Thursday, 28 March 2019
DID YOU HAVE A JR21 THUNDERBIRD 2? (UPDATED)...
Regular readers of this blog may be forgiven for labouring under the impression that I was a spoiled child in my younger years. After all, I've previously related a few reminiscences about looking into shop windows and asking my mother to buy me a particular toy, only for her to acquiesce to my earnest pleas. However, this is a totally false impression, as the number of times I was refused far outweighs the few times I got a result. On two separate occasions a couple of years apart, my entreaties to my parents to buy me a CECIL COLEMAN SUPERCAR were rebuffed in no uncertain terms (as were my requests for various other things in between). I'd first spied the toy on an end-of-aisle display in my local SAFEWAY, but my mother was resolute and declined to buy it for me.
The second time I laid eyes on it was in Glasgow's famous BARRAS market and, despite costing less than its Safeway doppelganger, the answer was still a resounding no. When I eventually managed to obtain one decades later, it cost me a whopping £350. So rest assured, I didn't always (or even nearly always) get what I wanted whenever I asked, it's just that, in relating these tales from childhood, I've chosen the few-and-far-between instances when the answer was yes, but taken out of context, it looks like "yes" was the answer a disproportionate number of times.
Which brings me to a day trip to Ayr with my family in 1967 or '68. We were sitting on a bench in a park near the seafront, when I spotted a fellow youth running over the neatly-kept lawned areas on either side of the pathway, holding aloft an actual THUNDERBIRD 2. I immediately coveted it and drew my mother's attention to the wondrous toy. Maybe she was feeling guilty about all the things my brother got and decided to redress the balance by purchasing a toy for me. (Now he was spoiled; cycles, cycle accessories, all sorts of stuff, you name it - if he wanted it, it seems, in the distant caverns of memory, that he got it.) She asked the boy where he had obtained the TB2 and he pointed to a shop across the road, and faster than a fart from The FLASH, I was the proud owner of a JR21 Thunderbird 2. It was a magnificent toy to someone of my age, and I have many happy memories of it. I even took it in to school one day and the teacher put it on display on top of a shelf next to the blackboard, as I looked on proudly at the apple of my eye.
I remember playing with it in bed (right, any more of that, you lot, and you'll be ejected), and it was probably my favourite toy - at least until another favourite toy came along. It was fragile though, and one of the 'pegs' which kept the pod door in place eventually broke, and I had to fashion a replacement peg out of cardboard in order to maintain the door's functionality. Eventually, TB2 must have been sent to the place where all the other discarded toys of my childhood went to (toy heaven), where they doubtless sat around moaning about what a careless, fickle, cruel and heartless owner I'd been.
Anyway, today I received a long-overdue replacement for that JR21 TB2. If you had one of these as a kid, you may remember a slight sense of disappointment when you opened the box and found an out-of-scale plastic jeep in place of an actual Thunderbirds vehicle. (That's the one I had also.) However, take a look at the photo above and seethe with jealousy. What you're looking at is one of the rarer versions that contained a TB4, which makes it immensely rare, hugely collectable and ridiculously expensive. There were only a few hundred ever produced with the TB4 and I've got one. Or at least I would have if I wasn't lying through my teeth in order to induce feelings of envy, frustration, and lust in your heavily-palpitating breasts. Yes, that's right, I'm kidding - the TB4 is one that came free with packets of KELLOGG'S SUGAR SMACKS back in the '60s. (Had you going there for a moment, eh?) Looks the part though, doesn't it? This is the way the toy should've been issued back then, instead of with a poxy little jeep, don't you agree?
And yet... and yet... that wee jeep was part of my childhood and I'd like to own it again. My newly-arrived TB2 came in its original box but sans jeep and I won't be completely (but temporarily) fulfilled until I can once more place it in its pod where it belongs. If I'd been prepared to spend around £120 more, I could have bought one with a jeep, but it's not quite worth that (or anywhere near it) - not in my view anyway. So, dear readers, do any of you have a spare JR21 jeep you'd be prepared to sell me at a reasonable price? If so, get in touch via the comments section and help me reunite my TB2 with its little green (or was it brown?) vehicle. Then we can all live happily ever after. (Wouldn't that be nice?)
And, in answer to PS's request (see comments section), below is someone else's TB2 along with the original jeep. Shame its wings are on backwards, eh? (The TB2, not the jeep.)
Update: And below, in a photo taken nearly 50 years after the event, is the very classroom in which my TB2 was displayed back in the '60s. In my day, it had more traditional desks (ones with lids and inkwells) and wooden seats, and my toy sat on the left (as we look at it) of the blackboard, on top of the shelf. Can't quite recall if that smaller, narrow bookcase just under the clock was there in my day, but it could well have been - in which case (and if there was space) my TB2 would've sat in front of it. I do remember books on top of the shelf though (one of which was MARY POPPINS, and another, one of the OZ books I think), so they may have sat in that bookcase.
I took this photo, amongst many others, towards the end of 2013, and the school was demolished at the beginning of 2014. I wish I'd obtained my replacement toy back then, as you can bet your boots I'd have placed it on the shelf before taking the photo, just to re-create the moment. Never mind, at least the two images co-exist in the same post, which is the next best thing.
Another update: Still haven't managed to track down an original jeep, but I was able to secure a 'stand-in', though it isn't an exact double. However, for display purposes, it looks pretty good - and I reckon that if you had this toy as a kid but hadn't seen one in years, you probably wouldn't know the jeep was an 'impostor'.
Posted by Kid at Thursday, March 28, 2019