The four GK232 Character Panoramas were printed in 1976, but all of them are reprints of earlier sets. "Jungle Book" has artwork dating from 1968, while "Walt Disney", "Aristocats" & "Bedknobs & Broomsticks" weren't quite so old.
The release dates for the relevant films were:
— US: 18th October 1967
— UK: 21st March (or 18th November) 1968
— France: 11th December 1968
— US: 11th December 1970
— UK: 27th December 1970 (or 22nd November 1971)
— France: 8th December 1971
Bedknobs & Broomsticks:
— UK: 7th October 1971
— US: 13th December 1971
So 1972 might have seemed to be the most likely original Waddington's date for "Bedknobs", except that we have now seen a set containing a transfer sheet with the serial number PR149 — strongly indicating 1973. This example was marked "Letraset" (rather than Waddington/Letraset) & therefore released after Letraset's divorce from Waddington's in 1974, but of course the transfers themselves would have been printed earlier.
Assuming the date of this Panorama is 1973, then although this would make it late, it would also spread Waddington's Panorama releases out to a smoother run — which might have made better business sense from their point of view.
And indeed, the Bedknobs & Broomsticks Panoramas first appears in Waddington's trade catalogue for 1973.
Letraset would re-issue the Waddington's version in Letraset livery after the divorce (eliminating any references to John Waddington Ltd.) first using the PR149 transfers. Then, when they ran out, or perhaps more likely when the other Panoramas required new GK232 transfers in 1976, they used GK232/4.
Both versions of this Panorama which I've scanned have the identical cover & background shown here (immediately above & below), but the transfer sheets are different. The implication is that they are later rather than earlier, but that one (PR149) was produced before the other (GK232/4), the latter released once the GK232 sheet (or sheets) had been printed.
Here's the GK232/4 sheet. You can see that the cut sheet is divided into two panes, a survival of the Comano Mako Calco requirements. But…
…I'm pretty sure Comano didn't issue these transfers in their own products! Perhaps Letraset invited them, but were turned down.
Here's the earlier but almost indistinguishable PR149 sheet — identical apart from the serial number, in fact. That they have a Letraset serial, & not a Comano, corroborates the hypothesis that Comano said 'no' to this product. (This is my own set, but thanks to John Haughey for providing photo evidence earlier — before I bought mine!)
All four cut GK232 sheets would fit on one uncut sheet of Crown (15" x 20") — shown above in simulation; however, it's perhaps more likely that the artwork was distributed across two sheets.
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives — John Haughey
© Tom Vinelott 2023