A space-age looking slide projector produced by Louis Marx
As far as kids projectors went in the 1960's and 70's,you had a choice of 2 main products.
Either this one produced by Louis Marx,or the "Give a Show" alternative,originated by Kenner Toys in the States and made under license here in the UK by Chad Valley.
Both were simple battery-operated bits of kit that beamed a succession of single,colour stills onto any suitable surface.
Each had licensing deals to show predominantly kids tv series and movies.And,from what I can gather,there doesn't seem to have been a lot of crossover between the two.So,if you had a license to sell you either nailed your colours to one or the other.
And Gordon Murray chose this one.
Which is interesting if only because there was a Give-a-Show BBC "Watch With Mother" boxset in 1968 that featured The Herbs,Pogles Wood,Hector's House and Joe.
Obviously not many display boxes survive,so this is an added bonus.
Flashy Flickers came out later than the Give-a-Show,and was clearly just an attempt to cash-in on its success.
Although I've yet to establish it's exact timeline.
But it's never easy playing catch-up.And if we sensibly assume that Chad signed up content providers on exclusive deals then it may have struggled to pick up attractive alternatives.Which probably explains why the Give-a-Show's were always marketed as themed sets -ie.Watch With Mother,Doctor Who,Thunderbirds etc- and Flashy Flickers just came in the same standard box with a few disparate reels thrown-in.Although you could buy additional content seperately of course.And the display box,above,does at least show a couple of big hitters,in Trumpton and the Magic Roundabout, which you'd hardly describe as scraps from the top table.
I know there were at least 3 different Trumpton films,including "Trumpton Fete" mentioned on the display box.
And judging by that title it doesn't sound like they directly mirrored any of the episodes.Although there was a "flower and vegetable show" in Trumpton Park in episode 13 so I suppose "Trumpton Fete" could be a take on that.
Either way,we're talking about slides that featured artist illustrations rather than actual series stills.
From a purely styllistic point of view,it really wasn't much of a contest.
Because,despite some design tweeks over the years,the "Give-a-Show" basically mirrored the generic shape of a proper slide projector.Whereas this was far more sexy and could also double-up as gun once you got tired of looking at the images -or you ran out of pocket money to replace the short-lived and expensive batteries that were available back then.
The Give-a-Show undoubtedly shifted more units. And I was one of the recipients.
But if you assume the novelty of watching the same batch of any slides wore off pretty quickly,then the Give-a-Show must rank as one of the highest-selling but least-used toys of all time.Because what else could you do with it ?
Not that my views are in any way influenced by the fact I didn't get the Flashy Flickers version you understand !
And I hope we all develop the wisdom and good grace to be thankful for any gift ....... even if we weren't at the time !
It seems to have been solely for Trumpton and Magic Roundabout items by the look of it.But,who's the 4th character in the picture with Florence,Zebedee and Brian ?
Not that it really matters.But I feel I should probably remember,and don't.