Wednesday 25 December 2019

Frank Bellamy and the Kettering Leader and Guardian

 MERRY CHRISTMAS - here's my gift to the world!
Kettering Leader and Guardian 26 December 1947 p.6

According to the Newspaper Directory (1946-1947, p. 127) the Kettering Leader and Guardian newspaper was established in 1882 and "is characterised by its original articles, the fullness and accuracy of its reports, and the excellence of its illustrations" [emboldening mine]

The reason I'm looking at the KLG is because of a cutting I found among some papers that Nancy Bellamy loaned to me and because of the kindness of Tony Smith, who interviewed Frank Bellamy several times [CORRECTION: "for the record, I only interviewed Frank the one time, not several, but I have the honour of being the last journalist to do so before he died in 1976"]. The cutting has been pinned down and appeared in 1955 (you can see below) and Tony set me on a search which saw a LOT of Bellamy material never seen before - well, other than by the people who read KLG in the 1940s!

Kettering Leader & Guardian 11 November 1955, p.3
It says "Swift", "Girl" and "Lilliput" -
to my knowledge Bellamy did not have any work in "Girl"

Bellamy produced many cartoons for the Pink 'Un, the sport extra - which was published by the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph for whom he also did illustrations.  I've browsed microfilm of the 1947 Kettering Leader and Guardian (and Northamptonshire Advertiser - to give it its full name) a weekly newspaper that appeared on Fridays and contained many local stories including issues made up of local opinions and anecdotes. The picture at the top of this article and the following come from a double page called "In peace or in war these are the Christmases remembered best of all" in which locals submit stories. This would be the first Christmas at home for many returning to Kettering after the war.

Kettering Leader and Guardian 26 December 1947 p.7

But there was a regular feature that Bellamy illustrated which began 14 March 1947 through the whole of 1947 missing only a few weeks: gardening tips! Here's the one for Boxing Day 1947 from the same issue as the images above.
Kettering Leader and Guardian 26 December 1947 p.9
Why Bellamy shows a pawnbroker polishing his three balls, I don't know
[UPDATE: If you'd like to see the visual jokes Bellamy created to accompany the column, written by 'Riston', I've added them to the blog]. Bellamy uses phrases from the script and makes a joke or pun around them.

Kettering Leader and Guardian 6 June 1947 p.12

I asked Tony about the name Riston (or "Ristone" as he becomes from 30 May 1947 most of the time!) and he replied:
No idea who Riston was - probably code for the real writer’s name, which they tended to do that in those days (usually when the column was not written by a bona-fide journalist). Even in my day, one of the Evening Telegraph’s compositors, Bill Crabb, wrote the racing column giving tips for the day under the byline Billet - (Bill ET, get it?).
If anyone knows, please get in contact.

Tony shared this with me.

Kettering Leader and Guardian 27 June 1947 p.1
This appeared on the front page taking up most of the cover. Unfortunately I couldn't read the story of the old cabbie as the microfilm was unfortunately not at all clear, the story appearing in the newspaper gutter. Well that's 1947 done, now to travel backwards and forwards! Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday 21 December 2019

ORIGINAL ART: Garth on ebay - TheWreckers (G305.5!)

If you read this:
G292 of The Wreckers
Then read this:

G293 of The Wreckers
Then this:
G294 of The Wreckers
Do you think the story is missing something? How did Garth get into the chair? The caption "Interrogation" doesn't really make sense.

But what if between G293 and G294, the guards and Garth had a fight and our hero knocked them out? Then Tallion, the villain who would interrogate Garth, might have been watching and threatened Garth. Then we might have Garth submitting and following new guards to the interrogation chamber. THEN we could see G294.



What if between these two banks of strips Tallion challenges Garth and we see the two guards on the floor? Why do I say that?

G293.5(!) or G305.5(???)
Where did I find what I'm calling G305.5 until I know any better? On eBay!

An episode of "The Wreckers" DR.CH.73 - Daily Record

The seller (rhfl41) has been in touch and tells me that
The Garth strip belonged to my father, the late Ewen Bain, who was a cartoonist. His own cartoon strip, Angus Og, ran in the Daily Record for 30 years [UPDATE DECEMBER 2020: Rhona has created a website now]
She describes the Garth strip like this:
Original Frank Bellamy Garth cartoon strip. From the Wreckers numbered DR.CH.73. Printers' instructions in pencil written on front including 'Daily Record 26-12-73'.
Drawn in black on CS10 Line Board.
Measures 20 x 53 cms, outer area, 13 x 52 dimensions of drawing.
(The Daily Record is a Scottish newspaper).
Why would this have gone unnoticed all these years - since 1973? We have seen reprints of the strip in Garth: The Wreckers published by the now-defunct All Devon Comic Collectors Club. The Americans saw the strip (oddly missing  G301-G306 inclusive) in the wonderful Menomonee Falls Gazette (#184 - #202) and lastly in the Daily Mirror from Wednesday 13 April 2011 - Tuesday 7 June 2011 where it was coloured by Martin Baines. But NONE of them have this strip that is on offer!

Just to confuse me the edition of the Daily Mirror for 6 November 1973 states "Here's a double ration of your favourite strips" - no explanation why, but presumably industrial action again - there were loads around that time! However the paper appears to have been published the day before and on 6 November a reprint of the 5 November strip appeared! So our numbering sequence is fine.

If they presented the numbered sequences as above with no 'other' strip needing inserting then what is the one presented here? I think the Mirror numbered the Bellamy strips (not Bellamy) so there was a continuous sequence but I wonder if this strip was NOT published in the Daily Mirror.

If anyone reading this has cuttings from or access to the Daily Record for that period I'd love to know.
This has consequences as we may have other printed strips never before seen in England - and further afield, as well as original art that is unique! And I shall have to correct a note on the website that says the BBC article on FB states he did work for the Daily Record, where I thought he didn't!

I then checked all that I did know and agree that 96 episodes of this story are in the reprinted versions I have between Friday 26 October 1973 and Monday 18 February 1974. BUT that is based on the usual lack of Sunday versions of the Daily Mirror and also no Christmas Day, and Boxing Day editions - times were different back then! However usually there would be a New Year's Day edition BUT the Newspaper Archive says not for 1974! So 96 only works if these conditions are true, i.e. the Archive didn't miss one!

Now to the Daily Record reprinting the strip. The Internet and I know nothing! HELP! I shall do the research when next in the British Library and let you know but we now have to conclude:
  1. This is an original Bellamy never before printed except in Scotland - and my guess would be c. 26 December 1973 (for G305.5 to work) - dependent on Scotland printing on Boxing Day - as the writing says on the original
  2. There may be others in Scotland that England have not seen
  3. Ewen Bain asked Bellamy to create a Garth - and Bellamy jumped off using the story as inspiration - and John Allard lettered as usual - VERY UNLIKELY!
  4. This is a fake - which I don't believe! We have some provenance - which can be checked

The last thought I have on the matter is - did the Daily Record receive a clean version of the board - free from the usual 'double-day' information and also the sequential number inserted? More on that another day, but the Scots version is clean of the London markings. Draw your own conclusions!


GARTH: The Wreckers
WHERE?: eBay
END DATE: Friday 27 December 2019