Blowey the Clown Renovation

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Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Harvey » 14 Feb 2013, 10:15

Here is the Renovation of Blowey the clown


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the first dificulty was to give him hair or a hat

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here is his pump


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I decided to give him a hat


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he is a bit different no but he mostly like that the ball on the top is a feather
hope you enjoyed it.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby CvdC » 15 Feb 2013, 11:17

I am glad you managed to focus the camera Harvey.
Now remember while you renovate the puppet not to ruin its original paint and costume. I can guarantee that in in ten years' time someone will want it for their collection. Or you may be collecting yourself by then.

Now what did I do with that Pelham clown puppet I had when I was a kid?
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Harvey » 15 Feb 2013, 22:08

Thanks cvdc its just been glued on and thats really all I have done to the puppet. There is one thing is this a bryan clark figure when you look at the photos or is there anyway on telling.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Tony James » 15 Feb 2013, 22:26

It's a Joe Parsonage figure supplied through Supreme Magic around 1970 to 1974 when Joe died. The hat is missing. The dress is original Joe Parsonage.

However, the pump has been retro fitted and the tube to the figure appears to be clear plastic. In the original there was no pump - the balloon was simply mouth blown - and the tube was a brown rubber tube. Check in the head and see if that plastic tube goes though to the mouth or if the plastic tube is attached to the original rubber.

Most Bryan Clarke heads are signed and dated on the neck, normally on the edge of the finger hole so you can easily see it by folding the dress and looking at the end of the neck.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 15 Feb 2013, 23:25

My Blowey had a clear plastic tube which protruded through the mouth, so presumably the ones with rubber tubing were earlier models. Mine had a small white felt conical hat, and the costume was patterned brown and yellow as I remember.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 15 Feb 2013, 23:43

Have just found a picture - I was wrong about brown and yellow costume which I now remember was the one on the red indian - but you can clearly see the clear plastic tube.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Tony James » 16 Feb 2013, 22:13

It's curious. Harvey's is dressed in the early Paisley patterned material as was mine but mine had the rubber tube. So presumably Joe first changed the tube to plastic and then the material flower power.

The problem with the rubber was that it was soft and one could easily bite through the tube when trapping air in the balloon. The answer of course was to insert the rubber into a 'mouthpiece' of plastic tube. You can bite on that without much problem.

By biting you can keep the balloon partly inflated and then let it go down before re-inflating and repeating.

I used it this afternoon in my second performance and it went well as usual.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 16 Feb 2013, 23:11

Is there any reason to think that he only used one costume material at a time. Might he not have done a dozen of one and a dozen of another regardless of when he changed from rubber to plastic? I have had several duplicate Supreme puppets, same character, with differing costumes. The change of tubing may have been due to the change of gas fitting regulations. I know rubber covered electrical wiring became illegal because of its tendency to harden and perish. I first saw clear plastic tubing in connection with home brewing fit-ups, but it then appeared in ironmongers for use with gas. I imagine very few will remember gas pokers and gas rings Tony? In fact ironmongers are an extinct species I imagine?

At one time I defended the supermarkets since they appeared to offer such a vast variety. I've changed my mind. Certainly they appear to offer variety and choice but it is an illusion. Take paint brushes at B&Q for example, you'll find 4 or 5 different makes, along with their own brand. But look closely and you will find that each range is an exact duplicate of the next. And then go to Homebase, and find an almost identical selection. Certainly the supermarket has on display a greater number of goods than the old hardware shops ever could and so appears to offer more. In the old days you had to order what was not in normal stock. But you could order almost anything, and in small quantities.

My eyes were opened to what was going on a few years ago when I wanted some Newey Fasteners. These were like a very large brass press stud. The male part of the stud had a threaded screw and was intended to screw into wood. The female part was made to stich to fabric. I use them to attach my Punch booth tilt, but they had many other uses.
These had been on sale for years and years. You usually bought them from Woolworths on a card of 6. We got ordered them by the gross from our local hardware shop. When I tried to renew our stock I went from shop to shop. I picked up a few, but many said they remembered them but hadn't seen them for years. A couple offered to order them in, and then found they were no longer shown in the wholesale catalogues.

Eventually I tracked down the firm Newy under some composite name reflecting various take-overs and amalgamations. I spoke to a very helpful chap who certainly knew what I was describing, and yes they could still supply them. What sort of quantity did I want? I explained that we were a small puppet theatre, and that a couple of hundred would last a lifetime. He couldn'y help. The minimum order was in the region of 100,000.

He explained that they no longer had travelling salesmen distributing their wares to individual shops. Indeed there were a dwindling number of individual shops. So they no longer made items and then tried to sell them. The only things they tooled up for and made were those things ordered by the super stores. So if B&Q decided that they wanted a particular item then it would be certain that the other DIY super stores would want the same, and so they would tool up and make them in the millions. They would make enough to also be able to offer them to the smaller shops. But unless the big boys want an item it just doesn't get manufactured at all.

That explains why some things that you have used for years just vanish overnight. If they are not selling in sufficient quantities in the supermarkets then... tough! So the choice we imagine we have is actually limited to what has been pre-chosen for us by the supermarket buyers.

As a footnote to the above. You can still get a similar faster to the Newy fastener as an import from Germany and they can usually be found in Hobby Shops and also in shops that deal with Caravan fittings. I have also seen something similar in very well stocked haberdashery stores. They are not quite the same, instead of a screw being part of the male half there is now a hole through which you insert a small woodscrew.

So how's that for tangling the thread.

Does your Blowey appear in the Georgian or Victorian show Tony?
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Harvey » 27 Feb 2013, 10:02

Do you give speach to Blowey the Clown.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Harvey » 11 Mar 2013, 11:13

had a look at blowey the other day and realised the arms (to keep there shape had metal in them)
does this help identify the maker?
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 11 Mar 2013, 21:09

I think if you read what other people have written in answer to you Harvey, then you will find that you have been told who was the maker.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Tony James » 12 Mar 2013, 14:25

Harvey - I think you will find only Joe Parsonage and Bryan Clarke made Blowey. Presumably Supreme had sufficient stock to cover the years 1975 to 1981 when Bryan started. I've never come across a Tony Green version.

The metal formers in the arms are interesting. I would expect those to have been added by the previous owner who also added the foot pump. Their purpose in any figure is normally to provide the illusion of raised arms together with some basic appearance of movement replacing the fingers within. I associate this need with a stick figure where the hand is occupied with holding the stick. Is there any evidence of there having been a stick?

A stick often goes into the head via the finger hole. But in the case of Blowey the hole already has to accommodate the air tube. Is there any sign of there having been a flat holding stick screwed to the outside of the neck, usually at the back?

The outside may have been flattened (instead of round) to provide the stick with a flat bearing surface with maybe traces of a couple of screw holes.

Having said that it's worth noting that my Tickner figures have square necks with the four corner edges chamfered. It's the lath turned heads of my supplementary figures (Parsonage, Green and Clarke) which have round necks.

The answer to your previous question about speech with Blowey is of course 'Yes' - Blowey speaks. There is a knack of speaking with the blow tube in your mouth but no one - in my show - makes any kind of a 'speech'. Dialogue is short and sweet.

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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 12 Mar 2013, 18:31

There certainly is some knack involved in speaking with the blow tube in your mouth since you are either blowing at the same time, or else keeping the blow tube end closed to stop the air escaping. Either way I would have thought it not possible to speak. Can you explain this knack Tony - it sounds very useful.
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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Tony James » 12 Mar 2013, 21:17

Chris wrote:......you are either blowing at the same time, or else keeping the blow tube end closed to stop the air escaping......


Not necessarily Chris. I never said that. Though it might appear so to some of the audience.

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Re: Blowey the Clown Renovation

Postby Chris » 12 Mar 2013, 21:32

Well go on Tony, don't keep it to yourself.
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