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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Clarks Commandos - part 1

Proof that advertising works -- as a youngster I desperately wanted a pair of Clarks Commandos shoes and badgered my Mum into buying a pair.

I've just stumbled across the adverts once again. As far as I can tell, they began running in January 1970 and the first series ran to nine episodes which I will serialise over the next couple of days. I don't recall the ammunition box or Commando's handbook; I remember a tiny compass that was set into the shoe. Maybe I'm misremembering. Maybe those were Wayfinder shoes. I'm sure someone will tell me.

Drawn by Tom Kerr. More tomorrow!

8 comments:

  1. Brilliant stuff Steve. Yes, the compass in the heel shoe was the Wayfinders make. One design had animal tacks on the sole (so you could identify fox tracks etc) and a following design had moon crater designs on the sole. Just in case you got lost on the moon I suppose.

    Lew

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  2. Clarks Commandos were great. But what about George Best Shoes? plastic with red soles and a cameo of George Best on the sole?

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  3. For Wayfinders, see here:
    http://www.thurrock.gov.uk/heritage/content.php?page=factfiles_details&id=35

    They were designed for the Scouts, & adverts appeared in Smash! etc. for years.

    However, I am trying to find out which shoes had Letraset promotions. The 'moon craters on the sole' line is a possible clue…

    The transfer premiums would have been monochrome. I'm writing a book about Letraset Action Transfers, so this info is vital!

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  4. The shoes with the moon craters were Wayfinders, which I covered here...

    http://bearalley.blogspot.com/2007/12/wayfinders.html

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  5. Thanks - unfortunately, that page doesn't seem to be there any more…

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  6. After a bit of searching, I think I found the post you mean — in your December 2007 archive. Unfortunately, it's another false lead for me, as these are 5 years too late! Several people swear there is a 1965 shoe promotion featuring Letraset 'Lunar Base' transfers (& one person claims 'Ocean Deep' as well), but of course memories are very plastic after 43 years. I'll keep looking elsewhere, but if anyone has any ideas…
    P.S.: if anyone can help identify the artists for the Letraset/Waddington Panoramas, that would be even better!

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  7. Abject apologies. On closer examination, your scan does indeed include the text: "a sheet of instant "action" moonscape transfers".

    So this must be the promotion in question, even though it is 5 years after the transfers were produced (which is a very long time in the transfers World).

    I will continue searching at Bata to see if anyone involved in the production can throw any light on this.

    You can see the Lunar Base Panorama (later colourised version) at:

    http://www.seven-wonders.co.uk/moon2.html

    And the Ocean Deep Panorama:

    http://www.seven-wonders.co.uk/ocean.html

    And finally, the Society for the Preservation of Letraset Action Transfers (SPLAT):

    www.splat.lapidate.com

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  8. I had a pair of the George Best shoes!! I was about 12 or 13 at the time...got them so I could just wipe them clean instead of clean them, but My Dad still made me use shoes polish on them!!!!

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