Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Weatherby & Sons "Falcon Ware" - Walrus and Queen of Hearts

This is my first pass at the section on this manufacturer in my in-progress book.  As I (hopefully) unearth more information on this company and figures, this section will expand.  Or not.  Who knows?

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Falcon Ware by J.H. Weatherby and Sons (UK)

Falcon Ware was a company located in the English town of Stoke-on-Trent, home to Weetman and approximately all the other pottery companies in the UK.  This company had a long and storied history, dating all the way back to 1891 under the parent name of J.H Weatherby and Sons, Ltd., and closing permanently in April, 2000 after 109 years of continuous operation as a family run business.  Sadly the buildings themselves no longer exist.

Image courtesy thepotteries.org

Falcon Ware takes its name from the name of the pottery works itself, which was an existing, though disused, pottery works when purchased by Weatherby in 1891.  The majority of its output in the first half century were traditional table ware, but in the 1950s they began to make nursery items, and novelty animal figures.  Enter Walt Disney.

In 1958 Weatherby planned a series of at least 7 figures based on Disney's Alice in Wonderland.  This range was advertised in at least one periodical in the UK, and price sheets are known to exist.  Sadly the deal seems to not have been completed and most of the range was never produced.  But, there does exist an archive photo from the Weatherby family that I have reproduced below.  I have been unable to contact either the author or the Weatherby family and the publisher is no longer in business.

Image courtesy of Susan Jean Verbeek, The Falcon Ware Story, (Pottery Publications, 1996)

Fortunately at least two of these figures appear to have been sold in some fashion.  Multiple examples of the Walrus and the Queen of Hearts have been seen over the years, and they are presented here.  Unmarked as they are, for years I suspected these might be Disney, but more likely knock-offs.  It wasn't until I discovered the Verbeek book that I realized their true history.



The Walrus

This was the first Weatherby Falcon Ware figure I acquired.  While I had no idea what it was, and it was not sold as Disney, it just looked right.  The design and style of him just screams Disney, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Weetman figure.  Not surprising given that the two factories were less than four miles apart.

Scarcity:  πŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”Ž

Value: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²


The Queen of Hearts

This figure of the Queen of Hearts is what led to my discovery of the history of the Weatherby Falcon Ware.  The auction listing actually referenced the Verbeek book in the description, and I was able to get a copy of the book even before the auction closed.  The look of this figure marks it as clearly Disney.  I am not aware of any other incarnation of the Queen that has the same color scheme and design as in the Disney version.  All this figure is missing is the black stripes in the front of her dress!

Scarcity:  πŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”Ž

Value: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²


Monday, February 15, 2021

In-Store Advertising Poster for Walt Disney Presents & Disneyland Records 1959

 Alice in Wonderland has had a love affair with Christmas throughout the years.  Most fans know that Disney's first TV show was One Hour in Wonderland on Christmas Day in 1950, and the film (edited) was broadcast on the second episode of the Disneyland TV show in 1954.  But did you know it was on TV a second time on Christmas Day?  In 1959 on Walt Disney Presents (the next incarnation of the Disneyland TV show), Alice in Wonderland was again broadcast.  And for whatever reason, promotional adverts were created for stores that sold the various Alice records.  This is one such poster, about the size of a lobby card, advertising the show itself on Christmas, and the records for sale in the shop.  


The first record advertised is the "Story-teller Record and Book" for $3.98.  That record is the first pressing of ST 3909 as told by Darlene of the Mouseketeers.  This first pressing is fairly scarce, being replaced by the much more common plaid-cover "Magic Mirror" record a few years later.  Collectors refer to this record as the "Enchanted Circle" cover.


The second record advertised is the "Original Hit Song Sound Track" for $1.98.  That record is the first pressing of DQ 1208 which is identified by this red cover with a back cover featuring 9 color images of other DQ records.  Second pressings have 5 black and white images.  Later pressings of this title have a purple cover of Alice sitting with the Cheshire Cat.  The DQ 1208 record was the successor to the exceptionally rare WDL 4015.


In today's dollars those records would be about $35 for the storyteller, and $17 for the soundtrack.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Better Living Magazine - September 1951, Featuring McCall's Sewing Patterns

Every have one of those things you've been searching for, a small little insignificant thing that is in no way truly important yet still compels you to keep searching for it?  Well this magazine was one of those items for me.  I've known of its existence pretty much since the beginning.  It appeared in a magazine index (remember those) at my local library in which it listed the article "Straight from Alice in Wonderland," which of course intrigued me.  But I could never locate an issue.  Until now.

Thirty years in the making have brought you this post.  This magazine was new in 1951, this being only issue #5, which probably helps explain my difficulty in finding it.  In the periodical publishing/distribution world, issues are ordered three months in advance.  So a retailer in this case would have ordered issues 1-3 before ever actually receiving an issue.  By the time issue #4 was ready to be ordered, they would have received and been selling issue #1, this influencing their orders for #4 and so on.  Thus, if sales of the first issues was not up to expectations, they would most likely reduce their order.  This being issue #5, sales for #s 1 and 2 would have been available, and order adjusted accordingly.  Now, as I said, I knew of this magazines existence, but I had never seen ANY issue in the wild until eBay came along, but never this issue.


One thing going for this issue is the cover, featuring Luana Patten from Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart.  Always good to have a cute kid movie star on the cover of your new and not original women's magazine in the 1950s.


Table of contents lists pretty standard fare, of course with the object of my search on page 48.  Note also the thumbnail photo of the cover with Luana in the upper left.


And at last we've reached the object of my years long search, a two page sponsored article by McCall's featuring a cute little girl dressed in the Alice clothes from the sewing pattern posted here.  I like the photo on the right with her playing with the Peter Puppet Mad Hatter marionette as posted here.  I must say in that photo on the left our little Alice has definitely had enough for the day.  Note also the single line of text below the photo that says "WHERE TO FIND IT page 80."


Where to find it is just that, it lists where to get the patterns, and includes a handy order form to order them directly from Better Living.  It also includes where to get the Mad Hatter marionette.

So, thirty years later, was it worth the wait?  Probably not.  But I am glad to have it.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Key Matching Cel and Master Background

Yeah baby!  One of the final holy grail items for the collection is now safely ensconced in the Tulgey Wood:  a key MATCHING cel and master background!  Woohoo!  Great scene of Alice running through the Tulgey Wood following the Mome Rath path, just before she encounters the Brush Dog.  What a treat.  A great beginning to a new era.



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

New Year, Renewed Hope

 It's finally 2021, and given EVERYTHING that has been going on in the world, and especially here in the US, the blog has suffered even more than usual.  The past five years have been busy for me, what with starting my own business, a couple of exhibitions, and numerous other crises seemingly at every corner.  

But, hope springs eternal, and with the new year fresh upon us, I too remain hopeful and plan to be more active here on the blog.

With that, I thought I'd share one of the more terrifying things that happened in 2020, just to give you an idea on what's going on here in the Tulgey Wood.  Not quite one year ago, Jan 14th to be precise, we had a pipe burst under our foundation, and the bottom floor of our house flooded.  Which coincidentally is where the collection is housed.  Fortunately my wife was actually in the room when it happened, and was able to get the water shut off before it rose too much, but it was pretty scary.  More so for me as I was out of town on business and just had frantic phone calls to decipher what was going on.

Flood waters in the lower level, filled with what will be forever known as 'Flood Mud'

Flood waters have been removed, most of the mud removed, 'flood cut' of the drywall and insulation removed.

This room needed a more aggressive 'flood cut', this is where the collection is housed.  As you can see, both this and the previous room are empty...

... and stored in every room of the house, starting with the kitchen...


... and dining room ...
Repairs underway, we eventually needed do completely replace the drywall in both rooms.  Joy.

Main room today.  Nearly completely put back in place, the bins you see in the front are to go in the barrister bookcases in the back left and back right of the photo.  Then we'll be done in this room.
This room is another story entirely.  All new cases need to be installed, and we're not there yet.  But the room itself is restored.



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