Last time we were trying very hard to get the Ovaltineys song out of our heads. I was trying to make the point that Dan Dare was not the only character in the comic:
Eagle had sporting personalities. I have even written myself about the first one ever to appear:
There was cricket coaching, and, thirty years before its time, and in a largely all white society, it was presented by a black man, Leary Constantine, a cricketer who achieved more in his life than most of us do:
There were features about how to make models:
There were two written serials with solid text rather than just pictures. “Plot against the World” was the first ever to appear:
There was a half page about road safety. It was presented by Billy Steel, the famous Derby County footballer of the day:
During the 1950s lots and lots of children would be killed on the roads, because the drivers in England knew very little about how to drive safely and the children of England, accustomed to just a couple of cars a day going past, had very little road sense. Around 1963, a little boy in our class called Nigel Sparrow was killed by a car as he cycled along country lanes looking for bluebells for his mother. He was in hospital for two weeks or so before he passed away. We prayed for him every day in our school assembly but it was all in vain. He succumbed to his injuries and died. That was the first time I ever had any serious doubts about the religion I had been given. I think about Nigel regularly, poor little boy.
Billy Steel offered a lot of very good advice:
He offered advice a lot better than he played football for Derby County.
Years ago, I actually wrote about him, but only in the context of my Dad, Fred, who thought he was “a right twerp”:
“As regards football players, in the late 1940s, Fred was always less than impressed by Derby’s then record signing, a young man they bought as they attempted to stop their slow but inexorable slide out of the First Division. This was a handsome young forward called Billy Steel, whose dark tousled hair was, for Fred, his best, and probably only, positive feature. Fred was just unable to stomach how Steel would miss an easy chance to score a goal, and then merely laugh about it as if it were nothing important.”
Next time, the other features that made Eagle the best selling comic in English history: