The situation with this Panorama is a little complicated. We believe it was originally produced in 1968, along with the three other reduced-size gravure Panoramas (Captain Scarlet, Doctor Dolittle, & Walt Disney).
However, the earliest copy we have is one from 1971, whose transfers have been applied; consequently, we don't know the serial number.
In 1971 John Waddington Ltd. reissued their Panoramas with these half-frame colour areas covering much of the artwork which had been visible in earlier editions (I think it's a 70s thing).
We hope to update this page soon with the previous, uncovered, version of the cover, using a scan taken directly from the original production artwork! So please check back later for that treat.
Here's a quick preview:
The first cover shown, directly below, is not even the 1971 Waddington version, but is in fact taken from the 1976 reissue (GK232/3) which Letraset produced after they had 'reclaimed' the Panorama title from Waddington. You can compare it with the 1971 cover immediately below it, & the differences are fairly minor — but significant.
What seems to have happened is that Letraset took for re-use the most easily accessible artwork (which would have been from the latest printed version, i.e., the 1971 half-frame edition) & simply eliminated any references to John Waddington Ltd.
The front covers are identical, except that where the 1971 says "WADDINGTON/Letraset" the 1976 says "Letraset".
This is mirrored by the addresses printed on the back covers (compare below & immediately above). On the 1971 Panoramas (below), the copyright text runs as follows:
Panorama dry transfers are patented GB 906934 and 959670. Other patents, and patents pending throughout the world.
© 1971 JOHN WADDINGTON LTD., Patrick Green, Woodlesford, Leeds LS26 8HG, England.
On the 1976 Panoramas (above), the equivalent text runs:
Letraset Consumer Products Limited, Kingsnorth Industrial Estate, Wotton Road, Ashford, Kent.
The other change is regarding the ranges advertised as currently available.
On both 1971 & 1976 versions, everything on each lower back panel is identical. Each upper back panel would also be identical, were it not for the following differences:
1) "Busy Bee assorted 12 titles"
— becomes —
"Busy Bee assorted 6 titles"
2) "Other rub-down items in the Waddington range • Panorama assorted 12 titles"
— becomes —
"Other rub-down items in the Letraset range • Panorama assorted 6 titles"
3) The picture of Junior Panoramas with the text "Junior Panorama with rub-down wand • assorted 12 titles"
— becomes —
"Super Action Heroes • Birds of Britain • Fun Doodles • Story Time Doodles • Popstar Watchits" — & no picture.
Although the unused background from the GK232/3 reissue is shown below it, we're showing the 1971 used background first so you can see that the transfers are identical to the GK232/3 sheet.
You'll notice that they are strangely translucent!
Letraset printed Rotary Gravure transfers on sheets which were, when uncut, of the size known as Crown: 15" x 20" (381mm x 508mm).
Here's the GK232/3 sheet. Unlike the other three transfer sheets in the GK232 range, which have two distinct panes on their single panels, this one is undivided.
This indicates that it is a straightforward reprint of the 1968 artwork, since it seems the 1968 Panoramas provided their transfers on single undivided panels.
However, there is an interesting question which arises from this; since Gravure printing is expensive to set up, why would Letraset produce a new sheet & not simply re-use the original cylinders?
I'm sure the answer is that since four panels would fit on a single uncut sheet of Crown, it would be just as expensive to re-use existing cylinders (which would no doubt include additional, unwanted, artwork on the rest of the uncut Crown sheet) as it would be to create a new cylinder for all four GK232 Panoramas.
Additionally, in order to eliminate the text "John Waddington Ltd." from the transfer sheet, a new sheet would have been needed!
So the same artwork, but not the same cylinder; & therefore a new serial number on the sheet.
The four cut GK232 sheets, as they might fit on one uncut sheet of Crown, are shown above in simulation.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives, with thanks to StellarX
© Tom Vinelott 2016