Instant Picture Panorama No.4: Lunar Base (K48) 1965

Background & cover by Patrick Tilley; transfers by Frank Wheeler (Patrick Tilley Associates).

This is my favourite Letraset product of all time — & directly responsible for the formation of SPLAT, since it was while searching for a surviving copy of this Panorama that I found other people regularly bidding on Action Transfers, & invited them to form a group.

The complex history of Panoramas is dealt with elsewhere, but here is an opportunity to show some of the variations that applied to this particular set. At the top we have the cover of the original version from 1965; this is followed by Waddington's early adaptation from 1966, & then their later reworking of the monochrome transfers into four spot colours (this one is from 1971).

There are several significant changes, but none of them affect the background, which is consistent throughout. Note how the card is folded so that the ends meet in the middle of the back, where they are fastened by a round gold sticker. The sticker is missing here, but you can see examples further down the page. The whole thing is then wrapped in cellophane; you can see a wrapped Panorama on the index page of this website.

pic pic pic pic

Here's the background. The Panorama backgrounds have a very distinctive style, which goes for artistic effect rather than realism. IMHO this makes them far more effective than later products.

pic

And now for the transfer sheets. There seems to be some kind of disturbance going on, featuring Gemini astronauts, four-armed alien astronauts, & what are presumably the indigenous fauna of this moon (which is not, of course, OUR moon). The hardware features many designs which would have been familiar to anyone interested in science fiction & the current state of the space program in 1965, & I have been asked to point out that this is considerably before Star Trek was broadcast, so no — that is not supposed to be the starship Enterprise.

pic pic

Members of SPLAT have had fun working out (with great success) where Frank Wheeler got his inspiration for these drawings from, & I finally located the 'Starship Enterprise' image in "Tales of Suspense" No.4, from July 1959. It's in the story "The Voice of Doom!", & the art is by Carl Burgos. Being an Atlas (later to become Marvel) comic, this would have been reprinted in black-&-white by Alan Class in the UK in the early 60s — just in time. Frank may well have picked up the reprint comic at a newsagent in the interests of research!

pic pic

The front cover shown here is by the great Jack Kirby.


Always keen to re-use artwork & transfers whenever possible, Letraset provided the 1965 Lunar Base transfers for Bata's August 1969 promotion for Wayfinders Moonshot shoes. This is covered in its own article:

pic
Wayfinders Moonshot Shoes Promotion

We think the transfers shown on this school book (conveniently dated 1966) must be from the Wayfinders promotion rather than the original Panorama. Transfers that were printed in black ink in the Panorama appear in white here. Many thanks to Nick Symes for sending this image!

pic

It has to be said that the original owner of the book thought that these were cereal Free Gifts, & to be fair there is a rumour that won't seem to die relating that there was a cereal promotion featuring these transfers. Some people feel it was "definitely Kellogg's", while others think it was Shredded Wheat "because it was all I was allowed for breakfast". It's incredibly easy for people to conflate their memories of different but similar events, so you can see why I wield Occam's razor & declare — these transfers must be from the Wayfinders promotion!

(I once had a prolonged discussion with a chap who was convinced he had seen Daleks in Singapore in the 1930s. But that's another story…)


As noted elsewhere, when John Waddington Ltd. commissioned a revamp of the transfers using the same colours as their other Panoramas, the original artwork was reused in a fairly crass way, essentially by splashing a bit of red & blue on top of the previous version. Whereas the Panoramas provided their monochrome transfers in two long strips, the 4-spot colour versions have a pair of square sheets featuring considerably fewer transfers.

I can't show you sheet K48B, because we don't have one in the Archives. If you have one which you can give us or lend us for scanning, please get in touch.

pic

Here's a used colour background, to show you what sort of malarkey young hands can get up to (in case you were in any doubt). As a bonus, if you look carefully, you might see a couple of transfers from the sheet we haven't got!

pic

Panoramas were protected by containing a piece of corrugated card stiffener, which although pretty dull in itself is shown here for completeness. This one has two of the ubiquitous gold stickers on it, & as an extra FREE GIFT it has a typewritten note advertising the other Letraset products which you could hope to buy in 1965 (this significant note is discussed in main Panoramas page).

pic

pic

Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives, with thanks to StellarX, Mike Cosgrove & Nick Symes