To actually give a simple answer as to why I have spent all my life either playing or collecting this stuff is difficult. Obviously as a child the telly acted as a sort of surrogate baby-sitter which my Mum or Nan could plonk me front of and go off and do the washing or housework. As most small children’s attention span is never very long they made sure my ‘babysitters’ were of a variety to interest and excite me for at least half-an-hour or so. To this end I was brought up by Batman, Napoleon Solo and various members of WASP, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE and SPECTRUM!
To further keep me out of the adults hair I was bought much of the related merchandise from all of these shows given the interest I clearly showed in them even before I was fully communicative I’m sure. I really can’t remember a time when I never had THUNDERBIRDS toys and one of my first memories was of CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS coming on the telly and my badgering my parents for the various bits and pieces I had seen in the shops when been out with them. As these shows were so popular and as the were screened into the 1970s my passion for them and the related memorabilia continued and was so strong that it continued into my teens when I began to look upon myself as a collector rather than a ‘kid who plays with toys’.
Despite this I still now as a middle-aged bloke get them all out regularly “Just to see they are all ship shape and just to see the batteries still work mind!!” The toys were always so close to the things I was seeing on screen in my eyes as a child and it has to be said a great deal of them still look very good to my perhaps more critical adult. Regardless of how it all began or why I just love these things and take great pleasure sharing them with other like-minded folk and with this in mind Paul asked me to put together a few little anecdotes and comments along with some accompanying imagery. CENTURY 21 MERCHANDISE IS GO!
Let's kick off with the magnificent Sam Loover's Saloon (Ed.). Although not as flashy as the larger 'Joe 90 Car' Century 21's Sam Loover's car was a big one for me as a kid. It did very little. No missile firing facility, ejector seat or anything which the one on the TV show didn't do but toy manufacturers thought kids would want. A friction drive, an opening bonnet with chromed engine and a Sam Loover figure driving it. All the same this little toy was a thrill when I got one for my birthday in April 1970. It is perhaps testament to Mike Trim's glorious but simplistic design that it still holds such appeal when it offers none of the 'jazz' of say the ZERO-X or remote control Thunderbird 1 toy produced by the same company. More to follow tomorrow. Watch this space. F.A.B!