Background & cover by Patrick Tilley; transfers by Frank Wheeler (Patrick Tilley Associates).
All five of the original Letraset Panoramas (see Lunar Base for details) kept their respective backgrounds constant throughout each of their incarnations. This is the background for Pirate Island:
After over twenty years of searching, Agent TWO was able to locate an unused monochrome version of this Panorama in Italy; after many 'hilarious' adventures, it finally arrived back here, & at last I can show you our scans of Frank Wheeler's original monochrome transfer sheets:
Here are the revamped colour sheets, K47A & K47B. We don't know who it was, but this artist did a pretty good job of adding red white & blue to Frank Wheeler's black-only artwork.
A typical encounter with a child would result in this bumpy plastic effect, which I've heard described as "the wrong kind of 3D":
To give you a sense of scale, we can show you what Mike Cosford did with his monochrome set. Before you all start shouting, no: they're not in colour. He just very creatively coloured them in. Adding plenty of extra smoke & gore. Notice that, as usual, the monochrome sheets contain very many more transfers than the 4-spot colour sheets.
Here's a different copy, penny plain:
The back cover of this monochrome set gave you some idea of the transfers inside. Here they're displayed as if each strip has been cut along the dotted lines (which are not shown). Furthermore, we've checked, & the panels shown here don't correspond to any of the panels on the transfer sheets! In other words, the transfers have been individually re-arranged. More work for the layout artist…!
As you will have seen from the other Panorama pages, the backgrounds were on the reverse sides of the covers, which when unfolded would look like this:
However, two of the sets we feature on this page weren't scanned unfolded in that way; the front covers & the back covers were scanned separately.
So let's compare the folded covers of four variants…
The 1971 version, with its garish & counterproductive orange borders, advertises on one of its back panels which products were available at that time. 'Junior Panoramas' are exactly the same as Busy Bees, but stuffed in an unnecessary orange envelope along with a plastic stick. The fact that twelve of each is listed is curious, since there were sixteen Busy Bees in all… furthermore, the Character Panoramas don't get a mention at all.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives, with thanks to StellarX, Mike Cosford & TWO
© Tom Vinelott 2023