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When did The Happy Days End? 
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Joined: 14 Jun 2006, 11:56
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I certainly agree that The Happy Days deserves to be included in any series of the Best of British intended for adults - and given a suitable intoduction to put it into a historical context I'm sure there wouldn't be a need to omit any episodes (after all, as far as I remember the series didn't include any of the unfortunate racial stereotyping that makes a lot of strips from the same period seem problematic today). On the other hand I can't help wishing this material could be made available to a much larger readership of modern children in the way that strips like Tintin and Asterix still are. You're also right that young readers are perfectly capable of enjoying stories set in the past, as can be seen with 'Aunt Isobel Rose Remembers' which is probably my all-time favourite series from Princess. While the adventures of young Isobel Rose were seen through the eyes of her own great-niece however, Sue Day's stories were entirely contemporary when they first appeared - and for a dinosaur like me it comes as something as a shock to realize that the 1960s are now just as historic as the Edwardian age was then. In the end I suppose it's just a question of marketing: whereas Sue was simply 'a girl like you' to her original readers, now the series would need to be introduced as tales from the time 'when your grandmother was a girl like you'.
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14 Oct 2018, 16:48
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Thanks for posting Aunt Isobel Rose, which I’ve not seen before - it's excellent! Is this from the early Princesses? I like the understated simplicity of the writing, quite like Jenny Butterworth in managing to say a lot without seeming to say much; also the original turns of phrase like “his eyes popped out like chapel hat-pegs” (“scat-cats” was new to me as well). The artwork is very sharp and perceptive – the keenly observed dandy Arthur Metcalfe is brilliant. Do you know who the artist is?

Yes, it would be good if Sue could have the popularity with children that she deserves. Your comparison with Tintin is a good one. First published in the thirties (I think?), continued largely unchanged through the rest of the 20th century, and massively popular with adults and children alike. Could The Happy Days have a similar success with the right kind of marketing? Good humorous writing seems to wear well. As far as I know, Just William still sells in modern editions, and nobody seems to mind his origins in the 1920’s. And for my money Wilson’s artwork hasn’t dated at all. To me his mature style looks as radical and original now as it must have done when it was first seen in the sixties. Perhaps, if Rebellion do have a go at reissuing some of the stories, they could try targeting children as well as adults. Bookshops are stocking the previous Rebellion reissues of Tammy etc among their graphic novels, but I haven’t seen any shop displaying them in their childrens’ section. And yet weren’t the original comics read by children of 7 or 8 upwards?

I can also sympathise with your shock at realising that you grew up during a time now treated as “history”. I’ve sometimes been disconcerted to walk into a museum and see in a glass case a book or toy which I owned as a child.


14 Oct 2018, 19:35
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I'm pretty sure the Isobel Rose artist was Cecil Doughty, using the highly detailed style he employed on several excellent strips for the short-lived Top Spot comic; I'm lucky enough to own the original artwork for this first episode and as you can see from the detail below the resolution on those full-page scans really doesn't do full justice to the linework. I've never seen a credit for the writer but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if this was Jenny Butterworth; as you say it contains a number of marvellously original turns of phrase. In my opinion 'Aunt Isobel Rose Remembers' would make another worthy addition to Rebellion's Best of British series some day.
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14 Oct 2018, 20:34
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Yes, that's a brilliant piece of drawing! It's a shame that he doesn't seem to have done much more for girls' comics. A quick google suggests only a few stories for School Friend. I did see a set of illustrations for Dick Turpin that looked pretty stunning - a tremendous flair for the grotesque, and for complicated action sequences, and I think you can see something of these qualities in parts of the artwork for the Isobel Rose story. A first-class artist and, I agree, a first class series.


14 Oct 2018, 23:07
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To be fair Doughty did illustrate the Terry Brent series in School Friend for several years, though I think he mostly drew for Look & Learn after working on the early issues of Princess.


15 Oct 2018, 00:22
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Joined: 30 May 2012, 08:39
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I agree that there should be a full reprint of all The Happy Days strips - a good way would be to feature each year items were first published both comics and Picture Libraries (Sue Day 1966 for example...).

As for this debate over censorship/attitudes when strips were first published, it's not really rocket science:

Just do like they do when the likes of Forces TV or Talking Pictures repeat films and TV from long ago:
When repeats of sitcom Get Some In! recently started on Forces in the daytime, a voice-over warns us that the series was set in 1955, and made in the 1970s when attitudes and language were different and might offend some people today.
On Talking Pictures at this time, before repeats of Public Eye and The Gentle Touch are shown, a message appears on screen stating when these shows were made (1965-75 and 1980-84 respectively) language and attitudes (be it to religion, race or gender) were very different back then and may offend in today's world.
Also do the same for old films - in one recent case a showing of Hammer Horror Comedy The Ugly Duckling warns us that are racial scenes are there that may offend - this no doubt implies to Bernard Bresslaw talking to his toy golliwog. A lot of people had them back in in 1962 as toys and into the 1970s too (an episode of Lucky's Living Doll in 1970 features a toy golliwog). Perhaps one appears in an extras scene in a Happy Days perhaps.
The film Every Day's A Holiday recently shown had a similar warning - John Leyton dreams himself as a black & white minstrel (when they sold lots of records and got big audience figues); the lyrics of a song sung by Grazina Frame contains lyrics like "girls are smart but not as smart as men". Never get away with that lyric now, but attitudes to women and lack of promotion and understanding of women pop stars and their perspectives were virtually nil in 1965...

The point is that they just need to have a page warning and stating that things were very different when the strips were published and might offend. But strictly no censorship or alterations on the strips themselves - just enjoy them for the time context they were made in.


21 Oct 2018, 11:26
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Joined: 30 May 2012, 08:39
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I agree that there should be a full reprint of all The Happy Days strips - a good way would be to feature each year items were first published both comics and Picture Libraries (Sue Day 1966 for example...).

As for this debate over censorship/attitudes when strips were first published, it's not really rocket science:

Just do like they do when the likes of Forces TV or Talking Pictures repeat films and TV from long ago:
When repeats of sitcom Get Some In! recently started on Forces in the daytime, a voice-over warns us that the series was set in 1955, and made in the 1970s when attitudes and language were different and might offend some people today.
On Talking Pictures at this time, before repeats of Public Eye and The Gentle Touch are shown, a message appears on screen stating when these shows were made (1965-75 and 1980-84 respectively) language and attitudes (be it to religion, race or gender) were very different back then and may offend in today's world.
Also do the same for old films - in one recent case a showing of Hammer Horror Comedy The Ugly Duckling warns us that are racial scenes are there that may offend - this no doubt implies to Bernard Bresslaw talking to his toy golliwog. A lot of people had them back in in 1962 as toys and into the 1970s too (an episode of Lucky's Living Doll in 1970 features a toy golliwog). Perhaps one appears in an extras scene in a Happy Days perhaps.
The film Every Day's A Holiday recently shown had a similar warning - John Leyton dreams himself as a black & white minstrel (when they sold lots of records and got big audience figues); the lyrics of a song sung by Grazina Frame contains lyrics like "girls are smart but not as smart as men". Never get away with that lyric now, but attitudes to women and lack of promotion and understanding of women pop stars and their perspectives were virtually nil in 1965...

The point is that they just need to have a page warning and stating that things were very different when the strips were published and might offend. But strictly no censorship or alterations on the strips themselves - just enjoy them for the time context they were made in.


21 Oct 2018, 11:26
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oops went twice by mistake. Bl**** computers!

Forgot to mention - thanks Goof for that listing on the Sue Day picture libraries including mentions of most of who drew them and when they were published. Plus a useful list for me to tick off ones I've got and need to find. Cheers!


21 Oct 2018, 11:28
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Glad it'll be of use, DavidKW. I have a similar list of the Princess Picture Library Sally Doyle stories, if that would be of interest to anyone.


21 Oct 2018, 20:00
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Gosh yes, speaking for myself that'd be fantastic Goof. I really like the art on some of the Sally stories - more so than the Sue Day ones in fact - though I haven't been able to find out much about the artists responsible. You really do seem to have a good eye for that side of things. Incidentally I've managed to find a copy of 'Sue Day, Bridesmaid' which you attribute to the 'Dilly Dreem artist' and I'm uncertain about which DD stories you're refering to since some of the episodes I've checked so far seem rather different in style. Is there a particular period of School Friend you have in mind?


21 Oct 2018, 21:49
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Here's the Sally Doyle list:

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As with the other list, if anybody spots any errors I'd be grateful if they would let me know. This list has more blanks than the other, mainly because I have not seen four of the titles.

One name which may raise eyebrows is Trini Tinture. This is rather speculative, as I don't know whether she had started working on British publications by 1964. However the artwork of these two stories does look to me like her early style.

I'll do a separate post about Dilly Dreem.


22 Oct 2018, 13:17
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Thanks Goof - that's brilliant, and very useful! I'll have to check it against the issues I own. Which are the issues you've not seen?

As a matter of interest have you compiled similar lists for any other characters or picture libraries?


22 Oct 2018, 13:26
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philcom55 wrote:
Incidentally I've managed to find a copy of 'Sue Day, Bridesmaid' which you attribute to the 'Dilly Dreem artist' and I'm uncertain about which DD stories you're refering to since some of the episodes I've checked so far seem rather different in style. Is there a particular period of School Friend you have in mind?


The Dilly Dreem artist I was thinking of did almost all the annual and special stories, plus the two picture libraries. I assumed that he/she was the regular artist and would also do the weekly stories, but I could well be wrong. Here's a sample of the artist's work from Schoolgirls' PL 267 Dilly Dreem:

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You'll be able to make your own comparisons with Sue Day - Bridesmaid, but here is a sample from the other Sue Day story done by this artist, Sue's Christmas Treasure Hunt:

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Making allowances for the fact that in the Sue Day story (and possibly the Dilly as well), the artist is copying characters created by another artist, I personally think these are by the same person. What do you think?


22 Oct 2018, 14:45
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Oh yes - that does look much closer than the weekly episodes I've checked (though Dilly's own face seems to be based on a common model).


22 Oct 2018, 15:12
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Having looked through my 'Sally' issues I certainly agree about the ones you've attributed to Tom Kerr and the ever-reliable Dudley Wynne (though I do wonder if the former might have collaborated with someone else on 'Golden Cockerel'). I also concur about the especially lovely job R B Davis did on 'Christmas Ballet' - in addition to which I'm inclined to think he was the artist for 'Showboat Sally' in PPL#52 as well. Hugh Thornton-Jones I'm not really familiar with.


22 Oct 2018, 16:55
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