A Million Pounds to Give Away! (artist Agustin Navarro, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
Beattie Beats ‘Em All (artist John Armstrong, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
The School on Neville’s Island (artist Douglas Perry)
Glen – A Lonely Dog on a Quest (artist Jim Baikie)
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
It is now August, and to commemorate, we will have an August month Tammy round, with an August issue taken from each Tammy year. Also, selecting covers from this month guarantees a lot of nice, cheery summer covers to brighten us up. We begin at 1971, and with an August issue that starts two new stories.
It has now been seven months since Tammy started and five since Sally merged with her. Three strips from Tammy’s first issue are still going strong: Molly, Glenn, and Janie. Betina, another heroine from the original lineup, now starts her second story in Tammy’s first-ever sequel, “Betina and the Haunted Ballet”. The other story to start this week is “Roberta’s Rebels”. Though set in a boarding school, its premise sounds oddly prescient of “Land of No Tears”. Roberta Russell’s boarding school system is divided into the Supremos, the girls who get all the privileges and best treatment because they are the school sports stars, and the Serfs, who are forced to wait on the Supremos hand and foot and receive lesser treatment from school staff. Outraged, Roberta immediately sets out to stop this unfair school system by training up the Serfs to beat the Supremos. But once she sees the girls she has to train, she finds that’s going to be easier said than done. They look more like Bessie Bunter than Beattie Beats ‘Em All (q.v.).
The Cat Girl and Maisie’s Magic Eye are still going strong from the Sally merger. Both became so well remembered they have recently been given remakes in the rebooted Tammy and Jinty specials, and Cat Girl has just received her own reprint volume. Their presence also adds humour and lightweight fare to Tammy, who initially had no humour to balance the grim, misery-laden fare she was renowned for when she started.
“A Million Pounds to Give Away!” is another story to show Tammy is finding her feet with her own lightweight fare. Biddy Lenton has to give away her late great uncle’s entire fortune (a million pounds) under the terms of his will, but it’s proving harder than expected and it’s getting Biddy into all sorts of scrapes. Shades of the future Bumpkin Billionaires!
This week’s episode of Beattie must have given the readers some laughs, what with the antics Beattie gets up to on the racetrack to raise signatures for a petiton to stop some buildings – including her home – being bulldozed for development. She gets the satisfaction of annoying her worst enemies on the track with it as well. The petition ends up full of signatures. Strangely, nobody comments on or corrects Beattie’s spelling mistake – “support” has been spelled with one “p”.
“Little Miss Nothing” was a pivotal story in Tammy, as it set the template for the Cinderella serial in girls’ comics for hundreds of Cinderella serials at IPC and DCT to follow. “Make-Believe Mandy” and “Cinderella Smith” from Jinty were but two who owed their roots to “Little Miss Nothing”. This week, Annabel’s cruel parents kick her out, and they’re not through with her yet. Annabel’s spiteful stepsister Dora is cooking up a really nasty revenge on Annabel for getting her the well-deserved sack.
Douglas Perry is on double duty with drawing two stories, “The School on Neville’s Island” and “Palomo”. But that’s nothing on Maureen Spurgeon, who’s writing four strips, probably more, in one issue! Incidentally, Palomo was Tammy’s first horse story, and it was so popular it scored an appearance in a Tammy annual.
The Secret of Trebaran – (artist Giorgio Cambiotti) – final episode
Maisie’s Magic Eye – artist Robert MacGillivray
Little Miss Nothing (artists Miguel Rosello, Luis Bermejo, Miguel Quesada, writer Alan Davidson) – first episode
Betina at Ballet School
Beattie Beats ‘Em All! (artist John Armstrong)
Sara’s Kingdom (artist Bill Mainwaring)
The Girls of Liberty Lodge (artist Dudley Pout)
“Our Janie” – Little Mum (artist Colin Merrett)
No Tears for Molly (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
For the month of June we are having another Tammy round, which will profile a Tammy issue from the month of June for each Tammy year. We begin with the first June issue of Tammy in 1971.
In this issue, it’s the final episode of “The Secret of Trebaran”, one of the first stories from the first Tammy lineup. Its replacement next week is “Gandora the Golden”. Others from the first Tammy lineup, “Slaves of ‘War Orphan Farm’”, “Betina at Ballet School”, “The Girls of Liberty Lodge”, “Glen – A Lonely Dog on a Quest”, “No Tears for Molly”, and “’Our Janie’ – Little Mum” are still going strong, and it’s been four months since they started. Molly went on to become one of the longest-running regulars in Tammy, which showed she was the most powerful of the first lineup. Beattie, who joined later, is still going strong, and is the first Tammy strip drawn by John Armstrong. Cat Girl, “Maisie’s Magic Eye” and “Sara’s Kingdom”, which came over from Sally, are still going happily as well.
Douglas Perry artwork appears in Tammy for the first time – and on the first page – with the start of Perry’s first Tammy story, “Neville’s Island”. Thirty girls from St Edburgha’s are lured to a mysterious island. And we all know what happens when girls are lured to an island in girls’ comics – it’s a trap! To make things even more mysterious, the plot is being engineered by a ominous-sounding elderly woman in a wheelchair who won’t show her face. Once the unsuspecting girls are in the trap, she says, “Now they shall begin to suffer. All of them.” But why? From the sound of it, it’s revenge for being bullied at the school, but there’s probably more to it than that. It all adds to the mystery that has to be solved if the girls are to escape.
Also starting this issue is the first episode of “Little Miss Nothing” (written by Alan Davidson, not Pat Davidson aka Anne Digby, as has been sometimes stated). This story is noted for setting the “Cinderella” template that so many Tammy stories were to follow, the most famous of which was Bella Barlow. Update: an entry on this story has now been posted here.
“Little Miss Nothing” Annabel Hayes is regarded by her family as a nobody and they treat her as a drudge. It’s her younger sister Dora who gets the lion’s share in everything. Annabel shines at dressmaking, but her hopes of making a career out of it are dashed when the family move to be closer to Dora’s modelling school. Dad illegally yanks Annabel out of school to slog all day at the family market stall to pay for Dora’s school fees, makes her sleep in an attic, and not a word about her treatment or she’ll suffer. Wow, things are really piled on our Cinderella in the first episode alone. But then Annabel spots something in the attic that could turn things around.
Save Old Smokey! (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
Do-It-Yourself Dot (artist Alf Saporito)
Lori, “Miss No-Name”, makes her first attempt to run from the horrible Crabbs. But instead of dragging Lori back, Ma Crabb resorts to more crafty means. She sends a shadow, Fingers, on Lori’s tail. His job is to pull some sneakiness on Lori to make her come crawling back. Will he succeed? She’s found a good refuge, but he’s watching outside.
Katie wants to see a big football match, but she’s been jinxed by bad chilblains. Poor Katie. Will she miss out on the match or find a way around things?
Sally and Maya are hiding a deer, Star, from the circus. But nasty types are after Maya and are on their tail.
Talk about a farewell concert! Fran is tearfully singing “We’ll Meet Again” at the school concert, to say goodbye to her parents the only way she can. The floods are now claiming her hometown as the reservoir bursts. The concert hall is quietly evacuating while the headmistress orders the concert to bravely carry on to avoid panic.
Ma Siddons turns her hand at painting this week when she agrees to look after a famous artist’s dog in exchange for free art lessons. The results are a dog’s dinner, and Mrs Siddons is even more annoyed when Dora ends up reaping the benefits.
A disastrous trail of mess-ups and misunderstandings have made Sara distrustful of Nell. But this week, when Sara sees the horrible orphanage Nell was raised in after her horse was sold to its cruel matron, they come together again. Trouble is, how to get the horse back?
Susie suspects there’s more to Wanda than being the biggest tattle-tale and most self-righteous prig you ever saw, but her conduct is just impossible. Then, Susie discovers the truth when she stumbles across an old newspaper, and from the sound of it, she’s astounded.
Betsy Tanner begins her transportation to Botany Bay. She’s been warned, “You’ll be lucky if you get to Botany Bay alive!” And for her, it’s not just the usual convict ship conditions. Everyone, from her arch-enemy Lady De Mortimer to a fellow convict named Judy, is out to make her life a living hell. At least Judy turns around when Betsy shows her a kindness, and Betsy still has her farewell present, some art supplies, to help her survive.
Grandpa and Billie Stephenson are fighting to hold onto their railway home against the greedy Councillor Gresby. Grandpa isn’t impressed with the new flat they’ll be moved to, for all its conveniences. Then, he turns up trumps by buying a railway coach for them to live in, so they can stay where they are. But will Gresby give up that easily?
Dot’s invited her friends around for ping pong, but practice gets her into trouble with her Dad. In the end, the ping pong balls are used for bingo games. Even Dad is impressed after being annoyed with Dot.
Save Old Smokey! (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
Dora’s doggy problem this week is a dog who’s named Custard because he’s such a coward that he has to wear earmuffs as loud noises make him leap thirty feet in the air and has no clue how to stand up for himself. Then Custard finds the courage he never knew he had when he sees the nasty Ma Siddons bully Dora. She gets such a fright at his barking and growling that she takes refuge in a cupboard and comes out crawling to Dora for the rest of the evening.
Meanwhile, another cupboard is used as torture in “Bound for Botany Bay”. Poor Mary has been locked in a dark cupboard as punishment for blowing the whistle on Miss Wortley’s cruel treatment of Betsy, and it’s driving her mad with terror. This is the last straw for Betsy, so she decides it’s time to run off, with Mary too, and seek out her father. However, it’s not going to be easy to avoid recapture. Miss Wortley’s screaming for them to be brought back in chains and is going to turn Australia upside-down until she finds them.
Nasty Ma Crabb has been forcing the amnesic Lori to practise dangerous climbing on an old tower. Now Lori finds out why – Ma Crabb’s training her up to commit forced robberies that involve high wall climbing!
The latest threat to survival in “Fran of the Floods” is a tinpot dictator group called the Black Circle. They operate a boot camp, which they operate as slave drivers. Now Fran and her friends are prisoners of the Black Circle and forced to do hand ploughing in the still-falling rain at the crack of a whip. Then a swarm of crazed birds attacks. Could it be their chance of escape?
Carrie’s in Scotland with her kindly gran and Old Peg, the pram that seems to cure any sick baby that’s rocked in it. Carrie is yearning for Old Peg to cure her sick baby brother Peter.
There’s no Jinx from St Jonah’s at the moment. We presume she’ll be back when another story finishes, which could be “Friends of the Forest”. It looks like it’s nearing its end, and there’s a surprising revelation about our gypsy girl Maya – she’s an heiress!
Councillor Gresby is demonstrating he will resort to any means necessary to get rid of the Stephensons – including setting fire to their railway coach home and destroying the petition to “Save Old Smokey!”. Now he’s cleared out the village dump – and guess where he’s dumped the rubbish.
This week, “The Slave of Form 3B” is hypnotised into sabotaging one of Stacey’s rivals, Edna. Edna guesses the mean trick and who was responsible, but nobody will believe her. Stacey’s free to strike again, but the blurb for next week hints it won’t go so smoothly.
Lori Mills is a brilliant athlete at Fleetwood Athletic Club, her specialty being the pole vault, and she is selected for the county trials. A jealous rival, Rachel, sabotages Lori’s pole vault during training to put her out of the trials. The ensuing accident causes Lori to lose her memory. Rachel is swift to seize upon this to get Lori to leave the club. The amnesic Lori wanders the streets, trying to get help, but gets mistaken for a shoplifter. Thinking she is now a wanted fugitive, Lori runs like hell from the town and ends up taking shelter in a junkyard.
Unfortunately for Lori, the junkyard is run by the evil Ma Crabb and her daughter Stella. They are cruel and abusive, and they also work as fences for a criminal known as Fingers. When the Crabbs find Lori and see she has lost her memory, they promptly take advantage to make Lori an unpaid slave – and worse. Begging acts and criminal acts are all part of what they want out of Lori as well as making her a drudge. Ma Crabb tells Lori she’s her niece Polly, dresses her in rags, and crops her hair to make her unrecognisable from Lori’s “missing” photos. Lori is not convinced she is Polly Crabb but can’t remember the truth. Lori’s only friend is the Crabbs’ donkey Neddy, which they abuse as much as they abuse her. The Crabbs use Neddy for blackmail purposes over Lori – do what they say, or the donkey suffers. Other times they use the whip, chain her up, starve her, make her slog, and other forms of abuse.
Fingers also helps to keep Lori enslaved. For example, when Lori makes a run for it, Ma Crabb has Fingers tail her. But he’s not to bring her back – Ma Crabb’s plan is for him to make so much trouble for her that her will breaks and she will come crawling back. This works just as Ma Crabb planned, beginning with Fingers stealing a vase and putting the blame on Lori. But when Lori discovers the vase at Ma Crabb’s, she sees through the whole charade and breaks the vase over Fingers’ noggin. From then on, Lori declares war on the Crabbs and Fingers, such as foiling Fingers’ pickpocketing at a market when he tries to drag her into it though she knows she will suffer for it later.
Lori is quick to find her athletics and that she has a desire to keep in training. Her athletics becomes her weapon against the Crabbs, whether it’s to try to escape or just annoy them, particularly when they try to punish her for her defiance or break her will. In the course of the story we see Stella taking a number of hilarious falls whenever she makes a lunge for Lori but Lori is so fast and nimble she dodges them every time.
When Ma Crabb sends Lori out to sell logs, Lori meets people could be her tickets to freedom. She tells a kindly old lady about her problems, but the old lady doesn’t offer anything but sympathy. She sees a boy in training and gives him some tips, which makes her realise she must be trained. The boy belongs to a posh school, and at the school Lori is challenged to compete in a hurdling event, which she wins hands down. The headmaster is interested in her to help with coaching. But Ma Crabb does not want that headmaster sniffing around. She has Lori put the headmaster off, threatening to beat Neddy if she doesn’t.
Next, Ma Crabb forces Lori, under threat of more donkey abuse, to climb a dangerous tower as practice for a job. Lori soon finds this means being forced to help Fingers’ gang rob a jewellery store. Lori manages to snatch the jewellery back and return it to the store. Then she just runs until she collapses, and is surprised to wake up in a proper bed. It’s the lady who was kind to Lori earlier. But the Crabbs aren’t far away and hatch a cunning plan. Ma Crabb feeds the old lady lies about Lori being a thief and Fingers plants of the old lady’s jewellery on her. The old lady falls for it, and Lori is forced to leave. She soon guesses who was behind it, but she has no choice but to go back to Ma.
Lori finds Ma’s latest punishment is to sell Neddy to a knacker’s yard. To save him, she has to raise money in record time to buy him back. She succeeds, but again the Crabbs have been tailing her, guessing what she was up to. But Lori isn’t having them take Neddy back – and neither is Neddy, who knocks Stella into the canal. Lori hunts around to find him another home and finds a good one at an orphanage. Neddy is now safely out of Ma’s clutches and she has lost her source of blackmail over Lori. That’s that problem solved, but Lori soon finds she is not yet rid of the Crabbs.
As Lori returns from the orphanage, she passes a shop that seems familiar. Realising it must be linked to her past she goes in, but the shopkeeper does not recognise her. Lori realises it is because of her shorn hair and now understands why the Crabbs cut her hair off. This confirms her suspicions she is not Polly Crabb.
Lori confronts Ma over this, and says she knows what to do. She would have been wiser to have kept her mouth shut, for she has alerted the Crabbs. And if she had done some investigating in Ma’s caravan she would have found the answer – a newspaper report of the missing Lori Mills, which Ma had the whole time. Instead, Lori goes in search of a wig resembling her old hairstyle so someone might recognise her, but the Crabbs are onto her immediately. What’s more, Lori has no money to buy a wig.
Then Lori spots a silver trophy as a prize for an open athletics event. Her plan is to win the cup, sell it, and buy a wig with it. But again the Crabbs are onto it and block her from entering. Undaunted, Lori enters the competition under a blackface identity (perhaps not very PC today, but the disguise works well enough to get past Stella). She wins the event, but as the reporters take her photos, they spot the blackface starting to run from sweat. Lori she has to make a fast exit with the trophy. She manages to hide it when she gets back to the junkyard, but her disguise is still there for the Crabbs to see through. When they read the newspaper report about Lori’s win, they want to know where that cup is. They fail to find it, but Fingers later snatches it when Lori tries to sell it.
Lori follows up on her only hunch – if she was trained, she must belong to an athletics club, and the only one around is Fleetwood. She goes to Fleetwood, but the two girls she meets don’t know her. She wanders around town, which does seem familiar, and asks if anyone knows her. Nobody recognises her as Lori, a policeman nabs her for obstruction, and then Ma Crabb shows up to take her back.
But in a dream, Lori recalls the accident at Fleetwood that caused her to lose her memory. She realises the two girls may not have known her because they were new to the club. So she heads back to Fleetwood. To make herself recognisable she needs the wig. There’s no money to buy it, but a wig shop owner agrees to let her borrow one.
This time, Lori is recognised at Fleetwood, but jealous Rachel snatches the wig, exposing her cropped hair, and tries to have them believe it’s not Lori. The club coach gives Lori a chance to prove her identity – do the pole vault in the way only Lori Mills can do. Lori succeeds, and they are convinced of her identity. At this, Rachel makes herself scarce.
But Lori still does not have her memory back. Then the Crabbs catch up again with those phony claims she’s Polly Crabb, and try to drag her back. But not this time. During a struggle with the Crabbs, Lori takes a crack on the head, which restores her memory. Now the game is up and Lori is threatening to tell the police how she was treated, the Crabbs follow Rachel’s example, saying they won’t go near Lori again.
Whenever a girl loses her memory in girls’ comics, a villain out to take advantage of this is never far behind. In some cases the true identity of the amnesic girl and how she lost her memory is kept a mystery to the readers e.g. “The Double Life of Dolly Brown” aka “The Double Life of Coppelia Brown” from Mandy or “Sadie in the Sticks” from Tammy. In such cases, unravelling the mystery is part of regaining her memory and freeing herself from her abusers. However, this isn’t always the case, and it’s not the case here. We know from the outset who Lori is and how she lost her memory. And regaining her memory is the key to freeing herself from her oppressors. No matter how many times Lori tries to escape from the Crabbs, they always catch up one way or other with their false claims she’s Polly Crab, they’ve come to claim her, and she’s an out-of-control girl who is best left to them.
The only way for Lori to beat the Crabbs for good is to discover her true identity. Unlike some amnesic heroines, such as Katrina Vale from “Slave of the Swan” (Jinty), Lori has the advantage of not really falling for her abusers’ lies. From the outset, she is not convinced she is Polly Crabb, and she grows increasingly sure she isn’t. After all, Ma Crabb is not treating Lori as if she were her own niece. Ma Crabb also made the mistake of not operating in a more insidious manner to enslave Lori psychologically as well as physically, as in “Slave of the Swan” or “No Cheers for Cherry” (Jinty), and fool her so well she may not even realise what’s going on. No, it’s straight out abuse from the beginning. The harsh treatment Lori gets from the woman who is supposed to be her aunt makes her increasingly suspicious that Ma Crabb is no relation of hers. For this reason, the Crabbs can’t enslave Lori fully and have her swallowing all the lies she’s told until she doesn’t know which way to turn except to her captors.
However, though Ma Crabb doesn’t fully enslave Lori, she still has crafty ways to keep Lori under her thumb. Her secret weapon is Fingers, whom she instructs to shadow Lori when she first escapes but to play tricks on her to break her will and make her come crawling back. And it all goes like clockwork for Ma – until she slips up and leaves the vase where Lori can find it and rumble the trick. But if Lori hadn’t discovered the trick and turned into a rebel against Ma because of it, it could have enslaved her altogether. And no matter how often Lori tries to escape, the Crabbs always catch up. They already have a pretty good idea where to look from what they know about Lori, and Fingers is a very capable shadow. Their biggest weapon is using Neddy to blackmail Lori into doing what they want. For this reason, selling Neddy is ultimately a mistake for them. It not only frees Lori from the blackmail and gives her more scope to escape but eventually frees Neddy from the animal abuse as well.
Eventually, Lori’s suspicions she is not Polly Crabb are fully confirmed. But being convinced of it is one thing – proving it is another. There are many stories where protagonists have their identities stolen and are trapped in a false one, such as “The Stranger in My Shoes” from Tammy and “The Imposter!” from Bunty. It’s bad enough for these girls to prove their identities while fully knowing who they are. How the heck can Lori prove her identity when she can’t even remember it herself and Ma Crabb doing such a good job of disguising her that nobody recognises her as the missing girl, Lori Mills? Her only clues are her original hairstyle, indications she’s a trained athlete, gradual memories that begin to resurface, and everything progressively pointing to Fleetwood Athletic Club.
The abuse from the Crabbs does tend go over the top at times, such as keeping Lori dressed in that ragged dress, making her sleep on sacks, and even chaining her up. Moreover, their grotesque faces and dark, coarse appearance, which makes them so reminiscent of fairy tale witches, not only adds to the excessiveness but should also alert anyone to the sort they are straight away. You would think the Crabbs have a reputation around the town, and the police would already be suspicious of their activities and watching them closely. Yet Ma Crabb finds it so easy to fool anyone who gets too close with her lies about her “niece”.
When Lori threatens the Crabbs with the police over the way they treated her, they beg her not to, promising they’ll leave her alone, and beat a fast exit. Yes, but aside from their treatment of Lori and Neddy – which they go unpunished for – there’s still the matter of their criminal activities, and that should be reported to the police. We’re left feeling the Crabbs are yet another bunch of villains who got off too easily, and Fingers is still at large.
It is touching to read the blurb at the end of the story. Instead of telling us what’s coming next week, it closes with a final word about Lori: “Lori had courage and talent – but it was her courage that helped her in the end!” Yes, it was the courage to not only remain steadfast and determined but defiant as well, and fight back any way she could. On many occasions, the way Lori strikes back has us laugh and cheer, such as sending Stella into dirty puddles. So Lori Mills must stand as one of Jinty’s most feisty heroines.
This issue marks the start of the Jinty classic, “Fran of the Floods”, a tale that has more relevance in today’s climate change environment and rising sea levels than when it was first published in 1976. Rising temperatures and melting ice caps are causing non-stop rain worldwide, and flooding problems are everywhere. Fran Scott is treating it as a joke, but Dad senses it’s something more like the Apocalypse.
Ping-Pong Paula ends this week. Paula is in hospital in a coma after a road accident, but not even this brings her quarrelling parents together. It takes a telling-to from a nurse that they have to put everything aside and go in together if they want Paula to recover for things to come right at last.
Poor Nell can’t do anything right. This week she tries to protect Sara’s horse Mister Flicker because she mistakenly thinks he will be destroyed. But her ignorance in horse care has resulted in him becoming seriously ill. More tears for the girl who’s “Too Old to Cry!”.
Lyndy Lagtree, who has finally escaped from the “Slaves of the Candle” racket, realises the villainous Mrs Tallow is out to steal the Crown Jewels and is hot on her trail. Unfortunately, she fails to stop Mrs Tallow from putting her plan in motion at the Tower of London.
In “Friends of the Forest”, Sally and Maya are trying to keep a tame deer, Star, from the circus. Sally is discovering how Maya lives in the forest – in a tree house. But it looks like the welfare busybodies don’t approve of this. They grab Sally, thinking she’s Maya.
In “Song of the Fir Tree”, our fugitives catch up with their old friend Rachel from the concentration camp, who’s now a bit of a fugitive herself. But their enemy Grendelsen catches up too, and now he’s got all three at gunpoint.
Hazel finds out why Black Crag Mountain is angry – greedy developers are out to disturb the dead as they dynamite the old mine workings for silver, and they’ve been scaring the villagers off their land to do it. No wonder the mountain’s a bit pissed! Wouldn’t we be?
That self-righteous prig Wanda White is too much this time. She’s kept Susie awake all night by reading “Pilgrim’s Progress” aloud – her nightly habit of reading a self-improvement book – through those thin walls between them. It’s the last straw in Susie working herself into exhaustion, and the exhaustion gets Susie into trouble in gym class next day.
Dot’s putting on a bit of weight and is making do-it-yourself gadgets to lose it. She eventually turns to a do-it-yourself Turkish bath, which solves the weight problem. Trouble is, Dot forgot to undress first!
Katie is getting a cup of tea for her friend Sue, who is in hospital. Should be straightforward? Not when you’re the Jinx from St. Jonah’s. And that’s just the start of the jinxing that gets Katie banned from the hospital. The ban isn’t stopping Katie from getting some sweets to Sue – but with a fishing pole? Oh dear, watch out for jinxing hijinks at the hospital next week!
In this issue, two stories are clearly on their penultimate episodes: “Come Into My Parlour” and “Land of No Tears”.
In the former, Mother Heggerty’s spell forces Jody to set fire to the Kings’ store. But she’s been caught in the act. She could be facing criminal charges, but the blurb for next week says fire will strike at something else other than the store. Maybe someone is going to burn the old witch at the stake or something?
In the latter, Cassy comes close to losing the vital swimming marathon the Gamma Girls need to win because of a forced bargain with the ruthless Perfecta. Fortunately Perfecta injures herself from over-exertion in the race and drops out, freeing Cassy from all that and enabling her to catch up in the nick of time. Everyone is cheering her on, much to the villainous Hive Inspector’s chagrin. His response to secret helper Miss Norm’s delight in Cassy catching up – “What do you mean, Miss Norm? It’s a disgrace!” – cracks me up every time. Now Cassy is duking out the final length with two others and it’s so close. Everyone except the Hive Inspector and Perfecta is on the edge of their seats to see if Cassy will win.
“Two Mothers for Maggie” looks like it could be nearing its end as well. Mum is critically ill. It looks like the crisis has actually aroused a bit of conscience in Maggie’s horrible stepfather, but he’s not treating Maggie any better because of it.
A new story starts, “Paula’s Puppets”. Paula Richards is a spoiled, selfish girl whose rocky road to redemption starts when her father’s toy factory burns down and he is arrested for it. Her life turns upside-down while he protests his innocence. We believe him though nobody else does, but we know the poor bloke’s going to go down for it. Meanwhile, Paula finds some weird puppets at the burned-out factory, which seem to possess some kind of power.
People should really watch what they say with Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag around. Two pitying women whisper what an “absolute dragon” poor Jenny’s got for an aunt and she needs a knight in shining armour. Henrietta obliges, but she has taken it a bit literally and hijinks ensue. But of course it sorts out the old dragon.
Ella is not making much progress with her training for the waterskiing event she wants to win for her family, nor with convincing others she was not to blame for her cousin Clem’s accident. Then Ella makes progress with something else – finding the girl who really caused Clem’s accident. But when she confronts the girl, the miscreant makes it clear she is not going to own up and clear Ella’s name.
Alley Cat gets freebies from the sausage factory, but trust Spotty Muchloot to make trouble. Fortunately it all turns to the advantage of the factory and Alley Cat is rewarded, much to Spotty’s consternation.
Phil is trying to work out how break into Hardacre House, where she believes Carol is being held prisoner. It’s still very odd that Carol’s family clam up about it. It gets even odder when Phil learns Hardacre House and its owners are very mysterious, and she does not like the look of them when she sees them. After an accident with a tractor she is finally inside. The blurb for next week hints she will not like the look of what she finds there either.
Skateboarding is the only thing that gives Concrete Surfer Jean Everidge the upper hand over her smarmy cousin Carol. Jean’s about to start her new school with Carol, but the leadup to it is not going well, and Jean senses Carol is behind it.
Jody has become evil thanks to an additional spell from the witch Mother Heggerty. She now believes she is capable of anything, regardless of how terrible it is, and is loving every minute of it. How is she going to break free of Mother Heggerty’s power when right now she doesn’t even want to?
Cassy gets even more of a taste of how totalitarian this Land of No Tears is. She learns the Hive Inspector, who’s about to pay a visit, has powers to take you away: “No one knows where to, but you never return!” Shades of the Gestapo! Miranda is terrified she will meet this fate if the Inspector finds out she is secretly seeing her mother, and she breaks off with Cassy. Meanwhile, the ruthless Perfecta breaks off with her own friend to train every waking hour for the Golden Girl Award. Cassy is shocked to see the former bosom pals “walking away from each other like robots!”
Ella bravely sets out to learn to waterski to win the competition for Clem, in the face of everyone who’s against her because they think she deliberately caused Clem’s accident. But her first attempt at waterskiing is such a disaster she’s lucky she didn’t hurt herself.
The same can also be said for sneaky cousin Rodney when he steals Katie’s roller skates to overtake her in the “Race for a Fortune”. But he soon finds he’s nowhere near as good on them as she is. He goes careering down a hill and lands on the back of a rodeo steer with her! Roller skating is back in the hands of the expert by the end of the episode. Thanks to his little stunt she has taken the lead again, and she’s gotten a lot of money out of it as well.
In “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”, a thief breaks into the school, his first attempt at crime. But his remark that he could become the world’s leading cat burglar really is asking for it with Henrietta around, especially when she’s the first thing he tries to steal. Needless to say, his first attempt at crime is his last by the end of the episode.
In the Gypsy Rose story, Susanna is given a snowstorm and finds it has a tale to tell, with each instalment appearing every time she shakes it. The trouble is, the tale is scaring her to death. Gypsy Rose tells Susanna that she must either follow it through to know how the tale ended or put the snowstorm away. Susanna decides to follow through because she must know (not to mention us readers) what the ending is, but what will the final shake of the snowstorm reveal?
Maggie’s sleazy stepfather shows what an abuser he is when he gets so mad he locks her in the coal shed without food or water. Then he refuses to let her see her TV debut, so she has to go to a TV shop in pouring rain to see it. Maggie has a good mind to tell Miss Keyes about the abuse, but she’s staying quiet because Mum doesn’t want word to get around.
Alley Cat is back. Arch-enemy Spotty Muchloot picks on him for first aid practice, and now poor Alley Cat looks like an oversized cocoon. But can he still turn things around?
Phil finds out the girl she saw being bundled off in the middle of the night is named Carol, and her mother is clearly not telling the truth about things. Phil manages to wheedle Carol’s current address out of the mother, enabling her to write to Carol. Carol’s reply is a coded message for help. The plot thickens!
This is Jinty’s first issue for 1978. It’s not her New Year issue, which took the odd turn of being on the last day of the old year 1977, but there are still New Year themes. We also get a delightful feature about Mark Hamill of Star Wars.
Jinty starts her first story for 1978, “Waking Nightmare”. The nightmare begins when Phil Carey is woken up by toothache and sees a girl being dragged off in the middle of the night. Her parents don’t believe her, and at the house where Phil saw the girl being taken, the mother denies everything – but she does make odd remarks about a secret and trouble she hoped to leave behind. We’re suspicious already.
Sue’s new year’s resolution is to be extra-nice to people, and she urges her fun-bag to hold her to it. But she soon finds her excessive niceness is turning her into a nuisance and now she’s in trouble with a lot of people. We suggest your resolution should just be yourself, Sue.
On the subject of niceness, Mother Heggerty has found the Saxtons and wants revenge on them, but she finds her slave Jody is too nice for that. So she casts an additional spell to make Jody evil. Now why the silly old witch couldn’t have picked an evil girl like Stacey from Jinty’s Slave of Form 3B in the first place we’ll never know, but we’re deeply worried. The spell is bound to make Jody far more evil than any genuinely bad girl we’ve seen in Jinty.
In the Land of No Tears, the cold-hearted residents get a real surprise when the “reject” Gamma Girls beat the odds and are through to the finals of the Golden Girl Award. It should be a victory celebration for Cassy, but security have put the damper on everything by saying they will be sending the Hive Inspector over to make enquiries. And judging from the way Miranda’s mystery mother is reacting, this Inspector is kind of like the Gestapo.
In part two of “Darling Clementine”, Clementine (Clem) is in a coma after some horrible girl knocks her into the river. Worse, her cousin Ella is being accused of it instead, and everyone, including her own Uncle, turns against her. Poor Ella is not even allowed to visit Clem in hospital. Not knowing what else to do, Ella bravely decides to train herself up for the water-ski event that Clem was going to enter.
“Race for a Fortune” takes a spooky turn, but a hilarious one. Katie thinks her cousins’ latest trick is to play Roman ghosts on her at an old barn. So when a pair of glowing Romans does appear, she thinks it’s a huge joke and plays along with it. But she learns later that the glowing Romans weren’t her cousins. In fact, they scared those cheating cousins off. Unfortunately, not right back to the beginning of the race.
The strife over “Two Mothers for Maggie” takes a very bad turn this week. Mum forbade Maggie to go to Miss Keyes’ party, where she could be on the rise as a star. Maggie goes there anyway and soon she is on the rise after saving Miss Keyes’ dog. Then Mum comes along in a terrible temper and drags her out in front of everyone. How embarrassing! And it’s not over. Poor Maggie has to face the wrath of her unfit guardian stepfather next week.
Jinty’s gearing us all up for Christmas with Christmas covers, Christmas features, Christmas jokes, and a Christmas party story from Sue and her Fantastic Fun-Bag.
There is a dash of Christmas with a yew tree walk in this week’s Gypsy Rose story, but definitely not in the Christmas spirit. New owners are warned not to cut down the yew trees or they will evoke a druid’s curse. Of course they do precisely that, and if they can’t find a way to lift the curse their very lives could be danger.
“Race for a Fortune” also gives a hint of Christmas, because it’s party time this week. Katie drops in on the Larrup Stick Dance and takes the opportunity to give her cheating cousins some “stick” after that dirty trick they played on her in the last issue.
It may not be Christmas in “Land of No Tears” – something we highly doubt is celebrated in that cold-hearted world where all emotion is banned. Still, it is as good as Christmas when Miranda’s mysterious mother offers to train the Gamma girls for the Golden Girl Award after Cassy takes a brunt to protect her and Miranda from being caught by the ruthless Perfecta.
What about presents? Maggie gets presents, in the form of lovely dresses, from both her real mother and her TV mother. Unfortunately the presents are creating conflicting loyalties.
In Alley Cat it’s Christmas stockings. Spotty is unravelling people’s sweaters and pinching the wool right off their backs, in order to knit his own giant Christmas stocking. What a grinch! We can imagine what his stocking will be filled with on Christmas Day.
In the last episode of “Stage Fright!” it takes a fire and the loss of his mansion because of the deranged Lady Alice to make Lord Banbury realise all he had cared about was the acting trophy and not enough about his family. Granddaughter Melanie is not quite ready to forgive him, but the story ends on a hopeful note that a better relationship will build between them.
Not much happens this week to advance the plot in “Come Into My Parlour”, except wait for the full moon in order to cast the spell to help unravel the mystery of the vanished Saxtons. But bullies get a surprise when the power of Mother Heggerty’s necklace enables Jody to give them a good walloping!
So the mysterious white horse is a mare! After a time trip to the past, Janey realises the white horse is Epona, the horse goddess, and it is a power that has awakened in response to the threat of the motorway. She returns to her own time with the sword she has taken as a symbol of Epona’s strength and compassion, and finds Epona has gathered a horse army. Now what can Epona have in mind? Let’s not forget she’s a goddess, and not even bulldozers are a match for a goddess.