Pelham’s puppets were first called Wonky Toys and were sold as such. They are the oldest most original puppets Bob Pelham made. He started making them just after the second world war and he used whatever came to hand to produce them.They are virtually impossible to find these days and rarely come up for sale. They sell for fantastic prices and are probably out of most people’s reach.
The LS puppets are the earlier ones found in brown boxes and sometimes yellow hatter boxes. They have wooden ball heads like the SS puppets but they are different in that they have half ball feet and the body parts are all connected by waxed string. They also had flat wooden controls.
These were the standard puppets. They were made later after the LS puppets. They had wooden ball heads like the LS puppets but had been improved. These puppets had body parts joined with screw eyes: they had crossbar controls and they usually had toggle type feet.
The JC puppets were a compromise between the standard puppets and the jumpettes. They were smaller than the standard puppet but had more strings than the jumpette. They had a T-bar control rather than a cross bar. Some had buffers with the colour-coded strings, but some JC puppets just had a plain T-bar control with the strings directly attached. .
The SM puppets had wooden heads but they had a moving mouth worked by an extra green string. These were very popular as they added an extra dimension to the toy. They were made during every period of production from the brown boxed to the yellow and red striped box, but only certain characters were made with working mouths. The characters included MacBoozle, Old Lady with Mop and Bucket, a Devil, and a cute Boy and Girl among several others.
Once the Pelham Company found a recipe to make a composite material they were able to make moulded heads. This meant that many more different characters could be manufactured. Sometimes a head was use to make two or more characters.Wart's head was also used for the pop singer and the wizard's head was also used for the old man. Gretel's head was used on some of the fairies and believe it or not the sea monster's head was from the same mould as Animal from the muppets.
Pelham designed some of his stringed puppets to be played with by very young children. These were the Jumpettes and jump is what they did. They were very simple, stringed with two hand strings and an elastic string to the head. This meant even the youngest enthusiast could work them easily. The older jumpettes came in small yellow and white striped boxes from 1956 but later the box changed to yellow with illustrations on the side. Some of the jumpettes like the Chinese girl or the Eskimo Boy are very difficult to find while others like Andy Pandy were made in large numbers
These were produced earlier in the fifties and sixties. They are miniature Pelham Puppets on a small control with 2 strings. All of these little characters are delightful, and there are a few to collect. Caesar, Reindeer, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Poodle, Horse and Donkey
The Pelham company produced numerous display puppets as well as the standard puppets. They were quite unique and proved popular .Large toy stores used them in their toy departments and they were also sold to ordinary shoppers. There were quite a few different puppets produced especially the Disney characters which are still sought after today.