Monday, 20 October 2008

Izzy Wizzy let's get busy!

When I was a very little girl back in the 60's, I loved to watch Harry Corbett's cheeky 'Sooty' puppet on my parents' black and white telly as he tried (usually with disastrous outcome!) to organise his creator with a little help from his magic wand, using the immortal chant "Izzy Wizzy, let's get busy!" Twenty years later and I was still able to enjoy Sooty and his pals 'Sweep' and 'Sue' engaging in all kinds of magical mischief, as my own children giggled at their colourful antics!

Harry Corbett and Sooty (picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

'The Sooty Show' is in fact, the longest running children's tv programme in the UK and this year, dear old Sooty celebrated an incredible 60th year in showbiz. The original bear was completely yellow and apparently Harry covered his ears and nose with soot so that he would show up better on black and white television - hence the puppet's name.

My original 1960's mohair Chad valley 'Sooty' glove puppet

My own Sooty glove puppet was a Christmas present from an auntie back in the mid 60's when I was only three or four years old (by which time the puppet's ears had become permanently black and he had evolved into an orange mohair bear with brown rexine paws) but sadly he has long since mislaid his magic wand. Nowadays he is painfully threadbare, living out his days carefully tucked away in a corner of my bottom drawer among silky nighties and other such feminine fripperies. However, this week Sooty has once more seen the light of day, because I have decided to celebrate his sixty iconic years as a childrens' entertainer, by borrowing his distinctive looks as my starting point for the 'Teddy Talk' forum's 'Lost in the mists of time' challenge. The challenge requires bear artists to draw inspiration from one of their own childhood toys, using the features of that special toy to create a teddy bear in their own style.

So, no, I won't be making a replica Sooty glove puppet, rather I will be making an 'All Bear' with some beautiful mohair/silk blend, orangey gold mohair and of course, cute black ears! But I'm afraid you'll have to be patient and watch this space because my new bear won't be completely revealed until the 'Ho ho Oh Bearz' online show!


  1. I love your sooty, I used to love watching it too :) Can't wait to see your All Bear version, hugs, Catherine x

  2. I was an avid Sooty n Sweep fan when I was little. I had a Sweep puppet who had a squeaker inside. He was my favourite, probably because he made so much noise! I can still hear Harry Corbett saying 'bye bye everybody, bye bye', usually with a very wet face!

  3. Oh I remember Sooty and sweep, Paula - loved them.
    I must find my old Annual that I have somewhere ~ got it one Christmas too many years ago! and will show you.

    I look foward to seeing your All Bear - Sooty.


  4. Seems like Sooty is a firm favourite with all generations! My tribute bear is finished now ... if you'd like to see him, please pop over to visit the Ho Ho Oh Bearz show when it goes live on the 15th November. I'll post a pic on my blog once the show is over.


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