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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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Friday, 7 June 2019

Cheeky – The Whoopee Years – The Cheeky Section

The survivors from Cheeky Weekly found themselves, as of the inevitable 'merge' that followed the cancellation of their comic, gathered within the central 16 pages of Whoopee! for the first 30 combined issues. This new home for the Cheeky Weekly refugees was referred to in the issues in question as the 'Cheeky Comic', but since Cheeky Weekly is often referred to as Cheeky, to avoid confusion I am calling the Whoopee! and Cheeky comic-within-comic the Cheeky Section or CS.

In this first examination of the toothy funster's post-Cheeky Weekly career, I'm going to document his appearances within that Cheeky Section.

What a Cheek

The 'cover' of the first CS consisted of our toothy pal's ugly mug alongside the announcement of free Friend of Cheeky badges. However subsequent issues of the CS (with two exceptions) carried the What a Cheek strip on the front page. What a Cheek was of course Cheeky Weekly's cover strip for 41 issues, and the CS version continued the same format of a single gag presented over several panels. Whereas the Cheeky Weekly run of What a Cheek each featured a single row of 3 panels, the CS revival of the strip was allocated more space and thus each instalment had the opportunity to span more panels. However, with effect from the third issue of Whoopee! and Cheeky, What a Cheek ceded some space to a companion strip at the foot of the CS 'cover'. This new, untitled and single-row-of-panels strip featured Snail and from its inception would always accompany What a Cheek.

In the 15 March 1980 edition, the CS cover was taken up with the announcement of 'Bungles in the Jungle', the first of Cheeky's movie spoofs, so there was no What a Cheek that week. In the comic dated 03 May 1980 What a Cheek was for some unaccountable reason shifted to CS page 5.

All the What a Cheeks were printed in colour, even the aforementioned shifted to-page-5 occurence dated 03 May 1980.

Some What a Cheek strips featured Cheeky and a member of the established supporting cast, while others saw our toothy pal engage with a previously (and subsequently) unseen character. Frank McDiarmid drew all 28 CS What a Cheeks. The strip's Whoopee! and Cheeky demise coincided with the abandonment of the Cheeky Comic-within-comic concept following the 04 October 1980 edition.



It's Cheeky

The first Cheeky strip to appear in the CS was titled It's Cheeky (because, as you will recall, What a Cheek began in the second week of the Whoopee! and Cheeky merge), and was very much a continuation of the format of Cheeky’s daily strips from Cheeky Weekly, i.e. in each episode our toothy pal was depicted wandering the streets exchanging gags with his pals. The first instalment was drawn by Mike Lacey, but Frank McDiarmid drew the subsequent strips. Each It's Cheeky episode of this initial run covered 4 pages, and the feature appeared in the first 5 issues of Whoopee! and Cheeky. 



Frank McDiarmid's first It's Cheeky
Whoopee! and Cheeky 16 February 1980.
Bubblegum Boy is still aloft


Cheeky announced ‘We’re planning big changes on my pages’ at the commencement of the It’s Cheeky strip in the issue dated 08 March 1980. During his stroll around town, he was seen being measured for a costume and being filmed for publicity purposes. The big reveal came in the last panel – this was to be the final It’s Cheeky strip of the feature’s initial run (a Cheeky strip with the same title would commence a 16-issue run in Whoopee dated 30 January 1982, although reduced to a single page each week), and our toothy pal was all set to appear on the silver screen.



Rather surprisingly Louise was not seen among the supporting cast in this first run of It’s Cheeky.

You may be wondering why the initial run of It's Cheeky spanned just 5 issues - I'll share my own thoughts about that below.

Cheeky Film Productions

As mentioned earlier, the cover of the CS dated 15 March 1980 was given over to the announcement of Cheeky's new vehicle, a movie spoof titled Bungles in the Jungle, under a Cheeky Film Productions banner.


It seems Cheeky's role was changed before filming commenced, as the animal skin he was handed a week earlier was not in evidence. Maybe it was originally planned that the toothy funster would portray a Tarzan-style character. Whatever the reason, we should be grateful we were spared the sight of Cheeky's bare legs.

The strip saw Cheeky and pals transported to the steaming tropical undergrowth to conduct their usual gag-swapping activities.

Bungles in the Jungle was a 3-page set drawn by Frank McDiarmid.

Cheeky Movie Masterpiece

A week after Cheeky's jungle japes, our grinning pal and his Krazy Town cronies were back in another motion picture pastiche, but this time under a new banner, reading 'Another movie masterpiece starring Cheeky!' Our comical cast were on this occasion spoofing films set in prehistoric times with an offering titled Cave Raves (and this time readers were subjected to the unedifying spectacle of the grinning gagster's lower extremities).


There followed a further 22 Movie Masterpieces starring our toothy pal with support from a variety of his Krazy Town chums, spoofing various film genres. You can probably guess which types of film were being referenced from the titles - subtlety was something that never troubled the creator of the Cheeky scripts.

Cover Date Movie Masterpiece
22-MAR-80 Cave Raves
29-MAR-80 The Space Between Your Ears
05-APR-80 King of the Castle
19-APR-80 Fooling all Cops
26-APR-80 Ho-Ho Seven to the Rescue
03-MAY-80 Monster from the Deep
10-MAY-80 The Big Shot
14-JUN-80 Escape
28-JUN-80 The Castle Caper
05-JUL-80 Planet of the Japes
12-JUL-80 Necks Please
19-JUL-80 Dr Doodle-Little
26-JUL-80 Alfred-The-Not-Too-Bad
02-AUG-80 Racing Stars
09-AUG-80 Robinson Ho-Ho
16-AUG-80 Taking A Dive
23-AUG-80 The Sand Castle
30-AUG-80 Mobs Rule OK
06-SEP-80 Young Dick Turnip
13-SEP-80 Goodbye Sailor
20-SEP-80 Gulliver's Troubles
27-SEP-80 Beware of the Jellymen
04-OCT-80 M*A*T*H

One of my favourites is Planet of the Japes, in which spaceman Cheeky encounters much simian silliness.

I like Snail's space suit

Although she was seen in silhouette seated next to the toothy funster in the Movie Masterpiece title banners, Louise made her somewhat belated Whoopee! and Cheeky strip debut during 19 July's Dr Doodle-Little, in which she, of course, played a love bird.

Most Movie Masterpieces ended with a 'trailer' - a caption informing readers of the title of the following week's film.

All the Movie Masterpieces were drawn by Frank McDiarmid.

There was no Movie Masterpiece in Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 12 April 1980 - instead of film fun, Cheeky was seen indulging in Easter gags.

The final Movie Masterpiece was entitled M*A*T*H, set in a Mend-A-Toy Hospital and spoofing the 1970 black comedy film (and later TV series) set during the Korean War, M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). Instead of the trailer that week, readers were informed of changes ahead.



The appearance of M*A*T*H coincided with the final Cheeky Section.

My guess is that the Whoopee! and Cheeky editor felt that in order to fully appreciate the humour on display in the film spoofs, readers who had not previously encountered Cheeky would first need to be acquainted with the toothy funster's supporting cast in their natural state, and that's why the 5 week run of It's Cheeky preceded the Movie Masterpieces.

The Masterpieces were a refreshing change to the familiar Cheeky format, which by 1980 was approaching 4 years old and could be seen as getting a little stale. Possibly the relatively short Masterpiece run (despite the use of the word 'rest' in the caption above, which implies it would return, no further Cheeky movies were seen) was due to the script writer exhausting his stock of movie scenarios and gags,

Cheeky's Easter

As mentioned above, the run of Movie Masterpieces was interrupted in Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 12 April 1980 as the toothy funster's film funny was replaced by a one-off strip titled Cheeky's Easter. The 4-page replacement feature, drawn by Frank McDiarmid, reverted to the well-worn format established all those years before in Krazy, whereby our grinning pal was seen sharing witticisms with his supporting cast, although on this occasion as the title implies, Cheeky was cracking jokes pertaining to eggs.


I'll be examining Cheeky's fortunes following the demise of the Cheeky Section in future posts.

2 comments:

  1. shame it ended...love the movie spoofs...even more has an adult..

    ReplyDelete