wonky-donky.jpg - 4.20 KbIn 1946, Bob patented his design in the UK for a "push Puppet" but a legal problem with another company forced him to look for another product he could make that still had the magnetism of the "Wonky Donkey". It was then he thought of making a stringed puppet (a marionette) and made the first one; a black girl called Chloe.clo.jpg - 9.04 Kb

With great enthusiasm Bob approached Jan Bussell of Hogarth Puppets, who also lived locally, with his idea of making puppets. Jan worked alongside Bob giving him support for several years. She even wrote the untangling instructions and some early plays for Bob.

On the 22nd of June 1947 the first "Sandy McBoozle" was made.

First named after Bob Pelham's service nickname, "The Wonky Donkey Officer", Wonky Toys was the name used by the company until the 14th of October 1948, when they changed name to Pelham Puppets

The earliest puppets came in Brown Boxes. Each had Wonky Toys Ltd printed on the label along with the flying pig logo. The reason for the pig was because Bob's father had at one time said that "Pigs will fly before Bob makes a go of it".

As the real early puppet heads were turned by hand on a lathe they could be almost any shape from oval to a sort of square/ round.

They came in a variety of styles SS, SM and LS are known to have been made

"Wonkys" as they are known, are normally made of all wood including the hands and knee joints, however late versions could have metal knee joints. Legs were made from war surplus, duffel coat toggles and their bodies were made from ammunition boxes. Heads on these early puppets were hand turned so could be round to oval.

Putting a name to a Wonky Puppet can be difficult, as in those early days the factory made whatever they could think of at the time. Bob Pelham listened and if a customer came up with an idea, and he had the materials he would make it. Being just after the war, materials were difficult to get hold of and with Bob's keen eye, nothing was safe from plunder. Employees old cast-off clothes were even used for fabric to make the clothes for the puppets.


Site Search

www.ppo.co.uk is a not for profit site for all with an interest in Pelham Puppets. View site policy
© Pelham Puppets Online and content owners, Do not reprint or use information without written permission