Skip to comments.GOLLY GOSH
Posted on 03/04/2006 5:00:51 PM PST by Lorianne
When police phoned Donald Reynolds during Sunday lunch and told him to forget dining with his family because they needed to see him immediately at his hardware shop, he feared the worst. But after racing 10 miles from the local pub to his high-street store, the hungry shopkeeper was stunned to find there was no sign of a break-in or fire.
And the married father of two grown-up sons thought he was being set up for a TV reality show when a police officer asked him to open up so they could 'arrest' three toy gollies in the shop window.
But he wasn't on Candid Camera. Police had arrived to remove the gollies gracing the front window of Pettifer's in the market town of Bromyard, Herefordshire, after a passerby complained they were racist.
Because of the complaint, Mr Reynolds, 53, spent a worrying three weeks fearing he would end up in court charged with displaying offensive material under race-hate laws.
But yesterday red-faced police chiefs bowed to mounting pressure and released the gollies from custody saying they would not be pressing charges.
"It's ridiculous, " said Mr Reynolds.
"When they said they wanted to see me at the shop but would not tell me why, I thought it was something serious like a ram-raid. I left my lunch and raced over there expecting half the stock to be gone.
I could hardly believe my ears when the policeman said he wanted me to open up so he could seize the gollies because someone had complained.
"I told police I couldn't believe they were acting on the complaint. I don't think I've done anything wrong. It's certainly nothing racist. This is political correctness gone mad."
Mr Reynolds says the gollies have been a hit with customers of all ages since he first started selling them about a month before the seizure and he had hoped they would rival his bestseller, a hedgehog doorstop.
Nostalgic locals snapped up the dolls, which first appeared in a children's story by American writer Florence Kate Upton 110 years ago, for between £2.99 and £7.99 depending on size.
Many bought them because they were reminded of a childhood when gollies were nearly as popular as teddies, but Mr Reynolds, who has run his shop for 10 years, said children also loved the brightly clothed dolls.
Mr Reynolds does not know the identity of the passerby who took offence at the dolls, which dropped out of fashion when their name became a racist slur in the 1970s.
But yesterday he was relieved to learn he will still be able to sell his gollies in the giftware section at the general store on the high street.
Yet a spokesman for West Mercia police, which seized the gollies under the Public Order Act, warned him about putting them in the shop window again. A spokesman said: "Officers have now carried out an investigation and consulted with appropriate partner agencies and the Crown Prosecution Service. No offences have been identified and the items will be returned to the shop. Suitable advice about the sensitivities of placing such items on display is being provided to the store owner.
"As the investigation has now concluded and no further action is to be taken, West Mercia Constabulary considers the matter to be closed."
A relieved but disgruntled Mr Reynolds is now considering auctioning the Bromyard Three for charity. He said: "I think there will be a lot of interest because they must be the only toys in the country to be arrested and to have served a prison sentence."
It's a caricature person of color. Kind of like a Mammy, only even less offensive as they usually (or the one I've got, anyhow) is in 19th garb.
And part of the objection is the real name is a "golliwog" and "wog" is a traditional term for brown people, currently much offensive.
It's a little children's book that was published in the 19th century -- about some toys that come to life. The Golliwog happens to have a black face and look like an end man in an old minstrel show. He's very nice and kind, and rescues the Dutch dolls from all sorts of predicaments.
So, naturally, we can't have THAT.
Surprised that the Dutch haven't complained about Peg and Meg.
Thank goodness it wasn't.
It's a Ted Danson doll.
Wait until PETA hears about THAT!
Now the tune "Golliwog's Cakewalk" takes on a more definite mental image for me. Interesting.
Lawn Jockey Lore -- interesting if true.
Interesting link, thanks.
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