Title ID 1266Collection ID161
TitleThe Good Old Days
CollectionElectricity Council
Genre/TypeProfessionalFilm/Video companyFictionCostume Drama
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAccidents Houses Interiors Labour Workers Clothing
RegionalGreater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionMerton Park Studies
CameraHarry Waxman
DirectorRalph Smart
ProducerCecil Musk
Commissioning bodyA British Electrical Presentation
EditorC. Beaumont
WriterMontgomery Tully
SoundCharles Poulton
CastJerry Verno; Hal Walters; Ernest Sefton; Joan Fred Emney; Patsey Smart
Other creditsAnson Dyer (Cartoonist)
FormatColour Sound
Duration20 Min. 20 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An animated 'wizard in the wall' shows an impatient banker how much easier life is with electrical appliances when he transports him back to his great great great grandfather's time, where there are no light bulbs or light switches, electric heaters or irons, no fridges and no hot baths. A film by Merton Park Studios, produced in 1938.


A man named Grimble waits impatiently for the kettle to boil, 'the dash thing takes hours!' A maid suggests he buy an electric kettle. The cook demands electric equipment. He tells of his great great great grandfather, who entertained the King without electric appliances. 'Oh, those were the days!' he exclaims. 'Those were the dirty days!' says the cook. 'Who wants readymade comfort anyway?' he asks, once the women have left the breakfast room.

An animated figure wearing a black wizard's hat appears from the light switch. 'So you want the good old days, do you?' he asks, 'then you shall have them!' When the figure disappears, the man's clothes change into 18th century garb. The electric appliances in the house change, as do the furniture. The lamp turns into a spinning globe and the telephone disappears. The electric bell to call the servants disappears and a pulley appears in its place. 'Great Scott, I'm my own great great great grandfather! I'm back in the good old days!'

A man enters with money in gold. The King will be here at 11.30, he says. 'It's the very day I told them about this morning!' says Grimble. He demands they all make themselves presentable and iron their clothes. The animated figure appears with an iron, which quickly disappears. 'You're back in the good old days now, don't forget,' says the figure. Downstairs, he asks where the light switch is and the servants laugh. 'Proper lighting in the modern kitchen halves work, Grimble!' says the animated figure, appearing with a light bulb.

Cook shows him into the larder, where the meat is past its best and the fish must be caught fresh. The figure appears with a fridge full of cool and fresh food. 'So long!' he says, before disappearing again. Grimble asks the maid where the bathroom is as she starts to boil water for the bath, which is just a tub on the floor. He gets in the water and starts to shiver with cold in the tiny tub. The figure appears with a bath, 'but that's hundreds of years in the future,' he says. Grimble shakes the curtains and demands that they be beaten in the garden. The figure appears again, this time with a vacuum cleaner. 'Remember the fuss you made when you wouldn't buy an electric cleaner!'

He runs around the house, knocking into all the servants. 'You can go back to your own life again,' says the animated figure, and he opens the door to a telegraph boy and not the King. 'We're not living in the 18th century,' says Grimble, who agrees to buy an electric stove. His wife joins him for breakfast the next day. 'New kettle?,' she exclaims. 'Kettle, toaster, and a fire for the spare room,' he says. A vision of what happened on the day of the King's visit to Grimble's great great great grandfather appears in the picture frame over the fire. It shows the King getting terribly angry over his reception. 'Spare me, your majesty!,' he shouts. 'I'm glad I didn't live in those days!,' says Grimble.

The animated figure appears from the light switch for the last time. 'Yes, most of us enjoy living in the days of electricity,' he says, 'the wizard in the wall is always at your service.' Music plays as the film ends.