A recent sort out of the teetering piles of amassed stuff on my desk at work revealed a number of ahem, hidden gems, including this 1938 Film Fun Annual. I’m afraid I borrowed this from a colleague about 18 months ago. I’m sorry Hilary, I will return it forthwith.
The book is made up of several distinct sections, including these wonderfully airbrushed photographs and montages of the a variety of major stars of the day:
The cartoon section is particularly interesting, not only for the quality of the artwork, but also as a social record. Comics have changed over the years, and some of us may be old enough to remember the Black Bob strip in The Dandy right into the 1970’s – it was the only strip I knew that consisted of an illustration with the story written beneath. These strips not only have the image and the narration, but also speech bubbles:
The artwork was by Terry Wakefield (1911-1989) who was a highly regarded comic artist throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. There is very little information about him on the web, but plenty of acknowledgements and examples of his work. There are some more examples later on in this post.
There are several feature length stories featuring comedy heroes such as Laurel & Hardy.
I love this image below; I can sense that moment of silence as they both sit down on the sofa at the same time. A moment of calm before the next act of mayhem.
And some great evocative images of traditional public school antics!
There are also a few stories that do not feature actual film stars:
And these are occasionally illustrated but I can’t find any reference to the artist. I wish it was still the correct form for men to wear hats:
But it is definitely Wakefield’s comics that steal the show:
There is a clear link to Morecambe and Wise’s Striptease sketch here, but I’ll leave you with probably the best comic title in the book:
And before anyone gets the wrong idea (clearly the dog in the indian headdress is a reference to The Village People), I have included the final frame