As we discussed in tonight's radio SWORDcast about Ellisdons jokes and tricks, here's an article I did a few years back in 2011:
Ellisdons were a cornerstone of my childhood. They were a UK mail-order alladin's cave for kids based in Bedford. I can't describe the sense of anticipation I felt after sending off my order and postal order, then waiting for my goodies to arrive. I can still feel the thrill I had when the Ellisdons parcel came in the post to reveal fabulous tricks, jokes and novelties. I was lucky enough a couple of years ago to get hold of a couple of 1960's catalogues and I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favourite items from them.
The Jivara Shrunken Head was a firm favourite of mine, which I'm sure you can still get somewhere now. Basically a soft plastic head with nylon hairr dangling on an elastic. And like the rubber severed finger below it could always be found in my monster-filled bedroom in the Sixties!
Ellisdon's were brilliant for pots and containers with secret contents. Two such items were the Box of Pills above and the Arabian Pot with Skull below. I'll never forget showing this one my Dad and nearly giving him a heart attack when he opened the lid! What fun!
And just in case you want to order something. here's an original order form! Only kidding, Ellisdons is sadly no more.
Below we have some Teachers pets and Moon Creatures!
And the famous Ellisdon's masks and disguises included amazing new words like Chalimeff and Beatnik.
My childhood, like many I imagine, was full of toy guns. They were everywhere [very non-PC] and Ellisdons offered dozens of them, which my older brothers sent off for. I can still feel the cold metal heft of the stubbed Outlaw Flash and the fabulous silencered Police Patrol pictured below.
And Mum and Dad didn't miss out as they also had 'guns' - the pirate pistol fag lighter seen here! In those days everyone seemed to smoke!
Ellisdon's were also great for Xmas prezzies for rellies! I can so remember sending off for the Keep A Key for my Dad one Christmas. Loads of his presents were for his car! And just compare that Car Compass with today's Sat Nav!
Here's the other catalogue I have with a Paul McCartney lookalike posting his order in the big red post box!
It features this cool radar head gun and a page of assorted toys including what looks like the original Lilly doll, the forerunner to Barbie!
But probably my favourite Ellisdons toy was the Restless Spirit, a small plastic magnetic skeleton which jiggled about on its coffin. I can't find a piccy of it but King Tut seen below works on the same principle. Wonderful!
Anyone else send off to Ellisdons?