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ANDY CAPP: NORTHERN LEGEND 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:05 pm
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ANDY , tired after watching telly, decides to lie on the settee
he finds satisfaction in putting the entire TV on it's side, so he can view it properly. another time, he panics after sleeping in, rushes downstairs
and promptly indulges in his appointment with his kip on the settee. I encountered ANDY'S dubious exploits sometime in the mid-sixties.
I have to confess that much of the wry, dry sardonic humour of a lot of this strip went completely over my head when I first came across it.......it looked a bit like something out of a kid's comic, but initially I didn't 'get' the humour......
'ANDY CAPP' [first appearance; AUG '57] was never boring, however and I kept going back to look at this unique strip that still managed to attract my attention.........
REG SMYTHE was 40 years old when ANDY first made it into print; up until this point he had been successful in selling pocket 'gag' cartoons into the 'LAUGHTER' column of the
DAILY MIRROR, and eventually he was invited to take over the reins of an already-established feature, 'LAUGHTER at WORK''.
SMYTHE was regarded in high enough esteem to be asked to develop an original creation of his own, albeit for the local NORTHERN edition only......naturally, much of his own life experiences
came into the fore, and having been raised in HARTLEPOOL [b. 1917] during a less than-thriving-era, particularly in NORTHERN ENGLAND, he would have been familiar with
some of life's grim realities, [and indeed had a stint on the dole himself]. he had also been a delivery boy, but was ambitious enough to submit his budding cartoon efforts to various journals.....
WORLD WAR 2 rears it's ugly head around this time, and old REGGIE was summoned forth--------[cartoons are all very well, but first there were some nasty NAZIS to sort out].........however, he did indeed
choose to reflect some of the NORTH'S gritty characteristics in his new cartooning venture for the 'MIRROR': and for whatever reason, he chose a wilfully unemployed loafer for
the star 'attraction ' in the new creation [originally in single-frame form]............REG'S own father [who held a job, --but who shared with ANDY the passion for football, and was a talented
amateur, to boot] apparently was never seen without his cloth cap,-----and his mother's chums often had an ever-present fag dangling from their mouths.
this strip was well-recieved in the NORTH, and it wasn't long before the SOUTHERN edition of the 'MIRROR' [and thus the entire 'joined-up' UK] gladly accepted the then-new gag
creation into the fold........ looking at the research I have done on this, early 'ANDY CAPP' appeared to expand into different formats after being a single-gag offering for a while, there are
sometimes 3 borderless frames, -----other times there are 4, and sometimes it even appeared in a vertical 3-frame form, and seems to have been very flexible indeed---------in 1963 however,
it was [somewhat increduously] snapped up by a large US syndicate, and so a stable, traditional horizontal frame-panel setup had to be deployed, and ANDY has stuck within this familiar---and very
successful-------format ever since. ANDY is often seen loafing on his settee, [a half-finished glass of ale always at hand]--------and perhaps this is when his mind paradoxically starts working, when he
derives inspiration for his next 'fast one' to be pulled over rent-collector PERCY, or his next ruse of displaying fake charm so he can relieve FLO of her hard-earned pay-packet.
much of 'ANDY CAPP' is static, but such is SMYTHE'S skill , this strip was always interesting, impressive and beautifully, meticulously drawn it may even be the most 'spotless' strip [certainly in
appearance] I have ever encountered. REG'S cartooning skills sometimes extended to brilliant depiction of action, however, and he and FLO often battled it out,---often spreading out into the
street]--in true 'cartwheel,' spinning cartoon fashion.
SMYTHE also infused an excellent sense of atmosphere within his famous strip, with ANDY and CHALKY often silhoutted in the moonlight , as they made their way home from the local pub.
ANDY always fancied his chances with the younger ladies, too, and if FLO ever got wind of this, it didn't really seem to bother her perhaps she was wanting shot of him!
REG SMYTHE departed this mortal coil in JUNE 1998, but left behind him a legacy of well-defined, characteristically British humour that has rightfully won a place in our cartoon heritage
it doesn't really matter if ANDY is a loafer, [after all, our taxes aren't actually keeping him] and I for one don't want him to live his life [ostensibly a fantasy] any other way. PROBLEM RESTORING THIS POST - Al 15.03.2008


Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:34 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:15 pm
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Location: 1981
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I believe you should submit this well written piece on Andy Capp to Crikey "as is"!I really enjoyed it!


Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:14 pm
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thanks very much, CAPTAIN....I am genuinely touched!


Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:45 pm
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thanks very much, CAPTAIN....I am genuinely touched!


If you do submit it to Crikey feel free to use any of the info from here if it's of any use to you:

http://lewstringer.blogspot.com/2007/08/andy-capp-is-fifty.html

Lew


Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:05 pm
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Thanks, LEW......I honestly don't know what I will be doing with me writings........love your new avatar, by the way!


Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:45 pm
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while researching this subject, I stumbled accross a DAILY MIRROR daily gag idea that the paper ran from JUNE 6, 1960: this was a WILD-WEST parody entitled 'CALAMITY GULCH' and was penned by JACK CLAYTON.


This has a naturally funny, appealling style, and unfortunately this ran before my time, as I have no recollection of it........some of the subject-matter/gags would be unacceptable today;----[people being shot full of holes, sexist 'bustlines' gags [not the 'MIRROR' I remember!]-----but overall a refreshing, attractive style and well worth including in this forum.


Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:33 pm
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