The first Sooty was purchased in 1948 on Blackpool pier, his nose and ears were blackened by Harry Corbett and consequently he was named Sooty. He made his TV debut in 1952, they were an instant success. In 1975 Harry retired from the TV series and passed the show on to his son Matthew. But, Harry could never give the bear up and he continued touring with his show through the 1970s and 1980s.
All stage and television puppets were marked with the initials of the puppeteer using them due to each puppeteer having different sized hands and fingers. A snug fit was essential for the puppets to handle props. The paws were copydexed to enable the puppet to grip articles firmly. The puppet also had a loop on the bottom of the skirt for pre-set placement. In this example, the elasticated draw on the wrist is indicative of puppets used during the 1970s and 1980s.
It is believed that over a thousand puppets have been used during the shows, this one is still in very good, unworn condition.