Friday, 19 July 2013

Children's Hour and Beyond! Happy 65th Birthday Sooty.

Sooty Keeps Shop Published in 1954, is now sold
It is hard to believe that Sooty is 65 years-old today. I vividly remember watching the Sooty show on one of the early black-and-white television sets. Sometime towards the end of 1952 my dad had a win on the football pools. A small win by today’s standards, it was still enough to buy a second-hand car and the television. Back then we were living in a small village in Buckinghamshire where the arrival of a TV was something of an event. With the Queen’s Coronation scheduled for transmission in June 1953, we suddenly found ourselves at the centre of village life! My recollection of The Coronation is hazy, but I do remember the smell of egg sandwiches. Of bunting draped around the house and garden, and a host of unknown people sprawled on every available chair and over every inch of floor space vying for a view of the TV screen.



Mum laid on a ‘spread’ of spam and boiled egg sandwiches together with a plate of ‘fancies’ with jelly and pink blancmange for the children. I seem to recall dad buying a crate of beer, although his favourite tipple was always a Whisky Mac (whisky and ginger wine).

The Queens Coronation TV Picture 1953 via 

Coronation Glitter Book
The Coronation held my attention for only a brief moment. I much preferred Sooty, Andy Pandy and Muffin the Mule.


I wonder how many of you remember the names of these early stars of children’s television;

Left to right - Bill and Ben, Andy Pandy and Muffin the Mule.

It's easy to take “TV tie-ins” for granted in 2013, but they were something of a novelty in the 1950s. Get ready for a wonderful trip down memory lane; Muffin the mule, Prudence Kitten, Charlie Parkin, Colonel Crock and many others lurk within the pages of these gloriously nostalgic books.

My Annette Mills Gift Book published in 1954. First story Muffin and the field fairy. Four other stories about Muffin the Mule, two about Colonel Crock and three each about Charlie Parkin and Prudence Kitten. TV Comic Annual from 1954. features Muffin the Mule, Prudence Kitten and Colonel Crock with added stories and picture strips about Tusker the elephant, Hank and Larry the Lamb among others. TV Comic Annual 1957 (far right of picture). For me, this wonderful annual sums up the 1950s! First story Muffin and the shampooing of old curly by Neville Main. Other stories include Prudence Kitten's pantomime, Larry and Dennis the helpful heroes by S. G. Hulme-Beaman, Mr. Pastry's racing car and Rag-Tag and Bobtail by Louise Cochrane. Also two stories by Enid Blyton Noddy and Father Christmas and A shock for Little Bom. 

Rag, Tag and Bobtail find the sea very scarce picture strip book published in 1954. Bobtail, the rabbit, is very fond of digging. One day, he begins to dig a new sort of hole, one that goes straight down! When Rag, the hedgehog, and Tag, the mouse ask him to play, he replies "No, I'm digging a special hole..." Larry the Lions fun & games book published in 1964. Popular children’s entertainer Terry Hall created Lenny the Lion – whose catchphrase was “Aw don’t embawass me” - in 1954. Lenny made his television début on the variety show Dress Rehearsal, which also featured Eric Sykes. Terry and Lenny then fronted The Lenny the Lion Show, Lenny’s Den and Pops and Lenny, appearing with The Beatles in 1963.They also starred in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show. Terry died in 2007, at the age of 80. Larry the Lamb has a picnic published by Purnell in 1972. Featuring Larry the Lamb, Danny the Dog and other inhabitants of Toytown.

Champion the Wonder Horse with Rebel, Ricky and Uncle Sandy published in 1958. Roy Rogers Comic Album 1949 with stories and colour picture strips. Fist story Roy Rogers king of the cowboys and the bighorn lode. Other stories include Nester's welcome and Roy rides the danger trail. Walt Disney's Davy Crockett published in 1950.

Sooty Keeps Shop published, 1954.  A Twirly book with a revolving wheel inside, showing 'moving pictures' on the TV on the front cover! Television's Teddy Bear Magician with illustrations by Tony Hart. Bleep and Booster Space Secret illustrated by Tim.  One story - Bleep and Booster's space secret, plus five pages of puzzles and games, including an underground journey, Flicka-movie and save Spinky! Bleep and Booster as seen on the BBC Blue Peter programme. The Basil Brush Cook Book  Published by Kaye and Ward in 1975. Basil Brush cooks up a storm with the help of Kit Broughton and Babette Cole. Lots of recipes, including chocolate crispies, coconut snowballs, fruit crumbly, hurry-up pudding, banger rockets, birthday buns and pic-pacs in the park.

Camberwick Green Annual published in 1975. Stories,  picture strips and games, including Farmer Bell's runaway sheep, Packet's picnic, Soldier-boys to the rescue, Dr. Mopp's party, and tug-of-war at the fete. More Barnaby Stories published in 1974. Written and illustrated by Georgina Hargreaves. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century published in 1981. Contains - the space slavers, Buck Rogers a short history, a race in space game and the missing element.

Pingwings A Flying Bird by Oliver Postage with illustrations by Babette Cole. This copy signed by Babette Cole. Published in 1978. Pingwings are birds so Pingwings can fly! What does it matter if they are made of wool and stuffed with stuffing? All Paul Pingwing needs is a few feathers, a launching-pad, and he is up taking tea with the doves in their elegant house on top of a pole. The Fraggles cooperate a Jim Henson Muppet book first edition published in 1989. Clangers - The Tablecloth published in 1993. The Froglets love their new home but how can they keep warm on such a chilly blue moon? Tiny and Small have some ideas.

Thanks for your visit; I hope you enjoyed this trip down TV's memory lane!

All the featured books are now sold, thank you for your interest.


Update July 2016: March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I do still blog here at March of Time Books and always appreciate your visit. 

35 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hello earthenmagic,thank you for calling in and leaving me with a smile!

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  2. Good morning dearest FRIEND! How I am enjoying this post, as you bring me my most precious memories of my earliest childhood. Though our TV shows were different, the similarities are that everything was NEW. The family dynamic that you describe is very much like mine. Sitting around the TV with family was exciting, with my father as well having much interest in the electronic age, what could be seen on it, the food surrounding these nightly events...and my greatest memory was watching the Ed Sullivan Show when my beloved BEATLES appeared! It was the beginning of what would be the WORLD in our living rooms.

    We had favorite childrens shows. For us, it was ROMPER ROOM, MISS SHERRY and LAMPCHOP and a slew of others. The books as well were different, but the art and sweetness of the stories I'm sure is similar.

    I wasn't around for the Queen's coronation yet, but my recollection of the death of President Kennedy is still fresh in my mind since I was just in kindergarten at that time but it struck our lives so vividly.

    Thank you for the memories sweet Barbara! Anita

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    1. Dear Antia, how lovely to hear from you and such an interesting comment too!

      Lambchop of course, how could I forget Lambchop and Shari Lewis? There really is no excuse as I have a picture of him (I assume he is a he??) on one of my Pinterest boards. I too remember the death of President Kennedy and the shock that was felt even in our small corner of the world. Martin Luther king’s speech was something else that was talked about for weeks. As for The Beatles what can I say? I wish I still had my collection of clippings, magazines and beer mats – but sadly, they were disposed of when Terry and I got married.

      I’ve seen bits of the Ed Sullivan Show but have not heard about Romper Room or Miss Sherry, something for me to investigate.

      I love hearing your memories Anita, thank you so much for sharing them. xx

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  3. Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories and this great collection of post-war books. I suppose rationing was still in effect when the Queen's Coronation happened, which could explain the spam and the beer for so many neighbors. How nice that your parents opened their home to others who didn't have a TV.

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    1. Hello Alex, it’s lovely to hear from you. I have a feeling meat was rationed until 1954. But living on a farm, we didn’t feel the restrictions as much as many other people did. I think my mum and dad just loved spam. They often had a tin for lunch long after the war. The cold spam would be thinly sliced and served with warm new potatoes and peas, straight from the garden. Maybe it reminded them of “the good old days”.
      I don’t think they had any option about opening their home once the news of the TV spread. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know half the people that were in the front room that day. They probably came from the neighbouring farms and villages.

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  4. Hi Barbara - I was so glad to get your comment yesterday and hear my post had cheered you up. Sometimes I also have 'down' days and they are always completely irrational - and then sometimes the most unexpected things can lift the spirits again!
    We only got TV for the first time in 1975 (the whole country, not just my family!) so I missed out on most of these shows. I knew Bill and Ben and Andy Pandy from children's annuals but never got to see them outside of books.
    I had a beautiful book commemorating the Queen's coronation (I was born in 1959 so my mom must have had it for a while before she gave it to me.) It had a padded cream coloured cover with gold embossed writing (not flashy though - very tastefully placed at the top) with a crown and coat of arms. I loved it but although Ive searched and searched I don't seem to have it anymore. One of the ladies in waiting who held up the Queen's train at the coronation was S African and was either related to my mom or a close friend. I think she was given the book as a memento of the occasion and passed it on to my mom who in turn gave it to me - but of course as a child it was just a book of pretty pictures and I never gave it a thought of having any value!

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    1. Hello Sharon, I called in at your blog at exactly the right time! Its strange how ‘down’ days strike from nowhere and for no reason, but I felt a lot better after visiting you. Your pictures certainly lifted my spirits.
      Your description of the Queen’s Coronation book is really scratching at the edges of my brain! Do you ever get that feeling when something sounds so familiar, but you just can’t think why? I’m absolutely sure I’ve seen a book with the exact covers you describe but for the life of me I can’t think when or where. It’s probable I’ve just seen something like it but the covers certainly sound familiar. I’ve been trying to see if I could find out anything about it online – but without success. What I did find was a reference to the ladies in waiting, and I wondered if any of the names might be familiar to you.
      [Attached to the shoulders of her dress, the Queen wore the Robe of State, a 5.5 metre (6 yard) long, hand woven silk velvet cloak lined with Canadian ermine that required the assistance of the Queen's maids of honour— Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Lady Anne Coke, Lady Moyra Himilton, Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill and the Duchess of Devonshire – to carry].
      It would be lovely if you could find out more.
      Thanks for calling in Sharon, I always enjoy 'chatting' to you. Barbara.

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    2. Hi again Sharon, I've just found a fascinating newspaper article abut the ladies in waiting 60 years on http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2309793/The-Queen-asked-Ready-girls-The-Coronation-maids-honour-reunite-60-years-share-memories-day.html

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    3. That was good timing finding that link - what an interesting read - but at the same time I looked at all those VERY high born ladies and thought straight away my memory bank must be playing tricks on me - I can't see how anyone in my world could have any connection to such blue blood nobility - and yet I have such a vivid recollection of my mother pointing one of them out to me with a great sense of pride - very curious!

      I was also interested to see you too have a recollection of the book - I've also searched online for it but there is no trace that I can find - in the vastness of the web I would have thought ONE person would post some kind of reference but so far nothing has turned up. With luck one of us might stumble across something one day - look out for it for me next time you go book hunting!

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    4. Hi Sharon, I don’t think your memory is playing tricks. I’m pretty sure most of the nobility spend large chunks of their time living a normal life so it’s very likely your mum or one of her friends was connected to one of them. Look at Lady Di, she led a (relatively) ordinary life before become Princess Di!

      I really wish I could go back and ask my mum questions, and I’m willing to bet you feel the same. Mum used to tell me really interesting things, but I was too young to listen.

      Keep looking for ‘your’ book, and I will do the same, you never know one of us might locate a copy.

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  5. Growing up in Canda we didn't get all the same shows. We also didn't get TV until the early 1960's(on the farm. (The city kids already had TV by then). I seem to remember Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men. Of course we did get Roy Rogers and Davy Crocket. Its funny what we do remember isn't it.

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    1. It certainly is Darlene! Every box or auction lot I buy contains memories. Thanks for calling in. Barbara

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  6. I don't recall ever seeing Sooty- but it does look cute. I found the book tie-ins fascinating. I didn't get to watch a lot of tv when I was little- but Sesame Street and Little House on the Prairie were big hits with me- and I read books that tied in to both. :)

    Now I will have the Davy Crocket song in my head all day (I was in a Davy Crocket play in elementary school). Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hello Stephanie, Sooty is incredibly cute and very popular in the UK. Our son used to watch Sesame Street, but I don’t think he was into Little House.
      I know what you mean about Davy Crocket, I’ve been singing it for days, and I’m very happy to share it!!

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  7. Growing up in the 70s I'm not familiar with these shows. I loved reading your post though, and I enjoyed hearing about your memories about the Queen's coronation :)
    Hope you are having a lovey weekend, Barbara!

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    1. Thank you Hilde! It’s been a gorgeous sunny weekend, and I’ve been out and about buying lots of lovely books. I hope the sun is shining for you.

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  8. I've never heard of Sooty but it seems just delightful to grow up with. Maybe like Lambchop or Mr. Rogers for me. ;-)
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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    1. Hello Jamie, I don't know Mr Rogers but I loved Lambchop - I forgot to mention him on this post. Thanks for calling in, Barbara

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  9. Hello Barbara! I don't know any of those books and characters but I love watching their illustrations as I always do with your wonderful posts. Interesting memories about your first TV. I also remember black and white TV...we can not lie about our age...haha.
    Besos!

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    1. I'm so please you enjoyed the pictures Silvina, thank you for taking the time to let me know.
      I'm afraid my memories give me away all the time! :)

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  10. Some of these I've never heard of, while others were my closest of friends growing up. How I love your blog and this post is very endearing to me because of the memories.

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    1. Thank you Donna, that is such a lovely thing to say! xx

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  11. Great post Barbara! Some of these are new to me also. I must admit I also remember black and white TV, vaguely!

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    1. Thanks Diane! Black and white TV seems to have made an impact on quite a few of us, but with different programmes showing in different parts of the world.

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  12. A belated happy birthday Sooty, looking good at 65.

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    1. Yes, I wish I looked that good! Thanks for calling in.

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  13. Some favourites of mine here... Sooty (who I met at Granada Studios years ago!), Basil Brush and a BIG favourite of mine... Fraggle Rock!

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann there must be a blog post in that Granada Studios visit. Do tell!

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  14. I absolutely love this post.
    Sooty was a favourite of mine too -
    and still going strong after all these years : )

    I dread to think what recipies lay hidden in
    the pages of that Basil Brush book!

    I love all the books you have for sale -
    some beautiful Alice in Wonderland's there.

    Have a lovely day Barabara :)

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    1. Thanks Yvonne you just made my day. It’s always difficult to judge what to include so it’s lovely to know you enjoyed this post.

      Hurry-up pudding, banger rockets, birthday buns and pic-pacs in the park and just some of the delights in Basil’s cookbook!

      I’ve just spent an enjoyable half hour over at your blog. I was very impressed with your ‘photos and loved reading about you and Shadow.

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  15. So excited to see the 'More Barnaby Stories' book - here in Canada he was called 'Jeremy' - I loved that TV show. :)

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    1. I didn’t know that! I’m to Google to see if I can find a copy of Jeremy.
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

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  16. Barbara, we don't share the same memory lane but I've thoroughly enjoyed walking down yours today. So many glorious books & TV shows! I love the 'Aww, don't embawass me' catchphrase, and storyline in Clangers - The Tablecloth.

    An aside: I picked up a Graham Oakley Church Mice book today and laughed aloud while reading it at the library. I remember you talking about this series, and thought I'd just drool over the pictures for a while. It wasn't just the pictures that were delicious, but the humour in those mice and the pristinely English mood that I've loved since childhood as well. Thank you for bringing this series across my radar!

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    1. Welcome back Claudine, I hope the time spent in your revision cave was productive?
      Thank you for joining in my trip it’s nice to have company!
      What can I say about the Church Mice? I just love them. I’m so glad you found them entertaining. You are right about the stories they are every bit as good as the pictures.
      Thank you so much for calling in today, I've missed you. Barbara x

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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