We tend to think of the kitsch Christmas gift as a modern phenomenon driven by the Chinese engine of industry where natural resources are harvested and then transformed into said products . Actually, this isn't the case; witness this charming advert from 1928 where one could purchase a kitsch present for the telephone owner:-
I am sure all the telephone aficionados whom are reading this blog post will be ruminating as to whether or not the pictured candlestick telephone is a No. 2, a No. 4 or a No. 10 - me, I cannot help but ruminate on the pained expression worn by the face of the cat cosy!
Rumour has it that a fellow from my home town ( - where we lived at different times three streets apart - ) was in Blackpool in 1948 looking for a similar telephone cosy but instead bought the original yellow bear glove puppet, then called Teddy, in a novelty shop on the end of the resort's North Pier for seven shillings and six pence (7s/6d) (equivalent 37½p). Later he used soot to blacken its ears and nose before renaming the puppet Sooty. Inspired by the telephone cosy's grimace an idea formulated and as an already stage experienced illusionist and magician, the Sooty act was born and Harry Corbett gained fame and fortune as Sooty's sidekick!
Sooty premiered in the 1952 BBC TV show, Talent Night and following critical acclaim, he, along with Corbett was given a part in Saturday Special , another TV programme, hosted by Peter Butterworth who later went on to star in many Carry on Films. Sooty, along with Corbett, soon had his own show and was a regular favourite with children throughout the 1950s and '60s where his slapstick antics, interspersed with magic tricks generally culminated in a grand finale where Corbett was drenched with water!
Well, its Christmas Morning and I hear Mrs Mullard Magic still wearing her curlers and a ridiculous pair of false reindeer antlers sternly calling me to, "Izzy wizzy, let's get busy" so "Bye bye everybody! Bye bye!" and a Merry Christmas to one and all!
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- Tags: candlestick telephone, GPO No 10, harry corbett, izzy wizzy, prostate examination, sooty, telephone cosy