By Leonard Ellis
With the Olympics just ending, and a focus on London and the United Kingdom fresh on my mind, I was reminded of the home of one of Betty’s true collectibles. Many of us know the name Wade from the Wade Whimsies that were included in boxes of Red Rose Tea. Wade has been associated with fine pottery since the early 1800s. From their factory in the U.K., they have been producing fine, limited-edition Betty Boop figurines since 1996. What is especially inspiring about their products and dedication to quality is that they continue to produce these figurines in their U.K. facility, opting to limit the production to 2,000 pieces, and in many cases as few as 75 pieces!
One reason for the limited edition, and for Wade producing Betty Boop figurines in the first place, is C&S Collectables. David Chown and Russell Schooley first approached Wade in 1992 with the idea of commissioning limited-edition works. Four years later, their first Betty Boop figurine was released, a production run of 2,000 pieces, Betty sitting on a green mound (grassy knoll?) with legs to the side.
I want to take a moment here to commend C&S for their vision to produce a highly collectible series in their home country, rather than tens-of-thousands in an off-shore factory. Just as vintage items are few and far between, sometimes rather pricey, so too are limited-edition pieces such as these.
Speaking of Halloween, here are some additional items.
* 1998, Good Stuff Corp made three styles of stuffed soft vinyl dolls. Each is 15 inches tall, with a sewn loop and suction cup attached to Betty’s head. The three styles are:
(a) Sewn orange and green-trimmed skirt, gray coat with pumpkin, holding orange trick-or-treat bag in right hand. Gray vinyl legs and gray tail, gray cat ears sewn on top of head.
(b) Sewn black full-length dress with spiders and webs, gray cobweb collar.
(c) Sewn mid-calf pumpkin dress, orange and green striped shirt and stockings.
* A nine-inch vinyl Baby Boop doll from 1991. Made by PRESENTS division of Hallmark, she has jointed arms and legs, wearing a bright orange pumpkin outfit.
* Liquid-motion pen from 1994, from Bright Ideas, San Francisco. Betty flies around on a broom, opposite side has her name and heart-shaped cameo.
* 1984 Paper Moon Graphics greeting card #HW002-95, Betty as a witch.
* 1988 Paper Moon Graphics Postcard, “Halloween Boop” #661-042.
* A rare find, a 1938 Pathescope UK 9.5mm silent film, titled “Betty Boop’s Halloween Party” #421.
* Lastly, a 1996 Texas Lottery scratch-off ticket, Betty in a black dress as Dr Frankenstein, Bimbo as the “monster.”
Collector Leonard Ellis is the author of The Definitive Guide to Betty Boop Memorabilia (With Values), published by Hobby House Press. If you have questions or comments for Leonard, ask them here. He may not be able to personally answer them all, but several interesting ones may become the topic of a future Collector’s Corner post.