show (1965–1968). The show’s live-action segments included Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, an animated series consisting of only four episodes. For the first season, some of the live-action segments – specifically those used during the musical segments – were shot at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park located in Arlington, Texas. For the second season, filming took place at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio. In many episodes, the Banana Splits would be seen riding on the Runaway Mine Train roller coasters, Log Flumes, Bumper Cars, Merry-Go-Rounds, and many other rides at Six Flags and Coney Island. The Sour Grapes Bunch is a group of human girl characters from the Banana Splits. One of the members of the club – Charley, usually played by Shirley Hillstrom – would bring a written note to the Splits. None of the Sour Grapes spoke in the entire series; however, they would also do a number with the Banana Splits. In the first-season episode on October 5, 1968, a song debuted entitled “Doin’ The Banana Split,” as all five girls appeared together with the Splits. The Banana Buggies and Toys Who didn’t want a Banana Splits buggy? The Banana splits buggies were customized Amphicat six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles each decorated to resemble the character who drove them. These were seen driven by each live-action character in the opening and closing segments and occasionally in show segments. The closest most collectors will get to the Banana Buggy were the plastic 1/25 scale model kits issued by Aurora Plastics Corporation in 1969 and discontinued in 1971. These were only out for two seasons and when seen a mint in box edition will sell for over $200. A recent sale on ebay saw a excellent example sell for £220 ($281). Funko released a series of four Dorbz Ridez models in 2016 based on the series released in editions of 300 at the San Diego Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Bingo and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Snorky) and New York Comic Con (Banana Buggy with Fleegle and Banana Buggy with Bingo with Drooper) . These are now selling for between $75 and $100 each. Banana Splits and Comics Gold Key began publishing a comic version of The Banana Splits’ adventures in 1969, releasing eight issues through 1971. The series was drawn by Jack Manning and followed the Banana Splits team trying to find work or on the road between gigs. Issue number 1 in high grade VFNM CGC 9.0 will sell for about $150. In 2017 DC comics made a Banana Splits had a crossover with the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Annual #1. “SUICIDE SPLITS”! Mistaken for metahumans, thrown in the bowels of Belle Reve, the animal rock band Banana Splits are recruited by Amanda Waller for a secret mission: to save the Suicide Squad! What follows is the weirdest team-up you never thought you’d see! How can Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky stand up to Harley, Deadshot, Katana and Croc? Banana Splits Reference Professor Plastic the banana splits banana buggy
Dame Muriel Spark (née Muriel Sarah Camberg) was born in Edinburgh on the 1st February 1918, and 2018 is the centenary of her birth. She is most famous for her sixth novel, published in 1961, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, with its eponymous title character, the free spirited Miss Jean Brodie. She was placed placed her eighth in The Times list of the ‘50 greatest post-war writers’. Muriel Spark began writing poetry in her early teens at school. At the age of 19 she left Scotland for Southern Rhodesia to marry Sydney Oswald Spark, thirteen years her senior whom she had met at a dance in Edinburgh. In July of 1938, she gave birth to a son Samuel Robin Spark in Southern Rhodesia and having left the marriage, Spark supported herself and her son there. Spark began writing seriously after the war, under her married name, beginning with poetry and literary criticism. In 1947 she became editor of the Poetry Review. In 1953 Muriel Spark was baptised in the Church of England but in 1954 she decided to join the Roman Catholic Church, which she considered crucial in her development toward becoming a novelist. Her first novel, The Comforters, was published in 1957. It featured several references to Catholicism and conversion to Catholicism, although its main theme revolved around a young woman who becomes aware that she is a character in a novel. Spark was to publish four more novels Robinson (1958), Memento Mori (1959), The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) and the The Bachelors (1960) until The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1961. Brodie was to become the novel that she would forever synoymous with. In the novel Spark displayed originality of subject and tone, making extensive use of flash forwards and imagined conversations. Muriel Spark Novels and Price Guide These prices are a reflection of the market as of 15th January 2018. As with most modern first editions condition of the dust jacket is critical to the valuation. The Comforters (1957) Robinson (1958) Memento Mori (1959) The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960) The Bachelors (1960) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) The Girls of Slender Means (1963) The Mandelbaum Gate (1965) The Public Image (1968) The Driver’s Seat (1970) Not To Disturb (1971) The Hothouse by the East River (1973) The Abbess of Crewe (1974) The Takeover (1976) Territorial Rights (1979) Loitering with Intent (1981) The Only Problem (1984) A Far Cry From Kensington (1988) Symposium (1990) Reality and Dreams (1996) Aiding and Abetting (2000) The Finishing School (2004) Reference Celebrating Muriel Spark and writing about post traumatic stress – Radio 4 a look at the work of Muriel Spark and discussion with William Boyd and Alan Taylor (14 January 2018) Dame Muriel Spark – A great British novelist, and the waspish creator of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – obituary on The Guardian (17 April 2006)
For collectors of Royal Doulton, Leslie Harradine is a well known name having designed some of the most famous and iconic Doulton figures including the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series. He was prolific and modelled figures for Doulton from the late 1920s to the 1950s, as well as initially designing vases for the Lambeth Art Studios. His first figure for Doulton was Contentment with model number HN389. In 1929 he created another model Contentment featuring a Mother and Child sleeping (model HN1323). Although known as Leslie Harradine he was born Arthur Leslie Harradine in Lambeth to parents Charles Percy and Jessie Harradine (nee Tealby) in 1887. He first joined the Doulton Lambeth studio as an apprentice in 1902 working under George Tinworth, whilst at the same time studying at the Camberwell School of Arts. He initially worked in the studios on vases and Toby jugs, but his main interest was in clay sculpture and the design of free standing figures. His designs came to the attention of Charles Noke who was Art Director at the time but as he was not able to model figures as much as he wanted or to start his own factory he actually left Doulton in 1912 to start a farm with his brother Percy in Canada. Farming proved difficult, but when possible Leslie continued to create and paint models from clay. In 1916 Leslie and his brother Percy left Canada for the Great War. He was injured and whilst in hospital he met his future wife Edith Denton whom he married in 1917, and the following year became a father to his first child Jessie. Leslie and his family moved back to England in 1918 with the intention of opening a studio in London. Shortly after his return Charles Noke offered Leslie a job as a figure designer at the Burslem. However, the position was refused but eventually he agreed to work on a freelance basis and in 1920 his Royal Doulton figure entitled Contentment was released. Harradine modelled and created figures for Royal Doulton on a freelance basis for over forty years. He had a way of working peculiar to him and probably only allowed because of his undeniable talent and genius – he would decide what to model and when to send those models in to the factory at Burslem, sometimes up to three at a time, on a monthly basis. It is said that the other designers and painters would all gather round eagerly when his monthly shipment was unpacked to see what he had “come up with this time”. Many iconic and popular models were created, as well as series of models including those already mentioned earlier in the feature the Balloon Seller, Scotties, Sunshine Girl and the popular Dickens Series but also figures from his rendition of The Beggars Opera, and the famous and slightly risque models of The Bather. Many of Harradine’s models stayed in production for many years but some only for a year or two. These models are often the rarest and sometimes the most valuable. Harradine’s last model for Doulton was The Beggar with a model number HN2175 and was released in 1956 and was produced until 1962. Arthur ‘Leslie’ Harradine died on 6 December 1965, in Gibraltar at age 78, leaving an amazing legacy of models and designs that makes him one of the world’s finest modellers. Related George Tinworth – The Greatest Doulton Lambeth Designer