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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, 24 April 2020

The Whoopee Years - Paddywack

Lovable lunk Paddywack first bumbled his way into comic history in Cheeky Weekly issue number 38. At that time all the non-Cheeky strips in the comic were framed as being within the toothy funster’s universe, and the conceit around Paddywack saw him presented as the subject of a cartoon strip (within the Cheeky strip), drawn by Cheeky’s pal Doodle Doug. On Paddywack’s second Cheeky Weekly outing, the strip was accompanied by a caption asking readers to send in ‘Paddy Wack-type jokes’, and as of its 12 August 1978 appearance all the gags featured in the strips were based on those posted into the IPC office by youngsters hoping to win the £2 on offer to the first senders of jokes chosen for publication. Paddywack enjoyed 77 outings in Cheeky Weekly, and the perplexing poltroon was among the survivors who transferred into Whoopee when it absorbed the remnants of the toothy funster’s comic.

Paddywack's first
Whoopee! and Cheeky outing
Art: Jack Clayton as is all the art
in this post, unless noted otherwise

The prize money for successful Paddywack gag submissions was halved to just £1 as of the first combined Whoopee! and Cheeky, although a bonus prize of a whoopee cushion was added. Presumably the Paddywack jokes in the first few editions of the amalgamated title were originally submitted to Cheeky Weekly. Whether those readers whose gags appeared in the early days following the merge got the £2 promised in Cheeky’s comic or the reduced cash award plus bogus-flatus apparatus on offer in Whoopee!, and their feelings about whichever situation pertained, is something history does not record. The combined prize for a successful Paddywack gag was the same as that awarded to readers who had their letters printed on the Whoopee Chit-Chat letters page, although the sender of the week’s Star Letter would have their cash award boosted to a princely £2. The prize package was also the same as for the comic’s other reader-generated gag page, Smiler’s Smile-In, although the jokes on the ever-beaming little lad’s page of funnies were of the single-panel variety and he, like the Chit-Chat page, operated a two-tier reward system whereby the sender of the Smile of the Week would receive £2 + the unmentionable-noise-generating equipment.

In the first Whoopee! and Cheeky following their merge, Paddywack occupied a whole page, consisting of 3 gags, each of which spanned 3 panels. Subsequent issues saw the bumbling buffoon reduced to a single gag per week, each of which concluded in a single row of 3 panels. In the 19 April 1980 issue Paddywack’s strip was rather oddly placed above the second part of that week’s Stage School episode – usually it was at the foot of the page.

The lettering and image of Paddywack in the title was familiar to
readers of Cheeky Weekly


Mention of the whoopee cushion was dropped in the 10 May 1980 edition - readers were for the next few weeks informed that  successful entries would receive £1 plus an unspecified 'bonus award'. As of the 09 August 1980 comic, the bonus was revealed to be a Whoopee T-Shirt, although the cash element of the award remained at £1. From 30 August 1980 the design of the text and art surrounding the Paddywack strip underwent an overhaul.



Two Paddywack gags appeared in Whoopee! And Cheeky dated 04 October 1980, sharing the page with an announcement of the first instalment of Terry Bave’s How to Draw Comic Strips booklet in the following week’s issue. There was another double helping of our befuddled buddy in the 25 October 1980 edition, this time sharing the page with the announcement of presence of the traditional cut-out Guy Fawkes mask in the next issue. 


Paddywack's cover debut

A fortnight later Paddywack was promoted to the front page, where his joke was expanded to 4 panels plus a title panel containing an image of the titular twit which, as Paddy's cover run continued, would vary each week, often relating to the ensuing gag. The front cover jokes continued to be based on reader submissions, with the sender credited, but the solicitation for entries was relocated to the Whoopee Chit-Chat letters page. Paddywack’s front page appearances continued until the 27 December 1980 Christmas edition, the cover of which featured our muddled mate’s erstwhile Cheeky Weekly colleague Mustapha Million in a seasonal scene in which he transports Santa and his presents on a flying carpet. However a full page feature entitled Christmas with Paddywack was included inside the same issue.

Paddywack was back on the cover a week later, but reduced to a single row of 3 panels due to the announcement of the pull-out 1981 calender which occupied the centre pages.

The former 4-panels-plus-title Paddywack cover format then resumed for another 7 weeks. In that seventh week, cover dated 21 February 1981, an ominous announcement loomed at the top of the front page - ‘Great news for all readers – inside!’ However the headline did not indicate an imminent merger, but instead an impending free gift: the following issue (along with companion titles Buster, Jackpot and Tammy) would carry a free pack of Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A week later the presence of the chewy inducement sellotaped to the cover, plus the announcement of the pull-out Whoopee! Doubles card game commencing inside, saw Paddywack’s gag relocated to the comic’s interior, although the dithering dunderhead featured on one of the sample cards shown on the front page, alongside a selection of his Whoopee co-stars appearing on the first selection of cards on the centre pages (as the name of the game would suggest, successful execution of a round would require two of each card design, and Paddy's second card appearance was in the 07 March 1981 edition). The same ‘boom’ issue saw the cash element of the prize for successful Paddywack gag-furnishers increase to £2 – the Whoopee! T-shirt was maintained. This meant that the Paddywack prize now outstripped the measly £1 + T-shirt awarded to readers who got their letter printed in the comic and the same value prize doled out to successful donors of Smile-In gags (although the Star Letter/Smile of the Week still received £2 + T-shirt).

Paddywack then returned to the cover for a 17 week run, following which the same half-page format that had previously appeared on the front page continued inside the comic (albeit in black and white) for a further 18 issues.

The witless welly-wearer was featured in the 17 October 1981 instalment of Terry Bave’s second How to Draw Comics booklet (Terry’s first collection of cartooning tips a year earlier had clearly elicited a positive reader response). Ironically, Paddy's was among the features bumped from the comic that week due to the presence of the mighty Mr Bave's instructional treatise.

The final time that reader contributions for Paddywack gags were sought was in the issue cover-dated 12 December 1981, and subsequent Paddywack strips showed no reader credits.

The comic dated 02 January 1982 saw the commencement of the Cheeky Diary for that year. As seasoned consumers of IPC product would have come to expect, the 12-month journal was presented in 4 weekly cut-out sections, each of which was designed to be detached from the comic, rotated through 90 degrees and folded in half before being collated. The first instalment featured the diary front cover, boasting a rendition of the toothy funster with which long-time fans of the grinning gagster were particularly familiar, together with the back cover which carried a comedic confection described as Paddywack’s Calendar for 1982. Our discombobulating dimwit chum's strip was missing that week, although as well as appearing on the diary's back cover he also featured within the diary on a page entitled Cheeky Predicts, and on the second of the December pages.
.

A week later Paddywack’s strip was expanded to fill a whole page, and saw the inimitable idiot employed as a lift operator. Instead of just a single gag, Paddy delivered three elevator-related funnies during the course of the episode, and his mum contributed the concluding quip. There followed a further 15 full-page Paddywacks (during this run a ‘Paddywack Corner', consisting of 3 reader’s jokes in text form and with credits, appeared on the Whoopee Chit-Chat page in the 06 March 1982 comic, the only time such a feature was included), broken in the 01 May 1982 issue when the feature shared a page with an ad announcing the presence of a Mekon poster in that week’s issue of Eagle.


Paddywack’s ensuing 57 appearances, featuring the perpetual plonker in a variety of jobs, saw the number of his full-page outings diminish in favour of half-pagers (the final of his 10 full-page episodes of this run featured in the edition dated 14 August 1982). Different renderings of the same pet shop based gag were printed in the 26 February and 04 June 1983 editions.



The 02 July 1983 edition of the comic was the scene of considerable upheaval due to the absorption of another failed title, this time Wow! All of the Cheeky Weekly contingent survived this latest merge, although suffering differing fortunes. Paddywack, along with his former stablemate Cheeky, found himself consigned to the Quick Strips page, an assemblage of 4 single-row strips. Our feeble-minded friend had of course spent a considerable amount of his career in this brief format, so his transfer to this arrangement was not as ignominious as that of his toothy ex-colleague who had never before appeared in such reduced circumstances. To make things worse for our grinning pal, Paddywack appeared at the top of the page while Cheeky was placed third.

Whoopee and Wow! 02 July 1983
Bleep art: Jim Barker
Cheeky art: Frank McDiarmid
Here is the News art: Ed McHenry

Paddywack and Cheeky were to be confined to the Quick Strips format until Whoopee itself succumbed to a merge and was subsumed into Whizzer and Chips in April 1985. Neither Paddywack nor Cheeky survived this merge, although Cheeky had been appearing in the famous 'two comics in one' since Krazy was merged into it back in 1978, and continued to do so until 1986, albeit as a member of the Krazy Gang rather than a solo star.

Paddywack made some appearances outside his own strip during his Whoopee career. A feature entitled The Whoopee! Quiz (later to be known as Whoopee! It’s Quiz Time) began in the edition dated 14 March 1981. Readers' memory power was put to the test each week as scenes from various strips in the current issue (the quiz was always located to the rear of the comic, usually page 31 - the furthest it got from the back cover was page 29) were shown, together with questions relating to the stories – answers were given at the bottom of the page. Paddywack was among the quiz subjects in the 25 April 1981, 26 June, 11 September and 16 October 1982 comics. He also featured in 26 December 1981’s Christmas Quiz Time and in Jack Oliver’s TV Quiz Kids puzzles in the 29 October 1983, 21 January and 04 February 1984 editions (in the latter it was actually only Paddywack’s hair that appeared – readers were tasked with identifying a selection of Whoopee characters by barnet only).

The chucklesome chump also made appearances in the Cheeky strips dated 22 November 1980 and 17 January 1981. There then followed a period when he fetched up in 10 of the toothy funster’s outings over 17 issues spanning 06 November 1982 to 26 February 1983.

A rare convocation of the titanic-toothed trio; Cheeky, Jeremy and Paddy
Art: Frank McDiarmid


Calculator Kid spin-off Calculator Corner was host to Paddywack in the 30 July 1983 comic.

The Paddywack gag strip was missing from just 37 of the 264 issues of Whoopee published from the date it absorbed Cheeky Weekly to its own demise. Jack Clayton's distinctive art style (which to me is somehow reminiscent of seaside postcards), with lots of background gags, livened up the frequently corny gags.

My apologies - Blogger have introduced changes which seem to have resulted in images appearing smaller than previously. If there's a way around this, I haven't found it.

6 comments:

  1. great art style Jack clayton has love the business of each panel...loved his joke page for jackpot..

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    Replies
    1. Yes, he didn't do as much work as some of the other artists of the time but he was memorable.

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  2. so glad to have found this, Cheeky was my fave comic as a child. Thank you v much, will work my way through your blog :)

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  3. As Art Assistant on Cheeky Weekly from 1978 to when it folded I LOVED the Paddywack strip. The readers joke's we received would be typed up and sent to Jack to draw a 3 pic panel for each joke. He would do each strip individually so that we would have a stock of strips to choose from and ensure they were not too similar. Once the 3 strips for that weeks page were chosen I'd mount them on artboard with the 'Paddywack' title stuck down ready for the printers.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tony - wow, it's great to hear from someone who worked on Cheeky Weekly. If you have any more recollections I love to hear them. Did you meet Frank McDiarmid?

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