Do-It-Yourself Dot (1974-1976)

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Publication: 11 May 1974-(?) 1975
Artist: Alf Saporito
Writer: Unknown

“Dot’s good at making things – especially at making a nuisance of herself!”

Thus ran the blurb to introduce readers to Do-It-Yourself Dot, one of the two cartoons in Jinty’s first lineup. And Dot enjoyed a far longer and more successful run than Jinty’s other cartoon in the lineup, The Snobs and the Scruffs. It is not hard to see why. Dot is the more superior cartoon, because unlike the Snobs and Scruffs, she is a far more rounded and colourful character who has a proper name. There is more variety, with different situations and differing outcomes every week. The only thing that stays the same is what invention Dot has come up with this time that starts the action off.

Dot, as the blurb says, is good at making things. She takes inventiveness to heights that would rival her nearest equivalent, “Clever Dick” in Buster. She can make sailboats, ventriloquist dummies, a go-cart powered by a hair dryer, a boomerang out of a broken hockey stick and even jigsaw puzzles out of old pieces of cloth. The trouble is, her inventions don’t always work out as she planned. In her first episode she makes her very own harp. However, her music talent is nowhere near as good as her inventiveness. But in the end the harp proves its usefulness as a chipper. Yes, sometimes Dot’s inventions work out in the end, though not as she originally planned. In one episode she makes a steam pudding, but it ends up with the consistency and weight of a cannon ball. Annoyed, she throws it away where it ends up foiling an escaped convict. And yes, you guessed it – the pudding becomes a new iron ball for his chain.

Sometimes Dot’s inventions don’t work out so well, especially if she really is using them to cause a nuisance. In one episode she makes stilts and uses them to play pranks on some golfers. But she ends up hung up to dry after landing in wet cement and needing a wash. At other times, the inventions just backfire, such as when she tries to use her do-it-yourself hand picker to nab a criminal, but it goes wrong and she ends up in trouble with a policeman and saying “How come my do-it-yourself ideas always land me in trouble? Moan!”

But of course there are the times when things work out well for Dot. For example, a bully wrecks her aforementioned go-cart with snowballs and brings down a whole heap of snow on her front path. He intends to put the blame on Dot, but her quick thinking ensures that her father has the bully clearing the path.

However it goes, readers always have to admire Dot’s inventiveness and resourcefulness. One suspects that many wished they could be as handy as Dot is with do-it-yourself.

There seem to be some similarities between Dot and Fran Anderson, the zany fixer-upper of “Fran’ll Fix It!” Both girls use their talents and quick wits to fix things up. Some of them are successful and others are not, but readers are always guaranteed a hilarious situation that will raise loads of laughs. It is tempting to wonder if Dot was an influence on Fran.

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