- Memories of Christmas Past - seasonal cards and drawings by some of the best
- A Kennedy Christmas - some of Ian Kennedy's Christmas-themed comics and annual covers
- The Career of Ian Kennedy - part 2, from the eighties to the new millenium
- More of EAGLE's 2nd issue dummy, including Norman Thelwell's 'Pop Milligan' and Frank Hampson's 'The Great Adventurer' - with Joan Porter's recollections of the Bakehouse Studio in the 1950s
- Frank Hampson at the Festival - a contemporary note written by Frank Hampson on the Angouleme Comics Festival, 1978
- PC49 - The Case of the Galloping Ghost
- An account of the Chad Varah Memorial Service at St Paul's Cathedral, held on 12th November, 2008
- "I was there" - the launch of Denis Gifford's Ally Sloper Magazine in 1976
- Who's who No. 50
- The Eagle Annual of the Cutaways - book review
- Heros the Spartan - part 1, beginning a review of EAGLE's popular 1960s sword and sorcery strip
- Tony Weare - part 2, concluding the life of a favourite artist
- Books for Christmas - a seasonal review
- EAGLE on the web
- Pop Music in EAGLE Times - 1963
THE EAGLE SOCIETY is dedicated to the memory of EAGLE - Britain's National Picture Strip Weekly - the leading Boy's magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. We publish a 56 page, A4, quarterly journal - the Eagle Times.
This weblog has been created to provide an additional, more immediate, forum for news and commentary about the society and EAGLE-related issues. Want to know more? See First Post and Eagle - How it began.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Sunday, 30 November 2008
David Britton has provided a quote from John Liffen, who is a co-curator of the exhibition with Professor Andrew Nahun. The following came in response to David's question on the how the exhibition was going:
As you know, we had a good press reaction and an independent study thought that the value to the Museum of the exposure was high. I quote from Andrew Nahum: ‘It was done by an able PR professional and it rates value of every mention according to size of the article and each paper or magazine's advertising rate. There is also an industry convention multiplier reflecting the fact that editorial material is far more influential than paid for advertising and “can't be bought”. According to these calculations, the Science Museum would have had to spend almost £700k to achieve the same presence in the media with “paid for” marketing. Of course, this publicity contributes to public perceptions of the whole Museum and not just to the Dare show.’ “Aside from that, the exhibition was well-received internally (which matters a lot!) and the visitors seem to like it. I haven’t yet seen a qualitative visitor survey, but I hope we shall have done something on those lines. People are stimulated to write in with notes of appreciation about the whole exhibition, but often they focus in on just one item which has particularly caught their attention ... I haven’t heard of any adverse comments, and perhaps that’s a good test, too”The Exhibition runs until October 2009, so there is still plenty of time to see it, if you haven't already.
The picture (from the Science Museum's Dan Dare Exhibition press pack) shows one of the murals drawn for the Museum in the 1970s by Frank Hampson, Dan Dare's creator.
Dan Dare is © The Dan Dare Corporation Ltd.
Monday, 13 October 2008
The Eagle Annual of the Cutaways takes the same look and format as last year’s Eagle Annual - The best of the 1950s comic, with an identical page-count (176 pages), but is priced at £14.99 (£2 more than the earlier book). Rather than the dark green spine with yellow lettering previously used, though, this book has a dark blue spine with cream lettering. Both books have a "distressed" look and feel. The Editor is again Daniel Tatarsky, and the book has a Preface by Colin Frewin, Chief Executive of the Dan Dare Corporation Limited, and an Introduction by Jonathan Glancey, Architecture Critic, the Guardian.
The Eagle Annual of the Cutaways collects together, in (what seems to this reader's mind) a less than systematic manner, around 142 of the 946 cutaway drawings that appeared in Eagle throughout its life from 1950 until the penultimate issue in 1969. For anyone who fondly remembers Eagle and its cutaways, but who doesn’t still have their collection, this will be a “must buy”. But the market for this book is clearly “nostalgia” rather than serious appreciation or study. This book will sell, and deserves to, but it will also disappoint the more serious collector or student.
There is much to commend this book. Eagle Society member Steve Winders has already written an excellent review, posted at Steve Holland's Bear Alley blog. Any more detailed comments I might make would inevitably repeat much of what he has said there, so I will leave my comments to those above. There is also a review by
Further related links:
- eagle-times initial post (May 2008) on the Eagle Annual of the Cutaways
- more from eagle-times on Eagle's cutaway drawings with a list of artists
- Jeremy Briggs follow-up post to his review at Down the Tubes: Eagle cutaway art.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
- The Career of Ian Kennedy - part 1, the 1950s to the 1970s
- More of the EAGLE's second issue dummy (including 'Rob Conway' in colour!)
- The Final Winner? - what happened to the EAGLE 'Sportsman of the Year' trophy
- Frank Hampson at NESCOT (1972 to 1977) - another 'I was there' article
- Tony Weare, artist for all seasons - who turned down an offer to draw 'Dan Dare'!
- Another 'Anastasia' - how a classic car artist (Jack Lewis) came to create a tribute to Bruce Cornwell
- Marcus Morris and the 1953 Coronation recording
- Dan Dare, the Audio Book: Voyage to Venus - part 1 (a review)
- The magic of Pelikan Inks
- EAGLE on the web
- PC49: The Case of the Pink Panic - part 3 (conclusion)
- Nether Wallop - in Surrey? - a church that might have been the model for a scene in the first 'Dan Dare' story
- Dan Dare - the Virgin Version - a review
- Crockett & Krispies - on Ron Embleton's 1956 'Heros of the West' series for Kellogg's
- Snakes Alive! - artist Geoffrey ('Luck of the Legion') Bond's fascination with snakes
- Looks familiar! - How 1959 'Dan Dare' artwork provided the reference for newspaper illustrations ten years later
- Pop Music in EAGLE times - 1962
The 'Dan Dare' illustration on the front cover this issue of Eagle Times is by Ian Kennedy
and appeared in the ('new series') Eagle, 8th January, 1983.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
“Called up” as a Bevin Boy during the Second World War, he went to work in a Derbyshire coal mine but after three months, due to ill-health, he was transferred to the Army Pay Corps. After the war he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and spent about 2½ years in a British Legion Sanatorium. His first novel, Voices Offstage, was published in 1947. Deciding to try his luck as a gag-writer, he sent in some sample scripts to various BBC radio comedians, with the result that Jon Pertwee turned up in person to encourage him to write material for his radio show, Waterlogged Spa. In 1950, Peter began to write comedy material for television. A children’s magazine programme called Whirligig was broadcast every other Saturday, and included a serial, celebrity guests, with comedy links provided by Humphrey Lestocq and ‘Mr Turnip’. Peter wrote all their material.
In 1952, when introduced (by Goons creator, Jimmy Grafton) to Eagle Editor’s assistant Ellen Vincent, Peter jumped at the chance to write a schoolboy serial for Eagle. The first ‘Three J’s’ story, set in Northbrook School, a setting broadly based on Whitgift School, appeared in 1953, with 32 text serials published over the next six years, wonderfully spot-illustrated by Peter Kay. In addition to writing the ‘Three J’s’ stories in Eagle, Peter Ling also wrote ‘Three Js’ stories in five Eagle Annuals, and an Eagle novel: The Three J’s and the Pride of Northbrook. In 1958 he adapted the Three J's for television. Trouble at Northbrook consisted of five 5 fortnightly episodes and was followed by another 6-part adventure called Northbrook Holiday. Unfortunately no recordings of the serials are known to exist. In 1954 Peter had married Sheilah Potts, an actress and writer who had appeared in Whirligig, and who used the professional name Sheilah Ward. They collaborated on some serials for Girl: 'Two Pairs of Skates' (1956-57) and 'Penny Starr' (1957), plus a Girl novel: Angela has Wings (1960).
He also turned his hand to songwriting and one song, Why Not Now performed by Matt Monro, made it into the charts in 1961. That same year, Peter helped Hazel Adair to develop Compact, a television soap opera set in the offices of a women’s magazine. They co-wrote the series, which appeared on BBC twice-weekly from the beginning of 1962 until the Summer of 1965. They also wrote the Compact Annual which was published in 1963 “by arrangement with the BBC”. Their professional partnership continued when, in 1964, they co-created Crossroads, another soap opera, this one set in a motel. The highly popular Crossroads ran for 24 years (despite its reputation for “wobbly sets”!), and a total of around 4,500 programmes were broadcast before its final show in 1988. Initially the series was shown only on Central and Southern ITV but it was networked nationally from 1972. Although Hazel Adair left Crossroads after the first year, Peter remained as a writer until 1987, when a new producer decided he wanted to write his own stories.
Among Peter Ling’s many writing credits for television are episodes of Dixon of Dock Green, Sexton Blake, No Hiding Place, The Avengers and Doctor Who. His contribution to Doctor Who was the serial ‘The Mind Robber’ (1968, starring Patrick Troughton) for which he also later wrote the Target novelization (1986). He also wrote many radio dramas, including adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories, the Arnold Bennett story
In his later years Peter produced and directed plays for his local theatre, The Stables, in Hastings, East Sussex. His wife Sheilah, who latterly published as Sheilah Ward Ling, died in 1997. They had four children.
The Eagle Society was pleased when Peter agreed to be interviewed in 1998, and that Peter consequently agreed to come along as an invited guest for the Eagle Weekend at Pinner in 1999. In his later years Peter fought bravely against Alzheimer's disease. He died on September 14th 2006.
Eagle stories (writer):
- 'The Three J's' serials - Eagle Vol 3 No 39 -Vol 10 No 16.
- 'The Three J's' - Eagle Annual Nos 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
- 'Hawkeye without his glasses' - Eagle Annual No 10 (1961)
- The Three J's and the Pride of Northbrook (Hulton Press, 1957)
- Peter Ling's obituary at The Times Online
- Wikepedia entry on Peter Ling
- Bear Alley obituary
- An interview with Peter Ling at the Crossroads Appreciation Society
- Gould, David. Peter Ling. Eagle Times Vol 12 No 1, pp 2 - 7.
- Gould, David. Peter Ling (1926 - 2006) Eagle Times Vol 19 No 4, p 2.
Thursday, 31 July 2008
The opening scene pans around Doctor Who's living room (in the film he is an eccentric human professor). His granddaughter, Susan, is reading 'Physics for the Inquiring Mind' and Barbara is seen reading 'The Science Of Science'. As the camera pans to Doctor Who, we see that he is reading ... a copy of Eagle and Boys' World! He has the comic open, apparently at 'Heros the Spartan' (drawn by Frank Bellamy) on the centre pages - clearly he liked a bit of fantasy! - but presumably he has already read 'Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future', which is prominently on view on the front and back covers. The issue date can clearly be identified from Keith Watson's artwork from 'The Moonsleepers' adventure: it is the issue dated 20th March 1965 - most probably the current issue at the time of filming, as the movie had its UK premiere on 26th June.
More about this on the Frank Bellamy Checklist site.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Charles’ father was killed, at the age of 18, at Arras in the so-called Great War, so Charles never knew him, and he was born into poverty in Sandwich Street, King’s Cross, London. His mother died in the post-war flu epidemic when he was about 6, and afterwards he was raised by his grandmother. He left school at the age of 14 and, after an unrewarding “apprenticeship” with an electrical sign-maker, at 15 he joined the BBC as a messenger. The BBC sponsored day and evening classes, and he developed a life-time appetite for self-education. At 16, he became an assistant in the BBC’s gramophone library. By the age of 18 he had moved into radio presentation and production. He developed a passion for jazz, forming the BBC Boys’ Jazz Band in 1937. He presented many music programmes including ‘Swing Time’, and ‘Radio Rhythm Club’. His first major production was Alastair Cook’s ‘I Hear America Singing’.
During the Second World War, although initially a conscientious objector, he enlisted with the RAF, and served three years as a radio trainer before being transferred to Armed Forces radio. In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) he ran the forces radio station with David Jacobs. After the war he returned to the BBC in London and met and married Penny, a secretary at the BBC. In 1949 he created and produced a popular weekly radio show called ‘Riders of the Range’.
In 1950 the Editor of Eagle, Marcus Morris, sought and obtained permission from the BBC for a comic-strip version of ‘Riders of the Range’. In October that year Morris sponsored a trip by Chilton to Arizona. Chilton’s account of the trip was published in Eagle as a series of articles called ‘Ticket to Tombstone’. His third article was followed the next week by the appearance of ‘Riders of the Range’ (featuring Jeff Arnold and the 6T6 Outfit) in comic-strip format, drawn initially by Jack Daniel. Chilton continued to write and produce the radio show until its demise in 1953, and to write the scripts for Eagle’s ‘Riders of the Range’ strip and the scripts and stories for numerous ‘Riders of the Range’ and Eagle annuals, into the early 1960s. He also wrote the script for ‘Flying Cloud’, a western strip that appeared in Girl and he is credited with some writing for Swift Annual. As the comic strip ‘Riders of the Range’ developed, helped by Penny with the research, he became an expert on the Wild West and introduced authentic historic western stories into the series. He also wrote historical accounts of the West, such as The Book of the West (Odhams, 1961) which, after publication in America, earned him The Western Heritage Award for Juvenile Books in 1963.
When ‘Riders of the Range’ finished on radio Charles Chilton was tasked by the BBC with creating a science fiction series. The result was the hugely successful ‘Journey into Space”, and he wrote and produced three series (58 episodes) between 1953 and 1955 with a repeat production of the first story ‘Operation Luna’ broadcast in 1958. The hugely successful radio serials and their subsequent translation to book and comic strip form under his own authorship assured Chilton’s international recognition. Among his other radio production credits in the fifties are a several editions of ‘The Goon Show’ in 1953, 1957 and 1958.
In 1962 Charles Chilton wrote and produced a radio musical based on World War 1 songs, called ‘The Long, Long Road’. In 1963 this was transformed through his collaboration with Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop into the stage production: ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’, and in 1969 was turned into a film by writer Len Deighton and director Richard Attenborough.
In 1976(?) Charles Chilton was awarded the MBE, which was presented to him by the Queen Mother. Although he retired from the BBC soon after, he has continued to write and for many years he has been a Guide for London Walks. In the 1980s he wrote a sequel radio play ‘Journey into Space: The Return from Mars’ and two science fiction serials in the ‘Journey into Space’ vein: ‘Space Force’ and ‘Space Force II’. More recently, he wrote a further ‘Journey into Space' radio play ‘Frozen in Time’, which was broadcast by the BBC on 12th April 2008.
- ‘Ticket to
’ (Vol 1 Nos 33, 35 and 36) Tombstone
- ‘Riders of the Range’ (Vol 1 No 37 – Vol 13 No 9)
Note: In Eagle 'Riders of the Range' consists of 23 stories, which are told over 576 episodes.The vast majority are written by Chilton, although some episodes may be by another, as they are not credited.
- 'Riders of the Range' Eagle Annual No 1 - No 10 (1961)
Note: In addition to the above, from 1951 Juvenile Productions Ltd published a series of Charles Chilton's Riders of the Range Annual. Juvenile also published a Jeff Arnold in The Bozeman Trail picture strip book. When the Juvenile annuals finished, Hulton Press followed on with six Eagle Riders of the Range Annuals, the last being for 1962. All were written by Charles Chilton, who also wrote a serial 'Jeff Arnold and the Battle of Quitman Creek', which appeared monthly in the ABC Film Review in 1953.
- Smyth, Bob. Eagle Scriptwriters No 1: Charles Chilton. Eagle Times Vol 1 No 2 pp 18 - 24.
- Evans-Gunther, Charles. Goon ... but not forgotten. Eagle Times Vol 1 No 3 p 15.
- Howard, James. Charles Chilton and Riders of the Range. Eagle Times Vol 4 No 3 pp 30 - 31.
- Chilton, Charles. A tribute to Frank Humphris (1911 - 1994) Eagle Times Vol 7 No 1 pp 2 - 4.
- Horn, Cowhand. Besides Jeff Arnold ... Eagle Times Vol 7 No 1 pp 40 - 41.
- Horn, Cowhand. Yipp-e-ee! An afternoon with Mr and Mrs Charles Chilton. Eagle Times Vol 7 No 4 pp 34 - 38.
Monday, 30 June 2008
- An EAGLE nobody knows - the dummy second issue
- The many faces of Jeff Arnold - illustrators of Riders of the Range
- Blackbow the Cheyenne - from Comet to Swift to EAGLE
- Comics 101 - I was there (part 2)
- Guy and John - wartime experiences of Guy (Edward Trice) Morgan and John Worsley
- Never again will anyone envisage Man's future like this - Frank Hampson's vision
- Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008) - a personal tribute
- EAGLE on the Web
- Journey into Space: Frozen in Time - a review of Charles Chilton's new BBC radio play
- The Science Museum's Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain exhibition reviewed
- PC49 - The case of the Pink Panic (part 2)
- A Dan Dare postscript to 'An EAGLE nobody knows'
- The 2008 Eagle Society Weekend - review and photographs
- Great EAGLE O'er the Silvery Forth - a poetic tribute to the Eagle Society's visit to Edinburgh (in the style of William McGonagall)
In 1954, Bellavitis moved to England, and some time after, he was instrumental in introducing the Italian illustrator Rimaldo D’Ami (Roy Dami, founder of the Damy Agency) to Britain. He was the therefore first of many Italian comic strip artists to be published in Britain.
Bellavitis’ first strip after arriving in England was ‘Paul English’ for Swift. He then drew ‘Mark, the Youngest Disciple’ to a script by Chad Varah, his finest work for Eagle. Bellavitis stood in for Richard Jennings on two complete ‘Storm Nelson’ adventures, the first of which was set in his place of birth*. He also drew for Eagle Annual and Swift Annual, including the illustrations for a text story ‘The Winged Devils - a tale of the Ancient Vikings’ in Swift Annual No 2. He worked for a short time on Express Weekly, drawing ‘Rodney Flood’, and he is known to have done some illustrations for the Sunday Pictorial Children’s Annual. In 1956 he helped out on Eagle’s ‘Jeff Arnold in Riders of the Range’. His work also appeared in Playhour and Treasure. In 1958, however, he returned to Italy to pursue a career in architecture.
Professor Giorgio Bellavitis is now actively involved in the conservation and restoration of Venice, advising UNESCO and other bodies. Girogio Bellavitis' projects in Venice have included, in the 1980s, the garden design and landscaping for Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, the home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and from 1997 to 2005 direction of the restoration of Ca’Foscari. Giorgio Bellavitis has written and co-authored a number of books and is the author of ‘Venice: a City in the Sea of History’, which prefaces the Heritage Guide to Venice published by the Touring Club of Italy.
- ‘Mark the Youngest Disciple’ (Vol 5 N0 46 - Vol 6 No 23)
- ‘Storm Nelson: The Quest of the Golden Queen’ (Vol 6 No 29 - Vol 6 No 46)
- ‘Storm Nelson: The Quest of the Southern Cross’ (Vol 6 No 47 - Vol 7 No 14)
- ‘Riders of the Range : The Hooded Menace’ (half of 1 episode, Vol 7 No 23)
- ‘Riders of the Range: The Wreckers’ (with Brian Lewis) (Vol 7 No 36 - Vol 7 No 44)
- ‘Storm Nelson in The Mystery of the Purple Patch’ Eagle Annual No 6
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Monday, 23 June 2008
The illustration shows Chris Weston's concept art for the badge, which is based on Frank Hampson's original 1950s design. Readers of Eagle Times will have seen the article on Chris' Dan Dare action figure designs in the Spring 2008 issue, which followed up on information originally posted on Chris Weston's blog.
Cast in zinc alloy and gold plated with red and black enamel circles on the front, the badge will have a diameter of 45mm and a maximum thickness of 4mm (not including the brooch pin). The enamel will be applied to recesses in the metal, so the red and black areas on the actual badge will be flat, rather than as shown in the concept art.
The badge can be ordered from Termight's site. The preorder price is £9.95, and they badges should be ready by the beginning of July, 2008.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
From 1950, and for over a decade, "cutaways" filled the top half of the centre pages as a full colour centre-spread. Later the feature was moved, initially still in colour, to fill the back page and then back inside the magazine, but on a single page in black and white. There seemed no limit to the technologies covered: from the historic, to the contemporary, to the futuristic: trains, boats and planes, trams, hovercraft and rockets, spacecraft, cars, buses, motorways, underground railways, fighting vehicles, motor cycles, power stations - and the photocopier.
By far the most prolific artist was Leslie Ashwell Wood, an example of whose work is seen above*. Of the (depending how you count it) 946 issues of Eagle that included cutaways, 617 were by him, including the very first, and the last (in the penultimate issue of Eagle).
In all, around two dozen artists contributed to the feature, the most notable after Leslie Ashwell Wood being: J. Walkden Fisher, John Batchelor, Geoffrey Wheeler, Laurence Dunn, Hubert Redmill and Roy Cross. It is likely that in many cases authorship of the text that accompanied the drawings is attributable to the artists themselves. This is certainly the case for the leading artists, who would have done their own technical research, and may be true for many of the lesser-known artists too.
The following is an alphabetical list of all the artists who are known to have contributed to Eagle cutaways, together with the numbers of their contributions. In some cases only a single name (presumably the surname) is known. Around a dozen contributions are unattributed to any known author.
- P. J. Ashmore (1)
- John Batchelor (44)
- __? Blake (1)
- __? Bowyer ( 3)
- Bruce Cornwell (4)
- Roy Cross (23)
- Gordon Davies (10)
- Laurence Dunn (48)
- Eric Eden (3)
- Albert Charles Martin Ellis (3)
- Dennis Fairlie (2)
- Charles Hurford (4)
- R. Nicholl (1)
- Paul B. Mann (5)
- Gerald Palmer (19)
- Hubert Redmill (39)
- T. C. Renwick-Adams (1)
- John S. Smith (2)
- J. Walkden-Fisher (59)
- Brian Watson (1)
- Geoffrey Wheeler (44)
- Leslie Ashwell Wood (617)
- The Eagle Book of Cutaways, Denis Gifford (Ed.) Webb & Bower, 1988. (Although credited with featuring exclusively L. Ashwell Wood drawings, one illustration, of Dan Dare's 'Anastasia' spacecraft, is by Eric Eden)
- The Eagle Annual of the Cutaways, Orion Books, September 2008.
Thursday, 15 May 2008
To quote Orion's publicity:
"After Dan Dare, the most famous and fondly remembered part of the Eagle comic was the cutaway. Basically, these were beautifully detailed drawings of the inner workings of pretty much anything: from steam trains, jet liners and racing cars, to oil wells, suspension bridges and tube lines beneath Piccadilly Circus. The Eagle had a team of three or four artists, but the king of the cutaway was undoubtedly L. Ashwell Wood, whose forensic attention to detail - be it a cross section of the Cutty Sark or a grand landscape of how electricity is generated - enthralled a generation of school boys."As seen above, the book will have the "distressed look" of last year's Annual. We have seen it reported elsewhere that the "distressed look" will be confined to the cover. This appears to be based on some illustrations that appeared in a Daily Mail article (9th May, 2008) about the Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain exhibition at London's Science Museum. However, a 12-page handout on the Eagle Annual of the Cutaways that was made available at the press launch of the Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain exhibition implies otherwise. Unless the publishers have had a change of heart since printing that handout (which, to be fair is identified as an "uncorrected proof sampler - not for resale or quotation"), the distressed look will pervade the whole book. Which will not please many of Eagle's original readers, judging by some of the reactions we heard to last year's Annual.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
I was amused by this graphic of Dan Dare while attending the press preview of the 'Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain' Exhibition (which is open at the Science Museum in South Kensington until November, 2009).
For its time, the 'Dan Dare' strip was forward looking, socially as well as technologically, anticipating the further emancipation of women: Jocelyn Peabody never fitted the classic "dumb female" stereotype of hero fiction - she was a scientist, a space pilot too, definitely not there just to scream and be rescued. I'm not sure I ever expected to see Dan with an iron in his hand, though, unless it was for playing golf - on the moon or elsewhere!
But what of the exhibition? Well, I can assure you that it's well worth a visit. That applies not only to fans of the original Eagle and their contemporaries, but to anyone who wants to know more about the development of technology in Britain between 1945 and 1970, and the impact on home life of design and innovation in those "Eagle times".
There are three sections. The first, as you enter, focusses on 'Dan Dare', and tells in brief how Eagle and Dan Dare came into being, how the 'Dan Dare' strip was produced, and some of the merchandise that was available to children of the 1950s.
Highlights of this section include artist Frank Hampson's 'Dan Dare' murals, which were originally commissioned by the museum in the 1970s, and two cabinets, one of which includes some examples of original 'Dan Dare' artwork plus one of Frank Hampson's "ideas books" used when he was planning the alien technology that would appear (in 1956) in the 'Dan Dare' strip 'Rogue Planet'.
The other cabinet displays other the 'Dan Dare'-related memorabilia: the 'Dan Dare': Stamp Album, Card Game, Radio Station, Construction game, etc. To anyone who attended the major Eagle exhibitions in Southport in 1990 and 2000 (Eagle's 40th and 50th anniversaries), this aspect of the display might appear more modest, but this exhibition is not just about 'Dan Dare'. 'Dan Dare' is used as a symbol of the times, a model for the optimism of Britain, its faith in technology in the post-war years, and a lead-in to the rest of the exhibition.
The "signature exhibit", providing a bridge to the technology, through another Eagle link, is a Bristol Bloodhound air defence missile, a pillar of UK's defence against the Soviet threat between 1958 and 1964. Reminding us that Eagle was not just a comic, a reproduction of Leslie Ashwell Wood's cutaway drawing of the Bloodhound (from Eagle Vol 10 No 5) is also on display.
Having set the theme, the second part of the exhibition is 'Building a New Britain' and covers everything from the creation of the National Health Service to the investments of government in nuclear power and the atom bomb. The third part looks at the reinvention of the home, the merging importance of design and the impact on everyday life with the arrival of previously unheard of consumer goods. Arguably, more use of Eagle imagery might have been used in these sections. For example, the section featuring the Dounreay nuclear research station might have, but did not, include L. Ashwell Wood's cutaway (from Eagle, 18th October, 1957). Several other examples, occur to me, where Eagle imagery could have been exploited. Seeing a section of the upper fuselage of the De Haviland Comet 1 aircraft that crashed in 1954, I was reminded that the Comet had featured as 'The First Four-Jet Airliner in the World' in Eagle's 4th issue. The Festival of Britain coverage could have used Lawrence Dunn's cutaway of the Dome of Discovery, or L. Ashwell Wood's cutaway of the (3-D) Telecinema. The WE177 air launched nuclear bomb, which entered service in 1966, never featured in Eagle, however, as it was on the top secret list!
While you're there, take a look elsewhere in the museum. On the ground floor in the permanent exhibition you'll find four more original 'Dan Dare' artboards. Nearby, you'll find a V2 rocket, like those which, as he watched them rise into the sky over the Scheldt Estuary in the closing stages of World War II, inspired Frank Hampson (though in Antwerp, at the receiving end) to dream of space travel.
- Audio introduction to Dan Dare Exhibition (mp3)
- Online Stuff (including Frank Hampson's Dan Dare murals)
- Object Wiki (Objects from the Dan Dare Exhibition)
- Dan Dare creator's son: "Peter Hampson, son of the Eagle comic strip character's creator Frank, says Dan inspired a generation. The character Flamer was based on Peter."
- Dan Dare 'inspired innovation': "The Science Museum's Ben Russell and John Liffen on technology that reflects the ideals of the comic hero created by Frank Hampson."
- Celebrating the birth of High Tech Britain (may not work in all browsers)
- In Pictures: Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain (gallery of 9 pictures)
- How the 1950's hero Dan Dare helped shape history with Utopian visions (Times Online)
- Where Dan dares, boffins follow: (Telegraph)
- Daring to be Different: (Evening Standard)
- Dan Dare exhibition latest to revisit lost era of the Fifties (Times Online)
- Histories: Heroes for hard times (New Scientist)
- Sufferin' satellites! We've built the future! (Guardian)
Monday, 28 April 2008
The picture on the left is a model of the Mars Space Station that featured (in its original drawn form!) in the 'Dan Dare' adventure 'The Red Moon Mystery' (Eagle, 1951).
For anyone who doesn't know, the models' creator Martin Bower is a professional model maker, who has worked on many science fiction films, TV shows and publications, and "is one of the most prolific model makers and designers to the film, TV, advertising and publishing industry". Since 1969, he has produced over 1000 professional works. The models that David is selling were privately commissioned by Alan Vince, and further pictures and information on their creation can be seen on the Dan Dare page of Martin Bower's site.
For sale are:
- First Venus Ship
- Rescue Ship “St Christopher”
- Treen Fighter
- Treen Telezero
- Gogol’s Transporter
- Space Station Mars and the shuttle “Delaware”
- Treen Blaster Pistol
Please do not contact Eagle Times regarding this sale, though comments, as always, are welcome.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Arnie Wilson has reminded us that in that 50th anniversary year he wrote a feature for the Financial Times about his personal relationship with Dan Dare. He says "I don't think it was ever picked up by Eagle Times, though it appeared in the FT with a brilliant Dan and Dig pastiche drawing".
If you would like to read Arnie's article it is on his website. Unfortunately the pastiche to which Arnie refers isn't there, but if anyone has a copy, we'd love to see it.
Another link to 'Dan Dare at 50' on the web: BBC News - 10th April, 2000.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Maloney had a growing interest in astronomy and the possibilities of space travel. After setting up a 10-foot long telescope, with a ten inch mirror, in his garden in Kew, Surrey, he spent many hours observing the night sky. He joined the British Astronomical Association, and subsequently was made a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. In early 1950, Maloney was recruited by Marcus Morris to work on the (yet to be launched) Eagle magazine, and for a short time he joined Frank Hampson's 'Dan Dare' studio in Southport. Later, he drew a number of colour and black and white illustrations for an article on rocketry and space travel for Dan Dare's Space Book (Hulton Press, 1953). He produced a number of book covers for paperback science fiction novels before, from the mid-1950s, concentrating on becoming a writer/illustrator and book editor.
Maloney's first self-written-and-illustrated title was Other Worlds in Space, a children's guide to the planets. Coincidentally it was launched the same month as Sputnik 1, in October, 1957. His other titles included The Sky is Our Window, and A Dictionary of Astronomy. He edited for various publishers before retiring in 1981, when he moved with his wife to West Knighton, near Dorchester, where he died on 16th March, 2008, aged 90.
Monday, 31 March 2008
- Comics 101 - I was there (part 1)
- Eagle Times on the Web
- Stills from A Case for PC49 (Hammer Films)
- Clevedon Confectionery's trade card album
- The Iron Man - EAGLE's popular android
- HMS Eagle's association with EAGLE
- Frank Hampson in The Post (part 2)
- A Tribute to Chad Varah
- Virgin's Dare is not for me!
- Chris Weston's Dan Dare
- PC49 - The case of the Pink Panic (part 1)
- The mysterious case of Dan Dare's space suit
- EAGLE on the Web
- Whatever Happened to Harold Johns? (part 4)
- Pop Music in Eagle Times - 1961
- EAGLE Autographs (part 3)
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Eagle's space hero, Dan Dare - a fixture in the lives of millions of British children (and their parents!) in the 1950s and 1960s - introduces the exhibition, showing the optimism, faith in technology and spirit of adventure of the times. As Dan Dare is being rediscovered today, there will be a special display of original artwork, merchandise and memorabilia. In case enthusiasts should be wondering, Eagle Times has confirmed with the museum that the artwork on display will include Frank Hampson's Dan Dare murals, commissioned by the Science Museum in 1977, and alongside some original artboards from the 1950s/60s Eagle (the latter were acquired by the museum in the 1990s).
The official press release states that:
Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-tech Britain will capture the essence of those pivotal post-war years, showing how Britain took striking wartime advances like the jet engine, radar and penicillin to create new industries. This was a time when the state rolled out huge new projects for a free nationwide health service, nuclear power, supersonic flight and a radical rehousing programme - major developments which created a revolution in national affairs and personal life.
The free exhibition also looks at the reinvention of the home, the emerging importance of design and the arrival of previously unheard of consumer goods. It will show that the period, from 1945-1970, started the long climb from austerity to affluence and laid the foundations for the Britain of today.
The signature exhibit representing hi-tech is the Bloodhound missile. Seven metres long, with fins, two ramjet engines and four booster rockets, Bloodhound was one pillar of Britain's defence against Soviet threat in the Cold War. Reaching speeds of Mach 2 (about 1,500 mph) in four seconds, it surpassed anything produced by the US. Also on display will be the British-built 'Bomb' - the WE177 nuclear weapon - Britain's ticket to the top table of nations.
Some of the finest examples of British manufacturing of the time will be shown. These include iconic products from designers such as Gordon Russell, Abram Games, the man behind the iconic Festival of Britain poster, and Pye radios designed by Robin Day. It will show, moreover, a 'lost world' of British manufacturing - a time when many people's first TV was a Murphy, not a Sony!
'Platinum Planet' (Eagle Volume 12 No 43, 28 October 1961)
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Born on 16th December, 1917, in Minehead, Somerset, Arthur Clarke was the eldest of four children. Before leaving school he joined the British Interplanetary Society, which had been founded in 1933. During the Second World War, he served in the RAF as a radar specialist. Afterwards he attended Kings College, London, graduating in 1948 with first-class honours in physics and mathematics.
In 1945 he sold a short story called ‘Rescue Party’ to Astounding Science Fiction, and began his science fiction writing career. In 1947, ten years before the launch of the first artificial satellite, he wrote a technical paper, published in Wireless World, demonstrating the feasibility of using artificial satellites as relay stations for radio communications. The “geostationary orbit” now used by numerous communications satellites, has since been designated the “Clarke Orbit” by the International Astronomical Union.
It was around this time that he wrote a story ‘The Fires Within’ that would later appear in Eagle, under the pseudonym Charles Willis. Arthur Clarke’s contribution to the early days of Eagle and ‘Dan Dare’, for which he was for a time scientific advisor, was marked here on the occasion of his 90th birthday. It may have been small in the overall scheme of his life, but that association is remembered affectionately and respectfully here.
Arthur Clarke became a prolific writer of fact and fiction, with almost 100 books to his name; books such as The Exploration of Space, Childhood’s End, The Sands of Mars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama. The novel 2001: A Space Odyssey resulted from four years collaboration with the film director Stanley Kubrick, with whom he shared the credit for the movie screenplay.
Arthur C. Clarke was knighted in 1988.
Monday, 17 March 2008
A prolific (if largely unsung) artist, the majority of his work was (via Industrial Art Services) for World Distributors Ltd, whose annuals will be remembered for their distinctive yellow spines. From 1950-1959 he painted six John Wayne Annuals and seventy-seven John Wayne Comic covers, plus for the annuals, illustrations to text stories, endpapers, title/contents pages, and the odd feature or game/quiz page.
In addition, during the 1950s and 1960s, Walt painted covers for many of WDL's Annuals including titles such as: Bronco Lane, Bonanza, Cheyenne, Tenderfoot, Billy the Kid, Rawhide, Maverick, Western Roundup, Cisco Kid, Gunsmoke, Gene Autry, Rawhide, Wells Fargo, Range Rider, Roy Rogers , Wagon Train, TV Favourites, Superman, Batman, Tarzan, Green Hornet, Bewitched and High Chaparral, work which required the skills of a portraitist in capturing the likenesses of the characters seen on television and in film.
Some of his other work (of particular interest to Eagle Society members) included the box art for the 'Merit' Dan Dare Cosmic Ray Gun (produced by J & L Randall in about 1953), and most possibly for other Eagle-related toys of that era. In the 1960s he painted the covers for Dan Dare's Space Annual 1963, and for Eagle Annual 1965.
Of more general interest, he was also responsible for the cover illustrations of the first two Doctor Who Annuals.
An illustrated article, 'Walt Howarth' by Derek Wilson was published in Eagle Times Volume 18 No 3 (Autumn 2005), and gives more details of Walt's career. It can be read at the Gateway site, where it was posted in March, 2006.
Other internet sites reporting the death and and paying tribute to Walt Howarth: