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Animated units were made in several different shapes and sizes.

The smaller units were made for sale and sold in large numbers but the larger units seen in the UK were mainly hired out to shops to attract potential customers to in-store sales areas.

Larger units that went abroad were sold, due to the high cost of delivery and return. Animated Units became a very important part of the company production.

Movement was always one of the greatest methods of attracting customers.

The Small Animated units called Mini Units in the factory were simply 2 pieces of wood (Top and bottom) held apart by 4 dowels. The motor was attached to the top, hidden by a curtain.

Very late mini units were made of all wood. As sales at that time were very low, these are very rare.

mini-disneyThe most sought after version of the mini units is the one shown on the right, containing 5 popular Walt Disney characters. (Goofy, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto)

Another popular version is the one with the 3 Peanuts characters where the top is shaped like a roof.

Mini Units were made with single, 3, 4 and 5 puppets.

Watch out for fake mini units being made in the UK.

The 42" long unit was also referred to as a small unit in the factory.

dexionThese and most of the larger units (72" and upwards) were made using a frame of Dexion, an angle iron with holes along its length.

In the mid 70's this was changed to 1" square hollow tubing and later replaced with aluminium to reduce weight.

During the hay day of Pelham Puppets up to 200 of these units were stored at the factory being made ready for the next season. Some of the very large units such as "Gulliver's Travels" were partly constructed from Fibre glass, latex and celastic.

motorIn most cases the motor was hidden under a house or stairs towards the right hand end of the unit.

The motor drives through a speed reducing gearbox which drives various cams.

Levers with rollers transfer the up and down movement onto.

Andrew Watts normally assembled the motors while Bob Pelham, David Leech and Andrew Witts worked on the puppets.

In the early days Anne Pelham painted almost all the scenes but after 1952 Frank Lawton's wife Pam also was involved. This painting partnership continued until the mid 80's Pelham Puppets also licenced animation units to be converted to coin operated shows for seaside attractions.

When the factory finally closed most of the units were broken up with the motors and metal parts going for scrap, however many still survive as they were never returned to the factory after hire periods.

 

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1969 (18)

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1964 (8)

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1997 No 6/7

The Barn Dance animated unit is listed in some company paperwork but we have no other details.

 

A black and white drawing of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Spring 1998 No 1. and a unit can be seen in the Nostalgia Toy museum, Isle of White, UK

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found on the front cover of "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1996 No 3

chritmas-village

This one was produced in the factory in 1978 by David Leech

Produced around 1979 for the UK and USA.

A large open ended display using No2 sized puppets. Each used hands from a 40" Bimbo.

This display was used in Harrods for Christmas 1980

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1998 No 11/12

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

Produced around 1980 mainly for the German Market.

cowboy-camp-unit

This picture of a unit similar and can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1963 (5)

cowboy-anmated-unit

This is a 42" version

42" Unit

dick-whitington

Wizard, JC Andy Pandy, Horse, Cat, Tyrolean Boy (Dick), SM Farmer, Foal, SM Policeman, JC Clown, Iz, Caterpiller, JC Boy, Rupert

Sometimes referred to as Watermill

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1998 No 11/12

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1962 (3)

 

Read more...

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

This is a large unit 12' wide unit made up of 2 6' wide units side by side

gulliver1

This picture shows local school children from Ogbourne, St Andrews being shown the huge shop display of Gullivers Travels by Bob Pelham before it left to be displayed in Glasgow in 1958.

gulliver2

 This picture shows the display in the shop window of Toyland at McIlroys, Glasgow. Another version of the Gulliver\'s Travels display was pictured in Selfridges of Duke Street, St Marylebone, London the same year.

gulliver3

The picture below is a later Gulliver unit

harbour

SS Dutch Girl, SM Old Lady, SS Dutch Boy, Cat, Foal, Iz, Pinky, JC Boy, Perky, JC Girl, JC Noddy, SM Pirate, JC Father, Bengo

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

This unit was 18 feet wide made up of three 6 foot units placed side by side.

A picture similar to the right hand unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1976 (32)

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1998 No 10

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Winter 1997/8 No 8

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1961 (1)

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1965 (9)

This is a 12 foot unit made up of two 6 foot wide sections, made in the 1980's, most likely by Andrew Witts

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1966 (12)

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1967 (14)

A specially made unit sent to Zambia in 1972 A picture of this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1971 (21)

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1997 No 6/7

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1962 (4)

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1974 (27)

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

This unit features specially made bendy puppets. It was seen every year in the church local to Bob Pelhams house in Ogbourne St.Andrew, North of Marlborough.

This display is listed in company paperwork but no other details

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1967 (13)

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Spring 1997 No 5

This display is listed in company paperwork but no other details

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1966 (11)

This unit was the first to be displayed by FAO Shwartz in New York, USA.

It was made in 1962 and during the Christmas period. It can now be seen in the Greater SW historical Museum in Ardmore, Oklahoma, USA.

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

 

Several produced between 1978 & 1980 Seaside Unit

42" Unit

Father Christams, Pinocchio, Fritzi, SL Gretal, Tyrolean Boy, JC Golly, JC Girl, Mac Boozle, SM Clown, SM Witch, JC Boy, JC Father

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1970 (20)

A picture of a another version of this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1973 (26)

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

Display puppets

{gallery}gallery/animated-unit-snow-white:150:150:0:0{/gallery}

Unit produced in the factory in December of 1980 by David Leech.

No Other details

Tower of London, (See castle Scene)

Listed in company paperwork but no other details

A version of this unit was especially made for Hamleys toy store in London

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1997 No 6/7

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found on the back page of "Yours Puppetually" Spring 1997 No 5

A black and white photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1998 No 11/12

A colour photograph of this scene can be found in "Yours Puppetually" Autumn 1998 No 11/12

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1975 (30)

This unit was made in the factory by David Leech in 1978/9

This is Village Square in Winter made in the factory by David Leech

This unit was made in the factory by Bob Pelham Sold to the USA where the name above was added.

It dates from 1960's

Made in the factory in 1978/9 by David Leech

A black and white photograph of this scene can also be found in "Yours Puppetually" Summer 1998 No 10

Sometimes referred to as the Barge or Canal Scene.

water-wheel2

Bimbo, SM Witch, JC Girl, Horse, Cat, Bengo, Pinocchio, SS Dutch Boy, Pinky, Perky, JC Boy, SS Dutch Girl, Ermintrude, SL Old Man
This one was made in the factory in 1979 by David Leech

canal-scene

This unit was the most common version sold in the USA and featured in the 1982 Tiderider sales booklet.

42" unit

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1976 (31)

A picture of a unit similar to this unit can be seen on the cover of Pelpup News 1961 (1)

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