Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas 1949: Radio Fun
By 1949 Amalgamated Press' Radio Fun had been around for 11 years but still seemed lively and fresh. This was due to the high quality of its artwork and the zippy dialogue of its scripts. Here's the Christmas issue from that year, kicking off with a nice Jewel and Warris cover by Reg Parlett that manages to include most of the other stars of the comic in the final panel.
By this time Radio Fun was still down to 16 pages, a holdover from wartime paper shortages. Its content was a balanced mixture of text stories and picture strips frugally packed into the comic to give value for money. On this page Derek Roy shares his space with the Peter Brough and Archie Andrews strip. Note the kids' delight in the final panel of the Derek Roy strip as they gain a scooter for Christmas. This two wheeled mode of transport would become popular with children again fifty years later.
The Douglas 'Cardew' Robinson strip is also by Reg Parlett I believe. If the dialogue in the penultimate panel surprises you remember that this was a time before the American slang "faggot" had become widely used here and in this context it just means nitwit. Probably. Then again the cook does invite Cardew to pluck her poultry and he is the "Cad of St.Fannys" so perhaps innuendo was running riot in Radio Fun and no one noticed.
In The Falcon strip across the centre pages, the outlaw hero provides a Christmas hamper for a family down on their luck, just before a policeman collars him. You just can't win. In the following week's episode all mention of Christmas was forgotten, despite this continuing directly on from the Christmas Day episode. Such was the nature of weekly comics.
On the back page in 1949 was the long-running comedy globetrotting serial Going Places featuring Arthur Askey and his daughter. Apart from holly around the resumé box and a comment in the footnote the strip doesn't even try to force Christmas into this adventure on a South Sea island.
There'll be another Christmas comic flashback on this blog later today!