Pictures from my past (2)

Last time we looked at bubble gum cards. There are still a few I haven’t talked about. In the late fifties, there was a TV series called “The Adventures of Robin Hood”. Richard Greene played Robin Hood :

The person who impressed me most, though, was the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham who was played by Alan Wheatley. I was unable to find the relevant card from the  “WHO-Z-AT-STAR?” series. The one I admired as a little boy had the Sheriff wearing his leather jacket covered in metal studs. Here’s the jacket in a still from the TV series:

I couldn’t find the card I remembered, though. So here’s a near miss:

One of my favourite ever images came from a comic called “Beezer” which wasn’t really the most academic of publications, but every year, at Christmas, it produced a book containing not just everybody’s favourite cartoon characters but also one or two special features. These were invariably linked with warfare and famous battles. It was a book for boys, after all!

In 1962, they produced a double page picture of the Scots, aka the Picts, attacking the Roman garrison on Hadrian’s Wall. For me, this was one of the very best images that I took from my childhood years. It’s not Rembrandt, but I loved it:

It even had an insert explaining that Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Emperor Hadrian in 128 AD to keep the Scots out of England. It is 73 miles long and took 15,000 men six years to build. And I just loved this picture. It has everything a picture should have. Just look at that  centurion, up to his knees in angry Scotsmen:

“Picti” means “painted” and these Scottish warriors must have spent considerable amounts of time at the local tattoo shop. But look at that Roman soldier below. Haven’t you always wanted to do that if you ever came home, went upstairs and found a burglar trying to break in?

And what about their weapons of choice? Never go to a Peace Rally without at least one of them, but if you have a choice, then steal a Roman sword:

Here’s a beautifully made lump of stone on a stick:

And here’s how the Romans invented the boiled egg:

And just look at the determination on the face of this long haired reveller (bottom left), as the barman announces that the bar will close in five minutes’ time. He’ll get in if it kills him. And don’t miss the massive club that some clown has dropped (centre). That’s really dangerous and it might hurt somebody:

“Oh no! It’s all going pear shaped! Quick soldier!! Ring CMIC (or CMII in the Iunctae Res Publicae )

What on earth is all that about ??? A clue…….”Numeri Romani sunt.

“Next time, “Where’s Wally?” has the chance to go to a famous battlefield.



Filed under Film & TV, History, Humour, military, Nottingham, Personal

31 responses to “Pictures from my past (2)

  1. Ah. I remember the Beezer. We had it from the first issue. Fine details from the book.

    • The annuals were always good with some excellent double page pictures. One I no longer have is the scene from Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island” where they discover a huge crab and fight a battle against it.
      Unfortunately, there is no signature on this particular one although it is nowhere near the class of Frank Hampson in the Eagle or Don Lawrence with his Trigan Empire in Ranger.

  2. One of my favourite TV shows when I was a boy. There was a spin off film called “Sword of Sherwood Forest”, Peter Cushing played the Sheriff. Thanks for the memory nudge,

    • It was a wonderful series. In later years my Dad would recount to one and all the arguments we used to have because the woman who did “Picture Book” on BBC came to be Maid Marian on ITV.
      I, of course, as a five or six year old, could not understand how on earth she could be two people at once, and also travel in time. Happy days, and it’s well worth buying the box sets on DVD, as is William Tell.

      • Another of my favourites. Also Ivanhoe, The Lone Ranger and The Range Rider.

      • On your recommendation I watched a couple of episodes on Youtube. Really corny but I enjoyed them. I had forgotten how many stars were in the shows especially Paul Eddington. One episode I watched had Leslie Phillips and Donald Pleasance.

      • Absolutely! Less recognisable is John Schlesinger who appeared in at least one episode and wrote a couple as well. He was later to win an Oscar for Midnight Cowboy as a director and to make a number of good films:
        There are also tales that American actors and writers were involved in some episodes of Robin Hood. They had fled their own country because in the crazy atmosphere of the time, they had been accused of being dirty Commies and could not therefore find work.

      • I’ll watch some more today. Kim thinks I have got lockdown fever!

  3. It is important when travelling to know the emergency numbers. It is a bit arrogant to assume that every country will automatically use your number.
    I must have lived a very shallow life, because we did not have magazines like that and I saw my first TV when I was 17.

    • Wikipedia reveals that numbers to use in emergencies might be 999, 911, 55, 112, 000,111,110,119,190, 919, 1548, 113, 132, 114, 1730, 993, 118 and many others. Best to check before you go!
      As for TV, many English people bought one for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, with ITV, the second channel, arriving around 1957 or 8. We got colour sets for the 1968 Olympics and the 1970 World Cup.

  4. jackchatterley

    Alan Wheatley has something in common with me: both of us are translators. He translated some poems by Federico García Lorca when he was working for the BBC.

    • He must have been a very talented man because he was certainly a very good actor who appeared in a lot of b/w British films of the 1950s. Imdb reveals he was the first person ever to be killed by a Dalek in Dr Who!

  5. Jan

    That scene from Hadrian’s Wall reminds me of when the Picts nicked the goalposts from The Colosseum

  6. Those annuals of comics were always popular at Christmas. We had two or three every year and really looked forward to opening them up and seeing what was inside. I don’t know if they are as popular today as they were then, I suspect not.

    • There is certainly a “Match of the Day Annual” so I then looked at “amazon-books-annuals” and I was really surprised to see how many there were. Dennis the Menace and Desperate Dan are definitely alive and well, and so are loads more!

      • When we returned to school in September we used Denise the menace as a PSHE topic. It’s quite hard getting originals as the modern Denise has been ‘influenced’ by the PC Brigade!

  7. Chris Waller

    That brings back memories. It was one of the first children’s series I watched on our recently acquired television. I can vividly remember Robin Hood and all the main characters in it. Alan Wheatley certainly gave us an eminently hissable Sheriff of Nottingham. I can even remember the theme song (“Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen …”). I had completely forgotten the Beezer, but then my memory for some things is getting rather moth-eaten, i.e. full of holes.

    • The easiest way to bring back some of those memories is to buy electronic versions of comics on ebay. I just search for “comic DVD” on “All categories” and there are large numbers of every comic from yesteryear for sale, all at very low prices.
      The Robin Hood series is available as a number of different boxsets and that too is quite acceptable viewing even after all these years.

  8. My Mom did not allow us to watch TV so this is foreign to me. Enjoyed your post, however, John.

  9. John Knifton

    Glad to hear it, Amy.

  10. Jan

    The biggest eye-openers are the football annuals from the 1960s and 1970s. Top stars of the era let the Shoot team have a peek into life off the pitch. Man.United legend Denis Law shows off the new hi-fi in the sitting room of his very modest house; Liverpool signing Alan Hanson’s dream car is a Ford Capri, but he still has to pass his driving test. England regular Alan Mullery has opened a newsagent shop and might team up with Terry Venables for another exciting business venture.

    As Jim Bowen used to say “look at what you could have won: if only you played today”.

    • Twenty or so years ago I bought some Topical Times football books from Geoff Blore on Mansfield Road, and you are absolutely right. Players then lived simple lives which would seem incredible to the footballers of today with their Bentleys and their Rolex watches.
      And yet, as Danny Blanchflower famously said, “This is the Glory Game”, and I have more respect for Derby’s Kevin Hector than a thousand Andy Carrolls.

  11. Jan

    I know two-times Rams manager Schteeev McClaren has his denigrators but he once gave a fascinating interview (when he was Jim Smith’s number 2) on the problems he foresaw of managing and motivating increasingly wealthy players in the wake of the Bosman ruling.

    No posties rounds for yer modern players!

  12. Fascinating and beautiful cards.

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