Monday, 14 May 2007

The Comic What I Drew

Another find while reshelving was The Morecambe & Wise Special from 1977. So far as I know, this was the only time anyone produced a comic strip starring Eric and Ernie, then at the height of their popularity as Britain’s leading comedy double act (though I’d love to be proved wrong).

At the time this was published, Film Fun had been dead for 15 years, having ended its 42-year run in 1962. The style of cartooning used in this strip echoed that of the older comic, as in the Laurel and Hardy panel below, drawn by Terry Wakefield’s father, George Wakefield, for a 1941 edition of Film Fun, and scanned here from Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury’s fine book Great British Comics. (At least, Gravett and Stanbury attribute this to George Wakefield - Lambiek, on the other hand, says that Terry Wakefield had taken over the strip in 1938.)

I wonder how many readers of the Morecambe and Wise Special remembered the Film Fun style? I think my only exposure to it at the time would have been from the 1971 Shire Publications book Discovering Comics, written by pioneering British comics historian Denis Gifford – who also wrote the Morecambe and Wise strip.

Update, 3 June 2007
In addition to the Reveille Extra strip mentioned by Shaqui in the comments section, I find that Denis Gifford and Terry Wakefield also collaborated on The Morecambe and Wise Comic Book! (Corgi Books' Carousel imprint, 1977) and Eric & Ernie's TV Fun Book (Arrow Books, 1978). I don't know if any of this was the same material reprinted.


shaqui said...

Denis Gifford and Terry Wakefield actually drew a Morecambe and Wise strip in 'Reveille' in 1976, for about 12 weeks during the summer as part of the short-lived 'Reveille Extra' for kids.

Does anyone know if Terry Wakefield is still around?


Steve Flanagan said...

Thanks for the info, Shaqui.

I found this on a Comic Book Postal Auctions entry:

"Bibliography: Terry Wakefield (1911-1989) was the son of cartoonist George (Billy) Wakefield and became his father’s full time assistant at the age of 14. He drew Tiny Tots in 1927 and first drew Laurel and Hardy in a Film Fun giveaway booklet (1937) whilst also working for Bubbles, Tip Top, Butterfly and Joker. After World War II (his father died in 1942) he continued with Laurel and Hardy and became the regular artist for Red Skelton (1953) Terry Thomas (1957), Peter Sellars and Tony Hancock (1958) all with Amalgamated Press. He was ‘retired’ in 1959 and he and his father were jointly awarded the first gold Ally Sloper Award at the 1976 Comics 101 Convention, held at the Mount Royal Hotel in London."

Rezendes said...

Shaqui, as far as I know, Terry Wakefield died in 1989, at least that date is what I was able to find on this artist.

Shaqui said...

I've recently obtained the Look-in 'Eric & Ernie TV Fun Book' and as far as I'm aware, the material would appear to be new...