Manufacture of an Olympic Mascot, the Shuss in Tissue

1968 Grenoble Shuss mascot
1968 Grenoble logo

Olympic Shuss mascot

Whereas we were on vacation in Menton (France) in August 1967, my wife discovered, in a magazine, a publicity to launch an Olympic mascot. It was about a dolphin in tribute to Dauphine, area in which was going to be held the Xth Winter Olympics of Grenoble in 1968.
Manufacturers of stuffed toys, the character liked us. My wife thus, as soon as returned, made application form to obtain the exclusiveness in manufacture in the branch which was ours.
Two months later, whereas no answer had been made to us since the Dauphine one, it is a Parisian agency which contacted us to carry out the Olympic mascot, which would be a skier “all shuss” and not the nice dolphin.
The 1st minister, Georges Pompidou giving to the ORTF (french TV) the autorization to promote Shuss as “an emblematic character of the OG”. In 1968, the publicity of mark was not authorized yet on television, the ORTF thus had the authorization only to use the drawing of the character, and not the character himself, i.e. a static image such as one could see it on our packaging.
Meetings, supply of drawings, proposal of models, our Shuss was born.

1968 Grenoble olympic mascot Shuss tissue
1968 Grenoble olympic mascot Shuss tissue

The problem, for the approved agency of the OG, was to find a licencied able to carry out “the true” mascot created “in tissue” by Mrs Aline Lafargue. Mrs Lafargue had quickly given the rights to the COJO which had delegated itself the exploitation to an agency.
This agency had already licencied for various representations of Shuss: small mascots in plastic, large inflatable in plastic, covers of book, badges and portfolios, postcards, plates and many others.
But the agency needed a company able to make it in volume and tissue, what it had not found yet. It had think about the “toy stuffed” and ask our address.

1968 Grenoble olympic mascot Shuss tissue bag
1968 Grenoble olympic mascot Shuss tissue bag

Our problem, as manufacturers, was to carry out the imposed form, without having to stuff tissue. Technically, it was not possible. But with ideas and do-it-yourself, we arrived to made something:

  • for the head, a ball for the first specimens, a lighter and more ovoid polystyrene moulding towards the back for the following.
  • For the body, a wire folded out of hairpin and folded up in “Z”, the top of the pin threaded in the head, the low part folded up and wedged in the spatula of the ski, the body in “Z” thickened of two small rectangles of paperboard.
  • For the ski, a rectangle of isorel for the sole, the same cuted in two to the 1/3 of its length for the top, the bottom of our pin being introduced into the cut.
  • For the preparing, our workshop being close to the town of Troyes, we called upon Babygro and Absorba which manufactured already their snap fasteners for babies in a knitted extensible tissue, the “stretch”, which helped us well.

It remained to position the decorations.

  • White bands of the body? Ribbon of stretch stretched and stuck with latex!
  • Eyes? felt-ring seals cut out also stuck!
  • Most artisanal perhaps: Olympic rings. Not easy to print an elastic tissue which is stretched in all directions to be positioned! Then we printed in the last, using a piece of tube metal of the diameter necessary, which one initially soaked in a textile adhesive, then in a small box punt out of paperboard which contained powder of flocking out of cotton. We repeated 5 times the gesture, manually, which explains the irregularity of the rings.

Artisanal? sure! It was at the end of 67 and the beginning of 68′. France was not still “worldwide”, just revolted. However, in spite of the small means used, 84000 specimens left of our workshops. For the time, it was an enormous pulling. We expected a request of only 10000 characters!

© by Andre Thiennot, manufacturer of ” toys Tieno “

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