Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Comics: TV EXPRESS (1961)


You've seen this cover on this blog a couple of years ago but here's a better scan of it. On sale exactly 50 years ago this week, TV Express No.373 (December 23rd 1961) sported a great cover by Mike Western featuring Alfie Bass and Bill Fraser of TV's Bootsie and Snudge. (Presumably publisher Eric Bemrose Ltd didn't have permission to name the strip after the TV series.)

At this stage of its run TV Express was practically 100% adventure content so not many of the strips featured Christmas themes. Some did though, such as this two page Danger Man text story based on the secret agent series starring Patrick McGoohan...



On pages 6 and 7, the Alfie and Bill strip related to the front cover. I'm not exactly sure who the artist is. Gerry Embleton perhaps?



There's an editorial message on page 9 stating that Christmas is "one of the few times in the year when Christian people the world over forget quarrels and celebrate the memory of Jesus Christ with the giving of gifts". Surely it would have been better to advise the readers that they don't have to wait for a calendar date to tell them when to forgive?

The one humour strip in TV Express at this time was Wee Sporty, taking up less than a quarter of a page...


TV Express of 1961 ran features on TV stars of the day (just as Look-In would do a decade later). Here's a taste of what viewers could expect to see on telly that Christmas, including Billy Smart's Circus and Take Your Pick...


Due to the publication schedule that Christmas, some comics had two festive issues (as they would again in 1966) so the following week's issue also carried the same seasonal masthead. Mike Western again provided a great (but non-festive) cover image, this time featuring Wulf the Briton...


Inside, Superintendent Lockheart of No Hiding Place took a quick break from Christmas shopping to tackle a thief. That fall the crook takes looks pretty fatal to me but the Superintendent is back shopping a panel later, nonchalant about the whole thing. Just another day I guess.


Finally, here's some party games you can try this Christmas, although I'm sure you'll all find better distractions...


For more info about Danger Man and The Prisoner visit The Unmutual website:
http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/

Another classic Christmas issue soon!

2 comments:

Mark said...

I have Bootsy and Smudge on DVD and I love it. Of course on the old TV show they didn't get out of the studio much so they couldn't do stories like this one.

It's such a blast READING these, I bet, Lew, you would have had a great time had you been around in the 50's and 60's drawing for these comics.

Of course 1950 wouldn't be quite ready for The Pathetic Sharks ("It's okay Kevin, these sharks are crap!").

Lew Stringer said...

I've been around since 1959 but comics of the early Sixties probably wouldn't have been interested in my crayon drawings. :)

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