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Sunday, 28 October 2012

My Worzel Gummidge Toys




Auction Listing:  

"This worzil gummidge and aunty sally are approx 11 inches long. Aunt Sally is a hand puppet. she is in played with condition with signs of age wear but still a fun blast from the past. Worzil is a soft toy made by Pedigree. he is in played with but good condition with some slight playwear but nothing to ruin him."
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I think it's worth noting that there are also String and hand Puppet versions of these toys available as well as soft toy versions, also by Pedigree:  


These vintage puppets of Worzel and Aunt Sally. Dated on the back of the box 1979.

I guess I now have an excuse to find the hand Puppet Version of Worzel and the soft toy version of Aunt Sally, so I'll have 2 thirds of the set!)

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Britain's Worzel Gummidge playset:

I found it interesting to note that this set was made in the Early to mid- 1980s, in Britain's Ltd. their factory in Blackhorse Lane, walthamstow E17, which oddly is a 10 mins (approx) walk from where we were living when my Brother Carl was given this playset one Christmas. I adored this set as much as he did, I was never allowed to play at being Worzel Though, only Aunt Sally, but I was allowed to choose which head Worzel should wear so it wasn't all bad! 

Britains Ltd. Made loads of figures, playsets, fencing and add ons for their "Farmyard" series, and this set was made to be a part of that. 

Carl had the coolest farmyard, it was made out of wood by our "Grunk" (Uncle Den) and it was filled with practically every figure Britains made, as well as a load of  Britain's and Corgi vehicles  Being able to add Worzel and Aunt Sally to the set was just awesome, and really opened up the scope of our imaginations, we were now able to "act out" scenes from our favourite episodes as well as incorporate other items from the farm, and even the scarecrow figure into the game as "extras"!

Sadly although this Playset was a much loved part of the Farmyard, I have no idea what happened to it, or the Farmyard itself and since seeing the prices of individual items recently, I've pretty much given up on getting any of that back...

To be honest though, I didn't remember that this set was by "Britain's" until very recently (this week in fact!) I just assumed it was a Thames TV Toy that we just used alongside the "Farm Toys" as this makes more sense!




The point is, here it is, I won this one last night, the Auction photo of it is above, it's way too soon to receive it  and take my own photos yet, but I just had to about it blog anyway!

 The figure I managed to bag is complete, except for the packaging, but that just means that someone else has also had happy memories given to them by this toy!

Worzel comes with his "Scarecrow Resting Post" which has 3 holes in the base to hold his "Thinking Head", "Dancing Head" and "Handsome Head"s and his beloved Aunt Sally, which is about all you need! 

Especially if you already have a farmyard full of people and animals which can easily become "Scatterbrook" at any time!

Photo taken from another seller's listing on Ebay

 Here is one still in it's original packaging, Oddly, I don't actually remember seeing it like this before.

Close up of Packaging Top...
 Package top states:

 Not for under 3 Years. Britains WORZEL GUMMIDGE, The famous T.V Scarecrow With "SwopOver" Heads And Aunt Sally. the text is written in English, French and German, so I assume Worzel was also shown on T.V in those Countries during the Late 1970s / Early 1980s and this toy was also distributed there.

Close up of Toy Itself in packaging  Protective / Viewing Bubble

Worzel is wearing his "Ordinary Head". To remove his "extra" heads, you had to twist them off the top of the scarecrow post, take the head he's already wearing between your forefinger and thumb and slightly twist whilst pulling upwards, then just change over heads and push down... Ready for a new adventure!


Photo of back of package; instructions in English, French & German




The back of the package reads:



 "BRITAIN'S WORZEL GUMMIDGE"



Here he is, the roguish scarecrow who keeps watch over Ten Acre Field in the famous Television Show "Worzel Gummidge".
We've modelled him with his ladylove Aunt Sally so you can relive their adventures on Scatterbrook farm with the children from the caravan, the Crowman who made him, the robin who nests in his shirt and the hedgehog he uses as a comb.

Your model features his famous swapover heads. There's his dancing head, for his more frivolous moods. His handsome head for impressing Aunt Sally. And his thinking head, which gets him out of  many a tight situation. Keep his heads in the base of his stand, and swap them over when you want. And remember, Worzel's to the same scale as Britain's farm animals and Vehicles. So start building up your very own Scatterbrook Farm right away. And make Worzel feel at home.



The packet also shows diagrams of his heads and stand, and how to use them.

Aunt Sally is moulded into one position, as is Worzel himself, but oddly, this never got in the way of our "Worzel Adventures"!




P.s. If you're a "Horror Film Buff" (like me) you may want to watch out for Worzel (soft bodied Pedigree doll version) making his film Horror Film Debut in "Inbred" - set in the Yorkshire Dales,  which is not only a very amusing film, but also showcases Dominic Brunt (Paddy in Emmerdale) in a way I never thought was possible!





The above is a still from the film and if you look closely you can just see Worzel propped up on the left side of the mirror watching "Jim" as he applies his face paint. He appears to be the larger version of the 1979 Pedigree soft bodied Worzel doll, wearing a blue checked shirt and brown trousers as you can see / compare with the image below - which I've cropped from the photo at the start of this post, which shows several of the soft bodied dolls and puppets in the Pedigree Toys line during that time.





**** UPDATE ****

                                                
Since writing this post way back in October 2012, I have acquired another Worzel for my collection:

He's another soft bodied Pedigree doll, but very different to my original brown suited one as seen in my first picture...






Apart from the obvious colour difference in their trousers and jackets and the fact this "new" one is sadly missing his scarf, their shirts are also different shades, my first one has a tan brown checked shirt whereas his one's shirt is more like a dull orange check, they also have patches on different sides and their face paint is also slightly different, this one has a thinner face and a greener shade to his skin, he also has slightly different facial features. 




 The other difference is the brown outfitted Worzel's hat is secured to his head (possibly glued on) whereas the black suited one is wearing a removable hat.

The differences while at first not apparent, are very noticeable when the two Worzels are placed side by side.   

The brown suited Worzel stands at approx.  11cm tall, my new black suited one is a good two top three inches shorter, hence the smaller facial proportions I suspect. 

As I haven't had a chance to measure him up yet, I'm guessing he stands at around 9 inches tall, but of course I will have to update this information when I find out for sure.

I have found it next to impossible to find any information on this range of toys on the internet or even just to fin out how many versions were made, what I did find however, which I thought was very interesting; although I'm not sure how accurate it is, is a thread on an New Zealand based forum where they were discussing these toys and one of the things they mentioned was that he black suited one I now own was sold exclusively in New Zealand!

So if any of you out there have any other info' on these cute little fellas I'd be very happy to hear from you. :) 

Hugs,

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