When did The Happy Days End?

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Goof
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When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 01 Sep 2018, 18:35

I have been trying to find out when The Happy Days series came to an end.

I have come across two different stories. The first is that the original series continued in Princess Tina right up until the merger with Pink. Another series that appeared in Pixie ran in tandem with Princess Tina, and was made up of reprints. The other story is that there was only one series, which was transferred from Princess Tina to Pixie. In either event, the series did not survive the end of Princess Tina and Pixie.

One problem I’ve had is finding out exactly when Princess Tina ended. The merger with Pink seems to have happened somewhere around January – March 1974, but it looks as if Princess Tina may have changed significantly before then. Its name was changed from Princess Tina to Tina around January 1973, and later in the same year there seems to have been some makeover in the content - Purita Campos’ covers were discarded in favour of glossy pop star photos (and a fair bit of pop star content) which don’t look at all like Princess Tina’s usual style. If this means that the comic was revamped for an older readership, I wonder if The Happy Days survived the change – it would have looked rather out of place in a Pink-style comic.

I also wonder whether the Pixie series were reprints. Andrew Wilson’s style developed quite a lot over the years, and in a run of reprints such as you get in some annuals and specials, you normally see these changes reflected in the mix of stories. The Pixie stories all seem to be drawn in the same style. They also use a distinctive header for each episode (including a story title) which is quite different from the headers used in Princess Tina. This doesn’t prove anything either way (as the stories could easily have been reformatted for Pixie), but to my eyes it makes them look more like originals than reprints.

When and where did The Happy Days come to an end? Does anybody know the answer?

DavidKW
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by DavidKW » 02 Oct 2018, 14:59

This is something I've always wanted to know too - am surprising and disappointed so one else has taken up this particular blog.

According to Dennis Gifford in his (inaccurate) book on comic strips published in the 80's, in "Pixie" Sue was remembering her past exploits as an older girl - so reprints sound likely. However, I have to actual Pixie" comics in my collection so I can't check.

I have some 1972 "Princess Tina" in which "The Happy Days" is still in it, alongside its grittier "successor" "Patty's World". NO idea if they are reprints.

AM curious to know.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 02 Oct 2018, 17:16

I have made some progress with this since the original post, thanks to a couple of helpful ebay sellers.

It seems that the Princess Tina series continued throughout the Pixie run and beyond. It lasted in Princess Tina (now renamed Tina) until at least 12 May 1973, but seems to have ceased by 14 July 1973.

This coincides with what looks like a revamp of the comic between 30 June and 14 July. The Purita Campos covers were replaced by pop star photos and headlines which have the look of being aimed at an older readership. Also, the 14 July issue is styled as “New” Tina, which indicates that there’s been some kind of makeover. As the end of the series seems to fall around the same time, it looks more than likely that it was axed as part of this revamp, in which case the final episode would have been 30 June or 7 July 1973. However I can’t be certain of this until I can find copies of the Tina comics for these dates.

Regarding the Pixie series, I have about 20 of the 30 Pixie issues, and can see no sign of Denis Gifford’s idea that these stories are recollections of past adventures. I don’t have the first issue, so it’s possible a retrospective format was established there, but there’s certainly nothing to suggest it in later issues, which look very much like the Princess Tina stories apart from the change to the header panel. Here’s a sample from one of the early numbers.

Image

If I get any further with this, I’ll let you know.

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 02 Oct 2018, 19:20

When I get chance I'll try digging through my Princess Tinas. I'm pretty sure that they did use some reprints, though not the very early episodes which would have stood out like a sore thumb as you say. On the other hand they did, of course, reprint early episodes in the Sue Day Annual.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 02 Oct 2018, 22:19

Thanks, Philcom. It certainly seems likely that some reprints must have been used while the two series ran in tandem, either in Pixie or Princess Tina, or both. Even during the heyday of the series, Andrew Wilson never managed to do much more than the one weekly episode - he contributed very little original work to the annuals and specials, and nothing at all to the picture libraries. It would be surprising if he were later able to do two episodes each week for over seven months.

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standby4action
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by standby4action » 03 Oct 2018, 10:39

I'm enjoying reading about your search "Goof". I've nothing to add except to say, do keep us up to date with your research as these bye-lanes are always interesting

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 03 Oct 2018, 12:00

Thank you, Standby4action. I'll let you know if I find anything more.

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 03 Oct 2018, 12:05

Also, I'm pretty sure that there were times when the same storyline was repeated with new artwork. This would have fitted in with Fleetway's assumption that nearly all their readers would automatically move on after four or five years to be replaced by a brand new readership. It'd be interesting to know if Jenny Butterworth wrote ALL the Happy Days stories in Princess, Princess Tina and Pixie, as well as the picture libraries and annuals - if so it would be a considerable body of work, but going by the consistant quality of the writing I'm inclined to think that she might well have done.

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peace355
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by peace355 » 03 Oct 2018, 12:34

philcom55 wrote:Also, I'm pretty sure that there were times when the same storyline was repeated with new artwork. This would have fitted in with Fleetway's assumption that nearly all their readers would automatically move on after four or five years to be replaced by a brand new readership. It'd be interesting to know if Jenny Butterworth wrote ALL the Happy Days stories in Princess, Princess Tina and Pixie, as well as the picture libraries and annuals - if so it would be a considerable body of work, but going by the consistant quality of the writing I'm inclined to think that she might well have done.
It was common practice across a lot of comics. I have DCT comics that have several reprinted stories in one issue some with new art.

I can't help with Princess Tina though, as I've very few IPC/Fleetway comics.

DavidKW
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by DavidKW » 03 Oct 2018, 14:07

Thanks for info and that Pixie strip, Goof. Artwork looks really tremendous high quality! And thanks Philcom for going to check Princess Tina.

As been stated Sue Day didn't make it to the end of Pixie, anyone any idea in which edition the final story appeared?

Always felt that when Pixie was merged (and totally mismatched) with June, that The Happy Days should've continued in June's pages; been a good home for it. But instead June got lumbered with the dire & unfunny Mini Ha-Ha.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 03 Oct 2018, 14:54

philcom55 wrote: It'd be interesting to know if Jenny Butterworth wrote ALL the Happy Days stories in Princess, Princess Tina and Pixie, as well as the picture libraries and annuals - if so it would be a considerable body of work, but going by the consistant quality of the writing I'm inclined to think that she might well have done.
Yes, you do have to wonder how Jenny Butterworth coped with it all. For about 3 years, at the height of the popularity of the series, she had to produce four weekly episodes and a full picture library each month, plus extras for annuals and specials. And yet most of it is so good and so individual in style that it’s hard to imagine it’s not her work.

I wonder whether some of the later picture libraries might be by somebody else. The PLs are rather different from the weeklies in any event, maybe because the Fleetway editors thought that PL readers expected action & adventure even in comedy stories. In the weekly stories, international jewel thieves and escaped convicts usually turn out to be imaginary, but in the PLs Sue and the Potters regularly find themselves catching gangs of smugglers and forgers for real. In most cases, Butterworth does really well thinking up action plots which fit into the Happy Days world she created, but a few of the later stories seem more like the standard Fleetway PL adventure formula, and Sue and the Potters not much different from the Peewits or the Limpets, or any other Famous Five-type gang of intrepid children. Any adventure story writer familiar with Butterworth’s style could probably have written some of these, and perhaps that’s what happened.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 03 Oct 2018, 15:05

DavidKW wrote:As been stated Sue Day didn't make it to the end of Pixie, anyone any idea in which edition the final story appeared?
Sorry if I've caused any confusion here, DavidKW. Sue Day did run to the last edition of Pixie. I have the penultimate number, and the final story is running there, and looks as if it has one more instalment to go.

I agree that while the series would never have suited Pink, it could easily have gone into June. It was clearly still popular - IPC were to run reprints in annuals and specials for another six years - and would have fitted well with Lucky's Living Doll and other June regulars.

Tammyfan
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Tammyfan » 04 Oct 2018, 01:17

Goof wrote:
DavidKW wrote:As been stated Sue Day didn't make it to the end of Pixie, anyone any idea in which edition the final story appeared?
Sorry if I've caused any confusion here, DavidKW. Sue Day did run to the last edition of Pixie. I have the penultimate number, and the final story is running there, and looks as if it has one more instalment to go.

I agree that while the series would never have suited Pink, it could easily have gone into June. It was clearly still popular - IPC were to run reprints in annuals and specials for another six years - and would have fitted well with Lucky's Living Doll and other June regulars.
If the Days had gone into June, imagine if they had ended up in Tammy too when that merger came...

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philcom55
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by philcom55 » 04 Oct 2018, 10:25

I think you could be right about the picture libraries Goof. Something similar happened with the Spider in Fleetway's Super Library where regular scripter Jerry Siegel wrote the first story but various other people produced all the subsequent ones.

Goof
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Re: When did The Happy Days End?

Post by Goof » 04 Oct 2018, 15:55

Tammyfan wrote:If the Days had gone into June, imagine if they had ended up in Tammy too when that merger came...
It would have been good if they had, and I think it would have strengthened the comedy side of Tammy. But I wonder if the editors might have thought the Days too old-fashioned - and perhaps too middle class.

By the way, Tammyfan, I enjoyed your Top 10 Tammy Villains on the Jinty website.

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