Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

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philcom55
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Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by philcom55 » 25 Feb 2013, 00:36

As mentioned on another thread John Worsley made his reputation as a comic artist during the 1950s drawing 'The Adventures of PC49' for Eagle and 'Belle of the Ballet' for Girl. Less well known, however, was 'Wee Willie Winkie' - a feature he created for Treasure during the 1960s. The eponymous star of this series was a weird kid with a pet elephant called Hannibal, pointed ears and a magical green ticket that granted him instant access anywhere in the world.

For anyone interested in British publishers of the 1960s the special Christmas episode shown below is particularly noteworthy in that it shows a visit to Odhams Press at Watford and Fleetway House in Farringdon Street London - at a time when both imprints were in the process of being taken over by the giant IPC group.

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Presumably the group shown celebrating with Willie on the third floor are all likenesses of Treasure's editorial and creative staff. Though I can't name any of the others I'm willing to bet that the bearded chap popping his head round the side of the door is none other that Worsley himself.

- Phil Rushton
Last edited by philcom55 on 28 Feb 2013, 13:05, edited 1 time in total.

matrix
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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by matrix » 25 Feb 2013, 02:29

Great stuff Phil! I used to read 'Treasure' as a child I remember the stories with gaps in them, you had to fill them in, I think they had pictures? Also spot the difference and find things pictures, if I remember correctly?

That's not Harry Secombe popping in to say hello is it!

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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by wigwam » 25 Feb 2013, 16:34

Hi Phil,

You're absolutely right; the bearded chap popping his head round the side of the door is indeed Worsley himself.
Steve Hollland used this very same drawing on his excellent Bear Alley blog: http://bearalley.blogspot.nl/2007/02/david-roberts.html, and then scroll down to the end of the post of Friday, February 16, 2007 re David Roberts.
Steve: "Although I have not been able to locate a photo of Roberts, he was included in an episode of 'Wee Willie Winkie' in which Willie and his friend Hannibal the elephant visit the Treasure office. The illustration (drawn by John Worsley, seen here peering around the door) shows portly David Roberts waving to all as he arrives at the office. (Trevor Newton, his fellow toiler in the Experimental Art Department, is the lanky chap standing on the right raising his cup of tea.)"

Best,

John Wigmans

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suebutcher
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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by suebutcher » 26 Feb 2013, 00:48

What's the number of that "Treasure" issue, Phil? 154?

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philcom55
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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by philcom55 » 26 Feb 2013, 11:40

Thanks for that marvelous link John - it's entirely new to me having appeared before I became a regular follower of Steve's blog. How fascinating to hear that David Roberts was the scripter for so many of Peter Woolcock's classic strips, including Willow Wood, Mimi & Marmy, Freddie Frog and Mr Toad (not to mention Philip Mendoza's brilliant Gulliver Guinea-pig). It's also nice to know that Woolcock produced his own, purely visual storylines on occasion (almost like a slapstick sequence in a silent film) with other hands providing rhyming captions after the event. I've always felt that his best strips were the ones that worked just as well without any words.

Looking at the image of Roberts which appears in the 'Wee Willie Winkie' feature I'm inclined to think that he must have also been the 'Mr Answers' who responded to readers letters on the inside front cover of Treasure every week (though it's interesting to see how much more handsome he was made to look there. Almost svelte in fact!).

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suebutcher wrote:What's the number of that "Treasure" issue, Phil? 154?
Spot on Sue. Dated 25th December 1965.

- Phil Rushton

(I'll try to scan some examples of those Treasure puzzle pages when I get chance Matrix)

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suebutcher
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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by suebutcher » 26 Feb 2013, 12:27

Thanks Phil. Where would I go for back issues? "Treasure" isn't really a comic, apart from "A Treasure Tale Of Wizard Weezle In Princess Marigold Land", and I haven't found a comic dealer that carries it.

matrix
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Re: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by matrix » 26 Feb 2013, 14:29

Thanks Phil, that would be good.

Sue, this person has a few including the copy scanned by Phil, a reasonable price, i've seen them go for more, and they post worlwide so no trouble getting to Daylesford which by the way looks a lovely historical town. I lived in north Melbourne many moons ago loved the trams especially the old ones.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Treasure-No-1 ... 5aebf72ab7

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philcom55
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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by philcom55 » 28 Feb 2013, 13:30

I'm afraid I've never really looked for copies of Treasure on Ebay. The copies I have were generally picked up at giveaway prices from marts and secondhand book stalls. As with many of the other nursery titles I've found that most collectors and dealers tend to ignore this sort of material altogether. While I agree that Treasure was more of a magazine than a comic it's worth remembering that reprints of Frank Bellamy's 'Robin Hood' accompanied 'Princess Marigold Land' at one point.

For fans of the dastardly Wizard Weezle (the true star of the strip), however, here's an example of the latter series:

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And while I'm at it, here's another fine page by John Worsley from 'Wee Willie Winkie' (surely one of the cleverest ways ever devised for making Geography accessible to young people):

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Finally (for now), Is this the sort of story you remember with 'gaps to fill in' Matrix?

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More to follow...


(Incidentally I've just noticed that 'Mr Answers' was supposedly staff editor Edward Northcott rather than David Roberts. At least that's what Wikipedia says...! :? )

- Phil Rushton

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by suebutcher » 28 Feb 2013, 14:06

My parents rarely bought me comics, but I got "Treasure" every week and I actually liked it! I'm trying to get the complete run of "Alice In Wonderland" and "Looking Glass" illustrated by Mendoza, and work back from those to "The Borrowers".

That "WWW" page is magical!

matrix
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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by matrix » 28 Feb 2013, 14:10

Treasure certainly has some nice artwork in it, not sure I appreciated it as such when I was reading it!

That most definately is the story with gaps Phil, and isnt it funny how some things take you straight back to your childhood looking at that it's like I was reading it yesterday, you may not think of it for years and then all of a sudden you are transported back in time! Thanks Phil for the trip back!

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by Phoenix » 28 Feb 2013, 15:35

matrix wrote:Sue, this person has a few including the copy scanned by Phil, a reasonable price
The seller has more than a few, matrix, in fact more than 120 issues at £4.99 on a Buy-It-Now basis. Sue could fill her boots while she's got the opportunity!

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by matrix » 28 Feb 2013, 17:11

Phoenix wrote:
matrix wrote:Sue, this person has a few including the copy scanned by Phil, a reasonable price
The seller has more than a few, matrix, in fact more than 120 issues at £4.99 on a Buy-It-Now basis. Sue could fill her boots while she's got the opportunity!
And a bit of a dent in her bank account! I thought it was a good price for an xmas issue, the rest? These younger reader comics command some good prices, or do most do as Phil does and pick them up in the local collectable shop? Unfortunately people like myself and sue who live on distant shores have to pay top dollar if we want the comics.

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by colcool007 » 28 Feb 2013, 17:22

Slightly cheaper is the batch that is titled 243 Copies Treasure Comics Including No.1 & No.2 as it is currently £40 and has 3 days to go.
I started to say something sensible but my parents took over my brain!

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by suebutcher » 01 Mar 2013, 01:22

Thanks for the leads, guys. Postage is going to be the killer. A year of "Treasure" weighs a ton. I think I'll start by filling the gaps in 1966-67.

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Re: Treasure: Wee Willie Winkie visits Fleetway

Post by philcom55 » 01 Mar 2013, 13:25

matrix wrote:...Also spot the difference and find things pictures, if I remember correctly?
Each week Treasure featured a regular 'Observation Test' drawn by none other than Don Harley - the artist who, apart from Frank Hampson himself, did more than anyone to establish the classic look of Eagle's 'Dan Dare' strip. At first readers were invited to find hidden images in each week's picture, but later on the feature began to include puzzles where you had to 'spot the deliberate mistakes' or 'spot the differences'. Here are examples of the latter two categories.

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And here is one of Don's earliest 'hidden image' drawings (from Treasure no.6), followed by a detail of the original art for that page (which I bought for just £5 a few years ago - though at the time I had no idea where it came from!).

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(...Does anybody else agree with me that Humpty Dumpty bears an unmistakable resemblance to Albert Fitzwilliam Digby? :) )


Another ex-Eagle artist who provided some spectacular artwork for Treasure was the excellent Peter Jackson, who specialized in intricately researched historical scenes. Here are two examples that leave me wishing he'd found time to draw more comic strips - especially something along the lines of Don Lawrence's 'Karl the Viking', Frank Bellamy's 'Heros the Spartan' or Ron Embleton's 'Wulf the Briton'.

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- Phil Rushton

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