This advert from the 14th August 1971 edition of "Valiant and Smash" is for two ice cream products from Wall's. "Sky Ray" was my brother's favourite, although it had one of the best promotions ever back in 1967, for Doctor Who's Space Adventure Album… er… anyway, it's the lower half of the ad we're interested in for now.
"Imagine — 18 rub-down Super Action Transfers of wild animals and a giant coloured background! Find out how you can get them. It's all on the Jumbo wrapper."
Unfortunately we have no Jumbo wrapper to show you; however, I can't help but point out that the transfers are definitely NOT 'Super Action Transfers', & the coloured background is NOT 'giant'. But that's advertising for you…
So… 18 transfers of wild animals. Here are the twelve that came with the background above; one of them was rubbed-down by the previous owner, but you can see they're on two sheets of six transfers. Presumably there was originally a third sheet.
So far so good, except that you've probably noticed that each transfer is marked "©1968 Letraset Ltd." And this promotion is from August 1971! That clue will tell you that Letraset are up to their usual trick of re-using transfers from a previous commission.
To reinforce that idea, I also acquired these transfers from Spain. We all know by now that gravure transfers are expensive & difficult to alter in any way, so I can reassure you that the numbers which have been added to these sheets do appear to have been printed on afterwards — something which was also done with the Veteran Car transfers, themselves reissued for numerous different promotions.
What the Spanish promotion was, I haven't been able to discover. But luckily, I CAN tell you the original use of the wild animal transfers: they were printed for Mako Calco.
This close-up will help you spot them, on this page from the 1972 trade catalogue:
You can find out more about Mako Calco products on the Babar Panorama page, but for our purposes here the main thing to note is that at this date they came in groups of four sheets per packet. Our pack would be serial numbers 44015-1 to 44015-4 (or 441-15 on reissue). Since each sheet had nine transfers, that makes thirty-six transfers in all.
Letraset having been known (fairly sensibly) to re-use the whole of a transfer job where smaller numbers are required, this implies that each copy of the Wall's Jumbo background would come with some permutation of sheets of three, six & nine transfers (the sheets of nine cut down), adding up in each case to the required total of eighteen; but since that's only half the transfers in the complete set, you'd have to get at least two backgrounds to have any chance at all of collecting all the animals.
Most likely, though, no-one who got a background would be aware they only had half the set!• Next Page: Disney (& others) Uncut Sheet  →
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives
© Tom Vinelott 2020