A set of 1960's squeeky toys made by Combex
Made out of a supple rubbery-type material that rewarded you with a simple squeak when squeezed -very similar to the sound made by Sweep of Sooty & Sweep fame actually.
They each stand about 15cm tall and have "Combex No.4141,Made in England" stamped on the underside of the feet.
The photo,immediately below,was taken from a copy of the 1969 Combex trade catalogue.
But,unfortunately,it didn't mention any other characters or even say whether these four were new releases or just chosen at random to represent the existing range.
So,2 questions remain unanswered :-
- 1) When did they first appear ?
- 2) How many different ones were there ?
And we'll just have to wait for some more evidence to surface. cont......
That said,I do know of another 3 characters in addition to the 4 above .......
Windy ... PC McGarry ... and ... Mickey Murphy [who are all included in the photo below]
So that's 7 so far,with both Camberwick and Trumpton represented.
And I think we can safely dismiss the possibility of any Chigley ones appearing later -as per usual for poor old Chiggers !
Also proving very elusive is any evidence of the original packaging.
And whilst the catalogue does mention a "display box", I'm merely taking that to mean a retail point-of-display box. So,within that,they may have been individually boxed,in cellophane bags with a header card (like the Marx Twistables),or possibly even loose in the box with just a dog tag.
One thing I can say for sure though is that Combex seem to have cornered the market in these sorts of rubbery/plastic type character figures.And they made numerous examples for other kids tv series -some supple and some rigid.
With some often doubling as things like toothbrush holders and money boxes.
I've yet to see any Trumptonshire money box examples.
But a PC McGarry toothbrush holder has been spotted,which means there'll be others,and I hope to add them all here in due course. [McGarry pic here]
The modern photos below confirm that they're also not quite as garish as the catalogue photo suggests.
Which is no surprise really,because colour printing in those days often made things look slightly surreal.
In fact,they're really just nice and bright rather than gawdy.And they're also surprisingly well-modelled and finished too.
If you fancy getting hold of one online,and condition's important to you,there are 2 things worth considering :-
1] How much paint rubbing is there ? Because practically every example I've ever seen has suffered to some degree.
2) Does the squeek still work ? Because many don't.
Either way,please have a heart,and don't buy one simply as a plaything for your pet dog.
Because any toy that's survived for 45+ years deserves an honourable retirement rather than a slobbery death !
Most of them do still crop up quite often actually.Which is always a good clue as to how well they sold of course.
But Mrs Cobbit and the Mayor are both noticeably harder-to-find than the rest,for some reason.
Although Mrs.C did make a rare appearance on ebay in Nov.2014.And my thanks to the seller for the pics below,which show her in a much more sympathetic light than the garish catalogue entry at the top of the page ........