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Sparky 1965 to 1973 
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some of the continuity in early 'SPARKY' was downright odd.......'DOZY DORA' was sometimes drawn by JAMES CAMERON, who contributed all manner of stuff for the comic, including a strip based on TERRYTOON'S 'DEPUTY DAWG' [presumably on kids TV in the late 60s] in which JC made absolutely no attempt to disguise his own style!


Extremely odd output from a company as independent as THOMSON; 'dozy dora' was a particularly strange strip, that often took on an almost 'ALICE-in -WONDERLAND' nightmare quality; very different from from contemporary comics of the sixties....

Because the early comic was put together by non-'traditional' personell [who perhaps tried to second-guess what a 1965 kid wanted in a humour comic], this would explain the often bizarre, uneven mix in the first 4 'SPARKY' years, which yielded such oddball---yet somehow compelling------output.

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16 Jan 2009, 12:20
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Moving on to 1969 we come to what I feel was the start of a `golden` period for the comic!

I think it was in March 1969 the `re-vamp` took place! I recall telly ads expousing the "Bright New Sparky" For three weeks free gifts were given to help the `relaunch`.

The `Sparky` title was still in red, but it composed of curved lettering -as did the word itself! The bottom of the `Y` in Sparky had a Firework Rocket trail of Sparks shooting from it! Most eye-catching!

The Sparky character was dropped from the cover and was only referred to in the `Fun Forum` Letters/Jokes/Puzzles double page! Sadly, the "Dreamy Dave and Dozy Dora" strip ended-but it had been deteriorating for some months previous!

The only survivors from the earlier days were "Hungry Horace", "Keyhole Kate" and "Pansy Potter". The "Invisible Dick" series also continued, but often `rested` for months at a time! The last story from the "Davy Spacer" series, carried over too.

John Bull Dog was promoted to the front cover becoming `Barney Bulldog` New strips were included, such as "We Are The Sparky People" a humerous look at the staff who produced the paper! (obviously not based on the real life staff!). "Spoofer McGraw" a very inventive strip about a fellow (Spoofer) who made up no end of tales to satisfy his slow witted pal `Bo`. Later, readers were encouraged (via cash prize) to write in questions for Spoofer to takle!

There was "Helpful Henry" who tried so hard to get things done-but always got into a mess! (Drawn by the artist who drew Dandys "Smasher") Henry was afavourite of mine!

"L.Cars" Based on the `Z.Cars` TV series, with thin Cedric and Fat Frederick on patrol for criminals. A quite inventive strip which was actually well researched when describing crimes! It could be very funny at times!

"Mr Bubbles" a `Bottle Imp` who granted anyone squeezing his bottle (?) three wishes! They always ended up regretting the first two wishes and with the third wish returned things to normal. "Mr Bubbles" occupied the centre two pages in full colour for about 9 months!

Other new stories were "Troble Bruin" (Brewing) A bears attempt at raiding a Bee-hive!

"Four Legged Fred" Adventures of an elderly Centaur.

By far the best was "I Spy" which started off as a purely humerous one page strip about a secret spy organisation and its chief spy ("I Spy") whose trenchcoat and Trilby hat contained a virtual cornucopia of devices and gadgets to help him in his `cases`! I will (Hopefully) be expanding upon the "I Spy" strip in the discussion sector of the board later as I feel this strip really deserves a in depth look and discuss!

"Puss and Boots" They did not commence until a good six weeks after the re-lauch`replacing a failed strip "Cap;n Hood & His Merry Men" (Comic adventures of a ships Captain and his crew)

"Puss and Boots" were only in monochrome at first on the back page, but soon advanced to full colour. The strip was rather slow at first and not really outstanding! But! within six months it really got into it's stride with some of the best written gags and situations I have ever enjoyed in a comic!

Up untill I stopped buying comics (Late 1972) "Sparky" became a firm favourite to that point!

I leave my look at the "Sparky" comic with a reminder of what must have been the weirdest strip I think ever graced a comic!

It was the summer of 1967 and `Flower Power`, `Psychedlia` and `Love -Ins` were rampant! "Sgt Pepper" and "Whiter Shade Of Pale" bombarded the airwaves and on telly Patrick McGoohans innovative series "The Prisoner" was about to be unleashed!

What did the "Sparky" have to compete with such `Mind-Bending` events! Only "Grannie Cupp and her Flying Saucer" Old Grannie Cupp had helped some Martiams who had crash landed their craft in her back garden one day (as you do!) The grateful biengs later gave her a spare two person saucer in gratitude!

Thus began many wacky adventures for Grannie Cupp and her pet cat Snowball (including thwarting a South American `Junta` on one occassion).

Yes! "Grannie Cupp and her Flying Saucer" once read, is never forgotton! Many young minds must have been `blown` (mine was). Perhaps some `anarchist` managed to spike the Sparky tea urn with `hallucinogenics` to get that result! :wink: :wink: :wink: Will we ever know!?

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16 Jan 2009, 15:52
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alanultron5 wrote:
By far the best was "I Spy" which started off as a purely humerous one page strip about a secret spy organisation and its chief spy ("I Spy") whose trenchcoat and Trilby hat contained a virtual cornucopia of devices and gadgets to help him in his `cases`! I will (Hopefully) be expanding upon the "I Spy" strip in the discussion sector of the board later as I feel this strip really deserves a in depth look and discuss!


If you haven't already come across it, Alan, I think you'll find find that the following thread on this very forum has already gone a long way to provide the sort of coverage you're asking for :) :

viewtopic.php?t=1642

- Phil R.


16 Jan 2009, 18:08
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Hi Peter, Just to set the record straight I didn't say that George Drysdale drew 'Invisible Dick'. George's work for the Sparky from 1965 till his death in 1967 consisited of My Grockle and Me, Hungry Horace and Keyhole Kate. The artist responsible for Invisible Dick was Tony Speer.


17 Jan 2009, 11:12
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I've changed the post and added a new one for Tony..

thanks for the heads up Kashgar..

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17 Jan 2009, 11:41
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Just clocked Rab's superb "I Spy" thread! There is no way i can compete with such a tremendous thread-I will contribute on there by mentioning my two Favourite "I Spy" adventures!

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19 Jan 2009, 16:16
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Quote:
some of the continuity in early 'SPARKY' was downright odd.......'DOZY DORA' was sometimes drawn by JAMES CAMERON, who contributed all manner of stuff for the comic, including a strip based on TERRYTOON'S 'DEPUTY DAWG' [presumably on kids TV in the late 60s] in which JC made absolutely no attempt to disguise his own style!


As a child of the sixties I am happy to verify that Deputy Dawg was a very funny cartoon series. Very slapstick and with great characters. I haven't checked but you could probably see an example on youtube. I have two commercial VHS tapes of the series and watched them a few years ago wiht my niece, she loved them too.


19 Jan 2009, 22:51
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This must be the day for remembering the comic value of the lisp (or should that be lithp). I've just come off a thread mentioning Freddie 'Parrot-Face' Davies and now we've got Deputy Dawg. 'Shuckth Muthky!'


20 Jan 2009, 11:10
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I used to own a single by Freddie Davies. It was titled "Sentimental Songs" on Major Minor label from Sept 1967. He sang it in his `Parrot` voice!

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18 Mar 2009, 12:47
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alanultron5 wrote:
I used to own a single by Freddie Davies. It was titled "Sentimental Songs" on Major Minor label from Sept 1967. He sang it in his `Parrot` voice!


What a classic :wink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07lPjhAMk50


18 Mar 2009, 14:31
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As a kid it always puzzled me why, in the Freddie Parrot-face Davies strip in Buster (?) he was helped/hindered by a flock of budgies which had nothing to do with his stage act. Now I realise he probably didn’t have much of an act just a comedic lisp and a “Thick up to here!” catch phrase. Ah! Innocent days.


18 Mar 2009, 18:01
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VERY dim and foggy memory here, but didn't he come on stage with an empty birdcage, looking for his budgie?


18 Mar 2009, 20:58
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alanultron5 wrote:
...a failed strip "Cap;n Hood & His Merry Men" (Comic adventures of a ships Captain and his crew)...

That wasn't Cap'n Hand and his Mutinous Band was it?

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18 Mar 2009, 21:58
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no, this was a short-lived seperate strip on SPARKY'S back page during '69; I'll be scanning an example of this strip into my 'I SPY' thread [which is covering the comic in this period] shortly, colcool.

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19 Mar 2009, 13:09
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Freddie Davies used to do a sort of `skit` where he played both Customer (with hat pulled over ears, holding cage with bird and lisping) and the pet shop man, and he would complain about his "Duff Budgie". A full two years before Monty Pythons `Dead Parrot` sketch!

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19 Mar 2009, 16:05
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