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Surprise in Store

Four children slip secretly into a toy shop at night!

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An amateur fiction film of childhood fun. Traffic moves down a street decorated with Christmas lights. Close-up of a petrol gauge, and a car pulls over opposite a shop (Wylie Hills on Buchanan Street) with a display of toys in the window. The father heads out with a petrol can, leaving the children in the car. Men working in the shop knock off for a break. The children run to the window and gaze at the toys on show. One of the shop's caretakers leaves the arcade, but doesn't close the grill fully. The children sneak into the shop and play with the toys in the toy department. In the staff room, the caretaker falls asleep. A policeman investigates the abandoned car outside, while the boys drive round in toy cars, and the girls blow bubbles. The younger caretaker starts to return... Meanwhile the children enjoy themselves. They try on roller skates, find guns, ride rocking horses and scooters, play in toy cars, and generally run riot! The young caretaker returns with his chips, and finds the older man asleep. He wakes him up and dresses him in a Santa suit. The kids are upstairs playing with toy planes, dolls and prams, with electric race cars... meanwhile, father starts to return with the can of petrol. The children realise someone is coming up the stairs... it's the old man in the Santa suit! They run to hide, can't believe their eyes when they see who it is! They run down the stairs and out of the shop, and are in the car by the time father returns, none the wiser.

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
© Archive film content and stills licensed by National Library of Scotland and other rights holders. Other Website Content Copyright Creative Scotland.
All Rights Reserved.
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