Friday, October 26, 2012
This week in 1938: RADIO FUN No.3
You've seen samples of Radio Fun on this blog from the 1940s and 1950s but here's a few pages from No.3, the earliest edition in my collection, which was on sale exactly 74 years ago this week, in October 1938.
In these early issues, Radio Fun had a bright full colour cover. Sadly WW2 put paid to that and printing limitations confined it to red spot colour for the rest of its long run. Here though is an eye-catching full colour cover where publishers Amalgamated Press are clearly trying to emulate the style of their rival comics Dandy and Beano. Like their rivals, Radio Fun even had an animal star on the cover, even though it had nothing to do with radio! However, despite lovely artwork by Roy Wilson, George the Jolly Gee-Gee was no Korky the Cat. By issue 18 (seen here) the nag was relegated inside the comic, whilst Big Hearted Arthur (Askey) was promoted to a more fitting position on the cover.
Like its DC Thomson rivals, Radio Fun had 28 pages in this pre-war era. The contents were evenly divided between comic strip and prose stories. Variety act Flanagan and Allen were the stars of the first strip inside the comic. Artwork by veteran illustrator Alex Akerbladh, a Swedish born artist who had been working for AP comics since 1909.
That master of comic strip slapstick Reg Parlett was on top form drawing Revnell and West, featuring two standards of classic British comics; scrumping and spanking.
Whilst it was obviously a bit of fun for the comic to show comedy performers getting involved in scrapes, it seemed more surreal when the same practice was employed for the adventure strips. Here's the actor Clark Gable portrayed as having a lifestyle of deadly danger and intrigue. Artwork by George Heath...
The centre pages of this issue featured a fantastic strip drawn by George Parlett. Radio Fun Music Hall broke out of the conventions of traditional framed panels, preferring to use a fluid mixture of artwork and hand-lettered text. Notice how tight the blouse is on Sweet Nell (or "a nice bit of stuff" as she's called here). Clearly, Radio Fun was aimed at kids and their dads!
On the back page, Big-Hearted Arthur, another Reg Parlett strip. As I mentioned earlier, this would become the cover strip for a while from issue 18.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief time-trip to 1938. Click on the images to see them much larger, and you may need to click again to see them larger still.
Where, or when, will we visit next? I've no idea! Find out soon!