30th June 2012
Top Picture: Face mask from Kelloggs Corn Flakes
Second Picture: Kensitas Coupons
You may think that the sales ply of giving away free gifts is a modern phenomenon but far from it, think back to when we were kids. Several years ago I remember writing about the terrible free plastic roses which came with each packet of Daz so I will leave that type of free gift out this time.
Lets start with cereals the Kellogg Corn Flake packets in the late 1950’s and early 60’s were gold mines of free gifts. Cut out masks or cars or spaceships, different board games (with the counters inside the packets) were printed on the backs of the packets. But the real toys were to be found inside the packets buried inside the Corn Flakes. I remember a whole series of Bandsmen soldiers, complete with bearskins, each of the instruments in the band being modelled in a ghastly bright red plastic !!! Musicians caught on and Tetley tea issued a full orchestra of the Tetley tea men and their instruments
I seem to remember that these were followed by Magic Submarines, again in plastic, which sank or rose in a screw top bottle provided that you filled the reservoir on the bottom with baking powder.
Sugar Puffs issued "Flying Saucer" tokens to get your own flying saucer, I wonder how many kids were disappointed to learn that this was merely the passport to a 10" diameter inflatable toy and you would not be flying your friends round the houses in it..
Weetabix and Rice Krispies also gave away things, Little plastic airfix kits to build cars, a set of busts of Indian Chiefs etc. Together with the cards from PG Tips tea or Brooke Bond Tea, they furnished and fuelled the swapping/collecting bug at Junior school. Ricicles gave away a plastic Noddy which climbed up a string if you pulled the ends, another gift was those plastic pictures that moved when you tilted the plastic to and fro. Then there were those plastic rockets or bombs, 3" long which you put caps into and dropped onto concrete with a satisfying BANG
There were just so many things to collect back then, WITHOUT HAVING TO FORK OUT EXTRA MONEY!
Cracker Jacks at one time gave away free tattoos or a magic decoder ring!
I also remember one brand of soft toilet roll giving away miniature plastic cars and trains inside the cardboard tubes the paper was wrapped around.
In 1959 a cereal (I forget which) offered coupons to collect for a canteen of stainless steel cutlery, I wonder how many of these pieces are let today?
In our comics us lads got those triangular snap things that made an almighty bang when shaken in the air with a downward sweep, yoyo’s, kazoos and swanee whistles whilst the girls got bangles, necklaces, rings, hair slides, Alice Bands and other pretty things.
But it was not only us kids who collected things our parents where also at it. There were the little red stamps which came on the packets of tea and which could be transferred to a savings card to save up for a free pack of Brooke Bond Dividend Tea.
Our fathers would try their best to smoke as many fags as possible so they could collect the Cigarette Coupons and the promised gifts from the special catalogue. I remember my father got his first electric drill with Kensitas Coupons, he must have nearly smoked himself hoarse to get it! But Cigarette smoke was part of the background of everyday life in the sixties. Most men and women lit up and children as young as ten took up smoking for the first time. Although most people had a vague awareness of the health risk, only a minority gave up smoking. The first health warning came in 1950 when Professor Sir Richard Doll's research linked cancer with smoking. However, his report was for the medical establishment and it took him another four years to convince the doctors. Reports that smoking might be less than healthy started to appear in the press in fifties and people knew about the 'cancer scare'. Health concerns did, however, influence smokers. From the late fifties many people switched to filter cigarettes. Although people thought filter cigarettes were healthier, there was little evidence that they were any safer than plain cigarettes.
Back to collecting.
Then there were Green Shield and Pink stamps but I have talked about them before so I will only say that at this time there were always adverts in the papers for people trying to buy or sell coupons or books of stamps. Now to tax your memory and to help me out, who remembers the shop in Lake Road that sold foreign stamps and coupons and books of trading stamps? If you do remember can you tell me the name of the shop please as I just cannot bring it to mind.
As we got older the petrol companies got onto the free gift bandwagon by giving away thousands of various shaped and coloured glasses, tiger tails and other advertising items.
Bu I suppose for our mothers especially the most important gift or bonus was the Coop divi and I bet at least 50% of you out there can still remember your mother’s divi number. Ours was 33037! Coop stamps were never as good as getting you divi!
More and more memories!
Stay in touch,
Robin Writes:- I remember the Auxiliary Fire Station which was where Manor Court school was built. It was on Grove Road approximately at the centre of what is now the sports field with some wooden huts to the right at the Lower Drayton Lane end which were used for the storage of furniture from bombed out buildings. The Fire Station was used as a Scout Hut amongst other things certainly in 1952. I also remember the Dump for ex Army tin helmets, Gas Masks and a host of other surplus equipment which was on the far right of the school grounds, the Station Road end and I wonder how much was found when the school was built! I also remember the allotments as my father had one until at least 1956, their access was via West Lane now called Scholars Walk.
News and Views:
Herb Reed, who has died aged 83, was the last surviving original member of The Platters, the 1950s group behind such hits as Only You and The Great Pretender. Reed, who sang bass, was the only member to appear on all the group’s recordings and he sang on their four No 1 hits, including The Great Pretender, My Prayer (1956), Twilight Time and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (1958).
On this day 30th June 1960-1965
On 30/06/1960 the number one single was Three Steps to Heaven - Eddie Cochran and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Ghana and Somalia to become republics.
On 30/061961 the number one single was Runaway - Del Shannon and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/06/1962 the number one single was Come Outside - Mike Sarne with Wendy Richard and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/06/1963 the number one single was I Like It - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Zip codes introduced in US
On 30/06/1964 the number one single was It's Over - Roy Orbison and the number one album was Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Club Night (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 30/06/1965 the number one single was I'm Alive - Hollies and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.