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Christmas 1983: Remember Tiny Tears, Terrahawks and an Inverness-produced game Taliesin?


By Val Sweeney

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Arnotts department store, which closed in 2003, was the place to go Christmas shopping in 1983.
Arnotts department store, which closed in 2003, was the place to go Christmas shopping in 1983.

It was the Inverness store which promoted itself as "everyone's Santa", stocking a broad range of goods including clothing, household goods and toys.

And as Christmas 1983 approached, Arnotts, in Union Street, was ready and waiting for the festive charge of frayed shoppers desperately looking for that special gift.

Santa had taken up residence in the store's toy department where children could meet him and deliver their letters in person.

Tiny Tears dolls (£9.95) were waiting to be loved while Terrahawks action models (from £8.50) would have thrilled fans of the science fiction TV series about a taskforce responsible for protecting Earth from invasion by a group of extraterrestrial androids and aliens.

The store also had a range of cycles – always a popular Christmas gift – including a BMX (£79.95) while the budget-conscious Santa could always save himself £12 on the maximum retail price of £24.95 for a Lilliput 2000 Typewriter (£12.95).

Fur as a fashion was falling out of favour but at Arnotts, ladies' coney jackets were selling from £49.95 to £99.95 while Old Spice male grooming products (£6.95) were a safe bet for men.

Taliesin – the magic game for Christmas 1983.
Taliesin – the magic game for Christmas 1983.

But if inspiration was not forthcoming there, the magic gift for Christmas 1983 was Taliesin, according to John Menzies.

Shoppers were invited to meet the Taliesin Wizard at its High Street store for demonstrations and challenge games by the inventor of the new three-dimensional board game produced in Inverness.

Stay Press trousers were among the gift ideas suggested by F A Cameron.
Stay Press trousers were among the gift ideas suggested by F A Cameron.

Independent store F. A. Cameron & Co in Church Street had gift ideas in clothing.

Stay Press trousers,Wrangler cords with a pleated front or initialled hankies were among the suggestions for men and striped batwing jumpers, velveteen pencil skirts or leg warmer sets for women.

The legendary Jimmy Logan starred in Babes In The Wood at Eden Court Theatre.
The legendary Jimmy Logan starred in Babes In The Wood at Eden Court Theatre.

When the Christmas shopping was completed, there was a choice of entertainment – whether it was theatre, cinema or home – to put people in the festive mood.

Babes in the Wood was Eden Court Theatre's panto that year.

Audiences must surely have been treated to an entertaining show as it starred the legendary Scottish comedian, actor and impresario Jimmy Logan plus George Duffus and Louise Kelly.

Fans of the big screen could head to La Scala cinema where there was a choice of two films released in 1983.

The films showing at La Scala Christmas 1983.
The films showing at La Scala Christmas 1983.

The James Bond film, Never Say Never Again – with Sean Connery playing the role of MI6 agent 007 for the seventh and final time – was showing at Screen 1.

Screen 2 was showing Return of the Jedi, the third instalment in the original Star Wars trilogy and the highest grossing film of 1983.

Local Hero was number one in the top 10 at Video Giants.
Local Hero was number one in the top 10 at Video Giants.

But for those who preferred to view their films at home, there was a wide choice in VHS and Beta at Video Giants in Mealmarket Close, Inverness.

As Christmas approached, the number one slot in its top 10 videos was taken by Local Hero – the 1983 Scottish comedy-drama about an American oil company representative who is sent to the fictional village of Ferness on the west coast of Scotland to buy the town and surrounding property for his company.

The videotheque was on the programme at the Caledonian Hotel.
The videotheque was on the programme at the Caledonian Hotel.

Disco fans, meanwhile, had the option of showing off their dance moves at the Caledonian Hotel's videotheque – although what today's Strictly judges would have made of them can only be imagined.


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