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Swearing in the Beano!? 
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Joined: 06 May 2012, 16:53
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Hi all,

Recently picked up a stash of 1950s/60s Beano just noticed swearing in the comic! Inside issue number 921 dated March 12th 1960, one of the bears in the Little Plum story is giving the one fingered salute!

Would this be considered acceptable at the time? Was it overlooked? I may just be over reacting, but, I really laughed aloud on noticing this.

Have a look at the bear on the left;


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12 May 2015, 13:16
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LOL! Love it! :lol:

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12 May 2015, 16:14
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That's an interesting question. I might have been hopelessly innocent back then but I certainly wouldn't have recognized the 'finger' as an obscene gesture during the 1960s (unlike the far-more-common 'V' sign).


12 May 2015, 16:43
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Apparently the gesture dates back to Ancient Greece!

Two possibilities for Leo getting away with that; either the Beano staff didn't know what it meant or perhaps Leo had drawn a V sign and an art bodger whited out one finger, not knowing it'd still be offensive.

Either way, it's fascinating to know he got away with it! :lol:

Update: Looking at the panel again I'm definitely going with my theory that it was a V sign that had one finger whited out. Reason being that the movement lines on that side are too far away from the remaining finger. It looks like something is missing (ie: a finger). It's unlikely Leo would have drawn the movement lines so awkwardly close to the panel border otherwise.

The one finger gesture is ancient but I wasn't aware of it being used in the UK until the 1980s when it appeared in some American films. So I'm guessing Leo might not have been aware of it either in 1960.

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12 May 2015, 18:24
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The one finger gesture is ancient but I wasn't aware of it being used in the UK until the 1980s when it appeared in some American films. So I'm guessing Leo might not have been aware of it either in 1960.


Wow! Is this true? Excuse my age (27) but I had no idea it was a relatively new hand gesture in the UK?

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12 May 2015, 19:43
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The V-sign---the hand facing around from the famous Churchill gesture--was definitely more common back in this strips' time and I actually cannot recall the 'finger' gesture in the 60s or 70s---and believe me I knew some unruly, streetwise kids in those days!

Maybe the 'finger' gesture in it's more modern sense was imported from America, I am not too sure .

Incidentally I used the v-sign to a bunch of cheeky kids just yesterday---they seemed to recognize what it meant!

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12 May 2015, 21:38
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booksandcomics wrote:
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The one finger gesture is ancient but I wasn't aware of it being used in the UK until the 1980s when it appeared in some American films. So I'm guessing Leo might not have been aware of it either in 1960.


Wow! Is this true? Excuse my age (27) but I had no idea it was a relatively new hand gesture in the UK?


I'm 56 and the first time I ever saw it was in an Amercan movie in the early 1980s. I forget which film it was now but it was a teenage girl 'flipping the bird' to some guys outside her house as I recall. It started catching on in the UK after that.

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12 May 2015, 22:09
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Yep, late 70s was when I first ever saw it.

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12 May 2015, 22:26
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starscape wrote:
Yep, late 70s was when I first ever saw it.


I've just remembered it was the 1982 movie Poltergeist where I first saw it.
http://youtu.be/YwiREoLF-fQ


13 May 2015, 00:40
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Yes, somebody gave me the finger sign in 1982 [it was a spat over a girl we both liked] and I wasn't too sure what it meant then, although I gathered it's connotations were not too pleasant!

[I've never used it myself: it's too gross I reckon--I much prefer the old British V-sign!]


Incidentally, that large Leo frame with the advancing bears looks magnificent: any chance of another close-up, books and comics?

[pretty please]

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13 May 2015, 07:37
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Here you go I Spy,

I also fell in love with this scene!


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14 May 2015, 05:55
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starscape wrote:
Yep, late 70s was when I first ever saw it.
I'm with Chris on this one. I think it was either a report on the punk movement or the rise of the National Front that was my first sighting of this as a rude gesture. I now apologise to any punks for conflating them with the National Front.

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14 May 2015, 07:33
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Thanks very much for putting on a closer view of the large advancing bears frame, books and comics; this is stunning work I have never seen before and you must have been delighted when you turned the page to be greeted with this anarchic tableux------I never even knew there had been a Plum double-spreader.

Looking at the sheer intricacy of this work, it is not surprizing that Mr Baxendale developed arthiritis in his hands eventually.

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14 May 2015, 07:44
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colcool007 wrote:
starscape wrote:
Yep, late 70s was when I first ever saw it.
I'm with Chris on this one. I think it was either a report on the punk movement or the rise of the National Front that was my first sighting of this as a rude gesture. I now apologise to any punks for conflating them with the National Front.



Nazism is a BAAAD thing-------the Victor tells me so.


I never dressed like a punk, Col, but I still love a lot of that music---and punk definitely infiltrated UK comics, everything from 2000 ad to Champ.

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14 May 2015, 09:19
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This week's Beano has a character swearing - the speech bubble is censored, so we don't know what was said, but Dennis actually tells the guy off for it, noting that luckily he'd already heard those words from his Dad!

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14 May 2015, 17:39
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