Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Doll-A-Day 2019 #163: Pelham Puppets

  Ok. Do Marionettes qualify at all as dolls? I don't know. They're sort of dolls that can be made to move.  I've always loved puppets,and I love these guys.

They're Pelham Puppets.

The bottom of the boxes.

The top of the boxes.

 The girl at least is from the SL line.

This guy is one of the puppets called 'pop stars', made in 1964,and obviously based on The Beatles. (Although there were five of them instead of four, and the mysterious fifth member played a saxophone...?!)
She's probably from 1969 to 1980. The style of box and the puppets pictured on it identify the box era.

There's Hansel,with,I'm assuming, Gretel,on the right.

  The boy is Hansel,as in 'and Gretel'.

But the girl is Red Riding Hood. Huh?

She has a different style box from Hansel. Hers has the logo banner across the front. That means they are from different years.
They're about 12 inches tall.

Hansel has sheepskin hair. (Ug.)

Red Riding Hood has blonde hair. Mohair?

Hansel is wearing Leiderhosen,but he's missing a felt button.

Red Riding Hood is wearing a gingham skirt,white blouse, and her red hooded cape.



Hansel's stringing isn't completely hooked up. He needs a going over.

The strings he does have hooked up aren't working properly,so he's hard to control.

  Pelham Puppets were the products of an English company called the Pelham Puppet Company. The company was founded in 1947 by Bob Pelham. Bob had made wooden donkey toys during his time in the military during World War II,which had earned him the nickname 'the wonkey donkey officer'. He named his new toy company, Wonky Toys Limited. The company originally made waloukas,wooden toys held together with string. The factory started producing marionettes for children in 1948, changing the name to go with the products. Theirs were the first marionettes made for children instead of professional puppeteers.

  Supposedly Pelham Puppets were made to be tangle proof. The stringing is colour coded and corresponds with the colours on the rods.

If the strings become tangled,they can be unhooked, and reconnected by colour...supposedly.

  All Pelham puppets were hand made and hand painted. Originally they had round wooden ball heads and half ball feet, but later puppets have molded heads and wooden feet like these two.

I thought their knee and ankle joints were unusual. They're flat metal strips that swing back and forth in slits in the wood.

As I said, I love puppets. I wanted to be a puppeteer for a while when I was a kid.

You can watch an interview with Bob Pelham,and take a 1953 tour of the factory, HERE.

Bob Pelham passed away in 1980. His wife continued with the company until 1986. The company went out of business in 1993,but was brought back in 2008.by a former employee,and now makes puppets again,some in the style of the older puppets.

  I found these several years ago, at a massive church sale that was more like some kind of huge going-out-of-business sale or something. There was room after room of stuff,and it spilled out to the church grounds. I bought some really great stuff that day. You may have seen my Sears Mini Martians. If not, you can see them HERE. I remember that was the day I also got a huge room sized Chinese wool rug  with a couple of light stains on it for $5! (I am far too obsessive compulsive to live with a used rug without washing it,so I hauled that thing out into my driveway on a hot,sunny day, and scrubbed the heck out of it and hosed it down. It took 2 or 3 days to dry and had to be propped up on buckets so it would dry underneath,but those stains came out and it survived perfectly!)

  That's it for today. See you again tomorrow for another doll. 


  1. These are neat! It isn't every day one gets to see a marionette.

    1. They don't seem to be very popular any more. I always loved them. When I was a kid we got a marionette show every year,and I always looked forward to it.

  2. Lovely dolls. And very funny video.

  3. These are interesting, I know someone who collects Pelham Puppets, he is a doll maker in the Sasha Morgenthaler world. I have always liked puppets, I think they're interesting and these two look great!

    1. How many Pelham puppets does your friend have? I have never met a puppet collector. I have a few,mostly from when I was a kid.

  4. Lovely dolls,I love puppets too.I wisk I still had one I got as a child in Tiajuans,Mexico. I do have my daughters very loved/used N'sync "no strings attatched" dolls.Thanks for the great Entry/effort in sharing your collection.

    1. My daughter has a Mexican marionette we got in San Antonio. I would say you could replace yours,since they are still a popular item,but those puppets are all hand made and every one is different. They're very cute.

  5. I think that puppets do count as dolls.

    I like puppet shows, although one rarely sees them now.

    I grew up watching Howdy Doody.

    1. Well that settles it then. Puppets are dolls. I think so too. I loved puppets as a kid,and still do. I really loved the annual marionette show we got at school every year when I was a kid. Howdy's show was before my time, but I had a Howdy ventriloquist dummy. It went from me to my neice,to my son,and is now in his closet somewhere.


Thanks in advance for your comments.