It’s the final episode of “Kerry in the Clouds”. There are hard lessons learned for both Kerry (the dreamer with her head in the clouds) and Gail (who took advantage of this to get revenge on a film producer) before the happy ending. “A Boy Like Bobby” takes its place next week.
“The Spell of the Spinning Wheel” is coming to an end too. This week Rowan is let down by a man who seemed to believe her, but it turns out he was a student psychiatrist who thought she was a nut case, and Dad shows him the door. Fortunately the final episode is next week, so something is finally going to help. Meanwhile, Rowan is outracing the spell of the spinning wheel to get medical help for her injured mother.
“Creepy Crawley” is beginning to approach its conclusion as well. The invasion of insects continues at Jean’s school, but Mandy, the only one who can stop it, is finally on her way. However, Mandy is not sure she will be able to stop the invasion because it requires her to forgive the very girl who did so many horrible things to her…
Madam Kapelski takes Yvonne on a special tour of the dreaded State Home for Children of Dissidents to bring her into line. Afterwards Yvonne decides to cooperate with Kapelski, but secretly isn’t giving up on escape.
The Darkening Journey takes an even darker turn when Thumper falls foul of a cruel man who abuses him. It gets worse when a fire breaks out, but Thumper can’t escape because he is chained up!
Katy has stunned everyone with her turn of speed at racing, but then it looks like she’s developing a malfunction.
In this week’s Gypsy Rose story, Prue Preston has trouble from two evil, cruel men at a jousting tournament. One is alive and one is long dead – but his ghost comes out in full armour to join the fun!
Henrietta uses her magic to help a street artist, but her spells aren’t working out as she hoped, which leads to hijinks. Of course everything turns out happily in the end.
As you see on the cover, Fran gets some unusual gear on because she’s not confident about being goalie, having never played hockey. It works all right – until Clara takes revenge by rolling Fran downhill and she bounces against a rock. Well, Sal did warn Fran that her scheme might bounce back on her. The Gypsy Rose story that features on the cover is about a ghost horse that comes back to save its descendant from fire.
“The Robot Who Cried” discovers a new emotion – hatred – when some unsavoury people threaten her friend Susan, and she’s about to take a shovel to their heads! And with that super-strength of hers, anything could happen next week.
Madam Kapelski raises Yvonne’s hopes of escape when she takes her back to England. Her plan is to crush Yvonne completely with false hopes and it looks like it’s working by the end of the episode. Yvonne is in tears when she sees her mother and can’t call out to her because she’s still mute. But the blurb for next week about “the mystery woman in black” entering the picture sounds like events are going to take another turn.
“The Darkening Journey” looks even darker right now. Thumper leaves an animal shelter because he senses Julie needs him. But his health is failing and hope is fading.
Gymnast Kate finds ballet Kate has pulled a fast one on her when she tries to break into her home to get the money for her allowance. But she gets the money anyway!
In “A Boy Like Bobby”, Tessa agrees to hide the boys from social welfare because they are scared of being separated. But this means living a lie and risking trouble with the authorities. And to make things more complicated, Tessa’s friend Cathy is suspicious!
A cover featuring two of the supernatural- themed stories running in Jinty at the time, both with foreboding overtones. The panel featuring laughs with Alley Cat is quite a contrast.
In “Destiny Brown”, people are ostracising Destiny because her father has been connected to a robbery and bullies pick on her at school. But their bullying puts a girl’s life in danger – as Destiny foresaw with her second sight. In “Who’s That in My Mirror?”, Magda smashes the mirror in the hope this will free her from that ugly face that is a reflection of her own devil heart. But she is puzzled as to why the mirror is putting up no resistance to being smashed after resisting her attempts to get rid of it. Perhaps she should have taken the hint and put the rock down. But instead the drama of the story is going to accelerate towards its climax.
“The Goose Girl” learns why her mother hates birds. And now all readers must be more annoyed with the mother than ever. Hating all birds because her husband was shot while defending them from hunters? And now she’s helping those very same hunters who killed her husband? That woman really needs to get her head examined! Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, and her attitude is going to cause even more problems.
Marnie tries to get the curse lifted in “Cursed to be a Coward”. But instead she ends up with Madam Leo terrorising her over it and scaring the living daylights out of her just as she is about to do a high dive. Not a good combination, and this is just what that demented Madam Leo intends. Another Jinty character in serious need of a psychiatrist.
Fran the Fixer ropes some girls into shifting the grand piano for the Colonel. And she fixes a half holiday for the girls into the bargain!
It’s the last episode of “A Boy Like Bobby”. Next week Phil Townsend starts on his new Jinty story, “Stage Fright!”. Jinty is keeping her artists busy again.
“The Battle of the Wills” is put aside as the ballet Kate goes in search of the gymnast Kate, whom she thinks is in trouble. And she finds out how much Dr Morrison really cares about the cloned Kate; as far as the doctor is concerned, it’s “just an interesting experiment”. But little does ballet Kate know how much it is a foreshadowing of one of the most cold-blooded acts ever to be seen in girls’ comics.
Another of my favourite covers, which makes striking use of purple and orange. We have two supernatural stories with different themes. What’s up with Sue? Sue uses Henrietta to clean the house. But Henrietta’s spell goes wrong and Sue is now taking refuge in a tree from her angry mother and aunt. The Gypsy Rose tale of terror features a cursed tambourine that forces anyone who plays it to dance forever – and with each step they take, their feet hurt like hell! Personally, the title of the story – “The Magic Tambourine” – doesn’t strike me as particularly inspired or descriptive of a cursed tambourine. Couldn’t they come up with anything better?
“The Robot Who Cried” is on the run with Susan, but her lack of understanding about human ways is causing more problems.
An escape plan with the help of the gypsies is underway in “Curtain of Silence”. But will it work, or is one of the other threads floating around in the strip the key to rescue?
In part two of “Fran’ll Fix It!”, Fran’s “secret weapon” is revealed. Dad warned her not to use it, but it does help to save her from expulsion – on her first day – and being packed off to her ghastly aunts. Moreover, she now has two more things to keep her from being expelled – a headmistress who is potty and her friend Sal to keep an eye on her. But poor Sal reckons lion-taming would be easier!
It’s another heartbreaking miss in “The Darkening Journey” when Julie’s parents finally track down Thumper – only to find he has taken off again.
Tessa finds the boys in more dire straits than she thought in “A Boy Like Bobby”. A filthy flat, no electricity because it got cut off, no parents, and now she suspects Tommy has been stealing.
There are now more “Battle of the Wills” than ever because Dr Morrison can’t tell which is the original Kate and which is the clone. And whichever one is the clone has also cloned Kate’s hatred of ballet, which leads to more clashes with one doing the hated ballet and one doing the gymnastics she wants. But which Kate is doing which?
Jinty also publishes more readers’ ideas on what they would give the Queen for her 25th Jubilee. Ideas include kiwifruit (Chinese gooseberry), bedsocks, a Japanese miniature garden, a lucky horseshoe and 25 different rose bushes for 25 years on the throne.
Battle of the Wills – first episode (artist Trini Tinturé)
This is one Jinty cover where the two panel format shows us artwork from the same artist, which in this case is Trini Tinturé. In fact, Jinty worked Tinturé more than usual here because Tinturé illustrates three stories in this issue! Not even Phil Gascoine worked that hard in the issues where his stories overlapped.
The first Tinturé story is the final episode of “Creepy Crawley” and the race to get the scarab to the pyramid that can negate its power before the insect invasion takes over. Jinty’s irrepressible and unforgettable “Fran’ll Fix It!” takes its place next week. The second is the Gypsy Rose story where a girl makes a wish for riches on a rock called “The Devil’s Rock” because it is shaped like the Devil’s head. But she soon finds out that you are asking for trouble when you make a wish on a rock like that! The third is one of Jinty’s well-remembered stories, “Battle of the Wills”. Kate Wills wants to be a gymnast but her grandmother keeps pushing her to be a ballerina. Kate decides the answer is to have a scientist make a clone of her so she can cover both ballet and gymnastics at the same time. But could Kate be asking for double trouble?
Elsewhere in this issue, Yvonne learns the backstory of Olga, the girl she is forced to impersonate in “Curtain of Silence”. The backstory also drops a hint that could play a key role in rescuing Yvonne. Then again, it might be Yvonne’s plan to contact the gypsy woman who tried to warn her of danger for help. In “A Boy Like Bobby”, Tessa tries to help the boys but it just seems to get her into more trouble. However, she won’t abandon them and has plans to turn the difficult, scruffy elder brother around. Hmm… that could be easier said than done! In “The Darkening Journey” it seems to be nothing but bad luck for Thumper and Beaky this time. But there is one piece of good luck they don’t even know about – the Burtons get a tipoff about them! Katy “the Robot Who Cried” escapes from the professor and goes on the run. The trouble is, Susan insists on going with her. This could make things complicated in the next issue, when they head for Scotland. And in “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”, Sue feels that someone should teach Beryl the big-headed bore a lesson. No prizes for guessing who obliges.
A strong cover which makes effective use of purple, orange, red and green in both panels to announce the return of Gypsy Rose and the appearance of the 1978 Jinty annual.
The theme of foretelling and prophecy-making established on the cover runs through in several of the stories. “Destiny Brown” foretells a bank robbery – but does not foretell her father will be accused of complicity in it and is now wanted by the police! The “blue water” prophecy in “Cursed to be a Coward!” is making Marnie more and more terrified of water and everyone is getting fed up with her because they don’t understand her problem and she won’t explain. At the end of the episode, Marnie resolves to fight back at the curse of drowning apparently laid on her by the sinister fortune teller who could be the antithesis to Gypsy Rose. But how do you fight a curse? And in “Who’s That in My Mirror?”, Magda finally realises the evil face in her mirror is reflecting her scheming nature and resolves to change. But she gets a sneering warning from the face that it won’t be as easy as that, and this also proves prophetic.
Elsewhere, it’s part two of the “The Goose Girl”, and now we see why the story is called that when Glenda and her mother move to their new home. Glenda takes a stand against goose hunters (little realising how history is repeating itself there) and starts nursing a goose they wounded.
For “Fran’ll Fix It!”, Fran is presented with a really challenging fix – shifting a grand piano to the music shop in town for Colonel Wellington, a school governor. And she has to do it without a truck because of a strike. But it’s that or be punished for giving him cheek and then dropping a bell on his foot. Fran is known for dropping clangers with her fixing, but that’s ridiculous….
In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”, Sue and Henrietta also do some fixing – on a twister who sells phoney magic plant food. Henrietta fixes him in an unusual ‘punishment fitting the crime’ way – making him think his potion really does work magic on plants!
A friendly girl finally discovers that there are two Kates in “Battle of the Wills”. It’s still not clear which Kate is the original and which is the clone. But at least the feud between the two Kates is set aside when one Kate realises the other Kate is in trouble and decides to help.
It’s the penultimate episode of “A Boy Like Bobby”. Tommy runs away and Tessa and Bobby’s hunt for him results in him putting himself in terrible danger. How will this end the story next week?
The cover announces the start of one new story, “Destiny Brown”, but there is not even a mention of the other story starting, “The Goose Girl”. Presumably its space has been taken up by the competition being announced on the cover. Just answer two Muppet questions and you go into a draw to win a copy of the first Muppet album. But why is “Who’s That in My Mirror?” taking what could easily have been the space to announce the start of “The Goose Girl”?
“Destiny Brown” is the seventh child of a seventh child, so it’s no surprise that she suddenly develops psychic powers. And we have a new ‘parent problem’ story with “The Goose Girl”. Glenda Noble and her mother have been feuding over birds for years; Glenda loves them while her mother hates them. Moreover, she is the sort of mother who won’t let Glenda be herself and keeps pushing Glenda in the wrong direction. But Glenda is a rebel and constantly defies her mother, so she’s more ballsy than most regular heroines in that she can stick up for herself and even get her own way. But not enough to make her mother see reason.
Meanwhile, in “Battle of the Wills”, Kate Wills, who has been constantly rebelling against the grandmother who keeps forcing her into ballet, suddenly surprises herself by enjoying ballet for the first time when her new teacher arrives. If she is the original Kate, maybe she could stay that way forever. But is she? Dr Morrison says she is, while the other Kate, who has been told she is the clone, has gone into a state of shock and wandering in a daze. But Dr Morrison has been caught out in one lie already, so is her word to be trusted?
In “A Boy Like Bobby”, Tessa is defying her mother too in order to help the boys, and manages to fool her. But new problems are not far off, of course.
In “Cursed to be a Coward!”, Marnie’s hydrophobia is intensifying to ludicrous lengths. It is increasing her unpopularity at school, and she just won’t tell anyone what the problem is.
And as the cover states, the face of evil gets worse in “Who’s That in My Mirror?” as Magda’s scheming intensifies. In fact, in this episode she deliberately gives her own mother a dose of food poisoning!
The Lost Locket (artist Phil Townsend) Gypsy Rose story
Curtain of Silence (Terry Aspin)
The Robot Who Cried (artist Rodrigo Comos, writer Malcolm Shaw)
The Darkening Journey (José Casanovas)
A Boy Like Bobby – first episode (artist Phil Townsend)
Spell of the Spinning Wheel – last episode (artist Jim Baikie)
Another of my favourite Jinty covers, and it is one of the more sombre, what with darker content exhibited in both story panels and the use of the blue background. And as we’re told that the mill pond could claim a second victim we immediately wonder – who was the first?
This issue has the final episode of Spell of the Spinning Wheel, and for some reason it’s a four-pager. So much the better. It’s hard to imagine that a bewitched spinning wheel could make a mistake – but it does. This proves its undoing at long last.
Next week another Trini Tinturé story, “Battle of the Wills” starts – and she is still drawing “Creepy Crawley”! But it’s the penultimate episode, so it is only the final episode of her current story and the first episode of her new one that will overlap in one issue. Mandy breaks the hold the scarab has over Jean, but the scarab and the insects are still in operation. A pyramid is the only thing that can stop the scarab completely, but their race towards one (a Victorian folly, but a life-saver now) gets blocked by the insects.
“A Boy Like Bobby” starts in this issue. Tessa meets Bobby, whose bigger brother is a real tough and scruff. When Tessa begins to probe, it looks like they are both kids in serious need of care. But what are their circumstances, and what will happen if Tessa steps in?
In “Curtain of Silence”, Madam Kapelski is still trying to break Yvonne. This time she forces Yvonne to cycle to exhaustion – but for once it is Madam Kapelski who has to give in when she sees what a “tigress” Yvonne is.
“The Robot Who Cried” is taken to hospital. The trouble is, the doctors don’t know she is a robot and they are in for some shocks – including their hospital equipment short-circuiting! And Thumper is all chained up and a fire threatens. Beaky is his only hope. It’s a narrow escape, but Thumper is still nowhere nearer Julie, whose sight depends on his return.
Phil Townsend is not an artist whose life and career I know much about. It seems from Bear Alley that he was a contributor to the sixties title Boys’ World and probably also illustrated some children’s books (but the thorough Steve Holland had not at the time of writing that post found any more information). He was a regular Jinty artist from very early on: while not in the very first issue, his beautiful clean style appeared in the title within the first couple of months of publication. After Jinty, he became a regular in Tammy, but from then on my information runs out. I would be very grateful if anyone were able to supply more information, as even his Comiclopedia entry is exceedingly brief.
Rivalling Phil Gascoine for productivity with 20 stories drawn for the title, his impact on Jinty is amongst the strongest of any artist: many beautiful and striking covers were derived from his internal artwork, and he has a number of memorable stories to his credit too. Many of the stories have a ‘type’; we’re informed by Mistyfan that in Tammy he regularly drew stories written by Alison Christie, and from what we now know it seems a similar circumstance applied in Jinty too. Many of the stories he drew were tear-jerkers: “Always Together…”, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “Nothing to Sing About”, and of course in particular the well-loved classics “Song of the Fir Tree” and “Stefa’s Heart of Stone” had children dealing with grief, lost homes, lost parents. Others were more mystery-focused: “Then There Were 3…”, “Stage Fright!”, and “Waking Nightmare” were earth-bound mysteries resolved through non-supernatural means, while “Spirit of the Lake” had a real ghost (unlike “The Ghost Dancer”).
For me his top story would clearly be the previously written about “Children of Edenford“, but the mermaid-child tale “Combing Her Golden Hair” comes close behind, and I have soft spots for both the slightly-spooky “Child of the Rain” (tennis player is mysteriously affected for good or ill by the rain forest she visits) and the strong near-thriller “Stage Fright!”. Likewise, Mistyfan has expressed her admiration for the persecution story “Mark of the Witch!” I think that most Jinty fans would be likely to count at least one Phil Townsend story amongst their favourites. Of course the writer drives the story forward as much or more, but the immediate and lasting impression of the comic is so strongly shaped by the art; it is hard not to look at a Phil Townsend-illustrated story and to love it, be the story stronger or weaker.
To illustrate this post, I have chosen some pages from “Combing Her Golden Hair”, taken from the issue dated 6 October 1979. Tamsin has found a mysterious silver comb, which is altering her life dramatically, but not in ways that her stern grandmother approves of! The last panel leaves us with a striking cliff-hanger, of course, though it turns out that the grandmother has better reasons for her actions than we know at this point.
Fran’ll Fix It! – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)
The Darkening Journey (artist José Casanovas)
A Boy Like Bobby (artist Phil Townsend)
Battle of the Wills (artist Trini Tinturé)
This issue marks the first appearance of perhaps the zaniest humour strip in Jinty, “Fran’ll Fix It!” Fran’s debut is celebrated with an unusual cover arrangement of three panels from the first episode – rather than the usual single panel – which are arranged in a descending diagonal line. The three panels have curved in edges instead of straight ones, which give them a refreshingly less boxy appearance, and convey an unconventional feel which blends in with our newcomer.
Our perky newcomer, Fran Anderson, likes to style herself as a fixer who can fix anything. But, as the blurb on the cover and the panels indicate, she gets herself into as much trouble as she is in fixing it. The good news is that Fran also has a secret weapon to help her get out of the messes she gets herself into. But we don’t see what it is until the next issue – or how it saves her from being sent to her ghastly aunts if her fixing gets her expelled (again).
In this issue, Jinty has a feature on Charlie’s Angels. It discusses the actresses in the first season (Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Kelly Garrett), so we get some insights of what it was like to be married to Lee Majors, who played The Six Million Dollar Man. We also find out the Angels got a lot of fan mail about their clothes and cosmetics (surprise, surprise!).
A few weeks ago, in the 25th Jubilee issue, Jinty asked readers for letters on what present they would give the Queen for her Jubilee. The best letters would receive cash prizes. In this issue they print some of these letters. Gifts readers would give the Queen included a bag of fish ‘n’ chips, light crown jewels for easier wear, a talking parrot, a silver watering can, a portable palace and a guinea pig.