Tag Archives: Return of the Silver Mare

Tammy’s 5th Birthday Issue 7 February 1976

tammy-cover-7-february-1976

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Sarah in the Shadows – first episode (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Return of the Silver Mare – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Lights Out for Lucinda – last episode (artist Ken Houghton)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills and the Aviator – first episode (artist Tony Thewenetti, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • A Monumental Detective – Strange Story (artist Tony Higham)
  • Wee Sue (artist John Richardson)
  • A Lead Through Twilight – first episode (artist Douglas Perry)

It is now 46 years since Tammy was first launched, on 6 February 1971. The first Tammy and Tammy’s 10th birthday issue have already been covered on this blog, so we will commemorate the anniversary with Tammy’s 5th birthday issue.

The Cover Girls are the first to honour the occasion, in their usual humorous style. Let’s hope they managed to sort out that little glitch with the birthday cake. Or maybe the Tammy team saw the funny side, just as the readers did.

As soon as we open the cover we see the first of Tammy’s “birthday gifts” to us, which is the first episode of “Sarah in the Shadows”. Tammy is celebrating her 5th with five new stories, two of which start this week, two next week, and the fifth the week after that. In Victorian times Sarah is thrown out into the street after her unfortunate uncle is thrown into debtor’s prison. All she has to survive on is her gift for paper cutouts and shadow play. The other birthday gift story, “A Lead Through Twilight”, is the last story in the issue (talk about bookends!). Carol Trent is losing her sight but won’t speak up about it or seek treatment because she is terrified her sourpuss uncle will send her away. But can she seriously expect to get away with hiding the fact that she’s going blind? And if the uncle finds out, will he do what Carol fears? Carol befriends a dog, Twilight, who could be her guide dog, but there is a definite mystery about him.

The birthday gift stories starting in the next issue are “The Fairground of Fear” (Diane Gabbot’s first serial for Tammy) and “Sit It Out, Sheri” (which will give John Armstrong a change from Bella). To make way for them, “Lights Out for Lucinda” is being finished off with a double episode. Lucinda has discovered the reason for the bizarre town of Blackmarket where everyone is being drugged into thinking it is still World War II and being forced to live that way. This peculiar ruse is all so the commander can provide a cheap workforce that are being paid 1940s rates instead of modern ones – to none other than Lucinda’s father! Fortunately for Lucinda it turns out he was a dupe and then a victim of blackmail before he finally manages to help put things right.

The last “birthday gift” story, starting 21 February, is a Hugh Thornton-Jones story, “Claire’s Airs and Graces”. Claire pretends to come from a posh background because of the snobby girls at her new school. This was the only Thornton-Jones serial in Tammy; his artwork was otherwise confined to Wee Sue episodes and Strange Stories.

It looks like the Storyteller is celebrating too because he is presenting two Strange Stories this week. Molly apparently is celebrating with a new story, but the title really should say “aviatrix”, not “aviator”. Although Bessie’s caption says “Bessie celebrates our birthday in her own special way”, her story has no bearing whatsoever on the celebrations or even on birthdays. She’s trying to help catch bank robbers but has forgotten the licence plate number of their vehicle. The police are trying to jog her memory but of course she is more interested in eating. Wee Sue’s story also has nothing to do with the celebrations. It’s all hijinks when Miss Bigger gets herself locked in a ball-and-chain because she disregarded a “do not touch” sign: “I’m a teacher. It doesn’t apply to teachers.” Silly woman!

Of course there is a competition to mark the occasion too, but this won’t be until next week.

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June Book 1982

June annual 1982

Cover artist: Jim Baikie

  • Lucky’s Living Doll (artist John Richardson)
  • Return of the Silver Mare – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Fun Spot
  • Wot’s Wot?
  • Spitter the Career Cat – text story
  • Tuck into Tucktonia! – feature
  • Box Clever – feature
  • Wonders of Nature
  • Bessie Bunter
  • The Strangest Alliance – feature
  • Disco Dancer – Strange Story (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Join the Nit-Wits! Feature
  • Could You Be a Tough Goody? – quiz
  • Fun Spot
  • Getting to Know You – feature
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Dairy Delicious – feature
  • Pictures of Matchstick Men – Strange Story (artist Angeles Felices)
  • Weather: The Rhyme and the Reason – feature (artist Joe Collins)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • What Age Are You? – quiz
  • The Phobia – Strange Story (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Bessie’s Tuck Shop – feature
  • Going with the Wind – feature
  • The Spirit of the Mary Rose – Strange Story (artist Eduardo Feito)
  • Half-Term in the Kitchen – text story
  • Lucky’s Living Doll – artist John Richardson
  • Fun Spot

In continuation with Comixminx’s entries on June, I now analyse the only June annual I still have, the one from 1982. This may have been the last June annual produced – I haven’t confirmed it.

The cover is a lively Christmas shopping scene from Jim Baikie and is more fluid and modern than the stiffer older style from June annuals of previous decades. But the annual has been reduced to 78 pages instead of the 126 that say, the Jinty annual of the same year has. This may be why it does not reprint any serial. Instead, we have Strange Stories (some of which I recognise from Tammy), reprints of Bessie Bunter and Lucky’s Living Doll, and two text stories. The two quizzes inside are strong. “Are You a Tough Goody?” tests to see if you have what it takes to be a Charlie’s Angel type or whether you should stay behind the desk like Bosley. “What Age Are You?” has nothing to do with how old you are – it tests to see whether you should have been born in ancient Rome, the Middle Ages or Victorian times.

June annual 1982 1

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Lucky’s Living Doll is the first thing we see when we open the annual. It is reprinted from the era when John Richardson had taken over from Robert MacGillivray, and there has been feeling among June collectors that this marked a decline in the Living Doll series. But the story is strong; Lucky and Tina encounter a clown who has fallen on hard times but still spends far more than he can afford to keep his daughter Stella in school. He even goes to lengths such as going without food and stealing money to pay for her schooling! And he just can’t tell her what is going on, even when he collapses. Lucky and Tina decide Stella must be told, and if he won’t, they will. But are they doing the right thing?

Lucky’s Living Doll is also the last thing we read in the annual. Alarm bells go off when Cousin Matilda tells the family she is going to send “an absolute pet of a boa” to them! Tina’s imagination goes overtime as she pictures herself being eaten by a boa.

June annual 1982 2June annual 1982 5

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The last June annuals also took to having one Strange Story in colour. In this case it is “The Phobia”. Other Strange Stories in the annual were in the old black-and-white. We get some good features, such as “Going with the Wind” (about windmills) and Bessie’s Tuck Shop, in which she provides recipes on how to make the Cliff House goodies in her tuck shop (though we have to wonder how they stayed around long enough to sell with Bessie in charge!). The presence of Poochy is a surprise; he did not appear in the regular strip.

June annual 1982 3June annual 1982 4 1

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One text story “Spitter the Career Cat”, is an unusual and delightful one. It is a story about cats who go on the run, as told from one of the cats. But they don’t just run away – our narrator has his eye on getting into the high life and leading a life of luxury. It doesn’t quite go that way, of course. Eventually they settle on being travelling acting cats and take to theatre barges. “Half-Term in the Kitchen” leads to a half-term holiday leading to a battle with uncooperative wallpaper during redecorating and our heroine just about giving up before family cooperation turns things around.

It is not surprising that the June annuals had fallen into reprints by the 1980s, and they were reprints of shorter material because the reduced number of pages meant no room for reprinted serials. But the quality in this June annual is still good and I find it a delight to read.