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 PLAYGROUND HEROES

Happy memories of days gone by

While sorting through some papers the other day I came across a treasured, if battered, copy of a comic called the Rover.
In its day it was one of the biggest selling British comics, enjoyed by a generation of Fifties schoolboys. There will, I am sure, be many Fabulous Fifties visitors who still recall such publiactions – besides Rover the Scottish publisher DC Thomson produced some of the best including Adventure, Hotspur and Wizard.
They were required reading, filled with stories rather than comic strips, improbable adventures carried out by such characters as Wilson the super athlete, Rockfist Rogan, the boxer who took on all comers and always won and flying ace Matt Bradock VC (naturally) who, it seemed, won World War 11 single handed destroying whole sities in just one raid while shooting down half the Luftwaffe at the same time.
Heroes all and to a generation of schoolboys well worth risking the cane for as you surreptiously read of their exploits below school desks.
They were affordable, too, even if pocket monery was limited. Just three pence would buy you a whole day’s un-putdownable reading.
One such paper featured school badges from across the country on its front cover. Others had a drawing relating to what was inside. But all carried the exploits of daring and heroism the like of which could only be produced by the fertile imagination of their authors.
Remember Alf Tupper, the Tough of the Track, Morgan the Mighty, Nick Smith, the football genius who played inside left for Granton United, HK Rodd, the “sensational” cricketer said to have transformed the English side, not forgetting The Racing Rogers, Britain's brilliant family of speed kings.?
There was no sex, no bad language, just great adventure to stir young imaginations. Down the cliff at the end of one episode went Morgan. Next week’s story would start with the immortal line “With one giant leap he hurled himself skywards and to safety…”
Rubbish? Yes. But good rubbish non-the-less.
They bring back memories those old papers, recollections of happy, innocent days of almost half a century ago.
I wonder what happened to the writers who invented those great characters, many of them struggling reporters trying to make a few bob on the side. Like the heroes they created they are now forgotten and their work consigned to the dustbin of publishing history.
But for some of us they played a small part in the greatest adventure of all – that of growing up.
-Stuart Russell




Written by The Editor - 11/08/2007 20:05:17

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 Spaced out for Christmas


Heroes all


Dan Dare-d and thousands followed