About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

L is for Little Red Riding Hood visits Little Old Lady who's been Lunched-on by Leery Lupus which then gets Laid-low by Lanky Logger!

You can't beat a fairy-tail for a bit of ultra-violence . . . actually you can, you don't find things being sliced like bread in fairy-tales, you need Tom & Jerry for that kind of shenanigans - but you know what I mean, and the originals (back in the dark, dank, forest-bound Central European villages of yonder yore) were full of all sorts, rape, incest, flaying-alive, eating alive, cooking alive . . . all sorts, and - come to think of it - someone gets eaten alive in this set!

These have been in edit for two years and I must thank Adrian Little for letting me photograph these two years ago and then again a few weeks ago, after the first set of images proved really too poor to use, these are from his collection not his stock, so he definitely went the extra nine-yards on this one.

Ostensively 'just' an early British kids interactive set, with which to play-out a favourite fairy-story, probably aimed at the 4 or 5 - 7 or 8-year old bracket? They look to date to the early 1950's and while someone mentioned the late 1940's in discussion the other day, it's unlikely, but not impossible, as all the dates for early plastic have been pushed back over the years, WHW, Bergan, Airfix, some French stuff, some minor makes, Palitoy &etc.

A colour enhanced shot from two years ago and the replacement next to it - with the bed the right way round, and it's 'my bad' it was the wrong way round two years ago as it gets loose and I replaced it for the shot!

From the left, as factory painted polyethylene mouldings we have Little Red Riding Hood, a big bad wolf (who looks sweet, how can you take a wood-axe to that*), granny (spelt "grannie" on the box - which may be important), wolf-granny and the wood-chopper.

* He actually looks like my favourite bear - Mary Plain . . . in Wartime! Who never managed the same level of fame as Paddington, despite being just as funny, but she was a tad more poignant, and some of the subject-matter was probably considered best forgotten by parents in the 1950/60's, allowing Paddington a free-run at the red-carpet? 

The bed is an unpainted, polystyrene, mould-shot with "MADE IN ENGLAND" inside the cavity, very unlike the figures.

And this is where it gets complicated! Kent Spreacher had done a lot of work on sets that look so alike this one you can't pretend they are anything other than Identical!

Now it's best if you go and read Kent'spiece as it's been 20-odd years in the editing and seems to be the whole story - less this bit! You have to scroll-down to Emenee.

There's nothing there to argue with there, that I can see? He's got the sculptor, an idea of the mould-history and the date - 1951, which would tie-in nicely with these sets being 'early fifties' - but not 'late forties'. So one has to assume (for the time being!) that this was part of the mould-swapping that went-on after the Second World War, and up to the point when Nixon lifted the tariffs Trump is threatening to reinstate!

We had a long discussion on the HäT forum about it ten years ago and there's more in Blast Off the space toys book. Basically there were hideous tariffs attached to finished goods imported into the US (and elsewhere, before the WTO unreasonable taxes were the bane of exporters and importers!), so toy companies (specifically - small moulds) would sent their moulds to their 'oppos' in other parts of the world as there were no tariffs on lent stuff, only on stuff for sale!

I call them 'oppos' (opposite numbers) because if the shipping of product was uneconomic they weren't 'competitors' as such, but they could recoup some of their investment by leasing their moulds (or charging for a specific tool-run, per unit, as a sort of rent?) to people who would be competitors - if they were both operating in the same market, which they weren't!

So, for the time being we'll assume that's the case here, and the Made in England will be no different to Kleeware putting their mark on the Pyro mouldings they used to borrow. The odd spelling of 'granny' is a further clue, I don't know if it is or was an Americanism back in the day (it's getting a red wiggly-line today), but if text was copied from the US sets . . . ?

Close-up of the figures in situ, how does that sweet little Mary Plain wolf become that fat old hag in pink? By swallowing the little old lady in blue, whole and alive!

Kent has listed the basket next to Little Red watsit, and I think that's likely the case, the Granny-Wolf has no need of a basket, while Little Red dar-di-dar was delivering stuff . . . food and flowers - that we know of! But they've both got their arm out so, I guess . . . play value - switching the basket! Also the Emenee bed seems to differ just as greatly from the PVC figures Kent reports and looks to be the same moulding.

Tomorrow, though; it all appears to get even more complicated!


Jan Ferris said...

A rather saucy title you have here. Rather cute figures at any rate.

Hugh Walter said...

They are rather lovely Jan, and old, very old!