Sunday, July 06, 2014

This week in 1955: TV FUN No.95

This is the issue of TV Fun that was in the shops exactly 59 years ago. I've shown some issues of this comic on my blog before, but it's always worth a look at a few more strips. TV Fun was considered to be Amalgamated Press' modern comic of the time, a move away from the old style comics such as Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips which it had replaced in 1953 a week after those titles folded.

Luckily for some of the artists of the old style comics, TV Fun had taken them on board. The cover strip shown here, Arthur Askey, was drawn by Arthur Martin. 

Jimmy Edwards was a popular star of the day, and his pompous, blustering headmaster character was perfect for a comic strip. Artwork by Reg Parlett.

A new strip starring Reg Varney ("as a boy") had begun in the previous week's issue. Here's episode two, drawn by A.P.'s top artist, Roy Wilson...

TV Fun contained a balance of humour and adventure strips. Westerns were hugely popular in the 1950s so naturally the serial Cal Conway's Son ran in the colour centre pages of the comic in 1955. I don't think this was actually based on any TV series. Artwork by George Heath.

TV Fun seems to have provided a lot of work for Reg Parlett. Deservedly so of course, as he was one of the best cartoonists to ever work for A.P./Fleetway/IPC. Here's a Sally Barnes strip from the issue by Reg...

Our 'Tec' Teaser was a precursor to Lion's Spot the Clue with Zip Nolan, and invited readers to participate in solving a crime...

The solution for the mystery appeared on the facing page, along with a Jerry Jones text story and an advert for a Whistling Yo-Yo (all the rage back then y'know).

On the back page, "The Modern Miss in Merry Moments" Shirley Eaton in full colour. A film star long before her memorable appearance in Goldfinger. Art by longtime A.P. artist John Jukes.

Like IPC in the 1970s, Amalgamated Press were never shy of reprinting material in their annuals. That same Shirley Eaton strip was reprinted just two years later in the TV Fun Annual 1958 with a bit of nifty resizing...

(For more info on that annual, see a blog post I did several years ago by clicking here.) 

At 16 pages for 3d (1p) the TV Fun of 59 years ago was a reasonable rival to The Dandy and The Beano, although I get the impression that TV Fun was aimed at a slightly older reader. Adolescents probably, who'd enjoy a glimpse of legs in the Sally Barnes and Shirley Eaton strips, and the artists readily provided such 'good girl' art. A.P. were actively trying to attract an older readership in the 1950s, with the most obvious comic being Top Spot (see blog post here). Sadly this direction didn't last, and when the Mirror Group acquired A.P. in 1959 (founding Fleetway) such 'cheesecake' was dropped, and subsequent titles such as Valiant and Buster (brilliant as they were) were firmly aimed at children. 


DaveW said...

I am quite fond of TVFun as it did have some well drawn strips and agree with you that it may well have been aimed at an older readership. It is no surprise that it eventually was rebranded as a young women's title, TV FAN at the end of its life.
I think AP must have hoped this comic would have a more modern appeal than the comics which it replaced, but sadly it didn't even make it to the Sixties, when TV sets were in most homes.

I was also very interested to see the re-sized reprint. Superb quality art and paper quality.

Thanks Lew
dave w

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, and before it was rebranded as TV FAN it was revamped to feature more adventure strips, presumably aimed at boys. Seems they didn't know what to do with it.

Although A.P. thought they were doing something modern I wonder if the readers shared that opinion? TV Fun still looked old fashioned compared to Eagle and The Beano of the 1950s. Perhaps it simply fell between two stools; not quite sophisticated enough for older readers but not fun or exciting enough for younger ones?

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