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To our British members: What was going on in the UK when this Gillette Christmas Special Set #80 was being offered for sale? (1961)

I have always referred to it as a British TV Special since that was how it was described when I bought it, same design as the '58 US TV Special, rhodium handle. I recently discovered (tonight) that it is not a TV Special at all. Never was. It's a 1961 British Christmas Special Set #80. Even after all these years I am still learning new things about Gillette's.
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British Gillette Christmas Special #80 Set 1961.jpeg

Are pharmacists still called chemists? And what is the difference between a druggist and a chemist?
 
Gorgeous razor! It is indeed interesting that Gillette had so many region-specific products and campaigns. I was eyeballing this one a while back, sadly enough I'm an adjustable tart, hence the hard pass. Now, impossible to chime in on the 1961 campaign as I wasn't even planned yet. On the chemist/drug store/pharmacy debacle, it's quite simple, basically the same thing -negligible differences, sometimes area specific- as the societal and cultural differences have dictated the nomenclature. In Blimey, chemist is a legacy, albeit a bit quaint term, as alchemists followed by the chemists were those responsible for the preparation and later the synthesis of medicine.
 
Hello, "TV Special Rocket" is the same story as "Rocket". The handle looks similar to the US TV Special Ss, so someone called it TV Special Rocket and the name sticked.
I wouldn't call it a 1961 Christmas special for the same resons. The ad doesn't detail what is the special part of the offer. It could be the plating of the razor, the Super blue blades or the price of the set.
We know that this set was produced for several years, and part/full rhodium plated Superspeeds came in at least two sets.
 
I have always referred to it as a British TV Special since that was how it was described when I bought it, same design as the '58 US TV Special, rhodium handle. I recently discovered (tonight) that it is not a TV Special at all. Never was. It's a 1961 British Christmas Special Set #80. Even after all these years I am still learning new things about Gillette's.
The 1950s in Britain were a rather bleak and conservative time after the War. Things were starting to look up in the 1960s. There was more freedom, more prosperity, more progress, the future was brighter! Parents who grew up fighting in the war wanted their children to have a different, better life. It was the start of the Swinging Sixties.
 
Hello, "TV Special Rocket" is the same story as "Rocket". The handle looks similar to the US TV Special Ss, so someone called it TV Special Rocket and the name sticked.
I wouldn't call it a 1961 Christmas special for the same resons. The ad doesn't detail what is the special part of the offer. It could be the plating of the razor, the Super blue blades or the price of the set.
We know that this set was produced for several years, and part/full rhodium plated Superspeeds came in at least two sets.
I get your point about users coining names for razors but Gillette marketed it as Xmas Special which is printed at the top of the flyer/promo attached to the set. The ad in the trade publication is dated September 23, 1961. Whatever nickname users gave it later Gillette UK marketed it as the Christmas Special in 1961.

Do you know if there was also a US Christmas Special set with the same set combination or was it only for UK sale?

Since you have a wealth of knowledge will you please fill me in on the meaning of the numbers 7'6, etc. in the display ad on each razor set? I should know this by now but don't.
 
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Nice find for the advert. I have this set, sort of. Mine came with an all blue, 4 blade Gillette Blue blade bank. Looks like I might need to find a period correct Super Blue set.
 
Hello, as there is only this one ad, we don’t know what exactly the Christmas special is. Like was it available in April of the same year, or the next? Or was it only available during the Christmas season. I would say no on the later as this set was sold all over Europe for several years.

Gillette made Christmas specials every year, usually combining an already existing set with some cream and/or blades or simply reduce the price.

The numbers are Pound/Pence prices, but I honestly don’t understand how this system worked.
 
Since you have a wealth of knowledge will you please fill me in on the meaning of the numbers 7'6, etc. in the display ad on each razor set? I should know this by now but don't.
The numbers are Pound/Pence prices, but I honestly don’t understand how this system worked.
7'6 or 7/6 is seven shillings and six pence (or colloquially "seven and six").

OLD BRITISH MONEY:
£1 = 20s (shillings) = 240d (old pence)
1 shilling = 12d (old pence)

So, translated into today's money (where £1 = 100p [pence]) 7/6 = 37½p (except they don't make half pennies any more [and definitely not farthings, i.e. ¼ pence]).
 
Ah yes, Saturday September 23rd 1961. On a personal note I was 8 days old!

There is an exact copy of that example going on the UK Ebay at the moment, except that the razor is slightly worn and the blade dispenser looks rusted. Case ok. If it was a 1961 I would buy it.

Roughly £100 in 1961 had the purchasing power of £2,283 in todays money. My father could earn up to £40 per week with overtime working in the metal industry in the Midlands in 1968 as I very vaguely recall. He used to make the Jaguar car chrome crouching jaguars and once brought a couple home to me. That was when we still actually made things!

Chemists then were almost always individually operated, and would sell a bewildering variety of items, including a lot of patent medicines which would probably be banned today. The big chain store chemist Boots did exist and had a huge number of outlets, but the majority were family owned. Many (but not all) had a pharmacist who was a health professional who could process prescription meds. Often a Chemist would have a link to the local G.P practice.

Have you noticed, dear reader that decades 'identities' don't really get going until after they are over half through? My earliest consistent memories are about from 1964-5. If you want to know what it was like then just watch the original Alfie film, with Michael Caine. It was just like that to live here then.
 
In 1961

Timothy Whites was another chemist with shops all over England.

A shoe seller use to come round selling boots and shoes direct from the shoe factories in Northamptonshire. They were mostly seconds but still excellent quality.

England thrashed Scotland 9-3 at Wembley and Jimmy Greaves scored a hat trick.
 
I forgot to mention this.

Ingrams were running a telly ad around 1961 with the jingle -
’Shaving Cream With The Built In Lotion INGRAMS’

Ingrams shaving cream was still available at the local chemist until a couple of years ago.
 
Up to the mid 50,s there was only one tv channel. BBC. Then Itv arrived, the first with adverts. Then BBC launched another channel,BBC2 which considered it rather up market in terms of programmes. Difficult to imagine in USA only having 3 tv channels in the Swinging sixties and groovy seventies!
 
Up to the mid 50,s there was only one tv channel. BBC. Then Itv arrived, the first with adverts. Then BBC launched another channel,BBC2 which considered it rather up market in terms of programmes. Difficult to imagine in USA only having 3 tv channels in the Swinging sixties and groovy seventies!
I grew up in Indiana, USA, in the 60s-70s and we only had 3 channels.
 
I grew up in Indiana, USA, in the 60s-70s and we only had 3 channels.
Different area but same story. Black and white TV would display only static when my grandfather was shaving upstairs (electric razor), interrupting our Saturday morning Popeye cartoons.
 
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In the US, I was starting 3rd grade in Sept. of 1961. I think Alvin and the Chipmunks had their own TV cartoon show, following the success of The Flintstones. There was a kids chewable vitamin brand called "Chocks," possibly a competitor to, or replaced by, the Flintstones chewables. The George Reeves Adventures of Superman was in reruns every school day afternoon. Other channels would show the old Warner Bros. cartoons w/ Bugs Bunny et al., or even older Merrie Melodies, or The Lone Ranger.

TV news began at 6 pm Central (no daylight time here yet), just 15 minutes, and network news at 6:15 to 6:30; then prime time TV until 10 pm. Some of our local stations would show another syndicated sitcom, How to Marry a Millionaire or The Honeymooners, while others had a local news roundup. Then came The Tonight Show on NBC (not Johnny Carson yet), and our other 2 network affiliates would have a Late Show movie, or a crime-oriented rerun like Tightrope or M Squad followed by a movie. And they'd all sign off between midnight and 1 a.m.

Gee, a lot of my memories revolve around TV. . . .
 
In the US, I was starting 3rd grade in Sept. of 1961. I think Alvin and the Chipmunks had their own TV cartoon show, following the success of The Flintstones. There was a kids chewable vitamin brand called "Chocks," possibly a competitor to, or replaced by, the Flintstones chewables. The George Reeves Adventures of Superman was in reruns every school day afternoon. Other channels would show the old Warner Bros. cartoons w/ Bugs Bunny et al., or even older Merrie Melodies, or The Lone Ranger.

TV news began at 6 pm Central (no daylight time here yet), just 15 minutes, and network news at 6:15 to 6:30; then prime time TV until 10 pm. Some of our local stations would show another syndicated sitcom, How to Marry a Millionaire or The Honeymooners, while others had a local news roundup. Then came The Tonight Show on NBC (not Johnny Carson yet), and our other 2 network affiliates would have a Late Show movie, or a crime-oriented rerun like Tightrope or M Squad followed by a movie. And they'd all sign off between midnight and 1 a.m.

Gee, a lot of my memories revolve around TV. . . .
Man you forgot about "The Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone" near late night. As kids we weren't allowed to watch either at first. It was for adults or so my parents told us.
 
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