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 ?
Unfortunately,I wasn't a 1960's toy retailer (I wish !) And I don't know any ex-Combex reps.So we'll just have to hope the 1966,1967and 1968 catalogues surface at some stage.
In the meantime,I've got evidence of 7 different characters so far.
The 4 above,plus Windy,PC McGarry and Mickey Murphy.
So we know that both Camberwick and Trumpton were represented.And I think we can safely dismiss the possibility of any Chigley ones appearing later -as per usual for poor old Chiggers !
And I'm only marginally more hopeful of finding a single Camberwick or Trumpton example still in its original packaging, because I've certainly never seen one.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 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 the confirmed existance of a PC McGarry toothbrush holder 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,because colour printing in those days often made things look slightly surreal.Especially food for some reason,as anyone who's flipped through a 50's/60's cook book or woman's mag will testify.
In fact,they're really just nice and bright rather than gawdy.And they're also surprisingly well-modelled when you look close-up.
If you fancy getting hold of one online,and condition's important to you :-
1) Don't forget to ask about the amount of paint rubbing.Because practically every example I've ever seen has suffered to some degree.
2) Make sure the squeek still works,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 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 unknown reason.
Although Mrs.C did make a rare appearance on ebay in Nov.2014.And my thanks to the seller for these pics,which show her in a much more sympathetic light than the garish catalogue entry at the top of the page ........