Thunderbirds

Karel I cigar wrappers

In its day, Thunderbirds could lay claim to being supported by the largest merchandising effort since Disney's. As has been pointed out in other pages on this site, the number of items related to the series was nearly inexhaustible. Small wonder then that, at some point, some bright soul at AP Films (Merchandising) came up with the idea of linking Thunderbirds to the pleasures of smoking. Even in those days, children were not in the habit of setting fire to a tasty cheroot but their fathers, uncles and grandfathers certainly were (and, come to think of it, so was Gerry). Hence Thunderbirds cigar wrappers. So here is what is probably one of the more outlandish items of Thunderbirds merchandising.

As far as I have been able to trace, two series saw the light of day, both consisting of 24 wrappers with different small photographs of characters and machines from the series. They were manufactured in 1968 by the Dutch Karel I cigar factories as the HG [half–groot — half size] and KF [klein–formaat — small size] series; apparently Karel I had a limited set of publicity stills to work with since the images of both series largely overlap.

images sourced from the Catawiki website