Bradgate Talking Fire Engine
This plastic toy was produced by Bradgate,who were part of Palitoy.
Its main selling point was that it could "talk".
With 2 HP7 batteries powering a wonderfully archaic,pre-micro chip, stylus-on-a-disk affair.So that when you pressed the button under the ladder you could hear Brian Cant say "Fire! Fire! Call the Trumpton Fire Brigade. Pugh,Pugh,Barney McGrew,Cuthbert, Dibble,Grub", followed by the beep of a whistle.
Sadly,that's the only job the batteries were needed for,because you had to wheel it around and operate the hoist yourself. Although it was probably more fun that way anyhow.And it also came complete with 7 removable figures (one's hidden in the pic) - 4 identical ones without any distinguishing features,and 3 instantly recognisable as Flack (moustache),McGrew (beard) and Cuthbert (hair over eyes).
Any good ?
Not sure really.But I get the impression it probably looked better than it actually was.And maybe they'd have been better advised to ditch the rather tedious audio angle,in favour of a simple squirting,retractable hose.Which isn't quite as fanciful as it sounds,because I'm pretty sure I had a non-Trumptonshire fire engine at around the same time that did just that (possibly a Corgi or Dinky - anyone ?) ..... or maybe I just wish I had !
The figures are a bit of a letdown too.
No arms or legs and the head didn't move either.Which was fine for Bradgate because they were cheaper to produce,but hardly hours of fun once you'd played "firemen skittles" a few times.And a lot of them probably ended up inside the pet dog,who seem to have a great swallowing capacity than most tots,and rarely sue !
It's hard to know how well it actually sold.But perhaps the main headwind it faced was the mid 1970's release date.
Because,despite regular tv repeats,they'd missed out on that fantasic early surge of interest.
And it was also just a one-off product and not part of a range,which probably didn't help either.
But at least it had the honour of being one of the very few toys to feature the Trumpton Fireman.Which is very strange in itself,when you remember just how popular they were (and still are) So it's well worth its place in a collection if only for that.
a different view of the box is shown here