Bedknobs & Broomsticks Panorama — 1973 (PR149) & 1976 (GK232/4)

The four GK232 Character Panoramas were printed in 1976, but all of them are reprints of earlier sets. "Jungle Book" has artwork dating from 1968, while "Walt Disney", "Aristocats" & "Bedknobs & Broomsticks" weren't quite so old.

The release dates for the relevant films were:

Jungle Book:
 — US: 18th October 1967
 — UK: 21st March (or 18th November) 1968
 — France: 11th December 1968

 — US: 11th December 1970
 — UK: 27th December 1970 (or 22nd November 1971)
 — France: 8th December 1971

Bedknobs & Broomsticks:
 — UK: 7th October 1971
 — US: 13th December 1971

So 1972 might have seemed to be the most likely original Waddington's date for "Bedknobs", except that we have now seen a set containing a transfer sheet with the serial number PR149 — strongly indicating 1973. This example was marked "Letraset" (rather than Waddington/Letraset) & therefore released after Letraset's divorce from Waddington's in 1974, but of course the transfers themselves would have been printed earlier.


Assuming the date of this Panorama is 1973, then although this would make it late, it would also spread Waddington's Panorama releases out to a smoother run — which might have made better business sense from their point of view.

And indeed, the Bedknobs & Broomsticks Panoramas first appears in Waddington's trade catalogue for 1973.

Letraset would re-issue the Waddington's version in Letraset livery after the divorce (eliminating any references to John Waddington Ltd.) first using the PR149 transfers. Then, when they ran out, or perhaps more likely when the other Panoramas required new GK232 transfers in 1976, they used GK232/4.

All versions of this Panorama which I've scanned have the identical cover & background shown here (immediately above & below), but the transfer sheets are different. The implication is that they are later rather than earlier, but that one (PR149) was produced before the other (GK232/4), the latter released once the GK232 sheet (or sheets) had been printed.


Here's the GK232/4 sheet. You can see that the cut sheet is divided into two panels, a survival of the Comano Mako Calco requirements. But…


…I'm pretty sure Comano didn't issue these transfers in their own products! Perhaps Letraset invited them, but were turned down.

Here's the earlier but almost indistinguishable PR149 sheet — identical apart from the serial number, in fact. That they have a Letraset serial, & not a Comano, corroborates the hypothesis that Comano said 'no' to this product. (This is my own set, but thanks to John Haughey for providing photo evidence earlier — before I bought mine!)


If we call the panel with a leaping crocodile "A", & the panel featuring flamenco maraca lobsters "B", then we can be suitably prepared for a nasty surprise when a scrap from an uncut sheet turns up looking like this:


The panel on the right, although similar to "A", is clearly neither "A" nor "B". So we'll call it "C". And now we know there really were four panels, exactly according to the Mako Calco template… & we're looking for a panel "D".


Lo & behold! Peter Roberts gave me a Waddingtons/Letraset version of this Panorama, which instead of containing panels "A" & "B", had "C" & "D". This is because Letraset would have sliced the full uncut sheet into two halves, one half containing "A" & "B", & the other "C" & "D". Then they would have dropped one of the halves into one Panorama, & the other half into the next Panorama, & so on, at random. So which pair of panels you got when you bought your Panorama would have been entirely a matter of chance.


Here's what the uncut sheet would have looked like — without serial numbers, as the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted from Peter's sheet! But the later PR149 & the GK232/4 versions will have needed only two panels, not all four, so no doubt only those two would have been used for the re-issued artwork & consequent printing. No chance of a Mako Calco version by then!


Peter Roberts' Waddington/Letraset version is earlier than any of the others we've seen, & not only does it say "Waddington/Letraset", but also it kindly confirms — along the right-hand edge in this scan — the date we'd deduced: 1972 (for 1973).

(Thanks again, Peter!)


All four cut GK232 sheets would fit on one uncut sheet of Crown (15" x 20") — shown above in a highly conjectural simulation; however, it's perhaps more likely that the artwork was distributed across two sheets.

Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives — John Haughey