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Surprise in Store

Four children go secretly into a toy shop at night

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Content advisory: Images of 'Golliwog' dolls and 'Red Indian' toy figures.

An amateur fiction film where children sneak into a shop (Wylie Hills, Buchanan Street, Glasgow) and play with the toys in the toy department. They are surprised by the caretaker who comes into the toy department dressed as Santa Claus.

The film contains some images of 'Golliwog' dolls and 'Red Indian' figures. The original golliwog was a central character in a series of books by Bertha and Florence Upton (published 1895 - 1909). Florence, who illustrated the stories, based the golliwog on an American doll she owned. The design of the doll was influenced by the racist blackface performance tradition and was used widely in toys until the 1970s.

Native Americans were popularly represented in toys throughout the twentieth century. They were often depicted wearing headdresses and holding tomahawks or bows and arrows. They were referred to using the derogatory, colonialist term 'Red Indians' which is now understood to be a racial slur.

Questions & Activities


  • What toys are the boys playing with and what toys are the girls playing with?
  • At what time of year is the film set? How do you know?
  • What is the surprise in the film?
  • What toys would you want to play with today?


List the different toys you can see in the film and then list the toys you play with today. See how many similar and different toys you can find.

Play the film with the sound on but don't look at the image. Based on listening to the soundtrack alone, what might you think this film is about?

Write the story from the point of view of one of the children in the film.

List the brands you see. Which ones are still in existence? What companies own the brands today?

How are toys marketed and sold today? (e.g. packaging, advertising, online shopping, etc).

Stop the film at the point where the man comes up the stairs and the children hide. Can you come up with an alternative ending?

Design your own Christmas toy display.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-421-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 3804
Date 1965
Genre Amateur, Fiction
School Subject Art and Design, Expressive Arts, History, Media Studies, Social Sciences, Technologies
Subject Matter Literacy, Christmas, Shopping, Children, Toys, Santa
Who Frank Marshall (film maker)
Where Glasgow
Event Christmas
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 10:39
Film Length 10:39