Jolly Japes

When you gaze in the window of Dinsdales Joke Shop, which has been in Hepworths Arcade since the 1930s, you can easily feel as if you’ve slipped into a time warp.

Graham Williams, who has managed the shop for longer than he’d care to remember, can rake through drawers and pull out gags and tricks dating back to the Fifties.

Dinsdales is a great Hull institution and it was a total pleasure spending a couple of mornings nosing around in the shop for KCOM, in time for April Fool’s Day.

Stink bombs, snappy gum, flies in ice cubes… all had an appealing sense of nostalgia and tomfoolery, taking you straight back to childhood.

But there is another side to Dinsdales, Graham stocks costumes, hats and wigs galore, and after deciding to cram the film with as much mirth as possible, we twisted Graham’s arm to be our model – and he willingly obliged with a twinkle in his eye.

Dinsdales is Hull-born actor Reece Sheersmith’s favourite shop and after spending time amongst the fake boils and deformed body parts on sale, they way it may have influenced The League of Gentleman starts to become clear.

Joke shops are a rarity and Dinsdales is one a off, inspiring high-jinks and jolly-japes.

The signs outside the store says ‘Buy a Joke Have a Good Laugh!’ And ‘Keep Smiling’. We hope the short film we produced for KCOM gives people a reason to smile.

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