Reply to topic  [ 191 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13  Next
Film Fun Facts 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Kashgar wrote:
the reason that Roy Wilson never drew for Cordwell, setting aside the stylistic restraints it would have put on Wilson's style at the time was that Wilson came from the other AP comics' stable, that of Stan Gooch (1893-1958). Gooch, who was a much more inventive editor, in my mind, than Cordwell, had basically discovered Wilson when he had been Don Newhouse's assistant in the 1920's and he jealously guarded his discovery in later years. All of Gooch's comic titles Larks, Joker, Funny Wonder, Tip-Top, Jingles, Radio Fun and evntually TV Fun making liberal use of Wilson's talent.


I'd imagine something similar applied to Bertie Brown. One can't help feeling that Cordwell must've been gutted to miss out on the chance to feature Charlie Chaplin in Film Fun!

Quote:
...(Wilson) never enjoyed drawing for Film Fun though, except for the jokes page Film Fun Quips which he felt still allowed him some artistic freedom.


I think his discomfort is particularly apparent in the Abbott & Costello page shown above (assuming it is by Wilson), though I do feel that his later work on Terry-Thomas and Harry Secombe displayed a growing confidence with such personality strips that made their sudden cancellation in February 1961 a real shock. He had, after all, been drawing characters like Tommy Handley for Radio Fun ever since the early 1940s. Nevertheless I do agree that the pages he subsequently produced for 'Film Fun Quips' contained some of the most gloriously happy artwork of his later career.

For anybody who hasn't seen them here are the farewell appearances of Terry-Thomas and Harry Secombe (both by Wilson) followed by the conclusion of James Malcolm's rather angular Ken Dodd series from the same issue.

Image

Image

Image

...And here is a typical example of 'Film Fun Quips', which remained as Wilson's sole toehold on the pages of Film Fun until his triumphant return to the cover with Bruce Forsyth. Never before or since have readers' jokes been realized with such a brilliant display of comic inventiveness!

Image

- Phil R.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:47 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Lew Stringer wrote:
Thanks Ray. Your return to this forum is invaluable for such information. There really isn't anyone else with the same depth of knowledge about the 'golden age' of UK comics.


I couldn't agree more Lew! :)

Quote:
Phil, I've seen other Red Skelton pages drawn in a more traditional style. Could that one you've shown be just a fill in by a new artist trying out for the comic? There's something raw about it, rather than an accomplished attempt to mimic a European style.


I think it was more usual for Red Skelton to be drawn by Terry Wakefield. I'm sure the page above was a relatively unsuccessful tryout by a hopeful newcomer - though the fact that later issues went on to showcase the popular European strip 'Lucky Luke' might imply that the editor himself was keen to experiment with a more open, Continental style. Either way it's clear that he wasn't averse to trying out new approaches.

- Phil R.


Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:00 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:13 pm
Posts: 1189
Location: Falkirk, Scotland
Reply with quote
As someone who never read Film Fun, I'm really taken by the examples of strips posted. And I have enjoyed reading them. Thank you.
Can anyone tell me if there was a Jack Benny strip in the comic? Or anywhere, for that matter.


Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:05 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
I don't think Jack had a strip in Film Fun, Radio Fun or TV Fun. However, he did co-star with Batman and Robin for a time in the pages of Smash! :shock: (albeit in a reprint of the American newspaper strip). Note how the British editors found it necessary to first 'remind' their readers just who Jack Benny was! :)

Image

Image

- Phil Rushton


Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:54 am
Profile
Guru

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:15 pm
Posts: 2602
Reply with quote
philcom55 wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:
Thanks Ray. Your return to this forum is invaluable for such information. There really isn't anyone else with the same depth of knowledge about the 'golden age' of UK comics.


I couldn't agree more Lew! :)

Quote:
Phil, I've seen other Red Skelton pages drawn in a more traditional style. Could that one you've shown be just a fill in by a new artist trying out for the comic? There's something raw about it, rather than an accomplished attempt to mimic a European style.


I think it was more usual for Red Skelton to be drawn by Terry Wakefield. I'm sure the page above was a relatively unsuccessful tryout by a hopeful newcomer - though the fact that later issues went on to showcase the popular European strip 'Lucky Luke' might imply that the editor himself was keen to experiment with a more open, Continental style. Either way it's clear that he wasn't averse to trying out new approaches.

- Phil R.

Red Skelton was usually drawn by Norman Ward but he was suffering health problems by this time and couldn't keep up with the weekly schedules. I've never discovered who this stand-in was, maybe someone from the layout dept, but I think that was all he was intended to be, a stand-in, as when Norman Ward was feeling somewhat better he did return to the strip. Other artists who helped out in this period included Bertie Brown and Arthur Martin


Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:02 am
Profile
Guru

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:15 pm
Posts: 2602
Reply with quote
philcom55 wrote:
Lew Stringer wrote:
Thanks Ray. Your return to this forum is invaluable for such information. There really isn't anyone else with the same depth of knowledge about the 'golden age' of UK comics.


I couldn't agree more Lew! :)

Quote:
Phil, I've seen other Red Skelton pages drawn in a more traditional style. Could that one you've shown be just a fill in by a new artist trying out for the comic? There's something raw about it, rather than an accomplished attempt to mimic a European style.


I think it was more usual for Red Skelton to be drawn by Terry Wakefield. I'm sure the page above was a relatively unsuccessful tryout by a hopeful newcomer - though the fact that later issues went on to showcase the popular European strip 'Lucky Luke' might imply that the editor himself was keen to experiment with a more open, Continental style. Either way it's clear that he wasn't averse to trying out new approaches.

- Phil R.

Red Skelton was usually drawn by Norman Ward but he was suffering health problems by this time and couldn't keep up with the weekly schedules. I've never discovered who this stand-in was, maybe someone from the layout dept, but I think that was all he was intended to be, a stand-in, as when Norman Ward was feeling somewhat better he did return to the strip. Other artists who helped out in this period included Bertie Brown and Arthur Martin


Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:05 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Thanks for setting the record straight on Red Skelton Kashgar. I must confess that I'm still finding it hard to differentiate between Terry, Norman and all the other Film Fun artists who'd been encouraged to work in the 'Wakefield' style. In some ways Fred Cordwell's promotion of a single, homogenous look reminds me of the manner in which later artists were asked to emulate Leo Baxendale, resulting in a range of subtle variations that - while instantly recognizable to the expert eye - were virtually indistinguishable to the casual reader. And, to be fair, as an unsophisticated kid under the influence of 'Baxmania' that was just the way I wanted it myself when I started reading Wham! way back in 1964!

For that matter I guess the same thing applied to early Marvel comics, with Jack Kirby being equivalent to Baxendale while Steve Ditko provided the sole, quirky exception - just like Ken Reid.

- Phil Rushton


Last edited by philcom55 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:59 am
Profile

Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:59 am
Posts: 6932
Reply with quote
Thanks Ray. I thought it looked like Bertie Brown's chunkier linework in one of the Red Skelton strips I have, but I didn't want to challenge Phil's comment about Terry Wakefield. :D

It might be worth noting for younger readers that publishers often used fill-in artists on strips years ago. Sometimes to meet a deadline, sometimes to try out new artists. There was plenty of work around then so I guess it didn't dent anyone's income if someone else filled in for a week or two. I must admit I thought it was a pleasant surprise whenever Gordon Bell filled in for Dave Sutherland on the Bash Street Kids. I wasn't so keen on whoever drew those Cloak pages instead of Mike Higgs in the Pow Annuals though.

_________________
The blog of British comics: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.lewstringer.com
Blog about my own work: http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/


Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:02 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Lew Stringer wrote:
I thought it looked like Bertie Brown's chunkier linework in one of the Red Skelton strips I have, but I didn't want to challenge Phil's comment about Terry Wakefield. :D


By all means feel free to challenge me on any of this Lew - I freely admit that I'm whistling in the dark as far as most of these artist IDs are concerned! :) (Thank goodness we've got Kashgar back to keep us on the straight and narrow!) For the record, with the Red Skelton strip I got Terry Wakefield's name from Denis Gifford's British Comic Catalogue, so maybe he found it hard to distinguish between Terry and Norman on occasion as well?

- Phil R.


Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:13 pm
Profile
Guru

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:15 pm
Posts: 2602
Reply with quote
Terry began the strip Phil but Norman was doing it by the late 1950's o


Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:06 pm
Profile

Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:59 am
Posts: 6932
Reply with quote
Kashgar wrote:
Terry began the strip Phil but Norman was doing it by the late 1950's o


Yes, Denis' books are extremely informative, and they definitely helped inspire my interest in old comics, but in that encyclopedia there are times where he does tend to only mention the original artist of a strip.

_________________
The blog of British comics: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com
My website: http://www.lewstringer.com
Blog about my own work: http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.com/


Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:55 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
I should have known better than to question Denis's expertise with respect to the top humour artists of that era. He may have been a bit shaky on 1960s adventure strips but his book about 'Comics at War' suggests that he really knew his stuff when it came to those things that were close to his heart. :)

- Phil R.


Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:14 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:13 pm
Posts: 1189
Location: Falkirk, Scotland
Reply with quote
Just to say thank you to Phil for his info. on Jack Benny. As there was a question on digitalcomicmuseum re. J.B. comics or strips, I posted a link to the post in the hope that your efforts would add something to the discussion.


Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:46 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Kashgar wrote:
...the reason that Roy Wilson never drew for Cordwell, setting aside the stylistic restraints it would have put on Wilson's style at the time was that Wilson came from the other AP comics' stable, that of Stan Gooch (1893-1958)....Of course by the late 1950's less comics meant that under Phil Davis and Jack Le Grande Film Fun was more than happy to use Roy Wilson and Roy Wilson, with work in ever shorter supply was reluctantly drawn into drawing more and more personality sets. He never enjoyed drawing for Film Fun though, except for the jokes page


These editorial 'stables' certainly gave a welcome variety to AP's different comics - and it's clear that Wilson flourished under Gooch's careful management. Nevertheless, one can't help wondering 'what might have been' if Roy had tried out the grass in some other creative pastures from time to time. For example it's been suggested that he would have made a superb animator, while I'm willing to bet that DC Thomson would've given almost anything (short of a competitive salary perhaps) to lure him north of the border. My own biggest regret is that he never got the chance to work for AP's rejuvenated nursery line during the 1950s: I can't help thinking that he would have fit right in producing full-colour photogravure covers for Playhour - possibly featuring his own interpretation of Winnie the Pooh (the guy was born to draw Tigger!).

If he was relatively unhappy during his time at Film Fun I'm inclined to think it had as much to do with the constant changes in editorial direction that he had to cope with as the personality-based sets he was given. 'Interesting times' often produce artistic work of a very high standard - yet for the people who have to live through them their tendency to seem like a curse is proverbial.

In particular, I feel that Roy's Harry Secombe strips were amongst the very best work he ever produced. As this wonderful example shows the series became increasingly imaginative as it progressed, playing to all of the artist's strengths with ever-more-absurd flights of fancy (and it didn't hurt that the portly Harry bore a distinct physical resemblance to earlier Wilson favourites such as Cap'n Codseye and Toss).

Image

...One imagines that previous editor Fred Cordwell must have been spinning in his grave at the appearance of that octopus!!! :shock:

I don't know if Roy had much input into the scripts he worked from but the writers obviously tried their best to include the sort of elements that would inspire him. On the face of it the last character he drew for Film Fun - the comparatively normal-looking Bruce Forsyth - was a particularly unpromising subject for an artist who reveled in exaggeration. Fortunately the best episodes managed to treat Bruce as a kind of 'straight man' whose very normalcy highlighted the madcap situations he found himself in. Here, for example, are two sets that make full use of Roy's expertise in drawing wild animals:

Image

Image

Image

Image

While I admit that Bruce Forsyth isn't my favourite Wilson series it must have been popular since it was the only original humour strip to survive Film Fun's ultimate demise, continuing in the pages of Buster for a further year.

- Phil Rushton


Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:29 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:56 am
Posts: 5032
Reply with quote
Another significant series to make its debut in the last few issues of Film Fun was a small, half-page strip by Reg Parlett called 'Terry the Terror'. Just like his brother George (who found himself moonlighting as an artist for Mick Anglo's British superhero comic Young Marvelman) Reg spent much of the 1950s experimenting with a dizzying variety of styles - to the extent that he even had a wholly uncharacteristic dalliance with serious science fiction for a brief period when he drew 'The Sky Explorers' for the cover of Comet!

Image

By contrast his new character - an unassuming little boy with a penchant for mischief - seemed quite unremarkable: yet for Reg this was an important watershed since the gently humorous style he developed for the strip turned out to be one he would stick with for the rest of his long career...as well as eventually providing the template for a whole new generation of British comic artists!

Image

- Phil Rushton


Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:33 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 191 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software.