Vision of Vanity Fayre (artist Mario Capaldi) – final episode
Maggie’s Menagerie (artist Tony Coleman)
Double – or Nothing! (artist Diana Gabbot(t))
The Juicy Mackerel (artist Peter Wilkes) – Strange Story
Wee Sue (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)
A Bus in the Family (artist Giorgio Giorgetti)
Heraldry – Edie’s Hobbyhorse
Now we come to 1978 in our August Tammy month round, with one of my favourite Tammy covers.
“Your future’s assured” says the cover, but not for Bella in introducing gymnastics to Port Tago, Australia. The way things are going, she must have wondered if she should have stayed home. And now, just when things finally seem to be looking up, an enemy strikes. They tried to sabotage Bella’s public demonstration, and now they’ve sent her a death threat, telling her to get out of Port Tago, or else!
Currently, there is no Molly Mills (she returns in the following issue), which was a definite change after her artist changed from Tony Thewenetti to Douglas Perry. In the Thewenetti run, Molly appeared without pause from the first issue of Tammy to the end of Thewenetti’s run on 20 August 1977. But when Perry took over on 31 December 1977, Molly took more breaks until the end of her run in 1981 (barring her spot appearances in the “Old Friends” strip in 1982). This would have given some relief to the readers who did not like her so much and allowed more room for serials.
In the Strange Story, you wouldn’t think a fish could help a man escape? It does when he gets pressganged and his twin sister comes to the rescue after sensing his danger through the twin link.
Tony Coleman is drawing his second story for Tammy. Maggie Crown is living on her gran’s barge while her parents are away. Animal-loving Maggie is accumulating a secret hoard of stray animals on the barge – what a thing to hide on a barge! As gran is no animal lover, the fur will really fly if she finds out, and that can only be a matter of time.
“Vision of Vanity Fayre” concludes, and a TV production crew are free to carry on with the shoot of the life of a famous authoress without interference from the monstrous conduct of the authoress, which was threatening to destroy it. It turns out she was an imposter (surprise, surprise!) who was holding the real authoress a virtual prisoner while profiteering from her fame. And talking of TV, it leads to trouble for Bessie this week, who ends up under punishment again.
As nobody will partner with Kate Winter because of her terrible temper, she has roped Pam Doggett into a doubles team with her. This week they go into action, but Pam’s insufficient training and constant arguing with Kate are having predictable results. At least someone sees Pam does have potential as a tennis player, but with the way things are going, would Pam be better off in the singles?
Rosie Banks’ father is taking her class on a continental tour in the bus he’s just bought. Things aren’t going smoothly, sometimes in hilarious ways, sometimes in more serious ones. This week it’s really serious, as the brakes suddenly fail, and at the worst possible location – the Pyrenees. Adding to the seriousness is the mystery of why the previous owner, Dodger Wilkins, is so determined to get it back and sent his flunky after it. Is there more to the bus than meets the eye? At least Rose is alerted to his shadowing this week.
Sue enters a sponsored cycle race, but there is a cheat pulling dirty tricks on her. Sue decides to pull her own trick on the cheat, who ends up taking a well-deserved dunking.
Molly Mills and the Promotion (first episode) – artist Douglas Perry, writer Maureen Spurgeon
Wee Sue – artist Robert MacGillivray
Make Headlines, Hannah! – artist Tony Coleman
Turn of the Year (Strange Story) – artist Peter Wilkes
Tuck-In with Tammy – feature
For New Year we bring you Tammy’s New Year issue from 1980. This is the last New Year issue to use the Cover Girls. If they had known they would be dropped in October that year, we don’t think it would have been a very Happy New Year for them. It was a common in-joke for a Cover Girls cover to show someone holding a Tammy with the same cover or a tie-in cover. In this case, old year 1979 looks like he’s got the Tammy with the cover showing new year 1980 on it.
As it turned out, new year 1980 was a big one for Tammy. Just two weeks after this issue came out, Misty merged with Tammy, and the effect resonated for several years.
The issue is chock-a-block with New Year-themed stories from the regulars. Wee Sue, Bessie Bunter, Edie, and the Storyteller with a double helping of Strange Stories are all in on the act. So is Molly, with her new story, “The Promotion”. Sadly, it’s not a good start for the New Year for her. Ironically, it’s because of something that should be very happy for her – she is chosen for the staff promotion. But the other servants don’t look happy about it, and neither is Molly. She isn’t one of the gang anymore because of the promotion.
New Year was a popular time for girls’ comics to start new stories, and two stories start in this issue. The first is Molly’s new story. The other is “Sister in the Shadows”. Wendy Weekes is off to a new start, at her new school, but it’s already off to a bad start because everyone expects her to live up to the success of her older sister Stella. As if this weren’t bad enough, it’s also making Wendy unpopular with the other girls and a prime target for bullying.
In the old stories, things are finally looking up for Hannah Hilton, who is trying to become a success after nothing but failure, in the form of her nasty sisters who keep trying to sabotage her. Hannah is about to revive an old attraction at the fair. The mayor, who had been requesting it for years, is all agog, and so are the reporters. Seems nothing can go wrong this time – but then there’s a policeman at the door. Is it Hannah’s sisters again or something far more serious?
In “Cindy of Swan Lake”, Cindy Grey goes on tour. It should be a great experience, but, as usual, she’s lumbered with the company of her jealous rival Zoe Martin, who is also out to sabotage her. Zoe’s sabotage takes the form of head games, playing on Cindy being worried sick about her beloved swan who is being poisoned by pollution.
And in “Daughter of the Desert”, the mysterious Arab figure who seems connected to a strange series of desert-related incidents at a boarding school, leads our heroines into a trap – of quicksand!
Translations/reprints: Girl Picture Story Library #12 as “The Shadow”
Mike Temple and his assistant Terry (short for Theresa, apparently) have a well-carved reputation as a detective duo. They witness a man (later named as Jed Adams) being busted from prison and are hot on the trail, but another man, posing as a postman, lures them into a trap that nearly kills them. The killer leaves a calling card that informs them he’s “The Shadow”, Europe’s most wanted criminal, and he’s not called the Shadow for nothing. He’s both clever and dangerous, a master of disguise, as slippery as an oil slick, and nobody knows his true identity. He’s already fooled Mike and Terry with his postman disguise.
They go to investigate an old ruin, a known hideout of the Shadow. Outside they see a councilman in a bowler hat putting up a “no trespassing” sign, then screams of help coming from inside. It’s from a girl being held captive by thugs. They clobber two of the thugs and tie them up, and leave the councilman in charge while they pursue the third, but he gets away with the girl. Worse, too late they discover the councilman was the Shadow in disguise. He had untied the other men while they were gone and left his calling card behind. Mike and Terry are left with trying to figure out the connection between the convict and the girl, and why the Shadow wants them both. A poster informs them that the girl is Shirley Gold, a pop singer.
Mike decides to have a word with Inspector Dent, though he and Dent do not get along. Terry heads back to the office but realises one of the Shadow’s goons is tailing her. She tricks him into thinking she’s gone back to the office and waiting for Mike to turn up, so as to leave him hanging around outside the office so they can watch him. She secretly heads on to Inspector Dent’s, where she finds Mike has scored a blank with Dent. They slip back and keep an eye on the goon until he moves, and they follow him. The trail leads to a graveyard.
A hand rises out of a coffin and pulls a gun. Terry jumps on the coffin lid and slams it down on the gunman’s fingers. They discover the coffin is the entrance to an underground hideout. They meet the Shadow, who detonates a device that causes a cave-in. The rocks narrowly miss them, but they are trapped. Using a match to find a draught, Mike finds a way out.
The Shadow gallingly sends a bouquet of flowers to their office congratulating them on their escape and informing them his next victim is Lester Sinclair, an upper crust vaudeville lady famous for her dog act. They warn Miss Lester, but she doesn’t listen. Mike figures the Shadow will strike at Miss Lester’s fancy dress party, so he is going disguised as extra staff and Terry in fancy dress. But it has to be said that the Shadow would laugh at their disguises (along with the readers!).
At the party Terry spots the Shadow and follows him, but he traps her with an expert knife throwing act. Downstairs, the lights go off, and when they come on, Miss Lester is gone. Mike and Terry put up a pursuit, but the Shadow gets away with his victim. They realise the Shadow was acting as decoy while his goons pulled the abduction. Later they discover the Shadow took Miss Lester’s performing dogs as well.
Mike goes for another word with Dent, who is a bit more helpful this time. He informs them that the missing convict was an electrician. Meanwhile, Mary, a friend of Terry’s, informs her that there are some strange goings-on at the old Hippodrome, which is scheduled for demolition, but an amateur acting society has permission to use it in the meantime. However, they’re being plagued by sabotaged scenery, things falling off the wall, strange noises and people getting locked in rooms. Investigating, Terry discovers an old poster of a show dating back three years, and Shirley Gold and Lester were in the show. They figure the Shadow is trying to kidnap the whole cast, and the remaining ones are Charles Damon (ventriloquist), the Rinko Dancers, the Dart Brothers (acrobats) and Dirk Dare (trick cyclist). They figure Damon is the next target. Feeling it is unlikely Damon will listen to them, Mike decides grabbing Damon first is the only way.
But when they arrive, they see the Shadow’s goons are already waiting in the wings for Damon. After finding and rescuing the manager the goons left tied up, they recruit the manager’s aid in an impromptu conjuring act and use the vanishing cabinet to make Damon disappear from the goons’ sight. The goons turn nasty at this, but Mike pulls a swift, hilarious hat trick on one and hooks the other.
Together with Damon, they make a fast exit, and have to elude yet another goon along the way. They head back to the haunted hippodrome. The caretaker, Mr Cornelius Mumble, agrees to protect Damon. Then Terry finds herself being creeped out by a ghostly voice. Of course it’s the Shadow, who planted a microphone on Terry, and they soon find he’s made the grab on Damon and left his calling card. The Hippodrome is riddled with secret passages and such, making such things all too easy.
They soon learn the Shadow’s already taken the Rinko Dancers and Dart Brothers. That leaves Dirk Dare, who is working at a fair at Bletcham. Mike decides to go on his own, but Terry isn’t having that and sneaks along. She takes a rest at a field, and is in time to see the Shadow and his thugs arrive. She’s just ahead of them and manages to pull a fast one on them by hiding a “beware of the bull” sign. The bull trick delays the Shadow’s goons, but not long enough for Terry to get a good start on them at the fair. It’s hijinks on the fairground rides as they give chase. Mike, in another laughable disguise as a gypsy, helps Terry to hide.
They discover that Dirk Dare has swapped trick cycling for the human cannon ball, and he’s just been shot out of the cannon. When he hits the net, it is the goons who grab him, net and all. Everyone on the show bill has now been rounded up by the Shadow. They can’t figure out why the Shadow also wanted the electrician, but when Terry points out electricians are used for stage lighting and effects, they realise the connection. They head back to the hippodrome to check out any connection Adams had to the show. Mr Mumble informs them that Adams was working at the show, but lost his memory when some scenery fell on him.
Then Terry finds Adams himself, who has escaped the Shadow and is willing to talk. He says the Shadow is bringing the old cast together to help him remember something, which must be a job he pulled but the amnesia made him forget what. Terry takes Adams back to the Hippodrome before the Shadow discovers he is missing. In the library, Terry goes through old newspapers and discovers there was a ruby necklace robbery on the night Adams lost his memory. She figures Adams slipped out of the performance to steal it, but the amnesia made him forget where he hid it. The Shadow has reunited the cast to restage the show in the hope it will jog Adams’ memory. Unwisely, Mike and Terry discuss their deductions in public. One of the Shadow’s goons overhears and reports back to him. The Shadow says he will be ready for them, and the show goes on for Adams’ benefit. Terry then realises Mr Mumble could be in danger because of this, and she warns him.
The show does bring back Adams’ memory. He retrieves the necklace from its hiding place in the wall and hands it over to Terry and Mike. The Shadow is ready with a gun, but Terry feigns a faint to pull the carpet out from under him. The Shadow is temporarily knocked out and revealed as Cornelius Mumble. But the Shadow recovers and gets away to fight another day. At least Mike and Terry have the consolation of foiling the Shadow’s plot, and they are going to get a big reward for recovering the necklace and freeing the kidnapped people.
Though Jinty had her share of mystery stories, the detective/sleuthing theme was something she seldom touched upon. The same went for Tammy. Jinty published this one because her readers clamoured for one after she ran a competition asking readers what stories they would like. It was a pity Jinty did not produce more detective stories or do a sequel on this story, which she could easily have done. The ending left everything set up for a sequel with “The Shadow Strikes Again” or something. Perhaps a sequel was planned but didn’t eventuate for some reason, possibly the change in Jinty editorship or the Penny merger in 1980. Or maybe the story just wasn’t popular enough for a sequel.
Mike and Terry were probably riding on the popularity of “The Zodiac Prince”, the first Jinty story to have a male protagonist as the star of the show, as it is the second Jinty story to have a male as one of the main protagonists. Unlike the Zodiac Prince, Mike isn’t quite the star of the show – more of a co-star with his assistant Terry, and she eclipses him on a number of occasions. She shows more brain, comes up with more of the brilliant deductions, and also does more of the work. She also gets a whole lot more fun, as she rubs shoulders with the Shadow and his goons more than Mike does. She’s not scared to tackle a villain when needed and can move like lightning for a fast move. However, that’s not to say Mike can’t pull his share of the fast moves or quick thinking. Perhaps his best moment is his impromptu conjuring act where he pulls some fast tricks on the goons that are as funny as they are fast.
Mike and Terry also have a lot to offer in the way of humour. They aren’t goofy or klutzy, but they give plenty of light-hearted moments, such as when they return a dog that’s almost as big as Terry or when Terry pulls the bull trick on the goons. Their only serious incompetence is their lame disguises, seen twice in the story, and the readers just have to laugh. You would think that as they are pursuing a master of disguise, they would pick up a few tips, but no. The Shadow could give them some lessons.
A necklace, albeit a valuable one, sounds like a lot of trouble to kidnap and assemble an old cast for. Still, the initial plan must have been to kidnap only Adams. But the Shadow hadn’t counted on Adams’ amnesia, and the upcoming demolition of the hippodrome made him resort to desperate measures to restore Adams’ memory. How exactly he knew the location of the necklace needed to be prised out of Adams’ brain is not explained. We can only assume it was through some connection the Shadow once had at the hippodrome, perhaps at the original show.
It is a pity the Shadow did not return. He is such a brilliant villain. He’s cunning and always has 101 tricks up his sleeve. From the looks of things, many of them come from the days when he was a performer of some sort, perhaps a knife-throwing act. He makes ingenious use of darkness, shadows, costumes and creepy old hideouts to lurk in the shadows, conceal his identity, and frighten people. He’s an amazing disguise artist, and such a slippery eel that he rivals Houdini and the Scarlet Pimpernel. There also a strong dash of the vaudeville about him, which makes him even more colourful. Any prison would have a hard time holding the Shadow, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he has escaped prison time and time again.
Mike and Terry had the potential to return, but they didn’t, and no other detective story appeared in Jinty. This is rather puzzling. Jinty must have seen the potential for more detective stories, as the demand was there. Perhaps it was editorship changes or the Penny merger. Or it could be to do with neither Jinty nor Tammy not bothering much with detective stories and preferring girls to solve mysteries rather than private eyes. Detective stories were seen far more often in DCT titles.
C.L.A.R.A. (artist Giorgio Giorgetti) – first episode
No Place for Children (artist Eduardo Feito)
Good Old Guy Fawkes! (feature)
Down to Earth Blairs (artist José Casanovas)
Glennie’s Gift (Colin Merrett) – Strange Story
Selena Sitting Pretty (artist Diane Gabbot(t))
Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)
Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
Rowena and the Realms of Night (artist Peter Wilkes)
Here we have the Tammy Guy Fawkes issue from 1977. As you can see, it’s bang on the day. Inside, we have a couple of reminders about the Fireworks code, Guy Fawkes jokes, and a Guy Fawkes story from Bessie. Poor Bessie is confined to sick bay with a sore throat on Guy Fawkes Night. Undaunted, Bessie sneaks out of bed and finds weird masked figures who look like they’re going to blow up the school. She proceeds to have fun foiling them. But it’s just Miss Stackpole and the pupils re-enacting the Gunpowder Plot. Once that misunderstanding is cleared up, Bessie feels her throat cleared up enough to join the fireworks party. There are also a few references to bonfire night in “Down to Earth Blairs”, but the only fireworks are from Betsy when she gets on the wrong end of Dad’s swill collection.
A new story, “C.L.A.R.A.” starts. Professor Crichenor (who looks more like he’s from the stage than the laboratory with that outfit of his) offers the services of his computer C.L.A.R.A. (Crichenor’s Learning And Reasoning Aid) to raise the falling academic and sporting performance of Glumthorpe Comprehensive. Although the PTA’s response is to throw Crichenor out – literally – he intends to prove himself. He’s going to begin by making our protagonist, Frances Cummins, more organised.
Oh, poor Bella! Some jealous girls put a shard of glass in her shoe to sabotage her performance and she’s cut her foot very badly. Nasty! Once her foot is bandaged she manages to perform sufficiently to get a medal, but now someone is raising an objection to it.
The mystery of the missing children in Tarnbridge deepens. Postcards arrive from them, but there are no postmarks. And the parents are getting angry and demanding answers from Mr Nash about where their children are.
In the Strange Story, Lorna loses her sight after a rock hits her on the head at a crumbling ruin. Her guide dog Glennie grows critically ill, but before he dies he leads her back to the spot where the accident happened. Another rock falls and returns her sight. The Storyteller makes an annual pilgrimage to put flowers on Glennie’s grave on Lorna’s behalf.
Selena takes advantage of heavy rain to run in a race without anyone seeing her and realise she is no cripple. She manages to get back to her wheelchair and thinks she’s still sitting pretty – but then discovers she overlooked the tell-tale mud all over her shoes. Is she going to be unstuck this time, or will she find a way out of yet another close call?
Sue and her friends are at a department store in search of a birthday present for their art teacher, but Sue’s small size keeps getting her into all sorts of scrapes, including landing in a washing machine. However, her small size helps in the end when the teacher is locked out and needs someone to get into window. Then it’s birthday celebrations.
A pedlar informs Rowena of the full danger her brother faces at the hands of the Nightqueen: if he takes the hand of the Nightqueen’s daughter in the upcoming dance of night, he will join the legion of the living dead!
This is the fifth-to-last issue of Jinty. The repeats to fill the dying comic are really telling now – we get not one but two reprints of old Gypsy Rose stories. The repeat of the 7-part “Monday’s Child” and so forth strip continues with “Wednesday’s Child”, who’s full of woe. In this case it’s a girl who is always grumbling, but she eventually realises how selfish and petty it is, and the final panel shows her becoming more positive.
In “Pam of Pond Hill”, Tessie Bradshaw has run off to the canal in search of the girl she drove off with her bullying. Tessie has an accident there and is hospitalised. The story is really realistic about bullying when it reveals the reasons why Tessie bullies: jealousy, sensivity about her weight, too much responsibility at home, absent mother and overtime father. Dad decides to remarry in the hope it will help, but Tessie isn’t reacting well to it. And she’s also worried her classmates won’t forgive her for bullying although it put her life in danger.
Tansy tries being a newshound, but when she tries to report news on Jubilee Street she comes up empty and decides nothing ever happens there. She completely fails to notice the things that get reported in the local newspaper later on.
Sir Roger has a dream that Gaye will be hit by a car. As ghost dreams always come true, he is going to all sorts of lengths to protect her, which is causing all sorts of hijinks. In the end, Gaye does get hit by a car – but it’s only a pedal car.
The text story discusses how fashions go in cycles. But things go a bit far when a fashion designer from the future takes a trip to the present for ideas on how to reinvent 20th century fashions for her own time. Sadly, the time period she came from is one that never came to pass: the Queen Diana period. Perhaps it did in an alternate timeline.
The last remaining Jinty serials “The Bow Street Runner” and “Badgered Belinda” continue. In the former, tricks from nasty Louise mess Beth up on cross-country. At least Beth realises it was Louise who was reponsible and will be on the lookout for her in future. In the latter, Squire Blackmore brings some old hunting prints to the school and nobody seems upset by them except Belinda – especially at the one showing badger digging. The squire’s also having the school setting up vermin traps, which is another concern for Belinda in minding the badgers. What’s more, looking after those badgers is causing Belinda to lose sleep and it’s taking its toll.
We continue the October theme by filling in a few remaining gaps in the Jinty October issues. This is the sixth-to-last issue of Jinty and she’s in her countdown to the merger.
Pam of Pond Hill has returned by popular demand and will continue in the merger. Her latest story features the debut of Tessie Bradshaw, “Ten Ton Tessie”, a girl who would go on to appear regularly and be known for her heftiness and love of food. In Tessie’s first story, where she is a new pupil at Pond Hill, she doesn’t get off to a good start because she is bullying. Her bullying goes too far and drives off her victim, Sue, in tears. Tess runs away in search of Sue (who showed up later) – and she is headed to the canal, a most dangerous area.
Tansy holds a rag week to raise funds for her youth club. But things go wrong, and Simon & Co deal to Tansy with something else from rag weeks. Tansy is left, shall we say, feeling a bit wet afterwards. Cindy Briggs of the text story “Donkey Work” is more successful in raising funds with her contribution to the autumn fayre – donkey rides in the school playground – despite things going mad-cap (just like her).
This week’s episode of “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” sets up the story arc to end the strip in the final issue of Jinty. Sir Roger deliberately failed his exam for the House of Ghosts because he thought Gaye would miss him too much. Gaye, who doesn’t know, is wracking her brains on why Sir Roger failed at floating in the exam when he does it very brilliantly. In fact, it’s how he gets away from her a few times in this episode.
Jinty is now using reprints to help fill the pages of her last six issues. So Alley Cat returns, and we are having a repeat of the 7-part strip on the old rhyme, “Monday’s Child is fair of face” etc. This week it’s Tuesday’s Child and how she teaches her selfish siblings to have more grace. The Gypsy Rose story is another repeat, “Haunted Ballerina”, about the ghost of a jealous ballerina who is out to stop others from doing the dancing she can’t do after an accident. You could also say the story’s a caution about picking up second-hand items – you never know what might come with them from previous owners, especially ones who’ve passed on.
“The Bow Street Runner” and “Badgered Belinda” are the only serials left. In the former, Beth Speede sets out to become a champion runner so she can beat a prophecy that she has interpreted as her father’s life being put in danger. But she has a jealous rival, Louise Dunn, out to make trouble for her. In the latter, Belinda Gibson tolerates constant bullying while she secretly helps a badger sett. She gets worried when the local squire says he’s hunting vermin – could this include the badgers?
Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll) – final episode
The Bird of Wisdom – the Strange Story
Selena Sitting Pretty (artist Diane Gabbot(t))
Say Hallo to Hallowe’en! – feature
Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
Rowena and the Realms of Night (artist Peter Wilkes)
We continue our Halloween theme with the Tammy Halloween issue from 1977. One of our Cover Girls is enjoying a Halloween party while something else appears to be enjoying her Tammy as much as she does. The Cover Girls years were very enjoyable for celebrating Halloween, Easter, Guy Fawkes and other occasions in light-hearted and often amusing ways. Inside, there is also a feature on Halloween customs.
Wee Sue and her family have a day at the races. Sue takes a punt on a horse called Autumn Springer, which prompts Miss Bigger to do the same. Then Miss Bigger unwittingly causes Autumn Springer to bolt. They have to do something fast or lose their punts and the things they want to buy with them.
In the Strange Story, Jean Regan is a brain, and there always seems to be a bird hanging around her when she does academic wonders. But her brains make her a know-all and show-off, and she becomes unpopular. She chases the bird off and finds she is reduced to middling scholar, but now she’s more popular and happy.
It’s the final episode of the popular “Melanie’s Mob”. Its replacement next week is a Giorgio Giorgetti story, “C.L.A.R.A.”, about a computer utilised to improve the declining sporting and academic achievements of Glumthorpe Comprehensive. But is it really the answer? In girls’ comics, computers have a track record of bringing their own problems. Anyway, we begin to find out in the Guy Fawkes issue.
Bessie has to prove her strength for a bet, with a treat at the tuck shop if she wins. Bessie tries to win the bet by cheating (naughty, naughty) but in the end wins (accidentally) by using her bulk as strength.
Betsy Blair’s father is opting for “The Good Life”, living off the land and bartering, after being made redundant. Betsy is finding the change very hard and demeaning when she has been used to such a posh, comfortable life. Plus a snobby neighbour is taking the mick out of her over it and a lot of classmates are laughing. Betsy invites them over for homemade scones, but it’s another big humiliation for her when Mum puts chicken feed in the scones by mistake. At this, Betsy cracks up and screams at her parents.
Bella’s at a Russian gymnastics college, which is going much better for her than in 1975, when a jealous pupil got her expelled before she’d hardly begun. But it looks like jealousy is rearing its ugly head again at a competition: Bella’s doing her floor routine and feels something sharp and painful in her shoe.
“No Place for Children” – no, not a place where children are banned or is not appropriate for them. It’s a place where all the children are missing. Terri Jennings keeps hearing strange whispers from the adults that it’s somehow connected with wealth they expect to receive, the old quarry that has been sealed off, and kids gossiping.
Selena Sitting Pretty, our girl pretending to be in a wheelchair at school, has struck another problem – some toughs have thrown her wheelchair into the river and she can’t get it out. She has to continue pretending being crippled to her schoolmates while thinking of a way to retrieve the wheelchair. She succeeds both ways and is sitting pretty again after this close shave.
In “Rowena and the Realms of Night”, the sequel to “Rowena and the Doves”, Rowena has to rescue her brother Asser, who is in the power of the Nightqueen and her daughter Princess Ygerna. He doesn’t even realise what’s happening to him, and there are only three days left to rescue him. This week Rowena and her companions get trapped in the Caverns of Endless Night. The Caverns are so dark nobody can find their way out unless they are guided by a human voice.
“Dracula’s Daughter” ends this week. The final episode has a four-page spread instead of the usual three, which further suggests this story was brought to a quick conclusion to help clear the decks for the merger. The extra page helps to develop the ending further and give things more room to breathe.
The ending: Everyone at Castlegate is relieved when Mr Graves decides to leave. He is returning to his old grammar school, this time as headmaster, after finding out its discipline has slipped so badly that its pupils are running amok, vandalising property, and getting into trouble with the police. Bully teacher Mrs Snape is leaving too, which is another great relief for Castlegate. She is transferring to another school, as she did not like her pupils’ company any more than they did hers – only to find one of them is going to follow her to her new school. Sonya, the popular teacher driven out by Mr Graves’ over-zealous drive to run the school on his strict grammar school lines, returns as headmistress, so the school’s even happier.
However, the ending doesn’t have everything being resolved with Mr Graves and Mrs Snape simply leaving Castlegate. It both surprises and impresses us by having Mr Graves develop and emerge less bigoted about schools should be run. He’s still a disciplinarian and wearing that dreadful, old-fashioned teacher’s gown that earned him the nickname “Dracula”. But he’s gone from believing his way is the only way to run a school to accepting that there is no one way of running a school. He’s also modified his view that fun does not belong in a school and should be kept in the home. Now he’s allowing some fun things at school and showing his pupils he has a funny side. His farewell gift to Castlegate reflects this: a complete collection of Dracula films to remember him by! The boys at the grammar school might get a surprise when they see the change in him. Perhaps even the teachers too.
Sadly, no improvement in the character of the horrible Mrs Snape, so there is a worry about the pupils at her new school. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. At least she leaves Castlegate with a comeuppance of sorts.
The fifth dream world in “Worlds Apart” is now dying with its creator, Clare. Hers is the only imaginary death in the story that is not shown, so we don’t see how her dream world ultimately backfired on her, caused her death, and taught her the ultimate lesson about how horrible her dream world is. We are informed that the sixth and final dream world (followed by the conclusion to the story) will be a “horror film world”. Its creator is Jilly, a girl who seems to be in a perpetual state of fear.
“Holiday Hideaway” is also approaching its conclusion. Hattie manages to save the family pretence (hiding in the house, pretending to be on holiday) from unravelling again. However, we are informed they are going to get “the shock of their lives” when they “‘come home’” next week. We suspect this has something to do with being caught out.
This week’s Gypsy Rose story is a new one, not a repeat or a recycled Strange Story. Julia is bullied and called “scarecrow” because of her straw-like appearance and thin build, and being a bit timid. However, her scarecrow build helps one of her bully classmates (thin enough to slip out when they’re trapped in a barn and get help) when she has an accident. After that, everyone wants to be friends with Julia. However, Julia can’t tell them that she got help from a real scarecrow, which pointed her in the right path to take for help.
In the other stories, the text story has Stacy dress up in period costume for a town festival. It brings back a ghost from that era, who presents her with a posy. Tansy believes she’s brilliant at general knowledge, but when she enters a quiz competition her history knowledge proves deficient and she gets landed with extra history homework. Coincidentally, Gaye does the same thing with Sir Roger, and even forces the poor ghost to wear a dunce’s hat. Suzie Choo brings Chinese themes to the school open day. Alley Cat wants to go fishing but doesn’t want to get caught in the rain. Instead of a raincoat he uses his bin for protection. The results are a bit mixed but work out in the end.
We continue our September theme with a couple of September Jinty issues from 1981.
In hindsight, one senses this issue marks the first signs of Jinty’s wind-down towards the merger. The reason for this is that this week’s penultimate episode of “Dracula’s Daughter” feels like the story’s being brought to a quick conclusion. Only with the previous episode did things take a surprise turn with ultra-disciplinarian Mr Graves deciding to bend his rigid views that fun belongs in the home and not at school, and allow a comedy show in gratitude to the girls. By contrast, Mrs Snape (no relation to Severus Snape but definitely the same breed of teacher) turned against Mr Graves’ daughter Lydia because she mucked up her hopes for deputy principal. Now she’s bullying Lydia big time. Both things had potential to be developed further with more episodes. Perhaps the writer had plans to do so, but the Editor told him/her to finish the story fast, we’ve got to start clearing the decks for the merger. As it is, we’ve barely got into this turn of events, and then things come to a fast head when the girls find a phone booth vandalised. Nasty Mrs Snape blames them for it and drags them to the police station.
In the letter column, one reader asked for “Pam of Pond Hill” and “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” to be retired, believing they’d worn thin, and suggested more SF stories. In response, Editor asked readers to share their views and whether they wanted Pam to return (she had ended some issues earlier, with readers invited to ask for her back). The answer must have been a resounding yes, as Pam did return before the merger and then carried on with the merger itself. The Editor had no comment about Gloomy Ghost (its end came in the last issue of Jinty), which incidentally has a metal-detecting theme this week.
“Angela’s Angels” concludes. The Angels are celebrating because they’ve passed their exams. Of course they know there’s a long way to go yet before they’re qualified nurses, “but it’s so rewarding!”.
“Holiday Hideaway” shows no sign of a fast conclusion. Or, for that matter, any conclusion to the charade the family goes through in the name of pride: hide in the house because Dad doesn’t want people to know they can’t afford their holiday. And poor Hattie is lumbered with the job of keeping the secret safe from close shaves. This week it’s helping the family avoid being caught while a girl guide does their windows and lawn.
“Worlds Apart” is on its fifth dream world come alive and there is one dream world to go. So there is no ending for this story just yet, but it’s definitely getting there. Brainy Clare seems to have forgotten her humanity in her dream world of intellectualism. She only sees her classmates, who are subhuman “dullards” in this world, as lab rats in her research laboratory. Dullard rights demonstrators have rescued the girls and turned them loose into the wild, but it’s full of dangers and predators. Added to that, Clare is catching up with the girls. But then Clare suddenly finds her heart again when her superiors want to capture the “dullards’” perils all on television and she protests that it’s cruel.
“Tansy of Jubilee Street” carries on as usual. In this week’s story, Tansy becomes a marshal for a cycling rally. But things backfire when she unwittingly starts a rally craze in Jubilee Street.
This week’s Gypsy Rose tale is another recycled Strange Story. Nobody in the family but Susan appreciates Gran’s enthusiasm for herbs. Rosemary is Susan’s favourite. Susan takes some herb cuttings for the family’s new flat, but they don’t seem to flourish as well as they did at Gran’s. Gran appears and gives Susan some advice on reviving them – and then Susan hears Gran just died. Spooky! Not surprisingly, the herbs flourish after that, especially the rosemary.
In “The Sweet and Sour Rivals”, a bullying motorcycle gang causes trouble at the Chinese restaurant. They keep barging in and forcing the establishment to give them free meals. Instead of the police, Suzie Choo brings in a giant panda to drive them off, courtesy of the zoo and her Chinese friend there.
The premise of the text story, “Where the Heart is”, would be used again in Tammy’s “Telling the Bees” in Tammy, 12 November 1983. A Puritan girl finds a wounded Cavalier soldier and hides him while nursing his wounds, and romance begins to bloom.
Alley Cat’s on the back cover, in blue print. Melvyn goofs and brings Alley Cat light bulbs instead of flower bulbs. But when Spotty Muchloot makes trouble, Alley Cat puts the bulbs to good use against him. Meanwhile, Snoopa visits a hall of mirrors – and finds the one showing his normal reflection the most horrible.
Miss Make-Believe (artist “B. Jackson”) – first episode
Upsy Downsy Mascot – feature
Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)
In this issue, Jinty publishes the results of a pet loves and hates competition, and there appears to be more emphasis on the hates. Pet peeves included squeaky chalk, mushy peas, bullies, vandalism, spiders, litter, glib expressions and coat hangers. Some of the replies about pet peeves were put into verse, which was very imaginative.
As we’ve got a pet peeve theme going, let’s look at other peeves in the issue.
In “Pandora’s Box”, everyone, including the headmistress, is peeved with Pandora for jumping queue on the audition for “Alice in Jazzland” when she had no right to even enter it. The girls have turned cold towards her. She uses a spell for “melting hearts of ice” to make them nice to her again. Pandora would have been better to cast that spell on herself; she had little regard for her cat Scruffy being peeved at having to sit on ice blocks and shivering while she cast the spell. Now poor Scruffy has caught a bad chill because of it.
In “Combing Her Golden Hair”, Gran’s peeves are vanity and Tamsin trying to swim. So Gran goes absolutely bonkers when Tasmin tries to swim in the new pool at a classmate’s party. Tamsin’s also suspicious at gran’s claims she isn’t allowed to swim because chlorine’s bad for her asthma, especially as there is no evidence to support this and Gran won’t even allow a doctor to look into it. So Tasmin’s delighted when a new teacher demands medical certification before any pupil can be excused swimming. Now gran’s claims will be put to the test.
Spotty Muchloot’s pet peeve, as always, is Alley Cat. He goes to extreme lengths to keep Alley Car out of his house and away from his grub while his folks are away, but Alley Cat turns the tables, as usual.
We are informed that “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” will not appear next week. This week, Bizzie Bet and Kate Easie’s peeve is a school bully named Erica and both agree that something’s got to be done about her. They do it themselves – without realising – with Erica constantly getting on the wrong end of their respective Bizzie and Easie ways. Erica emerges bruised, battered, drenched, and given the fright of her life. And after all that, when they see the state Erica’s in, they think someone else has saved them the job of sorting her out.
In “Miss Make-Believe”, the sequel to “Daughter of Dreams”, shy Sally Carter is peeved that everyone is treating her as courageous when she is not. It was her imaginary friend Pauline, come to life, who was behind it all, by entering Sally for a bravery-testing contest at Playne Towers. The test? A six-month safari. Meanwhile, Pauline discovers the servants are up to no good. Could this be the real test?
In “Village of Fame”, Sue’s peeves are Mr Grand and her inability to prove he’s up to no good in the name of TV ratings. This week, teacher Miss Pebblestone is accused of accidentally starting a fire at school. The evidence looks black against her, though Sue and Mandy suspect Mr Grand faked it, and poor Miss Pebblestone is forced to leave the village. Now Sue’s brother Jason goes missing, and Sue and Mandy suspect Mr Grand engineered it for yet more ratings.
In “Almost Human”, Xenia’s peeve is her alien touch, which is deadly to Earth life, so she can’t touch anything living on Earth. Some gypsies discover Xenia’s secret and are willing to let her stay after she saved them from a poisonous snake. But Xenia goes on the run again because of her alien touch. We are informed a thunderstrom is going to have “extraordinary effects” next week. Will this be good or bad for Xenia?
“Mike and Terry” must be peeved they failed to stop the Shadow again. He’s also after an escaped convict – who turns up in Mike and Terry’s car! The common denominator is a theatre show from 1976: the Shadow is kidnapping everyone involved in it. But why? Let’s hope the escaped convict can shed some light on the matter.
Mainstay Jinty artist Phil Gascoine takes a holiday this issue, but he’s back next week with “Waves of Fear”. From the looks of the blurb, the protagonist is going to have worse things than peeves; she’s on “the crest of a wave…that was suddenly to smash her life into a thousand, terrifying pieces!”.