Jim Henson's Labyrinth - My Collection (Current build: Movie Accurate Plush Didymus)

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I am in love with these little detailed props! The jewelry is so much fun, love the idea of displaying them in the charity box.

Thank you so much! The charity box was never high on my list of things to make, but I'm so glad I did. I struggle at decorating/organizing my shelves, items just tend to 'float' on them and never really feel like they have a proper place....but once I made the charity box things started to 'click' a bit better and helped to ground a few of those floaty items.
 
So I was really hoping to nail down what model of bear Sir Lancelot was, metaphorically climb down Mt. Sinai and be able to definitively say "Lo and behold, here is Lancelot". Unfortunately I'm finding myself a bit muddled by the unfamiliar world of vintage teddies, so I think I'm just going to throw in the towel, share what information I have gleaned, and cast it into the wind.

This is a follow up to a previous post, where I basically rambled some thoughts about the Lancelot prop. Feel free to check that post out for some reference photos of Lancelot in the film and the various Labyrinth exhibitions where the prop has been displayed.

Firstly, I am fairly certain Lancelot is a vintage Merrythought bear, potentially the "M" Model in the colour London Gold. Here's a couple of pages from the Teddy Bear Encyclopedia which goes over the main characteristics of this bear. The "M" style bear was made in a wide range of sizes, the first two images are of a 10 inch bear, and the third image is the 16 inch bear.

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The "M" style bear was also released in 12 or 14 inch sizes, and I think one of those two options is the proper size of Lancelot.

Now here's the rub, and the source of my main confusion. According to the Teddy Bear Encyclopedia, the Merrythought "M" style bear was made through the 70s - 80s, though I have also seen what looks very similar to the "M" style bear dated to the 50s and 60s. Age of the bears is of course, important for figuring out what would've been on store shelves or available as a used-toy find at the time of Labyrinth's production. The wear on Lancelot in the film makes me think he may have been a used bear, but I'm not 100% certain of this, another point of confusion.

There seems to be a bit of variety within the "Merrythought London Gold" label. Here's a collection of images I've pulled from various completed eBay and Etsy listings, all Merrythought bears in the London Gold colour.

Various 14 inch bears:
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10 inch bear (First image) and 16 inch bears. The last bear is dated to the 50s according to the seller:
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~15 in bear, dated to the 60s according to the seller:
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One of the obvious differences: Some bears have brown eyes and others amber (The TBE lists both eye colours being used for the "M" style bear within the same decade). It also feels like some bears have a flatter head while others have a much more defined shape. I'm not sure if this is potentially a difference in the pattern of the bear or perhaps a sign of wear. Mohair was typically used on these bears, but since the texture of some bears appears different I wonder if there were bears made with synthetic fibres instead (Which food for though, Lancelot is described as having "Synthetic fur" in one of the recent Museum exhibitions).

Lancelot in the film is obviously missing his foot tag so we can't use that to narrow down what decade he's from, but based on my admittedly amateur research there's at least two different era's of foot tags for Merrythought that were used in the time around Labyrinth's production. Based on the Teddy Bear Encyclopedia the design on the left image is from bears made in the 70s - 80s. According to TBE the tag on the right hand image was on bears made in the 80s to 2000s. I ended up emailing Merrythought to try and confirm the time range of that 80s - 2000s label as I was seeing conflicting details in the TBE, at least according to that customer service agent usage of the right foot label started in the 80s and was only in use for around decade.

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Adding to this, Merrythought still produces London Gold bears today, so there's quite a few listings of this replica model, which uses this foot tag.

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One last thing I'll note: The TBE also mentions that starting in 1982 Merrythought introduced a range of limited-edition bears for the international market. The book says these were "replicas... or special limited-edition versions of previous lines...". While the book does not specifically say the "M" style bear was re-released, part of me is wondering if at least part of the variety pictured above is due to these "limited-edition" re-releases, especially since some of those bears seem to resemble the most recent replica model while using the 80s - 2000s era foot tag.

So basically this is my long-winded way of saying I think I have at least figured out Lancelot's manufacturer, but the specifics of what exact bear he is eludes me. So if anything I hope I can at least point those hoping to find their own move-accurate Lancelot in the right direction, even if that pointing is more like a broad gesticulation towards a foggy horizon.

So as not to leave this post on a dull note, I will mention that I am pretty sure I've ID'd what stuffed toy they used to make the Didymus plush in Sarah's room. Didymus is a Steiff red squirrel plush named "Ricky", dressed up and altered to resemble the Didymus puppet. I purchased a Ricky and plan on updating it to make myself a more movie accurate Sir Didymus, so stay tuned for that.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I am pretty sure I've ID'd the plush used to make the Didymus plush from Sarah's bedroom. I've already made myself a Didymus plush look-alike using a Beanie Baby, but once I realised I could purchase the actual plush used in the movie I knew I'd have to do a V2 to get something a little more accurate.

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So here's what we're working with, the Steiff "Ricky" Red Squirrel Plush. I was able to find a Ricky that was in good but imperfect condition (Missing the tags and with a slight grey stain on the bottom of one foot), so I didn't have to feel guilty about altering a vintage Steiff plush.

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To add the white fur I unravelled some white yarn, then threaded the individual strands through my Didymus using a large needle. An important thing to note for anyone else that is going to do this, you want to have your unravelled yarn longer than you expect, as the next step will be to brush through the unravelled yarn with a stiff brush which smooths the yarn out and also tears off a lot of yarn in the process. Once the yarn is brushed out you can trim it down to size.

(I should note, I also added some black embroidery thread to Didymus' nose to better match the film)

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For Didymus' tunic, at first I stuck pretty close to the one in the movie, which appears to be made mostly from felt. However after finishing the movie-accurate tunic I thought "I can make this a bit fancier". So I sort of threw out movie accuracy here and instead used some embroidery thread to put an extra bit of pizzazz onto my Didymus' tunic.


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I then sewed the tunic onto Didymus, adding some tiny gold buttons onto the front. It's hard to tell, but based on this behind the scene photo there are some sort of gold details on the front, it's just a bit ambiguous as to what they look like.

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The eye patch was more felt, cut and sewn into a loop around Didymus' head.

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Didymus' hat were two 4 inch circles of fabric, sewn together, flipped inside out, topstitched along the edge, and gathered with a running stitch along the perimeter. I'll admit that I'm not entirely sold on my hat, the colour is a bit off and the shape isn't quite right. I think my fabric choice is a bit too thick, but it's what I had in my scrap box so for now it'll do.

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And with that, Didymus is complete! I love him a lot, he definitely puts my original Didymus stand-in to shame.

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