Never Mind the Adverts Pt13 – 1979 Big Trak

Welcome to the latest Never Mind The Adverts Here Are The Toys!

Time to take a look at a toy that I always wanted as a kid but never had. Now, as an adult collector, I can finally say I have one! The original box is in a sorry state but the vehicle works perfectly (just needs a replacement bulb for the photon torpedo). After a good clean up and a trip to the shops to buy a monster load of batteries, I had the Big Trak following my commands along the kitchen floor like a good one. Oh, and the thing was so noisy it set off the neighbour’s dog upstairs barking.

Welcome to the world of the mighty electronic Big Trak!



BIG TRAK (US) or Bigtrak (Europe) was a computerised toy vehicle created by Milton Bradley in 1979. This six-wheeled tank-like space monster came with attractive decals, a front-mounted blue photon beam headlamp and an integrated programmable keypad that remembered up to 16 commands which it then executed in sequence. The US version was moulded in grey plastic while the European version was white. A companion unit was sold separately – the Big Trak Transporter – a trailer which could be attached to the rear that carried and dumped loads in response to Big Trak’s pre-programmed commands. Big Trak was relaunched in 2010 by Zeon Ltd who produced replicas of the original.








Hamleys. UK. 1983.


Thanks for requiring batteries with us  🙂  Join us again soon for another edition of Never Mind The Adverts!

Vintage Wooden Toys and Puzzles

Traditional, sturdy and perfect for inquisitive hands and minds, wooden toys and puzzles have proved themselves to be an enduring early-years toy for generations of families. The push-along baby-walker loaded with bricks, the wooden train set, the shape-sorter, trikes and rocking horses, the Steinmeier post WWII material and jobs shortage-inspired wood puzzles with their grab handles – I’ll bet most of us had at least one of these as a child?

Below is a selection of catalogue scans for brands such as Steinmeier, Brio and Tiger Toys. Click images to go bigger. Thanks for looking.

Steinmeier wooden toys. Fair-Play. 1980. France.

Steinmeier wooden toys. 1980. Fair-Play. France.

Brio. Fair-Play. France. 1980.

Brio. Fair-Play. France. 1980.

Brio. Hamleys. 1983. UK.

Hamleys. France. 1983.

Hamleys. France. 1983.

Hamleys. France. 1983.

Hamleys. 1983. UK.

Writers of the world your carriage awaits

Petite – the written world at your small fingertips

1980. Fair-Play. France.

How many of us began our mechanical word journeys on a Petite typewriter? In the 80s I didn’t have a Petite, but I did inherit my auntie’s Scout typewriter that she used for college in the 60s – a small, compact, pastel blue thing of some elegance and which weighed a ton. I wonder how many times my fingers pushed those creamy white keys, how my ears attuned to the striking of hammers against the ribbon onto the page?

The Scout was dethroned by an early 90s electronic word processor, a Brother, which weighed two tons and took up all the space on my desk. It came with a screen about the size of a  letterbox on a front door and could save to floppy disks as well as print. Both the manual and electronic machines served me well as a young writer, popping out page after page of poems and stories (of which a certain few were published. And there is a charm now to that old-school way of submitting typed work by post with an SAE that you had to do back then – but that’s another story for another time). Back to the machines, and I still have pages that were churned out from them which have survived the years and all the moves. It’s funny looking over them again, not just the words I wrote but the typeface, the indents, the smudges and marks. The time-yellowed correction fluid blobs.

When the electronic Brother became redundant, with parts increasingly difficult to get hold of, it was replaced by my first laptop and MS Word package. It’s satisfying seeing words, sentences and paragraphs organise and compose themselves on a computer screen. The tools available make searching and editing simple and fast. With that said, you still can’t beat the elemental feel of a pen in your hand, its shaft working magic from the flicks and swirls of your wrist.

To the left of me right now are hillocks of paper marked by Bics and Papermates and HB pencils – precious notes. To the right is a coffee cup. And in the centre of these is the keyboard, and the screen that I stare into every day, the screen upon which those pen-made notes find their order and place.

I’ll let the artist Stella Marrs have the last word(s) at the end of this post. For now, please enjoy these images of what is possibly the equivalent of the writer’s first car, the Petite typewriter! Plus, a sewing machine, and an activity centre …

It’s all about creation, right?


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


Hamleys. UK. 1983.


stellamarrs.com


Thanks for carbon copying with us 🙂

Junior Turntables and Audio Sytems, 1980

The 1980 Fair-Play distributor catalogue offered some sweet turntable and audio systems for kids. 

Random records spotted: Michael Jackson – ?? The Dickies – Knights in White Satin (white vinyl). Blondie – Dreaming. Third World – ??

Click images to go bigger. Thanks for looking  🙂


Images scanned by TVTA from the 1980 Fair-Play distributor catalogue, France.


 

World Cup 2018. Ten vintage football ads

Featuring toys, games and stickers from Bburago, Figurine Panini, Shoot, Big Jim, Tomy, Subbuteo and Pocketeers.

Pif Gadget. France. 1986.

France. Pif Gadget. 1978.

France. Pif gadget N° 765. 1983.

France. Pif Gadget. 1978.

France. Pif Gadget. 1980.

France. PIf Gadget. 1988.

France. PIf Gadget. 1988.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1979.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

France. Pif Gadget 795. 1984.

Kellogg’s promotions in the 20th century and my family link

The Kellogg’s Twins

It was in Birmingham, UK, 1948, when my grandparents were approached by representatives of Kellogg’s to take part in an advertising campaign for Kellogg’s Cornflakes. The company was keen to feature identical twins for its latest advertising run in British magazines. Diane (my mom) and Christine (my auntie) had somehow caught their attention.

One of the 1948 promotional photos taken by the Kellogg’s company for a British advertising campaign for Cornflakes. I had to ask my auntie who’s who as it was always so difficult to tell them apart. Mom is the girl sat on the arm of the chair on the right, and my auntie is on the left holding the book.

The family at breakfast, work and play

The twins were toddlers at the time when Kellogg’s made the approach. As well as photographs of the two of them at play they were also photographed with my grandparents at the family breakfast table. Kellogg’s also took photos of my grandmother serving Cornflakes at work (she was a waitress at the time), and my grandfather ‘going to work on a good breakfast’ (he was a welder at the time).

Whether or not all of the photos were used in publications is unknown. My grandparents both passed away in 1994 and my mom in 2017. No magazines or newspapers containing images from the photo sessions have ever been found when going through their estates, but we did discover the two photographs that I’m sharing here today. My auntie, the only survivor from the session, says that the family were paid £80 for their work – the equivalent of well over £2,000 in today’s money according to the National Archives. She also has recollection of seeing an advert in one of the female periodicals of the time like Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Realm.

The second of the two 1948 promotional photos taken by the Kellogg’s company for a British advertising campaign for Cornflakes. Again I had to ask my auntie which twin was which. From left to right is my auntie, standing next to her my grandmother, seated is my grandfather, and next to him is my mom. My auntie tells me that no milk was allowed to be poured over the Cornflakes as it would have made them too soggy and spoiled the photo effect. I love the big, round teapot, and the sugar bowl, and I’m guessing that’s a jar of marmalade next to all those rounds of toast. The Cornflakes box pictured is a pre late-1950s version before the introduction of ‘Cornelius Rooster’ as a brand mascot.

The hunt continues

It’s a joy for me to at last lay eyes on two of the photos from a story that had taken on somewhat mythical proportions over time in our family. It’s also a joy for me to publish them here at The Vintage Toy Advertiser – a website that has vintage advertising at its core. The joy will only be enhanced by discovering an actual advert one day in an original magazine. Alas, frequent research attempts over the years have turned up nothing, However, with the continued effort of individuals and organisations uploading photographic content to archives and social media sites, you never know, one day!

It’s a twin-thing

My mom and my auntie aren’t the only twins to have been courted by Kellogg’s. It seems the well-known breakfast brand has a fondness for featuring twins in advertising, even as recently as in 2017 when another set of Birmingham twins, in fact two sets of Birmingham twins were featured in Cornflakes television adverts.

Twin treats

I found these three ads online while researching for this post. The first two are cited as 1948, and the third as 1960s.

Image courtesy of etsy.com

Image courtesy of Magazinesadsandbooks.com

Image courtesy of Advertisingarchives.co.uk


TVTA international ads

Finally, here is a gallery of TVTA’s international Kellogg’s cereals adverts to date.

As always, thanks for looking 🙂



Image sources for the 3 Kellogg’s twins adverts: Magazines, ads & books store. Retro Reveries. The Advertising Archives.


 

Corgi absolutely nailed it for die cast pop culture

My adverts section for Corgi Toys shows some cool superhero, film and TV-themed die cast vehicles, and I always knew that Corgi was spot on when it came to representing pop culture in its die cast range. Even so, I wasn’t quite prepared for the images that greeted me as I took hold of a copy of the Paris-based Fair Play Distribution Catalogue from 1980.

This A4 toy brochure aimed at shops and stores features more pop culture goodness than you can shake a Penguin umbrella at, including many fabulous point-of-sale store displays. If these toy units don’t take you back to happy childhood times spent at the toy shop buying cars then I don’t know what will. Simply amazing to see.

The catalogue also features Corgi’s regular die cast vehicle range, which will have to come in a separate post as there are just too many photos to show in one outing, and as Wooof correctly points out, TVTA readers may be in severe danger of a vintage-joy circuit overload. Enjoy the scans!

1980 Fair Play Distribution Catalogue, France

Corgi Juniors

Point-of-Sale Displays


As always, thanks for looking  🙂

Smurfs figurines Catalogue 1965 to 1986

TVTA is pleased to present scans of this wonderful German catalogue featuring the entire product range for world-famous Peyo Smurfs figurines, 1965 to 1986. Click pictures to go bigger.


1973 to 1978

1981 to 1986

1977 to 1980

1980 to 1984

1984 to 1986

 


Thanks for smurfing with us  🙂  Check out our Smurfs international adverts section here