Top Picture: Andy Capp
Second Picture: Snoopy and Woodstock
When we were little our Dads always read the daily newspapers and that if we ever got hold of the paper it was a rare event as they were not classed as suitable reading for children. And this is before the advent of page three. But what I do remember from sneaking a look at my fathers Daily Mirror are the strip cartoons. These cartoons were many and various covering everything from comedy, to gardening tips, household tips and political satire.
Let me start with the odd ones. Gardening; now who remembers the strip that went under the title of Mr Digwell. Mr Digwell was a classic Victorian gardener with string tied around his trouser legs and he gave horticultural tips for use at home. Another of these gardening sages was Old Adam, whoever he was! Barry Bucknell had a strip for home maintenance as did a couple of other early DIYers, but I seem to remember these died out when magazines such as the Practical Householder hit the streets. There were adventure strips Garth, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Romeo Brown and for the space enthusiast Dan Dare.
Mention strip cartoon and you have to mention Jane with her little dog Fritz. What ever the adventure it always seemed that Jane would loose her clothes at the drop of a hat and would be left standing in her underwear complete with stockings and suspenders. I can assure all you ladies out there that none of us lads had the good fortune to meet up with a Jane in our youth. If we did I think we would have run a mile! Although she did have a rival at one time Tiffany Jones but who remembers her?
The main stay of the strip cartoon were the comic strips. Here are a few I am sure you will all remember.
Andy Capp and Florrie, probably one of the most successful comic strips of all time even though the creator Reg Smythe died in 1998 the cartoon still continues now being drawn byRoger Mahoney and written by Roger Kettle.
The Perishers, another highly successful cartoon strip featuring Wellington, Maisie, Marlin, Boot the dog and the ‘Eyeballs in the Sky’. This started in the Daily Mirror in 1959 and continued until 2006 and then after a gap of four years reprints of the original strips were introduced again by the Daily Mirror.
Peanuts, is very probably the best known cartoon strip of all. Drawn by Charles M Schulz it ran from 1950 ( although it started in America in 1947 until Schulz death in 2000 although reruns can still be found in some publications. Who can forget Charlie Brown, Lucy, Pigpen and of course Snoopy and Woodstock. A typically American cartoon but it was a big hit here in the UK.
Another American import was Blondie. On February 17, 1933, after much fanfare and build-up, Blondie Boopadoop a carefree flapper girl who spent her days in dancehalls. marries her boyfriend Dagwood Bumstead, the son of a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately, Dagwood's upper-crust parents strongly disapprove of his marrying beneath his class, and disinherit him and the Bumsteads are forced to become a middle-class suburban family. Blondie’s marriage marked the beginning of a change in her personality. From that point forward, she assumed her position as the sensible head of the Bumstead household. And Dagwood took over as the comic strip’s clown. The strip ran from 1930 to 2005, one of Dagwood’s obsessions was the giant Dagwood sandwich and recently a chain of Dagwood sandwich shops has opened in the USA.
For us children Rupert the Bear was one of the most popular cartoons. Running from 1920 to 2005 and encompassing books, annuals, TV series and even Sir Paul McCartney Rupert has been one of the most successful cartoons of all time despite being politically incorrect with its characters and I bet you did not know that there was a Rupert Bear Museum in Canterbury.
Not exactly a strip cartoon writer I cannot ignore Ronald "Carl" Giles who died in 1995 aged 80 he was always referred to simply as Giles whose work appeared for years in the Daily Express. His cartoon style was a single topical highly detailed panel, usually with a great deal more going on than the single joke. Certain recurring characters achieved a great deal of popularity, particularly the extended Giles family, which first appeared in a published cartoon on 5 August 1945 and featured prominently in the strip. Of these, the most famous is the enigmatic matriarch of the family, known simply as Grandma. Another recurring favourite was Chalkie, the tyrannical school teacher who Giles claimed was modelled on one of his childhood teachers, and Larry, the mop-haired child from next door, often seen with a camera, who, it is said is the alter ego of Giles himself.
There were many, many others Flook, Denis the Menace, Garfield, Tin Tin, Pop, Wack, The Larks, The Fosdyke Saga and Fred Bassett.
I am sure that I have forgotten some and I am sure that you will all let me know which ones. I look forward to hearing from you.
Stay in touch,
Just for your interest, Marks and Spencers branded themselves
Woolworth's in South Africa as they wanted to do lucrative business in South African High Streets and shopping malls without appearing to be supporting South Africa. So throughout the Apartheid years they were busy here supplying goods which in some cases (especially clothing) had M and S labels.
With the ending of Apartheid, they maintained the Woolworth's branding and are still here today. So my wife can still say I'm popping out to Woolworths.....they are bound to have some.
We noticed when we came back to work in Reading in 2006 for a couple of years that Woolworths had really gone downhill in the UK it certainly was not the organisation we left when we emigrated 30 years previously.
News and Views:
Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll Part II," which is played at many sports arenas to fire up the crowd, has been banned from the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots traditionally use the song to celebrate touchdowns. It was felt to be inappropriate to reward Gary Glitter with tens of thousands of dollars in royalties in light of his past child sexual abuse convictions.
On this day 26th February 1960-1965
On 28/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was USSR wins Winter Olympics
26/02/1961the number one single was Sailor - Petula Clark and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was The Army Game (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and 13.25 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada).
26/02/1962the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was John Glenn is 1st US astronaut to orbit earth.
26/02/1963the number one single was The Wayward Wind - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/02/1964the number one single was Diane - Bachelors and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/02/1965the number one single was I'll Never Find Another You - Seekers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Goldie the Eagle escapes London Zoo.