The Herbs and The Adventures of Parsley Classic BBC kid's animation by Michael Bond
On this page ...... a 1970 Adventures of Parsley spin-off,with a very surprising place in Dinky Toy history.
"Parsley's Car" (No.477) came out in mid-1970 & is featured as a "new release" in Dinky's No.7 catalogue (above right inset)
And it actually has a special place in Dinky history because of the way it was conceived.As this press release from parent company,Meccano Tri-ang,explains ------>
What's slightly puzzling about the letter is why no-one had thought to do it before.Because 1970 may have been over 40 years ago,but it was hardly the stone age in terms of merchandising.
And whilst you have to applaud Filmfair for their initiative,you have to assume it only occurred to them post-production, because Parsley's car proved to be the only vehicle in the entire series.And if they'd approached Dinky saying they could tweek the storylines to include some more,how likely is it that they'd be turned down off the back of such a hugely successful first series ? Surely a commercial no-brainer,quite apart from the fact that a one-off is always less attractive than a range. Which clearly wasn't lost on Dinky with their slightly desperate attempt to encapsulate the whole series in a single product by including cardboard cut-outs of some of the other characters.And you can almost feel the pain of their designers when the only other selling point they could come up with was that Parsley's head moved !
Hours of fun ? Well,hardly.And most of the recipients probably failed to spot the significance of the car anyway,as it only appeared in one of the 32,5 minute episodes,which is hardly much to hang your hat on.....even if it is your commercial one.
Parsley's Car or a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or 007 Aston Martin ?
Well,you get the idea.
But maybe I've just forgotten how much imagination kids are capable of (more than likely)
And if you had one and enjoyed it then that's great. And I hope you did.
There are certainly plenty of boxed examples still floating around.Although a lot of that may be unsold stock so it's difficult to guage just how well it actually did.But if you fancy getting one today,just be aware of reproduction packaging.Which is
fine so long as it's sold as such.But if not,you'll definitely take a hit when you decide to sell it on -assuming your buyer knows how to tell the difference,or even cares of course.
For the purist collector,it's also worth noting that some had yellow wheels and some red.And the latter is generally considered to be harder to find.Although quite why Dinky bothered with something so inconsequential is anyone's guess.
Personally,I'd prefer to get a nice,boxed example of my long lost UFO Interceptor (on the catalogue cover above)
Now THAT was a Dinky Toy.And,like most of Gerry Anderson's stuff,a toy that also benefited hugely from being part of a bigger range.Unlike poor old Parsley pootling around on his own,without so much as a map nevermind a missile.And were it not for that historic press release,he'd probably struggle to get into Dinky's parking lot nevermind their hall of fame.
But at least it's a further reminder of just how popular the Herbs franchise was that it actually got made at all.
2 ads from 2 seperate 1970 issues of Playland Comic.The 1st a quite shameless attempt to incite some pester power,and the 2nd a clue that maybe it didn't do quite as well as hoped ! There's more about Playland on site HERE And another mini-marketing coup for Filmfair as they managed to get the original Herbs series featured in the comic before it even appeared on tv.Which was arguably more of a coup than the Dinky effort seeing as no-one had seen Parsley or Dill.
Buyer Beware ! The novelty of swivelling Parsley's head to and fro may wear off as quickly as the paintwork.
And,sadly,ejector seat and bullet-proof screen not included.
Two hundred and fifty !
Sales must have been worse than I thought.
Ok,ok. Two hundred and fifty first it is then !
This ad appeared in the issue dated 22nd August 1970.
Left corner Click for multi-angle colour pics
Right corner Click for relevant catalogue page
Acknowledgement :- My sincere thanks to Tony Clark for his help in putting this page together.
This is an official 1970 publicity shot of the item