Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!


Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!
Cheeky Weekly ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

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*** CHEEKY WEEKLY, KRAZY, WHOOPEE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS ARE ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ***

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Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 4

Some might be of the opinion that to print another set of Top Ten results in the 21 August 1982 edition of Whoopee!, just 2 weeks after the previous Top Ten, was a bit premature. The editor was clearly keen to stimulate responses to the voting coupons, which would be printed 7 times during 1982, so probably felt that the appearance of another list of lucky recipients of the £2 on offer to those fortunate enough to have their completed coupon drawn from whatever receptacle they were stored in would persuade more readers to send in their preferences.

In view of the short amount of time between these results and the previous ones, in this post I won't do my usual analysis of the enders/starters/ongoing strips.

Despite the brief interval between the two sets of results, there had been some movement by our ex-Cheeky Weekly chums...

Whoopee! 21 August 1982

Mustapha Million continued to be the most popular character from Cheeky Weekly (although having slipped from the premier position which he'd occupied on 2 previous occasions), retaining his 4th place, but Calculator Kid had moved up one notch, to secure 5th position. However, the kids of Stage School hadn't been as fortunate, slipping from number 8 to number 10. Yet again Gran, Paddywack and poor old Cheeky failed to make an impression on the top 10.

My examination of the fortunes of the ex-Cheeky Weekly funny folk in the Whoopee Top Ten polls will continue in future posts.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 3

The previous post in this series concluded with the Top Ten results printed in the issue dated 20 February 1982...



The next results appeared in the 07 August 1982 edition. Top Ten voting coupons had by then been printed in the 29 May, 26 June and 31 July comics (clearly the votes sent in response to the latter coupon would have been received too late to be included in the 07 August results). Small voting coupons also appeared on most Whoopee Chit-Chat letters pages - readers were asked to complete and return the coupon when responding to the participation features.

To understand what features were appearing in the comic between the previous results and those of 07 August 1982, let's first examine those that had ended between the two dates, which could be seen as the features being culled for failing to garner sufficient votes in the intervening period...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
06-FEB-82 27-FEB-82 Go to the Pictures - Free
20-FEB-82 06-MAR-82 Enter For Frankie's Monster Awards
28-MAR-81 27-MAR-82 Mother's Day Messages
28-NOV-81 03-APR-82 The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk
08-NOV-80 24-APR-82 Blinketty Blink
13-MAR-82 24-APR-82 Fun-Fear
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Smiler's Smile-In
10-JAN-81 24-APR-82 The Cavers
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Whoopee Chit-Chat
03-OCT-81 24-APR-82 Willie Bunk
30-JAN-82 15-MAY-82 It's Cheeky (second run)
01-MAY-82 22-MAY-82 Crazy Graffiti book
24-JUL-82 31-JUL-82 Bullseye Game instructions
24-JUL-82 07-AUG-82 Bullseye Game

A significant loss for me in this period is the antedeluvian antics of The Cavers, but clearly my enjoyment of the strip wasn't shared by enough readers to prevent it from being curtailed. Willie had done a bunk, both in his Willie Bunk (new strips) and The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk (occasional reprint) guises. Fun-Fear was also a reprint, returning in March 1982 as an occasional filler pending the comic's revamp in May. You'll notice that 6 features, including participation pages Whoopee Chit-Chat and Smiler's Smile-In, came to an end in the 24 April 1982 issue. This was because the following edition announced itself as having a 'new look', sported a new, two-coloured title design and included '3 fantastic new stories', which appear on the table of features starting between the poll results...But before we look at that, I'll mention that the toothy funster's turbulent post-Whoopee-merge career underwent yet another refashioning as It's Cheeky (a second run for him with that title), ended 2 weeks after the comic's new look was introduced.

This is the promised list of features starting between the poll results...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
27-MAR-82 25-JUN-83 Little Ed
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Beaky
01-MAY-82 25-SEP-82 Frankie's Monster Awards
01-MAY-82 25-SEP-82 Jimmy Fixit
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Kids of Class Five
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Smile-In
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Whoopee Winners
22-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Cheeky (second run)

David Mostyn's Little Ed was actually introduced just over a month ahead of the May '82 revamp, and was a lively, fun strip, with the titular character (Ed being short for Editor) devising different genres of story each week and instructing the artist (whose hand and pen were seen in the strip) on how the narrative should progress. Maybe this strip was influenced by the real Whoopee editor's struggles with its contents. Of the features commencing on 01 May, Beaky was a rather tedious strip, possibly inspired by Rod Hull's aggressive avian associate, concerning a large bird, Jimmy Fixit was entirely forgettable (its association, by reason of its title, with a certain TV programme of the time is now extremely unfortunate), and Kids of Class Five was a quite diverting series, which veered more towards the dramatic than the humorous, and bore similarities to the long-running Grange Hill TV drama (the subject of an earlier IPC title and a later spin-off, prequel strip in the publisher's School Fun). The editor presumably felt that a non-humour strip was necessary to replace the similarly dramatic Willie Bunk, although the arrival of the Kids brought to a total of 3 the number of school-based stories (Stage School and Teacher's Pets were also running at this point) and possibly risked alienating readers who sought refuge from educational matters in their leisure reading. Cheeky's fortunes underwent another overhaul 3 weeks after the above-mentioned 'new look' issue, as his strip reverted to being titled Cheeky, but maintained, for the period in question, its one-page-a-week footprint.

What strips/features were ongoing?...

 
START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
09-FEB-80 25-JUN-83 Smiler
09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bookworm
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bumpkin Billionaires
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Calculator Kid
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Frankie Stein
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Lolly Pop
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Mustapha Million
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Paddywack
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Stage School
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Sweeny Toddler
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Toy Boy
16-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Chip
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results
01-NOV-80 27-OCT-84 Guy Fawkes Mask
21-MAR-81 27-NOV-82 Whoopee It's Quiz Time
09-MAY-81 25-JUN-83 Robot Granny
12-SEP-81 25-JUN-83 Tom Horror's World
31-OCT-81 05-NOV-83 Guy Fawkes Supermask
02-JAN-82 25-JUN-83 Teacher's Pets

Calculator Kid was carrying on with the format established way back in Cheeky Weekly, helmed as ever by the always-reliable Terry Bave. Stage School was also unchanged from its early days in the toothy funster's comic. Paddywack, who had enjoyed a run of full-page stories following his stint on the front cover, was finding his strip reduced to just half a page with increasing regularity. Gran was continuing in her Robot Granny phase which had been introduced following her failure to return to the top ten after dropping out as $6,000,000 Gran in the 15 November 1980 poll results, and Mustapha Million carried on, as generous as ever.

So what was the readers' verdict as reflected in the 07 August 1982 results?...



Mustapha had slipped from 3rd to 4th position. Calculator Kid had dropped 2 places from number 4 to number 6. The kids of Stage School were down from 7th to 8th place. Gran, Paddywack and Cheeky again failed to register anywhere among the top ten.

I'll be continuing my examination of the fortunes of the ex-Cheeky Weekly funny folk in the Whoopee Top Ten polls in future posts.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 2

Before commencing this second part of my examination of the fortunes of our ex-Cheeky Weekly chums in the popularity polls following their absorption into Whoopee, I have to apologise because the version of the first part that I originally posted was in fact incomplete. I have therefore updated it, taking the opportunity to also correct an erroneous reference to the date of the demise of Ivor Swap.

The previous post in this series concluded with the Top Ten results printed in the issue dated 20 June 1981...


...it was later revealed that the Bumpkin Billionaires secured 2nd place, and at number 1 was Mustapha Million.

The next results appeared in the 20 February 1982 edition. No Top Ten voting coupon was printed in the intervening period, so the results were compiled from the small voting coupons that appeared on most Whoopee Chit-Chat letters pages - readers were asked to complete and return the coupon when responding to the participation features.

To understand what features were appearing in the comic between the previous results and those of 20 February 1982, let's first examine those that had ended between the two dates...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
01-MAR-80 20-JUN-81 Dads As Lads
04-JUL-81 18-JUL-81 The Young Road Traveller's Handbook
11-OCT-80 05-SEP-81 Cheeky
12-SEP-81 26-SEP-81 The Spectacular New Adventures of Willie Bunk
03-OCT-81 24-OCT-81 How To Draw Comic Strips book two
31-OCT-81 07-NOV-81 The Firework Code
16-FEB-80 28-NOV-81 Ivor Swap
01-MAR-80 05-DEC-81 Claws V Caws
23-FEB-80 12-DEC-81 Sheerluck and Son
09-FEB-80 19-DEC-81 Supermum
12-SEP-81 26-DEC-81 Cheeky's Pal
12-SEP-81 02-JAN-82 Cheeky's Snail
12-SEP-81 02-JAN-82 Tee-Hee TV News
16-FEB-80 16-JAN-82 Blabbermouth
02-JAN-82 23-JAN-82 Cheeky Diary 1982
09-JAN-82 23-JAN-82 Cheeky Diary 1982 Instructions
12-SEP-81 23-JAN-82 Cheeky's Week
06-DEC-80 13-FEB-82 Pest Of The West

In this period all the strips that had appeared in rotation under the Merry-Go-Round banner (Dads as Lads, Ivor Swap, Claws V Caws, Sheerluck and Son, Supermum and Blabbermouth) had come to an end. Willie Bunk, owner of a pair of magical spectacles, who had first appeared in Whizzer and Chips, had been revived under the title The Spectacular New Adventures of Willie Bunk, drawn by Frank McDiarmid, in the 12 September 1981 edition. However, as of the 03 October 1981 issue the title of his adventures became Willie Bunk (although they were still new and not reprint), so his New Adventures run is listed in the above table. The cowboy comedy of reprinted Pest Of The West strips had also moseyed out of town. Cheeky's eponymous 4-pages-a-week strip had finished as of 05 September 1981, allowing Frank McD to begin work on the aforementioned Willie Bunk revival which made its debut the following week. Following the cancellation of the Cheeky strip, the toothy funster's allocation of weekly space was reduced to 2 pages, in an arrangement whereby his new strip, Cheeky's Week, shared the centre pages with strips entitled Cheeky's Pal, Cheeky's Snail and Tee-Hee TV News. Sadly, this attempt to revive our grinning pal's fortunes was evidently unsuccessful as all these strips were dropped by the end of January 1982.

What had started in the same time period?...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
12-SEP-81 25-JUN-83 Tom Horror's World
03-OCT-81 24-APR-82 Willie Bunk
31-OCT-81 05-NOV-83 Guy Fawkes Supermask
28-NOV-81 03-APR-82 The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk
02-JAN-82 25-JUN-83 Teacher's Pets
30-JAN-82 15-MAY-82 It's Cheeky (second run)
06-FEB-82 27-FEB-82 Go to the Pictures - Free
20-FEB-82 06-MAR-82 Enter For Frankie's Monster Awards

The first impression is that the 'enders' far outnumber the 'starters', but that's of course because 6 of the features ending were being rotated on the Merry-Go-Round so weren't appearing every week. Willie Bunk appears twice in the above table - as mentioned earlier, following 3 weeks under the title The Spectacular New Adventures of Willie Bunk, the young optically-enhanced hero went on to appear under the more succinct, non-eyewear-referencing heading of Willie Bunk. However, on 2 occasions during the period under review, reprints appeared entitled The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk. Reg Parlett's Teacher's Pets had begun, the editor clearly not troubled by doubts that readers would find another school-based strip (Stage School was of course a fixture of the comic at this time) a surfeit of classroom capers. Another lurch in Cheeky's career occurred with the launch of a second run of strips titled It's Cheeky, this time contracting to just to a single page per week.

What strips/features were ongoing?...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Smiler's Smile-In
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Whoopee Chit-Chat
09-FEB-80 25-JUN-83 Smiler
09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bookworm
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bumpkin Billionaires
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Calculator Kid
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Frankie Stein
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Lolly Pop
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Mustapha Million
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Paddywack
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Stage School
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Sweeny Toddler
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Toy Boy
16-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Chip
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results
01-NOV-80 27-OCT-84 Guy Fawkes Mask
08-NOV-80 24-APR-82 Blinketty Blink
10-JAN-81 24-APR-82 The Cavers
21-MAR-81 27-NOV-82 Whoopee It's Quiz Time
28-MAR-81 27-MAR-82 Mother's Day Messages
09-MAY-81 25-JUN-83 Robot Granny

Calculator Kid, Mustapha Million and Stage School continued with their formats unchanged since being transferred into Whoopee. Paddywack had been thrust to stardom on the front cover and his strip expanded, but he was then demoted to the interior although securing a whole page. Gran had been transformed from her former $6,000,000 incarnation into Robot Granny.

So what was the readers' verdict on the comic's contents as revealed in the 20 February 1982 poll results?...


The Billionaires had bumped Mustapha from his former top spot to number 3. Calculator Kid was up one place to number 4. The aspiring showbiz stars of Stage School had moved up the bill from 10th to 7th place. Gran and Paddywack were unplaced despite the changes wrought to their strips, as was Cheeky, notwithstanding the considerable efforts made to find a format for him that would prove popular.

I'll be continuing my examination of the fortunes of the ex-Cheeky Weekly funny folk in the Whoopee Top Ten polls in future posts.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Cheeky's Contribution to Comic History is Marked

The current issue of Infinity magazine (No 27) includes an article about Cheeky Weekly, written by Mark Campbell (who contributed a piece about Krazy in issue 22).

This latest examination of the toothy funster's own comic gives a good flavour of the title, starting with an overview of the contents of the first issue, explaining the 'framed' nature of all the non-Cheeky strips within an ongoing narrative which made the comic unique among the wide variety of companion and competitor titles jostling for shelf space in the newsagents of the late 70s. A brief history of the development and demise of the comic then follows which, together with a nice selection of images from the comic and a rendition of Cheeky and pals by Frank McDiarmid that was specially commissioned by Mark a few years back, makes for a satisfying 4-page piece. The nod to this blog is appreciated. Also included in the issue is a letter contributed by Steve Matthews who explains how Cheeky expanded his comic appearances from Krazy to the other titles in which he appeared. Apparently the piece was condensed from material Steve had written for his Krazy Fansite on Facebook, but as I don't frequent Facebook I can't tell you anything about that, so you'll have to seek it out yourselves.

I bought the digital version of Infinity, at just £2.00.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Cheeky's Sneaky Syrup Snatch!

My thanks to Stephen Archer for alerting me to this shocking incident, featuring uncharacteristic behaviour by our toothy chum.

Readers who have been following this blog for some time will be aware that I have been examining the involvement of ex-Cheeky Weekly characters in the cross-comic 'raids' that were a feature of Whizzer and Chips. My starting point for this series of posts was the amalgamation of Whoopee into W&C as of April 1985.

However Cheeky had of course been appearing in Whizzer and Chips for some years before that mighty title welcomed aboard the survivors from Whoopee - The Krazy Gang, which numbered the toothy funster amongst its members, had been inducted into the Chips section following W&C's absorption of Krazy in April 1978.

In Whizzer and Chips dated 19 March 1983, Cheeky was dispatched across the border into Whizzer, to intrude upon the retail rivalry between Bloggs and Mr Superstore...

Art: Barrie Appleby


Rather presciently, in response to the viral menace abroad on the streets of Whizztown, the responsible Bloggs and his assistant Ted are wearing face coverings as the strip commences, but remove them rather prematurely in my view. Selling sneezing powder is not something the authorities today would condone. Anyway, the other interesting thing about this strip is Cheeky's rather cruel intervention. The toothy funster was always a gagster rather than a prankster, so his actions aren't in keeping with his normal disposition. Joker would have been more likely to carry out this kind of thing, but he was of course a Whizz-kid, so wouldn't undertake a raid on his fellow Whizzer inhabitants.

This is how the raid was reported the following week, first by a gleeful Shiner on the Chip-ites page...



and by a disgruntled Sid on the Whizz-kids page...


Let's have a look at what Cheeky was up to as a member of the Krazy Gang in the same issue in which he perpetrated his hair-raising raid on Bloggs.

Art: Bob Hill

I like Brainy's elongated arms




Thursday, 18 June 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 1

This post updated 26 June 2020 to include examination of poll results dated 20 June 1981 and strike through incorrect reference to the date of Ivor Swap's demise.

The first solicitation for readers to submit votes for their top ten features following the Cheeky Weekly merge appeared in the fourth combined issue to be published, dated 01 March 1980. The cut-out coupon, which was printed within the Cheeky Section, was accompanied by images of 3 ex-Cheeky Weekly stars - the toothy funster himself plus Mustapha Million and Calculator Kid along with, in the interests of balance, a similar number of Whoopee stalwarts – Sweeny Toddler, Pa Bumpkin and Lolly Pop. Any nerves these six characters were feeling as they anticipated the poll results with trepidation were not evident, as all were depicted smiling confidently.


 
The following week a coupon presenting readers with a less-structured and not-as-capacious voting choice, but giving them the opportunity to identify their least-liked feature, was printed on the Whoopee Chit-Chat letters page…


...and this small coupon appeared on most of the Whoopee letters pages until the final Whoopee Chit-Chat in the 24 April 1982 edition. A new letters page entitled Whoopee Winners then commenced, but no further small coupons were included.

Returning to the much-anticipated (not least by the creative teams generating the strips, whose livelihoods depended on positive reader feedback regarding their efforts) results of the first Top Ten Poll, the relative popularity of the comic's contents, at least in the combined opinions of those who had responded, were revealed in the 10 May 1980 edition, along with the names of the 25 lucky readers whose votes had been drawn from the editor’s battered trilby, qualifying them for a £2 prize drawn from, possibly, the editor's battered wallet. Sadly, there was no mention of the number of votes cast, but our Cheeky chums did rather well, with Mustapha occupying the number 1 spot, Calculator Kid at number 4, $6,000,000 Gran in 7th place and Stage School coming in at number 8. The Cheekmeister himself didn’t feature in the top ten (clearly readers had not been swayed in their choices by the presence of his tooth-packed countenance on the original voting coupon), nor did Paddywack. The absence of Cheeky from the results must have concerned the editor, since our toothy pal was occupying 5 pages of the comic each week at the time.

10 May 1980


The next Top Ten voting coupon was published in the edition dated 26 July 1980, appearing within the Cheeky Section for the second and final time. Let's examine the changes that had occurred in the comic since the merge up to the date of the new voting coupon, to get an idea of the contents on which the votes were based.

What strips had start dates spanning the second issue of the combined Whoopee! and Cheeky and its 26 July 1980 edition? 

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
16-FEB-80 16-JAN-82 Blabbermouth
16-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Chip
16-FEB-80 28-NOV-81 Ivor Swap
16-FEB-80 04-OCT-80 What a Cheek
23-FEB-80 12-DEC-81 Sheerluck and Son
23-FEB-80 04-OCT-80 Snail (untitled)
01-MAR-80 05-DEC-81 Claws V Caws
01-MAR-80 20-JUN-81 Dads As Lads
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
22-MAR-80 04-OCT-80 Cheeky Movie Masterpiece
26-APR-80 22-NOV-80 Potty Pix
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results
19-JUL-80 07-FEB-81 Picture The Editor

I know - the comic historians among you will be screaming 'Blabbermouth didn't start in the 16 February 1980 edition - he had been appearing in Whoopee! before the Cheeky merge', and you are of course correct (the same applies to Ivor Swap, Sheerluck and Son, Claws VS Caws and Dads As Lads). However, I've included them here partly because, from the point of view of former Cheeky Weekly readers who had decided to follow their fun-pals into Whoopee! and Cheeky, but with no knowledge of the pre-merge Whoopee!, they were new strips, but also because my Whoopee collection begins with the first Cheeky-merged issue, so there's no data in my database for the comic prior to the 09 February 1980 edition! All the strips mentioned in this paragraph appeared, following the Cheeky merge, under the banner of 'Merry-Go-Round', the editor's way of trying to placate any long-term Whoopee readers who were fans of those strips, as the M-G-R feature rotated them on a weekly basis rather than dropping them entirely. Quite regularly 2 features under the M-G-R banner would appear in a single issue, as was the case with the 01 March 1980 edition which contained both Claws VS Caws and Dads As Lads. The mighty matriarch Supermum was another strip to appear on the M-G-R pages, but she was included in the first combined Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 09 February 1980 thus her start date falls outside the window that is the focus of the above table.

OK, so having got that explanation out of the way, we can see that in the period between the first and second Top Ten voting coupons, 5 existing strips that were new to former Cheeky Weekly readers had appeared, as had Cheeky's new vehicle, What a Cheek, and the untitled new feature concerning the back yard escapades of the toothy funster's mollusc mate, Snail. Cheeky himself had a new vehicle, the film spoofery which began as Cheeky Film Productions then a week later became Cheeky Movie Masterpiece. The less-than-scintillating C**p had also taken up unwelcome (in my view) residence in the Cheeky Section.

So now let's identify the features which finished between the second issue of the combined Whoopee! and Cheeky and its 26 July 1980 edition...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
09-FEB-80 01-MAR-80 Fib Card Game
08-MAR-80 29-MAR-80 Ticklish Allsports Booklet
15-MAR-80 15-MAR-80 Bungles in the Jungle inside
15-MAR-80 15-MAR-80 Cheeky Film Productions
29-MAR-80 29-MAR-80 Sports Spectacular Competition
29-MAR-80 29-MAR-80 Top Class Comics Competition Winners
12-APR-80 12-APR-80 4 Papers Boots Competition
12-APR-80 12-APR-80 Cheeky's Easter
26-APR-80 26-APR-80 British Airways Junior Jet Club Competition Results
10-MAY-80 10-MAY-80 Jumbo X-Word

...so all the strips that came to a conclusion in the period in question were the toothy funster's. It's Cheeky retired after just 5 issues, but my theory is that its function was to introduce the toothy funster and his Krazy Town pals so that readers previously unfamiliar with the characters had a chance to see them in their 'natural' state before the movie spoofs began. I'm assuming of course that the introduction of the spoofs was planned before Cheeky Weekly was merged into Whoopee! Bungles in the Jungle inside was the announcement of the first movie-related strip on the cover of the Cheeky Section, and only appeared once. Although B-in-the-J was the title of the toothy funster's first film outing, it was the sub-heading under the strip's main title of Cheeky Film Productions. However the following week the main title changed to Cheeky Movie Masterpiece (which is shown in the table of starters above since it was still running as of 26 July 1980). Our grinning hero also had a one-off Easter strip with the rather prosaic title of Cheeky's Easter.

For a complete view of the newly-amalgamated comic's contents, let's look at the continuing strips in the period (i.e. those whose start dates were earlier than 16 Feb 1980 and end dates were later than 26 July 1980 (start dates are shown as 09 February 1980 for the reasons explained above, and please note that Cover Feature is how I identify anything that appears on a cover that is not a strip, e.g. the announcement of a competition or free gift, or promotion of the contents of the issue)...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
09-FEB-80 02-MAY-81 $6,000,000 Gran
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bookworm
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bumpkin Billionaires
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Calculator Kid
09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Frankie Stein
09-FEB-80 15-MAY-82 It's Cheeky
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Lolly Pop
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Mustapha Million
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Paddywack
09-FEB-80 25-OCT-80 Scared-Stiff Sam
09-FEB-80 25-JUN-83 Smiler
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Smiler's Smile-In
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Stage School
09-FEB-80 19-DEC-81 Supermum
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Sweeny Toddler
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Toy Boy
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Whoopee Chit-Chat

So the above line-up, plus those lited in the table of 'starters' above, was what readers would be voting on when they sent in their completed coupons from the 26 July 1980 comic. Some readers, nostalgic for the days prior to the recent merge (long-time Whoopee! fans who objected to the influx of Cheeky-related material, as well as fans of the toothy funster still mourning the demise of his title), may of course have voted for strips that finished some time earlier, hoping they would be reinstated.

The next poll results to be published appeared in the edition dated 15 November 1980...

15 November 1980

Mustapha maintains first position, Calculator Kid moves up from 4th to 2nd place, Stage School is up from number 8 to number 6. $6,000,000 Gran drops off the list entirely, having been at number 7 last time. Once again the page-hogging Cheeky fails to make the grade, as does Paddywack, which is rather odd since the bumbling buffoon was promoted to a run as Whoopee's front cover strip in the week before these latest poll results were printed.

Readers of the time clearly didn't share my distaste for C**p, since the irksome infiltrator into the Cheeky Section was ranked at number 10.

The next Top Ten Results were presented in the issue dated 20 June 1981 (5 weeks before the final issue of the Whoopee! and Cheeky era), although no Top Ten vote coupons had appeared in the intervening period. We have to assume that this set of results was compiled from the small, 'favourite/least liked' coupons appearing regularly on the Chit-Chat pages.

Once again, we'll look at the changes introduced to the comic between the 26 July 1980 edition (the cutoff date for the tables above) and that dated 20 June 1981. These are the features that started in the period...

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
11-OCT-80 30-MAR-85 Cheeky
01-NOV-80 27-OCT-84 Guy Fawkes Mask
08-NOV-80 24-APR-82 Blinketty Blink
06-DEC-80 13-FEB-82 Pest Of The West
10-JAN-81 24-APR-82 The Cavers
21-MAR-81 27-NOV-82 Whoopee It's Quiz Time
28-MAR-81 27-MAR-82 Mother's Day Messages
09-MAY-81 25-JUN-83 Robot Granny

The Cheeky strip commenced (replacing his Movie Masterpieces, but maintaining a 4-pages-per-week footprint). The hypnotic humorous hi-jinks of Mike Lacey's Blinketty Blink were new, but Pest of the West was a reprint from Wham! Jim Petrie's tales of the nutty neolithic neighbours The Cavers is a favourite of mine. $6,000,000 Gran had undergone a fairly major revamp to become Robot Granny, the changes possibly being introduced as a result of Gran having fallen off the top ten in the previous poll.

What had ended?

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
22-MAR-80 04-OCT-80 Cheeky Movie Masterpiece
23-FEB-80 04-OCT-80 Snail (untitled)
16-FEB-80 04-OCT-80 What a Cheek
09-FEB-80 25-OCT-80 Scared-Stiff Sam
11-OCT-80 01-NOV-80 How To Draw Comics Booklet
26-APR-80 22-NOV-80 Potty Pix
29-NOV-80 07-FEB-81 Picture The Editor
02-AUG-80 21-MAR-81 Toy Boy's Toy Talk
28-FEB-81 21-MAR-81 Whoopee Doubles card game
09-FEB-80 02-MAY-81 $6,000,000 Gran
16-AUG-80 30-MAY-81 Bookworm's Bookshelf
01-MAR-80 20-JUN-81 Dads As Lads

I've excluded a number of one-off competitions and puzzles from the above list.

As mentioned above, Movie Masterpieces had ended and the Robot Granny strip had replaced $6,000,000 Gran. Snail's untitled strip had also finished. Whoopee! stalwart and timorous twit Scared-Stiff Sam had come to an end. Merry-Go Round participants Ivor Swap and Dads as Lads enjoyed their final reminiscence in the issue in which these results appeared, but clearly readers hadn't appreciated the editor's attempt to sustain them by means of the M-G-R strategy.

What's not reflected in the tables above is the dropping of the concept of the centre pages being a Cheeky Comic within Whoopee, a conceit which came to an end in the 04 October 1980 issue, meaning the What a Cheek feature, which had functioned as the cover strip to the Cheeky Comic, was dropped as of that same week along with its accompanying untitled Snail feature.

My guess is that tying all the contents of the centre pages to a character who clearly wasn't as popular as the editor had hoped was deemed to be a bad idea.

Below is a list of the ongoing strips at the time.

START_DATE END_DATE CE_ELEMENT
09-FEB-80 19-DEC-81 Supermum
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Smiler's Smile-In
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Whoopee Chit-Chat
09-FEB-80 25-JUN-83 Smiler
09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bookworm
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bumpkin Billionaires
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Calculator Kid
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Frankie Stein
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Lolly Pop
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Mustapha Million
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Paddywack
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Stage School
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Sweeny Toddler
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Toy Boy
16-FEB-80 28-NOV-81 Ivor Swap
16-FEB-80 16-JAN-82 Blabbermouth
16-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Chip
23-FEB-80 12-DEC-81 Sheerluck and Son
01-MAR-80 20-JUN-81 Dads As Lads
01-MAR-80 05-DEC-81 Claws V Caws
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results


These are the results from the 20 June 1981 issue...



The format of the 20 June 1981 results was a little different, as the wily editor chose to delay the announcement of the two most popular features, informing readers that the holders of the top 3 places would be honoured with centre-page posters in forthcoming issues. As revealed by Irmantas, the second-placed feature was the Bumpkin Billionaires, while number one position was retained by Mustapha Million. Calculator Kid had fallen from number 2 to 5th place, and Stage School just scraped into the list in 10th place, having been at number 6 in the previous poll. Clearly the abandonment of Cheeky's Movie Masterpieces in favour of the Cheeky strip, which was a return to the more familiar Cheeky fare of his heyday, hadn't proved popular as the toothy funster still failed to enter the top ten. Gran's transition to Robot Granny also failed to return the character to her former position among the most popular strips. Paddywack was again absent from the top ten, and is probably the reason that the following issue would be the last to feature him as the front cover strip.

I'll be continuing my examination of the fortunes of the ex-Cheeky Weekly funny folk in Top Ten polls in future posts.