At first, we only had a used copy of this Character Panorama, so you'd think we wouldn't have been able to show you the transfer sheets. But from France, & distributed in Europe, Comano sold sets of four Mako Calco transfer sheets both in boxes with backgrounds & in packs without — & one of their ranges was Babar.
I managed to obtain (see below) several sets of the four Babar Calco sheets, & so was able to compare them with the transfers which had been applied to my used Panorama background.
So, for your benefit, I labelled each transfer figure rubbed down onto the Panorama background, & marked the transfers on the sheets correspondingly. Try it yourself, if you like!
You can see that the transfers which were used for the Panorama all came from the first two sheets, with none from the others. At the time, I said:
"Of course, in the Panorama the sheets would have been laid out differently, without text references to Mako Calco."
Well, if you've read the previous page, you'll know that things are never so simple. And indeed, when I did finally obtain an unopened Babar Panorama, the transfers inside were not only marked "Mako-Calco", but also they were THE WRONG TWO SHEETS!
Oh, how I laughed…
So here are the two Mako Calco sheets that weren't included in my copy of the Panorama:
An unexpected bonus is that the second sheet contains the Letraset magic serial number PR57!
Following the registration marks, I've laid out the four Mako Calco sheets to roughly simulate the single uncut sheet as it was originally designed by Letraset:
"Les Aventures de Babar" first appeared on French TV on 24th December 1968. In keeping with that, the Mako sheets (4404-1 to 4404-4) are marked "©1969" — & that is, of course, the copyright of the programme, not the transfers. "Tele-Hachette" is the production company (Hachette being the publisher of the Babar books).
You would expect the Calcorama to go on sale as soon as possible in 1969 to capitalise on interest in the programme, but the PR57 serial number suggests a date in 1970, if not 1971. And the Panorama (which admittedly appeared later, not being dependant on a French TV programme) is copyrighted 1971.
In fact, the Babar Panorama first appears in the Waddington's trade catalogue for 1972.
These four sheets were actually part of a retailer's product demonstration kit — containing four sets each of the four packets — which of course makes them even more fun…
I expect you might like to see the cover & the background:
Here, from the 1972 Comano catalogue, are four of the first Mako Calcoramas. Babar is the third one down, & you can see that the background, which is 92cm wide & therefore very much wider than the Babar Panorama, is similar albeit more extensive than the Babar Panorama background. Also worth noting is that in order to get the full marching band, you would have to buy the Calcorama rather than the Panorama!
When Comano re-thought their Calcoramas later, they stopped providing the three-foot backgrounds in a box & simply supplied a drastically reduced background folded to fit in a cellophane bag with the transfer sheets. So you can see that this is a seriously cut-down version of the above:
This brings the Mako Calcos & Calcoramas in line with Fun Doodles (single transfer sheet without background) & Storytime Doodles (transfer sheet plus background). And of course the packets are the same size.
It's speculation, but I would guess that the success of Mako Calcos' background-free format suggested the Fun Doodles to John Hunt, but then when he provided backgrounds to turn the Fun Doodles into Storytime Doodles, Comano realised their massive boxes could be discarded in favour of the single-packet background approach. (I must remember to ask him…)
And here are the subsequent reprints of the individual Mako sheets (with "441-4" serials instead of "4404"). Being later, the copyright notice is still there, but the copyright date is omitted.
Here's the back of one of the above packets, plus a close-up showing how the original Calcoramas fit in their box.
(Although the example says "Babar", along with "HO HO HO HO HO" etc., it doesn't illustrate the Babar background.)
And finally, the back of the later Babar Mako Calcorama packet (ref. 442/5, serial fans!), with the front of another in the series. You can see the background peeping around the edges of the transfers.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives
© Tom Vinelott 2023