1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 3 (UK)
One of the most famous of the Admag programmes of the late 50s and early 60s, Jim’s Inn was a series of 15-minute “advertising magazines” which went out live to air, once a week, at 10:45 pm.
The advertising was wrapped up in a sort of mini-soap starring Jimmy Hanley – well known from film and TV appearances such as The Blue Lamp and The Five O’Clock Club – and his wife Maggie as a couple who ran a warm and friendly village pub in the (fictitious) village of Wembleham.
Regulars in the pub included Roma who ran the beauty salon in Wembleham, her husband Fred who ran the village garage, absent-minded Ron who managed the local hardware store, Jack (a farmer) and Dennis – the token city commuter -and his wife Peggy.
The Director was Pat Baker. Jimmy Hanley and Bob Kellett scripted the show, Bob blending information about prices and products with Jimmy’s ideas on incidents and gags. “It sounds paradoxical, but without the advertisements, it would lose a lot of reality. People do talk, in a village pub, about things like household or gardening gadgets, and how much they paid for them”, said Bob.
Products which featured in the 250th edition, for instance, included Thermos Brand Vacuum Flasks, Gaymer’s Cider, Waft, Goddard’s Gardstick, Ekco Baby-Sitta, Trout Hall Orange Juice, Aquafilter, Fison’s Liquisprayer, and a regular, Ben Truman.
An indication of the selling power of Jim’s Inn occurred when beautician Roma swanned into the pub wearing a fur coat. Maggie exclaimed “what a lovely coat! Where did you get it?” to which Roma unashamedly replied, in a plug worthy of any chat-show guest, “Jones & Higgins of Peckham – they’ve got a sale on. It was reduced from £70 to £50”.
The morning after the programme, there was a queue a mile long outside Jones & Higgins.
Jim’s Inn gained such popularity that an LP record was produced (Singalong at Jim’s Inn) featuring the entire cast singing old-time favourites.
To the disgust of the public, parliament outlawed Admags in 1963 and so “time, gentlemen please” was called at Jim’s Inn.