I received an enquiry from a fan of the old 'Matt Marriott' newspaper strip asking for information on the author Jim Edgar. After a lot of digging around I had to give up and admit defeat: I know almost nothing about Jim Edgar.
He seems to have started out as a short story writer and author of radio plays before turning to writing newspaper strips on the advice of Peter O'Donnell. I've only managed to trace the titles of two radio plays: Murder Case (1953) and The Fielding Case (1956), both broadcast on the BBC Home Service's Saturday Night Theatre.
Jim Edgar spent 22 years as the author of 'Matt Marriott' for the London Evening News (1955-77), drawn by the incomparable Tony Weare. He also wrote other Westerns including 'Wes Slade' for the Sunday Express drawn by George Stokes. Apparently Stokes wrote the early episodes of 'Wes Slade' himself before handing over to Edgar - who was credited from 1979 - and the strip was taken over by Harry Bishop in 1980-81. Harry Bishop was also the writer and artist of 'Gun Law' which ran in the Daily Express from 1960. Presumably Jim Edgar took over the writing at some point... but I've no idea when.
We're on firmer ground with Garth from the Daily Mirror as this has been well covered. Jim Edgar took over writing the strip from Peter O'Donnell in April 1966 and was the regular writer until September 1985, then wrote irregularly between 1985 and 1992.
Somewhere along the line I've picked up the information that Edgar also wrote 'Buck Ryan' for Jack Monk and the Daily Mirror and 'Carol Day' for David Wright and the Daily Mail. No idea where this came from.
Edgar had a serial in Tiger, 'Rusty Flynn -- Rodeo Roughrider', which ran between December 1956 and April 1957. He was a fairly prolific scriptwriter for the war libraries between 1962 and 1965, and seems to have stopped writing them around the time he took over writing Garth.
And that's the sum total of all I know. No biographical details and a pretty sketchy bibliography. Can anyone help with some details... for instance, when did 'Wes Slade' start? Has anyone got a list of stories for Wes... or Matt Marriott... or Gun Law... or Carol Day... or Buck Ryan... and when they appeared?
Any help at all would be welcome.
It seems likely that Jim Edgar died in 2001, aged 82. See the comments below for further details.