Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Comics on newsreels of the past
Realising that the old Pathé newsreels were now available online, I thought I'd have a quick search to see if they ever ran items on comics, - and indeed they did!
In the days before most people had television (and even before the invention of tv) the short weekly newsreels from British Pathé, shown before a film at the cinema, were the only way for the public to see news footage. Often the items included lighthearted subjects, just as the tv news does today, to lift the spirits of the viewers.
There are some brilliant finds on the Pathé news website http://www.britishpathe.com/ including several items on comics and associated media. Here's a few of the fascinating items I found. Click on the text links after each picture to visit the site and view the actual footage....
From 1937, an enthusiast who pre-dates fandom! Music hall comedian Barry Ono talks about his passion for collecting Victorian Penny Dreadfuls. Ono knows his stuff, his theatrical experience making him a good speaker, and it's a pity the footage isn't much longer as I'm sure his full lecture was fascinating. (Someone invent a time machine and invite this bloke to the next comic con.) He would eventually bequeath his large collection to the British Museum.
1943: Daily Mirror cartoonist Norman Pett talking about his work as he draws the latest Jane comic strip.
1946: Frank Richards, creator of Billy Bunter, at home in his study.
1955: End of the four-month national press strike, with some nice footage of newsagents shops of the period (no untidy bagged comics back then).
1956: Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson at home working on the latest Eagle strip, with the family and friends he used as models for his work.
1968: The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate gallery, and how comics appealed to the whole family.