Tuesday, 30 June 2020

BLIMPS & FLIVVERS - OR FRIENDS REUNITED (UPDATED)...



It's funny the imagination we have as kids, don't you think?  We seem to be able to visualise impossible, unlikely, or even contradictory scenarios in the 'ideas factory' of our minds.  Our brains don't have much (if any) difficulty in running along two different trains of thought at the same time, even if reason and common sense dictate that those 'trains' shouldn't be able to run on tracks so closely parallel to one another without risking a collision when they reach the junction (metaphorically speaking). No, it's not a perfect analogy, but you know what I mean.

Which is a rather grandiose (pretentious even?) way of setting the scene for the simple subject matter of this latest post, but let's stick with it for a just a little longer. In my vast and diverse collection of DVDs, there's one entitled A FLINTSTONE CHRISTMAS.  Haven't watched it since I first owned it in VHS format around 30 years ago, but if I recall correctly, FRED and BARNEY stand in for SANTA (who's caught a cold) in order to deliver presents that year.  Even in their comic strips and mags, the Flinststones have been depicted celebrating the Festive Season.

The obvious problem with just such a scenario, however, is that the Stone Age occurred long, long before the birth of CHRIST, so Christmas didn't exist back in Fred and Barney's time.  But why let that little fact get in the way of a story though, eh?  Kids would probably be unaware of the dichotomy of the situation because, presumably, they're more willing to accept whatever's presented to them without analysing it for mistakes or contradictions (or some other reason).

Whatever the cause, when I was a kid I was the same when it came to contriving adventures for two of my toys to embark on as a duo.  I often sat on the back step of my house and dreampt up stories involving my Fred figure from my MARX Toys FLINTSTONE FLIVVER, and Santa from my LP Toys SPACE BLIMP Of CHRISTMAS.  (Yes, I'm back to that again - it arrived today.)  It never occurred to me that the characters couldn't co-exist in the same 'reality', so that never got in the way of the imaginary escapades I created for them. 

Note that the pattern on Fred's Flivver is almost a perfect
match with my kitchen worktop in the above photo 

Now, at the back step of every home I've ever lived in we kept the same 'shoe scraper' grate, which came with us whenever we moved house.  In the one I then lived in, I'd sit with my feet on the grate while Fred and Santa (the Unlikely Duo) palled about in whatever situation I mentally placed them (mental being an appropriate word in my case).  That grate sits at the back door of my present abode (though now it's an inner back door as we closed off the once open back porch, which has another door), so I thought I'd rope it in for a photo opportunity in order to provide this post with some pictorial content.

I managed to obtain a replacement for my Flintstone Flivver around 20 years or so ago, and I bought the replacement for the Blimp on Sunday (as I said, it arrived today).  Originally, there was a gap of around five or six years between my '60s possession of these two toys, though they met their demise at the same time in the '70s.  It's good to see two old 'pals' reunited, and although they might be only two lumps of lifeless plastic to you, to me they're family and it's great to see them together again.

Okay, doctor, I've finished typing - just let me hit 'publish' and then you can take me back to the nut-hut.  Flibble!

But before I go, let me ask you Crivs a question that I've asked before, but I'll ask again for the benefit of any new readers (though older ones can answer it again if they want to).  Is there a particular toy from your childhood that you'd love to own again, and what specific memories does it conjure up in your mind?  The comments section is ravenous, so please feed it as much as you like.


Update: As you can see in the above photos, in common with a lot of '60s toys made in Hong Kong, the paint job on mass-produced items was seldom administered neatly.  Although the Space Blimp had clearly never been played with (as witnessed by the fact that the reindeer head, etc., were still untouched in their bags), Santa's beard, gloves and fur trim had been painted with not much precision.  I therefore gave them a minor touch-up to improve their cosmetic appeal, while not going overboard so that they retained the 'spirit' of their '60s appearance.  Take a look below and compare the 'before and after' photos .

Of course, some collectors will be aghast, believing as they do that toys should be left in their original state even if slightly inferior, but I prefer to put my 'stamp' on them (only when 'corrective' work is required) so that it then becomes my toy, as opposed to a generic example of its kind.  I wouldn't advise just anyone to do this, but I'm a dab hand with a brush (as you'll know if you've seen my built and painted model kits on the blog) and I'm of the opinion that a toy is much improved after any 'remedial' tinkering by me.  You can judge for yourselves. 


15 comments:

Terranova47 said...

Probably my favourite book as a child was The Cruise of the Condor by W.E. Johns. It was the first Biggles novel I ever read and owned, still have my copy. The Condor was a seaplane that was used in this Amazon River adventure.

Tudor Rose made a plastic high wing seaplane with a clockwork motor on the top that powered the air screw and I have fond memories of sending the aircraft off across a local pond. It was large enough to go with 1/32 toy soldiers so had great play value.

It would be nice to own that toy again, only saw it once on eBay at a ridiculous amount.

Kid said...

Yes, unfortunately some sellers do ask ridiculous prices, T47, and I've paid more than I'd have liked to on occasion. However, I'd rather have some items than the money, so I just bit the bullet and forked out. In the case of the Blimp though, I got it for far less than I was prepared to pay, so it's a case of swings and roundabouts. You just don't see this toy very often and I doubt I'll ever see another.

Hopefully, your 'plane will pop up again at a more reasonable price. I have a few Biggles books myself and am pretty sure that The Cruise Of The Condor is amongst them. Incidentally, I read a Biggles book two or three years back and much enjoyed it.

Terranova47 said...

My Biggles books are my back-up read. Even though I've read them countless times most are just great fun to reread with unremembered details.

They were my introduction to AIRFIX kits of WW1 aircraft back in the 5o's.

Kid said...

You can't beat a bit of Biggles! Hey, I've invented a new catchphrase. Apparently, W.E. Johns didn't write some of the later books - they were ghost-written by someone else.

Terranova47 said...

The last Biggles book that was not finished as the author died while writing it was Biggles Does Some Homework. When it was finally published by a fan in limited numbers the ending was surmised by a few different fans.

As the later stories are pretty formulated they could have been written by someone else but there is no proof of this as the writers notes would indicate he plotted them all.

Kid said...

Is it possible he plotted them all, but that someone else did the 'finished' writing on some of them, T47? It happens quite regularly I'm led to understand.

Fantastic Four follower said...

Dear Terranova 47:When I was a kid in the late 60's a friend of the family was clearing out their sons book collection as he was off to college.The family gave my dad tons of books which included Famous 5,Secret 7,Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators etc all hardback and greatly appreciated by our family of SEVEN who all loved reading! A big thanks to our friends who also included a comic annual adaptation of that Biggles book, Cruise of the Condor! A fantastic book with lovely drawings and a spe tacular splash halfway through of Biggles and chums(there's a word from the past!) emerging from a tunnel to a spectacular view of mountains which stuck in my head basically forever! Anyway, here is the rub. Managed to locate this childhood gem from yesteryear and when I went to look for it, I found 2 copies! In the spirit of how I received my copy in the 1960s would you like my extra copy? Happy to send it to you, all I need is an address.Any friend of Kid is a friend of mine! Best wishes.

rob diablo said...

There are a few, a rubber ugly (looked a bit like a lion, it had black spikey hair,and its tongue was sticking out!) which I've not managed to track down yet,the JR Thunderbird 2, a Triang crane, and Triang Search light Lorry,Bob Monkhouse 'Mad Movies' Projector, Dinky Shado Interceptor..First one I'm getting is the Corgi Major ford Tilt cab from around 1967, then a few Matchbox Kingsize ones, Especially the orange cement mixer.

Kid said...

That's very generous of you, Triple F, and I'm sure that T47 will appreciate it. If he accepts your kind offer (he may already have the Annual), you can send me your email address (which I won't publish), and I'll send it to him so that he can contact you direct. What a nice bunch of Crivs you all are.

******

There's still a few I want as well, RD. A red ball with stars moulded onto it, a Santa on skis cake topper, a stuffed Santa pet toy, a Corgi Corvette Stingray, a JR21 TB1 & TB3 (as well as the Kellogg's ones), and one or two other items. I'd say the ball is going to be hardest to track down, as it comes from the late '50s/early '60s.

Terranova47 said...

That is a Fantastic Offer from Fantastic Four follower! While I do have a copy of The Cruise of the Condor illustrated version, my copy is beaten up and was badly printed with poor ink coverage, kept simply because it reduced the book in a style similar to a movie story board.

I'm located in the US and will be delighted to take up the offer provided I'm allowed to reimburse the postage if from the UK.

The same publisher also did The Black Peril and possibly Biggles Breaks the Silence, Biggles Hunts Big Game in illustrated form.

Kid said...

There you go, Triple F - offer gratefully accepted. Send me your email address (which, as I said, I won't publish) and I'll get T47 to get in touch with you to arrange things. And thanks again for your generosity.

Phil S said...

I definitely recall I had a Major Matt Mason. Would love him to come back. But he had a wire frame and after a while the wires would break and poke you. So... some toys would be better updated.

Kid said...

Also, the paint peeled off his rubber body in no time. Tom Hanks was supposed to be doing a Matt Mason movie, PS - that might've led to a whole lotta merchandise. I'd like to see him reissued, looking pretty much the same, but with a better form of articulation.

rob diablo said...

Hi Kid, That red ball is going to be difficult, i guess the obscure things are the hardest to track down, i forgot about MMM, i have a Callisto, which i love, Scorpio would be good, although expensive.

Kid said...

I had my original red ball from my earliest days, right up until I got rid of it along with Fred, Santa, and other toys - which I now totally regret. So yes, it's going to be difficult to find another, but never say never. I've got three Callistos and three Major Matt Masons, but only one each of Doug Davis and Sgt. Storm.

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