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!


  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.


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

  3. For Wayfinders, see here:

    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!

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

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

  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!

  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:

    And the Ocean Deep Panorama:

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

  8. I had a pair of the George Best shoes!! I was about 12 or 13 at the 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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