- Susan of St. Bride’s in Relief Nurse (artists Ray Bailey and Phil Townsend, writer Ruth Adam)
- Sharon Wylde the Girl with a Goal (artist Harry Linfield, writer Adrian Thomas)
- The Slazenger Sports Girls (feature)
- Wendy and Jinx in Ghosts at the Grange (artist Peter Kay, writer Stephen James)
- Entertainment: the Royal Ballet
- All in the Game! (competition)
- Lettice Leefe: the Greenist Girl in School (cartoon)
- The World of Animals (artist Tom Adams, writer George Cansdale)
- Barbara Woodhouse and Her Pets (feature)
- Angela in Africa (artist Dudley Pout, writer Betty Roland)
- Belle of the Ballet: keeping the school going (artist Stanley Houghton, writer George Beardmore)
- The Zoo Hospital (feature)
- I’m Sorry I Was Born a Girl (writer Mary Tandy, a reader) – feature
- New Rider at Clearwater (artist Bill Baker, writer Kathleen Peyton) – first episode, text story
- Letters Page
- What’s Cooking? With Carol and Chris (feature)
- A Guide to Easier Dressmaking (feature)
- Prisoners’ Friend: Elizabeth Fry (artist Gerald Haylock, writer Chad Varah)
In our latest instalment on older girls’ titles, we take a look at Girl (first series), not to be confused with the 1980s photo-comic of the same title. Girl was launched by Hulton Press on 2 November 1951 as a sister paper to Eagle, and its standards were glamorous. Many pages were in full colour, with the colouring rendered in a beautiful 3D effect, which must have been mouth-watering to the girls who saw the issues at the newsstands. Girls who could afford to buy Girl were the envy of those who had to settle for titles printed on cheaper newsprint.
Girl even ran credits for her stories, which her counterparts at DCT did not. And there is one that should be very familiar to Jinty readers: Phil Townsend.
It is surprising too that Girl not only had issue numbers but volume numbers as well. What the heck were the volume numbers for?
Oldhams Press took over Girl in 1959, and then IPC after Odhams’ merger in 1963. On 10 October 1964 Girl merged into Princess, which later became Princess Tina.
Not surprisingly, as Girl was founded by Rev. Marcus Morris (who also founded Eagle), it had an “educational” side with heroines involved in tales with a moral substance, including the heroines involved in adventures or scrapes. A considerable number of pages were also dedicated to real life tales of heroic women. An example, which begins here, is the story of Elizabeth Fry, which is told in serial form. This certainly brings the characters to life a whole lot more than simply telling Elizabeth’s bio with panels and dry text boxes. Plus we feel a whole lot more drama, emotion, thrills and empathy (or distaste) for the characters.
The educational side of Girl can also be seen in features like “The Zoo Hospital” and “The World of Animals”. Even so, Girl also had educational features on themes that remained equally popular in later titles. These include the Slazenger Sports Girls with sporting tips, A Guide to Easier Dressmaking, celebrity features (in this case Barbara Woodhouse) and What’s Cooking? The last one is unusual for having two guides, Carol and Chris, walking us through the recipe with panels and commentary as well as text containing instructions. This approach makes the cookery page a lot more fun and engaging to read than simply following a list of text instructions with accompanying diagrams.
This week we have an unusual feature: a disgruntled reader writes on how she’s sorry she was born a girl (because in her view, boys have more fun, independence and adventure). The Editor invites other readers in to share their views on this topic, and the best one would be printed. We have to wonder if someone wrote in saying they wished they could be one of the heroines in the Girl serials. After all, they seem to have a lot of fun and adventure, ranging from treks in Africa to hospital drama. Or perhaps they wished to be the short-lived Kitty Hawke in Girl, who was considered too masculine and replaced by Wendy and Jinx, two girls at boarding school who, like The Silent Three or The Four Marys, are always getting into mysteries, adventures and thrills. Or maybe Lettice Leefe, the dopey girl in the regular cartoon.
The stories had one to two page spreads. More often they were one page spreads.
In the other serials, Susan of St Bride’s is blaming herself for a patient’s condition, which is not improving. A woman who does not like her, and is clearly a nasty old bat, latches onto this and, together with the patient’s mother, starts proceedings against her. Plus she’s spreading all the gossip around the town. Susan’s stories were individually titled, as a subheading to the main title.
Sharon Wylde, who has ambitions to be a famous writer like her parents, writes a book. However, it does not cast a film producer in a favourable light and he’s taken the manuscript (accidentally). She sneaks into his office to get it back – and gets caught!
Angela Wells, who has started a charter airline (something the short-lived Kitty Hawke tried to do with an all-female squad) in Africa, but develops a taste for adventure. While Angela’s friends have flown off seeking medical assistance for a sick woman the villagers suddenly run off in terror. The culprit turns out to be the lights from the plane bringing her friends back. The patient is soon on the mend, but then Angela feels faint. Is she the one falling sick now?
Belle of the Ballet has to find a way to save the school after a kidnapping causes scandal and pupils are withdrawn. Her solution: make a ballet out of the scandal to convince people they were not to blame for the affair. But they have to get it together fast.
In “New Rider at Clearwater”, unpleasant girl Stella is not pleased with the new pony at Clearwater Stables. The pony has given her a much-deserved humbling, but the look on her face tells protagonist Briony that she is not taking it lying down.