Sunday, September 07, 2008

Daily Sketch strips 21 July 1969

The last episode of this brief series of British newspaper strips from the 1960s comes from the Daily Sketch, 21 July 1969.

'Wack' was a workshy workman, orignally created for the Sketch in 1968 but subsequently transferred to The Sun. Hugh Morren (b. 24 May 1921, not 1925 as recorded elsewhere around the net) is said to have been inspired by his own employment in a Manchester factory. Morren was a regular contributor to Dandy and Beezer from the mid-1950s on, drawing 'Just Jimmy', 'The Smasher' and 'Calamity Jane' amongst others. 'Wack' was a popular export to Europe where he was known as 'Tommy Wack'.

'Tiffany Jones' was based around the adventures of a model, written by Jenny Butterworth and drawn by Pat Tourret, one of the hugely talented Tourret sisters but is barely known today. 'Tiffany Jones' was enormously popular in her day (they even made a movie, albeit a lousy one, of her adventures). She deserves to be rediscovered.

'The Seekers' by Les Lilley & John M. Burns began in 1966 and ran until 1971. I've not read a huge amount of the story but it would appear never to have quite lived up to its potential. Wikipedia has a pretty good entry on the strip.

'Focus on Fact' was another factual feature that was subsequently published as a series of books by Star Books, titles including: 1 The World of Invention (1977), 2 The Story of Sport (1977), 3 The Psychic World (1977), 4 The Story of Christmas (1977), 5 Unsolved Mysteries (1978) and 6 The Story of Flight (1978). Neville Randall, the author, was clearly interested in mysteries of the psychic world as he wrote an earlier book on parapsychology, Life After Death (1960). Gary Keane drew the strip for around 14 years, also drawing 'Gary Player's Golf Class' for the Daily Express and 'Plain Sailing' for the Evening News. He later left comic strips to concentrate on illustration and nowadays is a very popular painter of sporting figures.


  1. Thanks for the glimpses of these rarely-seen strips Steve. Good solid storytelling & artwork. I miss the adventure strips in newspapers today.

    We had the Daily Mirror every day throughout the sixties but on the occasion it was sold out we'd have the Daily Sketch (or, later, The Sun). 'Wack' transfered over to The Sun later, presumably when the Sketch folded.

    Incidentally there was at least one 'Focus on Fact' paperback published around the late Seventies, reprinting those strips.

  2. Hugh Morren, creator of Wack worked, at Lawrence and Scotts factory in Norwich where he was born in 1921. He said this was the inspiration for the the workshy Wack. He moved to Manchester in the 1940`s where he worked for the Manchester evening News creating football pocket cartoons for the Manchester Evening News after the Saturday match. He found work with DC Thompson and never looked back

  3. Hi Nicky,

    Thanks for the correction.

  4. Thanks for the information about Neville Randall. I have come across 10 cut-out newspaper strips inside an old book that belonged to my uncle... FOCUS ON FACT - Yesterday’s Christmas By Gary Keane and Neville Randall. In 10 instalments. From December 1980. Do you know what paper they would have been cut out of?

  5. Focus on Fact appeared in the Daily Sketch until (I think) 1971. The Sketch was merged with the Daily Mail, so it may have appeared there, but I must admit that's just a guess.



Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books