Tag Archives: Bet Gets The Bird!

Jinty 12 April 1975

Jinty cover 12 April 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories: Her Lost Love (text story)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terence Magee; unknown artist – Merry)
  • Ten Polaroid Cameras Must be Won! – Competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Monday’s Child is Fair of Face – first in seven-part series on the old rhyme (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror – final episode (artist Carlos Freixas)

Yee-ikes! Katie is experimenting in the school lab, and we can just imagine what trouble our jinx can get into in the name of science. Sure enough, that’s just what happens. Katie’s trying to make a perfume, but her efforts are more like stink bombs!

“Slave of the Mirror” concludes this week. Isabella, the spirit of the mirror, is having Mia trying to burn down the place. But then Isabella repents and shows herself to everyone to prove it’s not Mia’s fault before departing in peace and disappearing from the mirror. Thereafter, the mirror reflects normally like any other mirror. The replacement story next week is “Face the Music, Flo!

Cindy’s cousins sell all her clothes to make money (as if they don’t have plenty of it already). Worst of all, they also sell Cindy’s beloved pendant, especially as it contains a photo of her mother, whom they really hate for some reason. Cindy is determined to get her pendant back but strikes a problem – no money!

We have double helpings of parrot humour this week, in the Dora Dogsbody story as well as “Bet Gets the Bird!” We also get a double helping of Phil Gascoine, who is not only illustrating Bet but also the first episode of a seven-part serial based on the rhyme of “Monday’s Child”, “Tuesday’s Child” etc. Monday’s Child Christine Carter is very fair of face and because of this, she has always gotten her own way with everyone and overshadowed Mary Jennings. It looks like Christine will do the same with Mary again when they both audition for a drama school. But there is a twist in store that enables Mary to finally get her break and Christine’s charms to fail for once!

Tricia and her father have to creep around their unpleasant relatives to get her back in training in her old training ground of the quarry pool. Then all of a sudden cousin Diana appears at the pool, calling out for Tricia. Now how could she have gotten all the way there? She’s supposed to be blind! All those who suspect there is something fishy about this please raise their hands.

Daddy’s having real fits this week when he hardly needs to. First it’s over Lee being accidentally showered in food scraps and then trying to help the families of the two evacuees. But he really hits the roof when he finds Lee and Maggie sharing the same bed!

Merry’s getaway from Misery House has been stymied by amnesia. At last, she regains her memory when she sees her “wanted” posters. Unfortunately, doing a runner could be awkward because of the kindly family she fell in with while she had amnesia. And what of the nasty butler who hates Merry?



Jinty 26 April 1975

Cover 26 April 1975

Stories in this issue

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Jinty Makes It: Table mats – Feature
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terence Magee)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe… – complete story (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories – The Fair Rosaleen (text story)

Katie helps the local greengrocer out with deliveries, and finds out what goes on behind the doors of a health farm. Eating a huge serving of lovely greasy fish and chips in front of a bunch of people trying to lose weight isn’t a great idea though! Shame about the stereotypical fat people all running after her trying to nab the food off her – amusing though it will have been at the time.

Tricia is being followed in town by her cousin Diana. But how can Diana find her way round so effectively, if she’s blind? Her horrible cousin and family are tricking her – nowadays we call that emotional abuse and gaslighting. Trisha has made her mind up to stand her ground, even though she hasn’t yet realised what lies they’re telling her.

On a craft page, Jinty shows you how to make a set of table mats out of stout card and string. They look like the sort of thing that might well come out looking rather effective.

Merry has recovered her memory, but evil butler Haig is trying to blackmail her as he also knows her secret. Merry has no choice but to run away so that the blackmail doesn’t work. The same unknown artist who drew Merry is also drawing “Wednesday’s Child” in this issue – a complete story based around the rhyme. Moira is always grumbling, but she doesn’t realise that her mother really has something to worry about – the father of the family is on a fishing boat that is well overdue on its return. Moira snaps out of her grumbling and is able to be some help for once.

The cousins are after Cindy Smith, who is trying to post a plea for help to her father. They stop her from sending it, beat her, tie her up, and deprive her of food and water until she signs away her money to them.

In “Face the Music, Flo!”, the twins are at loggerheads. Greg is trying out his act on stage and doing well, but Flo thinks it is bound to all end unhappily and wants to prevent him from breaking his heart seeking the unobtainable. Greg’s manager is happy to keep them apart, too. Greg is still trying to please his sister, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to last for long.

“Daddy’s Darling” Lee is still trying to defend her friends Joe and Maggie from her uncaring father. Maggie has won a school prize for writing a great essay; will this change the heartless father’s mind about the two evacuees?

There is a spooky prose story this issue: I suspect it is an Irish folk or traditional tale, retold. The Fair Rosaleen has a hard-hearted father; as she lay dying she asked him to make sure he looked after the poor people nearby, so that she can rest peacefully. Of course he breaks his vow and the ghost returns to remind him of his promise – which he then keeps faithfully thereafter.

Jinty 5 April 1975

Cover 5 April 1975

Stories in this issue:

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry, writer Terence Magee)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie) – last episode
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)

Katie Jinks gets her hands on a gorilla costume, in a way that is very similar to some hi-jinks that Fran gets up to some years later – as Mistyfan has wondered recently, I also now wonder if the two stories shared a writer. In this case, pal Liz is the one togged up in a gorilla suit, and the gorilla is rather friendlier than one might have guessed.

Tricia is being made to look after her cousin Diana, through the emotional blackmail of being told it’s her fault for blinding her cousin. She is made to use all her time to teach Diana to swim well enough to be able to win the Lloyd Trophy, and is forbidden to use her cousin’s pool to do her own training in. What will happen when she goes home to see her parents – will she withdraw from the Lloyd trophy, as her uncle expects?

Merry has lost her memory – she escaped from the reformatory in order to bring help to the others, but had an accident in the street. A kindly – and posh – family have taken her in, but cruel butler Haig hates her because she battles injustice  such as when he tries to beat a local kid for taking some vegetables. Haig catches Merry unawares and locks her in the dark shed. Maybe the similarity between this predicament and her reformatory experiences will bring her memory back? After all, she’s still not managed to bring help to the other girls in Misery House…

It’s the last episode of “The Kat and Mouse Game”. Mistyfan has got a story post coming up soon, so I won’t describe the ending in detail. Suffice it to say that Kat gets her comeuppance – after trying to land Mouse in it one last time, of course – and Mouse gets the career of her dreams. Satisfyingly, Kat even confesses at the end, once she realises it’s all gone wrong for her (and it’s all her own fault too).

There’s a story post coming up on “Cinderella Smith” too, I understand. Cindy is sent to school without the correct uniform and has to use old clothes left behind by others – she finds it embarrassing and humiliating but comes across as snobbish rather than apologetic for her change of circumstance. But wearing old clothes will be the least of it, very soon: Cindy’s cousins are some of the meanest abusers in these stories.

The kids at school are making Lee’s life a misery because her father is himself being so ungenerous to evacuees Joe and Maggie. Bowing to public pressure, he sends the evacuee kids to school in a posh car – but a different one from the one his daughter travels in.

It is nearing the ending of “Slave of the Mirror”. The Spanish au pair girl Inez tells Mia the story of the girl in the mirror, who is an ancestor of Inez’. Isabella lived as a servant in the house, some two hundred years previously; she was treated so cruelly by her master that she died unhappily and vowed her revenge. Now, through Mia, she is trying one last act of revenge – burning down the house!

Jinty 19 April 1975

Jinty cover 19 April 1975


  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Jinty Makes It: A Sunflower Banner – Feature
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • Tee-Shirts Are Tops! – Competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace… – complete story (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Face the Music, Flo! – first episode (artist Jim Baikie)


Katie is helping her Aunt Lucy out at her small hotel while on holiday. Oh, dear – we all know what help from Katie the Jinx can turn into!

Tricia finds her blinded cousin Diana is following her around and thinks she’s being haunted by guilt. More likely she’s being haunted by something more fishy. Diana seems to have learned to walk around town blind in a remarkably short length of time. And how does she always know where to find Tricia if she’s blind?

Merry gets her memory back in the most shocking way possible – she sees her wanted poster, which tells everyone she’s on the run from a reformatory! Now she remembers, how long can she hide it from the family who are looking after her, especially as they now want to adopt her?

There is more parrot trouble than usual with this issue, because Ma Siddons is lumbered with a parrot at the hotel this week. He’s given her husband a good nip on the nose and loves a good nip himself – of rum! And in “Bet Gets the Bird!”, Rosy Posy needs a pick-me-up, but Bet can’t figure out what. And it isn’t rum.

“Face the Music, Flo!” starts this week. It has a twist on the theme where the protagonist wants to pursue a dream, but the parent does not want them to because either they got burned by something similar or they want to decide the career. Instead of a parent it’s an interfering sister, Flo, who tries to stop her brother Greg pursuing a show-business career because their late father tried the same but it didn’t work out. But Greg’s going ahead all the same. Is Flo right to stop him or will she find out she should have stayed out of it – even if she did promise her late mother she would make sure Greg got a steady job instead of going into show business?

Daddy shows his darling that he still has eyes only for her. Maggie collapses but Daddy won’t get a doctor. Lee has to do it.

Meanwhile, Cindy’s scored a small triumph over her nasty cousins. But it looks like things are going to get even worse for her next week now they’ve caught her writing a letter to her father. And it begins with Cindy suddenly being absent from school the next day and nobody knows why.



Jinty 17 May 1975

Jinty cover 17 May 1975

  •  The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terry Magee)
  • A Ring-a-Ding Competition! – Competition
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Phantom Playmates – Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories (text)
  • Saturday’s Child Works Hard for a Living… – complete story (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Jinty Makes It: Pretty Swimming Cap – Feature

Katie the Jinx faces the golf match where £25 is at stake and she knows she really does not have the talent to win. Can her klutziness – or sheer dumb luck – help her out?

In “Tricia’s Tragedy” Dad’s snooping goes horribly wrong and he ends up in a police cell. To free him, Tricia agrees to throw the Lloyd Trophy swimming match in Diana’s favour. Looks like Diana’s won and her supposedly blind eyes are all full of triumph – but Dad may not be beaten yet.

In “Merry at Misery House”, Merry makes another break for freedom. Unfortunately Miss Ball puts on a disguise to intercept her. Merry finds out the hard way that Miss Ball can really pass herself off as a man when she wants to.

Cinderella Smith’s getting some edge on her cousins this week, despite all their abuse, and there’s more. She comes across a wedding photograph where the bride’s face is cut out. Hmm, could there be more to her cousins’ attitude than meets the eye?

Daddy is shocked to see his darling turning up at the sale she was going to open looking a fright! He did not count on her helping out in an emergency on the way.

In “Face the Music, Flo!”, Greg has walked out on Flo. From the looks of things, he is playing right into the hands of his nasty-looking manager, who clearly wants to drive a wedge between the twins. Flo isn’t giving up that easily of course. However, we do not expect the road to be smooth, especially with Greg in the clutches of that manager.

Prissy shows how cruel she can really be when she’s out for revenge – she’s trying to poison Rosy Posy the parrot! Something really needs to be done about Prissy, and Bet is out to do it.

Ma Siddons is undercutting the dogs’ food because she spent all her money on a tiara. But after the hijinks of the week she ends up being tricked into feeding them properly.

Jinty 10 May 1975

Jinty cover 10 May 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry; writer Terence Magee)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Which Four-Footed Friend Are You? – Quiz
  • Friday’s Child is Loving and Giving… – complete story (unknown artist)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Cry in the Night! Jinty’s Favourite Spooky Stories (text)
  • Face the Music, Flo! (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)

Katie’s trying her hand at golf – sounds like a recipe for disaster already. But in fact Katie gets some lucky flukes. The trouble is, they get her roped into a match against a pompous golfer, and £25 is at stake!

In “Tricia’s Tragedy” Dad’s getting more and more suspicious of his relatives when he discovers they’re trying to deprive Tricia of sleep and stop her winning the Lloyd Trophy. He’s resorting to some breaking and entering into their house to do some investigating. But will he get away with it, and can he find anything that will shed some light on things?

In “Merry at Misery House”, the Warden and Miss Ball are behaving more suspiciously too. They’re putting the inmates out to work on a farm. Is that legal? The farmer’s phone call to the Warden indicates that it is not; it’s all for profit on both sides. For Merry and Co it just means more misery, because the farmer soon shows he is just as cruel as the reformatory staff.

Cinderella Smith now has to take on even more work in order to raise the money to buy back her treasured pendant that her mean cousins sold. But at the end she hasn’t got enough and time has run out! What to do?

In “Daddy’s Darling” Daddy turns human for once and sees to it that Joe gets a train set for his birthday. But the kids in the playground are being mean towards Lee because they think she is a softie from all her dad’s mollycoddling.

In “Face the Music, Flo!”, Flo’s interfering with her brother’s music career and (accidentally) messing up his guitar finally bites back at her. He’s so angry when he finds it all out that he’s walking out and leaving her all alone!

Concealing a parrot at school reaps more consequences for Bet. Bully Prissy finds out and starts blackmailing her and her friends. Rosy Posy manages to put a spoke in that wheel, but now Prissy’s really out to get her!

Layabout Ma Siddons gets a shock when two Welsh collies are booked into the dogs’ hotel. They are working dogs that demand that people keep them working, and they are rounding Ma Siddons up like a sheep (someone had to do it).



Jinty 29 March 1975

Jinty cover 29 March 1975

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (unknown artist – Merry, writer Terence Magee)
  • Easter Fun with Jinty – feature
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Philip Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)


This is Jinty’s first Easter issue. To celebrate, Jinty has “Easter Fun with Jinty”, which tells you how to make an Easter egg cake and felt Easter bunnies. The Jinx from St Jonah’s has an Easter theme too – Katie is invited to an Easter holiday fancy dress show. But we all know our jinx, and she really excels herself when she persuades a friend to dress up as a gorilla!

“Slave of the Mirror” and “The Kat and Mouse Game” look like they are nearing the end. Mia, the slave of the mirror, finds surprise help in Inez. Inez has not only worked out what the mirror is doing to Mia but also found out information that could help free her from the mirror. In “The Kat and Mouse Game”, Kat has the gall to continue taking advantage of Mouse after getting her expelled. This time it’s conning Mouse into taking her place in the ballet show and dancing Kat’s way to success for her. But Kat did not bargain on everyone finding out who was really dancing the role! Trouble is, how is this going help Mouse clear her name and declaw the scheming Kat?

Merry has escaped from Misery House. But she had the bad luck to lose her memory in an accident. She cannot remember who she is, that she is on the run, or that she has to raise help for the girls at Misery House. And now the cruel staff of Misery House have discovered her escape and spitefully locked up her friend Carla in a detention cell.

Tricia’s guilt complex is turning her into a slave to her cousin Diana and leaving her with no time to train for the event she promised her father she would win. Dad does not believe a word Diana’s family are saying about the matter – and neither do we. There has been something suspicious about it all from the beginning.

A pompous sergeant major is bossing Dora and the dogs around like they’re in the army. As if life wasn’t miserable enough with Ma Siddons.

In part two of “Cinderella Smith”, Cindy’s first full day with her cousins gets worse and worse as their abuse becomes more and more apparent. It begins with slogging in the stables with nothing to eat. Then she finds they’ve taken away all her clothes and are forcing her into tatty, patched replacements – and she has to wear them when seeing her new headmistress. But what’s really the pits of cruelty in this episode is Cindy finding the bacon in her substandard breakfast looks suspiciously like what was in the dog’s dish a while earlier! Even the mean Ma Siddons doesn’t go that far with Dora.

And it’s part two of “Bet Gets the Bird!” as well. Bet discovers she hasn’t thought through the consequences of having the teachers think her parrot Rosy Posy is a pupil. She has to cover for Rosy Posy in class and produce homework from her – which the pesky parrot messes up and Bet lands in trouble because of it!

Lee remains “Daddy’s Darling” while he shows nothing but a heart of stone to everyone else. This week it’s making Lee’s two evacuee friends walk to school in pouring rain although one has a limp and the other has a cold – while he gives Lee a cosy lift.


Story length through Jinty’s life

I have created a new page listing the stories in Jinty by publication date. This seemed like an interesting and useful addition to the list of stories in alphabetical order that has been in place on the blog since we started. As part of the information on that new page it seemed sensible to count the number of episodes for each story, too (where possible) – luckily for me, the Catawiki data that I was using to compile this information gave me the ability to include that for almost all stories. As I put together the list, I got the impression that in the last year of Jinty‘s publication, the story length was getting shorter and shorter: so I pulled together some stats on it.

For each year below, there are some stories I excluded from the statistics, either because I didn’t have a complete count of all the episodes (for instance where a story had started in Lindy or Penny before their merger with Jinty), or because they were by their nature long-running humour strips with no specific start or end point. I’ll give a list of the excluded stories and their running lengths further down this post.

  • For 1974, the mean story length is just under 16 episodes and the mode (most usual) story length is 13 episodes
  • For 1975, the mean is just under 18 episodes and the mode is 16 episodes
  • For 1976, the mean is just under 15 episodes and the mode is 19 episodes
  • For 1977, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 11
  • For 1978, the mean is just over 16 episodes and the mode is 18
  • For 1979, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1980, the mean is 11.5 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1981, the mean is 11 episodes and the mode is 10

We can see that the two averages do go up and down over the run of Jinty. Having said that, the drop-off in episode length in 1980 and 1981 does look like a real change, despite that context of background variation. (I’m not going to do any full-on statistical analysis with standard deviations and so on though!) Both average figures are down in those two years, because there are fewer long stories pushing up the mean as well as a general trend to the slightly shorter length of 10 – 12 episodes.

Which stories did I exclude from the analytics, and why?

  • The humour strips with no specific story arc: “Dora Dogsbody” (94 episodes), “Do-it-Yourself Dot” (62 episodes), “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” (112 episodes), “The Snobs and the Scruffs” (12 episodes), “Desert Island Daisy” (9 episodes), “Bird-Girl Brenda” (27 episodes), “The Hostess with the Mostess” (19 episodes), “Bet Gets The Bird!” (11 episodes), “Alley Cat” (163 episodes), “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” (111 episodes), “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” (27 episodes), “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (96 episodes).
  • “Merry at Misery House” (66 episodes) is not a humour strip but like those above, it has no specific overall story arc, no obvious beginning or end that is worked towards throughout its run. I have therefore excluded that too. The same goes for “Pam of Pond Hill” which ran to a mighty 126 episodes in Jinty and then on into Tammy of course.
  • The stories that I have incomplete episode information about: “Finleg the Fox”, “Penny Crayon”, “Hettie High-and-Mighty”, “Gypsy Rose” (these stories are not catalogued on Catawiki as a group), “Rinty n Jinty”, “Seulah the Seal”, “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, and “Snoopa”. Various of those would be excluded even if I had complete episode numbers, of course.
    • Edited to add: further information has been given in the comments below. “Finleg” and “Hettie” ran for 7 episodes in Lindy, and “Tansy” ran for 45 episodes in Penny. “Seulah” ran for 11 episodes in Penny, and then started a new story in Jinty & Penny, which I hadn’t really realised. The two Seulah stories were more like separate arcs in a bigger story than self-contained stories in themselves. Many thanks to Marc for this information! I will add them into the spreadsheet and see if it makes any difference to the years in question.
    • “Snoopa” ran for 45 episodes in Penny, which Mistyfan confirms below (many thanks). As a gag strip, this would not be included in the year-on-year statistics in any case.

Longest run of an individual story? “Alley Cat” has all the others beat, at 163 episodes; runners-up are “Pam of Pond Hill” at 126 episodes, and then “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” and “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” neck and neck at 112 and 111 episodes respectively. However, if you exclude these and look at the length of the ‘normal’ stories, then the top three are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (36 episodes), “Fran of the Floods” (35 episodes), and “Always Together…” (29 episodes). (Phil Townsend does particularly well for long-running stories, as “Daddy’s Darling” clocks in at 24 episodes and “Song of the Fir Tree” at 22 episodes.)

At the other end of things are some short stories. There are only two single-episode stories: “Holly and the Ivy” and “Mimi Seeks a Mistress”. “Freda’s Fortune” is the only two episode story. “Mimi” was a reprinted story, printed towards the end of 1980; possibly “Holly” and “Freda” were intended for publication in annuals or summer specials and then used as filler.

There are a few 3 or 4 episode stories: “The Birds”, “The Changeling”, “Casey, Come Back!”, and “The Tale of the Panto Cat”. This is also an odd length for a story – long enough to allow for a bit of development, but short enough to feel a bit abruptly cut off when you get to the end. Of these four, I’d say that “The Birds” is the one I find uses its length most successfully, though “Panto” works pretty well as a seasonal short. The slightly-longer “Her Guardian Angel” (5 episodes) likewise uses its length reasonably well to give us a seasonal amusement.  Some other shorter stories, such as “Badgered Belinda” (7 episodes), do read like they have probably been cut down from an originally-intended standard length of 10 – 12 episodes.

The spreadsheet with this information is available on request – please comment and I will be happy to email it to you if you want.

Jinty #43, 22 March 1975

Jinty cover 43

  • The Jinx from St Jonah’s (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Tricia’s Tragedy (artist Ana Rodriguez)
  • Merry at Misery House (writer Terry Magee)
  • The Miser’s Ghost (text story)
  • The Kat and Mouse Game (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Dora Dogsbody (artist José Casanovas)
  • Cinderella Smith – first episode (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Bet Gets the Bird! – first episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Daddy’s Darling (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Slave of the Mirror (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Do-It-Yourself Dot

After so many years, I finally came into a complete copy of this issue. My old copy had pages missing.

Now I have a complete copy, I can read The Kat and Mouse Game episode in its entirety. Kat’s trick succeeds in getting Mouse expelled, but then Kat realises she still needs to take advantage of Mouse to continue the role of the Tiger in the ballet as Mouse can perform it better than she can. But we are told that Kat is going to play one trick too many next week. Ah, the thing that has been the downfall of many a troublemaker in so many stories. And now that I can read the Dora Dogsbody episode, I see an ex-sergeant major is trying to run the dogs hotel in military fashion and even the unpleasant Siddonses are unhappy about it. However, the arrogant sergeant-major does not meet his Waterloo until next week.

As the cover shows, Kate the Jinx tries her hand at ballet, but it meets with her usual disaster. The same goes when she tries supposedly harmless things for a hobby like turning pages for the school orchestra or stamp collecting.

Merry escapes from Misery House (and it’s about time!). But last week we were warned that fate was going to play a cruel trick on her. And it is now revealed to be amnesia. How can Merry stay on the run and keep one step ahead of Misery House if she’s lost her memory?

Two new stories start: “Bet Gets the Bird!” and “Cinderella Smith”. Bet saves Rosy Posy the parrot from a cruel man and brings her to her boarding school. But we can see Rosy Posy is going to bring hijinks to Bet’s school, and she starts by being mistakenly enrolled as one of the pupils! And as the title of the latter suggests, we have a new Cinderella-type story. Cindy Smith goes to stay with her cousins while Dad goes away. Cindy thinks it’s going to be great because the cousins are so wealthy and they have animals. But she did not count on her cousins being so horrible, and already they’re laying into her with a cane and giving her a ghastly room. And next week Cindy starts school in second-hand clothes when her cousins can more than afford to buy her a whole new uniform.

The “Slave of the Mirror” tries to get rid of the mirror. But she should have guessed she wouldn’t be able to get rid of the haunted mirror that easily. “Daddy’s Darling” isn’t proving popular in school because her father’s over-protective treatment of her has her classmates thinking she is a snob. And now another evacuee is arriving in the household, but what is Dad going to say? He was not happy with one evacuee to begin with.

In “Tricia’s Tragedy”, Tricia begins to learn the reason for the feud between her family and Diana’s. But Dad is being thrown out before he can properly explain – now what have Diana’s parents got to hide? And it casts even more suspicion on the events that are binding Tricia to Diana.

Fran’ll Fix It! (1977; 1978-1979)

Sample images

Fran 1

Click thru

Fran 2

Click thru

Fran 3

Artist: Jim Baikie

Writer: Unknown

Publication: 9 July 1977 to 12 November 1977

Sequel: 7 October 1978 to 10 March 1979

“Say hello to our pint-sized problem-solver – and maker!”

So said the opening blurb to introduce us to the Jinty character who made her name as “zany”, “madcap”, and became one of the most popular characters ever to appear in Jinty. In fact, Fran was the first Jinty character to come back by popular request.

In the very first panel where we meet Fran, we immediately see what she’s going to be like when we see her reading a comic book that is rated “not suitable for girls”. And as her strip develops, we are not disappointed: Fran is wacky, potty, outrageous, resourceful, quick-witted, cheeky, anti-establishment, loads of fun, and there is never a dull moment without her. Mind you, it’s hard to see where the “pint-sized” comes in. Fran appears to be a normal height and hardly a midget like “Wee Sue”.

Potty Fran Anderson, better known as Fran the Fixer, styles herself as a problem solver who can fix anything and her catchphrase is “‘s easy!”. But it is not always as “‘s easy” as Fran thinks, for her ideas of fixing things are crazy, madcap ones. For the most part they work out, but there is typically mayhem along the way, and sometimes things backfire on Fran. For example, Fran’s solution to the tea shortage is dandelion tea – but it ends up more like dandelion wine that gets the teachers drunk! In another crazy caper she and the other girls dress as window cleaners, but things go wrong when their false beards get stuck. Fran has to get to the shop for advice and disguises herself in Arab costume to hide her beard. But this gets her kidnapped by a sheikh, who has mistaken her for the princess he wants to marry. Needless to say, he soon gets ‘fixed’; ironically, it is with the help of the false beard.

Some of the mayhem comes from Fran’s cheeky nature. For example, she outrages school governor Colonel Wellington by leap-frogging over him instead of politely going around him. Then she drops a clanger – on his poor old gouty foot! All right, so that part was an accident. But he sporting and agrees to let Fran off if she can fix something for him – shift a grand piano to his house without trucks or moving men because there’s a strike on! And there is another occasion where Fran puts on a circus gorilla suit for a joke. But she gets stuck in it and the sight of the gorilla suit has people fainting and fleeing in terror when she tries to get help. Worse, her monkeying around causes a real gorilla to get loose – which then attacks her school!

Fran’s “secret weapon” gets her out of a lot of scrapes (caused by her ‘fixing’ or otherwise). The secret weapon also gives readers loads of laughs and no doubt heightened Fran’s popularity. And what is her secret weapon? It is ventriloquism, the power of throwing her voice, which she does with alacrity. She has made stuffed parrots, doughnuts and butterflies talk among other things. She is also skilled at mimicry when she throws her voice and can impersonate things like bees, cats and Miss Garston’s voice.


Fran has been expelled from several schools because of her ‘fixing’. Dad threatens to pack her off to her aunts Toni and Chloe (or Tooth and Claw as Fran calls them) if it happens again. And after Dad shows Fran a film of what it will be like to live with Aunts Tooth and Claw (who later show up in person at the school). Fran definitely does not want to be expelled from her new school, St Catherine’s School for Young Ladies. Nor does Dad, particularly as it is a snob school and he has paid big money for it.

But even when Fran tries, she still gets into trouble, and this nearly gets her expelled on her first day. It all starts when headmistress Miss Garston lets Fran carry her suitcase. Seems simple enough and a good start at her new school – but it all turns to disaster when  a thief steals it and then Fran accidentally drops it on the head of Joggers the gardener. This establishes a running gag in the strip that has Joggers regarding Fran as more of a menace than rest of the staff do.

But to come back to the suitcase – by the time Fran hands the suitcase to Miss Garston, it is a mess. Fran has to do some fast fixing to butter Miss Garston  up and save herself from expulsion and Tooth and Claw. She not only succeeds, but exposes the other side of Miss Garston. Underneath that stern exterior is a real softie, but more pertinently, Miss Garston is potty herself. In fact, sometimes her pottiness rivals Fran’s. One example is where Miss Garston takes them camping. The girls hate it and tell Fran to fix it so they will go back to school. But the headmistress’s pottiness outmatches Fran’s tricks (ghosts, bugs, flooding, rain) every time and Fran does not know what to do.  But sometimes the fixing happens by luck rather than planning and this is the case here; the headmistress can’t get back to school soon enough after Fran accidentally sets some cows loose.

All the same, having a potty headmistress does help to keep Fran from expulsion. And so does her best friend Sally “Sal” Duff. Sal acts as a watchdog over Fran, although she reckons lion taming is easier. However, Sal has little success in stopping Fran’s schemes once Fran comes up with one, no matter how crazy it seems or in violation of school rules. Fortunately for the most part they work out. But sometimes things didn’t work out and Fran would typically take refuge in a tree until things had cooled down. She often got chased up a tree as well. Usually it was either Joggers the gardener or the resident bulldog (more on that in a moment) who were the very annoyed chasers.

Fran is not the only crazy resident of St Catherine’s. She has frequent trouble from “Slobberchops” aka Desmond the bulldog. Desmond is owned by the games mistress, the imposing Miss Lottie. Fran’s first encounter with Slobberchops comes when he eats Freda’s ‘talking’ doughnut and then chases Fran up a tree. Fran’s relationship with Slobberchops has swung from him going all ga-ga over Fran to chasing her with teeth bared and getting her up a tree or whatever. But things go really wild whenever he meets Fran’s parrot Beaky (who replaced the original stuffed version in the sample images above). Beaky, of course, heightens the zaniness of the strip. Strips with parrots are always guaranteed to be hilarious (such as “Bet Gets the Bird!”).

Of course there has to be a nemesis, and the regular villain of the piece is Clara. Clara is a snob who has looked down on Fran as a “scruff” right from the start. She was bitterly disappointed when Fran was not expelled. She confines herself more to playing tricks on Fran, but she always ends up getting ‘fixed’. She does not seem to do much to sabotage Fran’s schemes. Maybe they were too zany for her to figure out or she thought Fran would expel herself sooner or later.

Even the formidable aunts showed that pottiness ran in the Anderson family when they pay a visit to Fran’s school. Although they are dragons, they are also wacky – in their own way. We see this in their first panel when Aunt Toni points a blunderbuss at a porter whom the aunts think is stealing their luggage. At school, they cause as much mayhem as Fran; for example, on the hockey pitch they clobber the whole team. They also put the snobby Clara in her place (below). Maybe readers liked them better after that.

They have Dad’s permission to remove Fran to their farm if they disapprove of the school, whether Fran is expelled or not (aren’t you being a bit unfair there, Dad?). So far they are not impressed, deeming it too soft while they pride themselves on hardiness. Ironically, it is not Fran’s ‘fixing’ that saves her but the potty headmistress, whom the aunts make friends with. The only thing is, their visit has the headmistress send the girls on the aforementioned camping trip to toughen them up.

Wacky characters played for laughs and hijinks had been in Jinty from the very first issue. “The Jinx from St Jonah’s” established the trend, with Katie Jinks the jinx who was a walking disaster area. She could get the school orchestra in a tangle through playing a simple triangle, get chased by an ostrich, drop laundry powder in the swimming pool and get the swimming contest in a lather, and accidentally set the school boiler to dangerous levels. In one story her friends tried tying her up to stop her jinxing but disaster struck them anyway. And there was “Do-It-Yourself Dot“, who made “a nuisance of herself” in making things, though they often went right as well. Dot could be regarded as a “fixer” too while Fran can also be regarded as making a nuisance of herself.

Fran is clearly carrying on the tradition. Perhaps the same writers were involved. Whoever they were, they were certainly inspired by “Jim’ll Fix It!“, from which this strip clearly takes its cue. But whilst Katie’s capers come from her being a walking disaster area, Fran’s come from her personality and the skills she has learned to ‘fix’ things. Fran also differs from Katie in that most of her capers are told in story arcs spanning several weeks while Katie usually had weekly disasters. This allows for more development, storytelling, and more hijinks and laughs spanning over a single story. And the artwork of Jim Baikie lends itself brilliantly to the atmosphere of the strip. More often seen drawing some of Jinty’s more dramatic strips such as “The Forbidden Garden“, he showed that he could draw comedy as well. His style in Fran is looser and more exaggerated when drawing high comedy scenes. His depiction of Freda and her ‘talking’ doughnut (above) is an excellent example.

But it is the jauntiness of it all that makes Fran arguably the best-remembered comedy character in Jinty, for jauntiness summed up Jinty herself. It was hardly surprising that Jinty’s open invitation for readers to ask for her back at the end of her first story drew a response that proved successful. It would not be surprising if there had been a demand to bring back Fran in “Pam’s Poll” as well. If so, unfortunately it did not succeed that time.

It is a bit difficult to understand why Fran did not become more of a regular in Jinty and return more than once. Many characters in girls’ comics have done so (such as Bella Barlow in Tammy and The Honourable S.J. in Judy) once their popularity and staying power were established. Maybe something behind the scenes prevented it.