thoughts are most definitely with cartoonist J Edward Oliver today,
with the news that his health has recently gone
into rapid decline. Pete
Sanders has been keeping The Hound abreast of developments,
but the outlook does not appear to be too rosey for our
Fleetway friend. He's currently very poorly, and taking
as it comes.
JEO, or Jack, is best known for his work on the
Fleetway fun comics,
having brought us the delights of "Cliff Hanger",
"Robin Good", "Master
Mind", "The Loon Ranger", "The
Teeny Sweeny" and so many more
in the pages of "Whoopee!", "Whizzer
& Chips" and "Jackpot". His
strips are instantly recognisable, with their chunky
black pen lines
and lots of busy signs and silliness urging us to
and other such lunatic notions.
In recent years, JEO's had a new lease of life on the
folks have been able to rediscover his cartoons
from "Disc" and "Record
Mirror", including a very affable dinosaur in the
form of Fresco-Le-Raye.
And of late, Jack has been producing full-colour Fresco
strips which he
emails to subscribers each week. There's even
been some Fresco
apparel for us to purchase. But these ventures have continued more
for love than money, with the strips arriving free in
alongside other bits and pieces of cartoon madness to
smiling - Jack's just that kind of guy. He can't
stop himself from
tinkering with toons and an endless stream of tonsil-tying
Jack, we're thinking of you, and wishing and willing
-------------------- * UPDATED 27th MAY * ---------------------------
Sad to say, Jack's family have been in touch today
to let us know
that he passed away yesterday (26th). So another
has joined the great cartoon firmament...
these have been out for a few weeks, but The Hound just hasn't
had a chance to put pen to paper - or paw to keyboard
- to celebrate
the wonders of these not-so-small SmallFilms collectables
clever folks at Robert Harrop Designs.
Look! - That's Ivor the Engine in all his pss-t-koffing
glory, complete with
Jones the Steam and young Idris, atop his funnel.
This beautiful piece
is limited to just 600 editions, and is selling
Then there's this terrific Noggin the Nog piece,
featuring Noggin and Nooka
on their throne, with Nogbad and Graculus skulking
them. Again, it's
limited to just 600 editions. The throne is full
of detail, the clothing so
These are so good! We've waited decades for pieces
of such quality to
emerge on to the market. You can order yours now
from the jolly folks
Collectables - along with those amazing Harrop ranges
starring Bagpuss, the Clangers, Mr Benn and the
myriad of folks
vehicles and buildings from Trumptonshire...
There's a new five-part documentary series beginning
on BBC4 next
week. "Children's TV on Trial" charts the development
of our favourite
genre over the years, with each episode featuring
plenty of clips from
iconic tv programmes in the BBC archives, and interviews
main players of the day. The opening episode focuses
on the very
earliest days, in the 1950s, when "Muffin the Mule"
"Watch With Mother" classics took to our screens,
live-action fare as "Robin Hood". Subsequent
shows move through
the decades, up until the 1990s.
Of course, children's tv is indeed on trial right
now, what with
advertising bans and reduced broadcasting times
But given that this series doesn't continue through
to the present
day, it's a safe bet to assume the Beeb have decided
to skirt the
current problems - despite the provacative series
Set your recorder for episode one on Sunday 27th
May, on BBC4
at 9.00pm. Subsequent programmes will air daily,
at the same time,
through to Thursday 31st May...
The Book Gnome Knows (30.04.07)
What does the Book Gnome know, exatly?
Well, he knows all about the Hound's secret
passion. Or rather,
the Hound's other secret passion. You
see, as well as being a
topnotch toon freak, Yours Truly also likes
nothing better than a
darned good read.
Yep, I'm a book freak. I devour 'em. But more than
that, I collect
them too. There's something just so special
about having a signed
first edition in your hands. It makes the
reading even more pleasurable.
Now, I don't just collect any old books. I
like children's fiction.
No, scrap that. I love children's fiction.
It's my favourite genre.
and I've always kept abreast of the latest
news and releases.
But you know, a funny thing happened a few
years back. A chap
called Harry Potter popped up on the book
scene, and his success
has led to publishers flooding the market,
month on month, with
titles that they like to think are The Next
Big Thing. It's all a bit
dizzying, if you don't know what's what.
Only, the Hound knows exactly what's what.
So I thought now
might be a good time to start sharing that
knowledge with folks
on the web. And to this end, The
Book Gnome was born
(www.thebookgnome.co.uk). Think of it
as a companion to
Toonhound, enthusing and informing in just
the same way.
Only this time, it's all about books, lovely books...
Now it's very early days. The new site is
still coming together,
finding its layout and place in the scheme
of things. Plus it needs
more content - a heck more content, indeed.
But if you drop by
a gander, I hope you'll find it a worthwhile place to
bookmark and return to, as it develops. And
I hope you'll be
informed. I'd certainly welcome any feedback
you can offer, as I pull
everything together and the new site yawns
and steps out, blinking into the online sunshine...
Ah, me. Toons and books. My two great loves.
I can't wait to
share 'em with you...