Tiswas

Tiswas is a British children’s television show which aired on Saturday mornings from 1974 to 1982. “Tiswas” stands for “Today Is Saturday: Watch And Smile. Presenters included Chris Tarrant, Sally James, Lenny Henry, John Gorman, and others – including returning special guests and famous personalities. One of the most popular characters was the masked Phantom Flan Flinger – the arch villain of the show who would think nothing twice of chucking a custard pie in your face.

The show was all about fun, mayhem, riotous and slapstick humour, jokes, custard pies, puppets, impersonations, music, and famous faces. Popular slots included ‘Flanorama’, ‘Compost Corner’, and ‘Flan Your Folks’. The show spawned a hit single called ‘The Bucket of Water Song’, performed by members of the cast as ‘The Four Bucketeers’.

My Saturday morning TV childhood memories are full to bursting with excellent programmes, but Tiswas will always have a special place for its sheer mayhem and fun.

Recently I received a little bit of Tiswas in my life again – namely an armful of 1981 issues of the Tiswas Family Fun Book (later Tiswas Magazine). Flantastic! Here are the covers, ads, and selected content – all wiped clean of custard pies, and dried out from their buckets of water soaking.

Enjoy! I’m off to practice my Dying Fly movements 🙂

Tiswas Family Fun Book Vol 1 N°9 1981.

Tiswas Book of Silly Superstitions 1981.

Tiswas official money box and digital watch. 1981.

Tiswas. Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog.


Thank you for flinging flans with us 🙂

The Doctor Who Quiz Book of Dinosaurs, 1982

Cover illustration by Geoff Hunt.

We promised you dinosaurs! And here are some – with added Doctor Who time travel stamp of approval!

Presenting, the Doctor Who Quiz Book of Dinosaurs, written by Michael Holt, published by Magnet Books, 1982.

This paperback was aimed at children, and took readers on a journey with the 5th Doctor and his companions – Nyssa and Tegan, as they travelled back and forth through time exploring prehistory. The reader is asked to solve puzzles and answer questions after each adventure is told, aided with black and white illustrations by Rowan Barnes-Murphy.

Big bad bird…

According to the Doctor, the terrifying creature pictured below is a kind of hybrid lizard-vulture-woodpecker called Archaeopteryx (say it ‘Arky-op-terricks).

It couldn’t yet fly, and instead ‘glided’ down from the tops of trees to capture its ground prey, whereupon it would “tear him to shreds with its razor-sharp toothed bill.” The creature was too heavy for flight due to having weak wing muscles and solid, heavy bones – as opposed to modern birds who have hollow bones. Its feathers were used as insulation to protect against the cold climate it inhabited.

TVTA theory: Dinosaurs became extinct not because of an asteroid or disease, but because the Archaeopteryx friggin’ ate them all!

Artisit impression of Archaeopteryx. Image: SPL/BBC.

Koringa, the crocodile-wrestling circus lady! 

In the book, according to Nyssa she once saw a video of a lady croc-wrestler called Koringa, who worked with Bertram Mills’ Circus. The Doctor disputes that Koringa wrestled with crocodiles as they are far too deadly, and rather that it was alligators she wrestled. There follows the theory on how Koringa managed to wrestle such a beast, then a quiz about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. Regarding Koringa, I checked – and she really existed; so Nyssa was right.

Rear cover:

Doctor Who bonus book advert:

Doctor Who Best Sellers. 1984.


That’s all for now…

Thank you for avoiding Archaeopteryx with us 🙂 

British comic book promotions in 1983, and a look at some Frank Langford ads

2000 AD Weekly Order newsagent form. 1983. UK.

Hope you’re staying healthy and well, vintage mates, as we continue on through the 2020 pandemic, into glorious May, and a new monthly edition for TVTA #110!

 

Today’s post is a surefire blast from the past which will take anyone who was around in Britain in the 1980s on a most pleasant stroll down memory lane.

From a lot of 1983 British comics which I ordered weeks ago – but which was only delivered this week – due to the pandemic – TVTA is pleased to present a range of comic book free gifts and promotions, plus some superb advert goodies from British artist Frank Langford.

Frank Langford (1926-1996)

Frank Cyril Langford was born Cyril J. Eidlestein in Stepney, London, on 2 June 1926. His earliest work in comics was in Roxy in the late 1950s. His highest-profile work in British comics was “The Angry Planet” (1963) in Boy’s World, some pages of which are signed “Eidlestein”, and the title strip in Lady Penelope (1966-69). From 1969 to 1973 he drew romance comics for DC in the US, in titles such as Secret HeartsYoung LoveYoung Romance and Falling in Love.

Angry Planet

“The Angry Planet” Boy’s World 1963

Langford also drew “Doctor Who” for Countdown (1971) TV Action (1973) and the Doctor Who Holiday Special (1973), “The Persuaders” (1973) for TV Action, and the daily strip Jack and Jill for the Herald and Sun (early ’70s).

Print adverts

He had a long-standing sideline in advertising strips, from ads for the W.R.A.C., Lyons Maid Ice Cream, Corgi Toys, KP Outer Spacers, and Philips Video Games Club – to name a few. Info adapted from UKComics.Fandom

Frank Langford – Philips Video Games Club

Philips Video Games Club with Terrahawks game. 1983. UK. Art Frank Langford.

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Office Cat Tales: the new furniture arrives!

TVTA’s brand new state of the art entertainment/conference suite rocks! Modern Homes and Office Style Rating: 10/10.

A TVTA short story special.

Wooof could hardly contain himself this morning when our new furniture arrived to freshen up the dusty, old TVTA offices. Of course, like most cats, he spent the first hour sitting inside one of the empty packaging cartons, while I was busy unpacking and assembling.

“Are you going to sit inside that cardboard box all day?” I said. “Or are you going to give me a hand building this furniture?”

“After I’ve finished playing with the polystyrene packing peanuts,” replied the cat, “I’ll give you a hand, so long as it doesn’t interfere with my mid-morning nap.”

“Look,” I said, “You should be pleased we have all this nice, new, modern 1980s and 1990s furniture to replace the 1940s set we inherited from Mrs Coldkettle’s grandmother who worked for MI5.”

TVTA’s old office furniture. The cold war had never been colder. Modern Homes and Office Style Rating: 2/10.

“Ah,” sighed the cat. “I shan’t be sorry to see that old typewriter go. And those razor sharp filing cabinet doors. And those brass drawer handles the size of Olympic hurdling fences… and always a hard-boiled sweet immortally stuck to the back leg of a chair. You’re right, I am pleased we have new furniture!”

“Glad to hear it. We have new kitchen appliances too!”

“Did you get me an ice cream maker?”

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Personalities with a Plus! Fabulous superstars of the 1980s

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury as featured in the 1983 Eagle Annual Personalities With a Plus!

In the early 1980s, British comic publication Eagle published a regular section in its comics and annuals called Personalities With A Plus! also known as Personality Plus. The section feratured profiles on popular sports, music, TV and film stars of the day, along with competitions and freebies to snag pop culture items such as cameras, bags, sports equipment, mugs, music, books, posters and more.

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of these personality profiles as found in Eagle publications dated between 1982 and 1983.

Olivia Newton-John as featured in Personalities With A Plus! Eagle Annual. 1983.

Christopher Reeve in Superman III as featured in Personality Plus. Eagle Comics. 1983.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock. Personality Plus. Eagle Comics. 1982.

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Retrogaming ads 1982 – 1985

Pink Panther hand held electronic game by Orlitronic. France. 1984.


TVTA is pleased to present a selection of retrogaming ads from 1982 to 1985 … featuring The Pink Panther, Mickey Mouse and The Smurfs hand held games from Orlitronic … Atari … Coleco Vision … Parker Brothers … CBS Electronics … and the not-much-known-about French electronics company ITMC.


Mickey Mouse hand held electronic game by Orlitronic. France. 1984.

Smurfs hand held electronic game by orlitronic. France. 1983.

Atari. France. 1983.

CBS Electronics / Coleco Vision. France. 1984.

CBS Electronics / Coleco Vision. France. 1983.

Amidar by Parker Brothers. US. 1982.

Pole Position by Atari. UK. 1983.

Scott Adams presents Hulk, Spider-Man and Fantasic Four home computer games. US. 1985.

Atari video games. France. 1984.


Let’s get dizzy…

This 1983 ad for Solar Fox does its worst to perpetuate the sexist trope of the dumb blonde. CBS Electronics… what space cadets!

Solar Fox by CBS Electronics. US. 1983.


In. The. Mystery. Corner.

We end with these colourful and fun adverts for hand held pocket games from hard-to-track-down French company ITMC. When researching ITMC I found very little information other than these 1983 hand helds were made in Japan and sold in France along with other ITCM-branded gaming consoles. There is also a connection to the French toy chain JouéClub, either in promoting or co-producing certain models.

Panique Spatiale / Space Panic by ITMC. France. 1983.

Guerre des Astres / War of the Stars by ITMC. France. 1983.

That’s all for now. Thanks for looking 😎

Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc and other curiosities

Willy Wonka’s Magic Jumping Disc. US. 1982. I remember some jumping toys that were sold in the 80s and 90s – they were spring-loaded and you had to moisten a rubber suction cap then press it down onto its base. A few seconds later, the force of the spring would release the cap and the toy would jump. There were multiple variations of these toys featuring novelty animals and things, and I’m wondering if the Willy Wonka Magic Jumping Disc employed a similar method… or was it really Wonka magic at work?


Cube Lube

Cube Lube. US. 1982. Cleverly marketed on the back of the Rubik’s Cube craze yet not once mentioning the word ‘Rubik’ – possibly for fear of legal action. Cube Lube was deployed into being as a lubricant to increase your time at solving puzzles like… Rubik’s cube. The ad states the product’s greatness for other toys with moving parts, as well as the benefits for bikes and cycles. 


Triple-Flips by Takara

Takara Triple-Flips. US. 1982. Japanese toy company Takara had a number of successful toy hits it was proud to put its name to such as the Japanese license to sell Kenner Star Wars toys for the first Star Wars film; Microman (Transformers); Micronauts; Battle Beasts and Beyblade. Therefore I was surprised to see today’s Takara advert in all its low-tech and simple gadgetry – Triple-Flips – a humble travelling 3-in-1 pocket board game with magnetic playing pieces.


Hostess Cup Cakes – The Flash

Hostess Cup Cakes. The Flash. US. 1982. I’m always pleased to discover a Hostess advert I haven’t added to my collection yet, and this is my first ad for The Flash! Cup Cakes, Twinkies, and Fruit Pies products were advertised by Hostess in the pages of DC and Marvel comics in single page strips that starred famous superheroes allied with Hostess cakes to take down evil villains. There are hundreds of these quirky, bizarre and sometimes plain weird adverts to be found inside comics throughout the 1970s and 1980s. To date I have 44 in my collection, thanks to The Flash! 


The Jorvik Viking Centre, York

Jorvik Viking Centre Eagle comic competition. 1985. UK. Early print advert featuring the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, England. The advert is a prize-winning promotion in conjunction with Eagle comic in 1985. The Jorvik Viking Centre was opened in 1984 as a museum and visitor attraction on the excavated site of what was once the Viking city of Jorvik in the 10th century. The centre is still open to date and is one of the regions most popular visitor attractions.


Peter Pan Playthings Stunt Man Hang Glider

Stunt Man Hang Glider by Peter Pan Playthings. UK. 1983. Another promotion for the readers of Eagle comic with the chance to win a Stunt Man Hang Glider toy.


Worzel Gummidge – Scatterbrook Farm’s resident scarecrow since 1936 

Worzel Gummidge. Look-In N°15. 1979. UK. Worzel Gummidge was a massive TV show hit for children back in the 1980s. The title character was played by ex-Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee. Worzel Gummidge was first featured in children’s books in the 1930s and was written by author Barabara Euphan Todd. In 2018 it was announced that the BBC is planning to make a new TV series based on the Barbara Euphan Todd books, with Pirates of the Caribbean actor Mackenzie Crook playing the Scatterbrook Farm scarecrow. 


Capsela Construction Action Vehicles

Capsela construction. US. 1982. Snap-together interchangeable parts for building motorised land and water action vehicles. 


Four Monogram models adverts


Magnum 440 by Tyco

Tyco Magnum 440. US. 1982. Slot-car racing for use on Tyco and AFX racing tracks.  


Bubble Yum Sweepstakes

Bubble Yum Sweepstakes. US. 1982. Some superb prizes on offer in this Bubble Yum bubble gum sweepstakes promotion.


Thanks for looking 🙂