I’ll Make You Dance!


Years ago Debra Dukes promised her dying mother that she would help make her sister Drina become a famous ballerina. Confined to wheelchair herself she was determined to keep her promise without a thought to her sisters happiness and she schemed to make sure she got her way coming between her sister’s relationship.


  • Art: Paddy Brennan


  • I’ll Make You Dance! – Judy: #767 (21 September 1974) – #776 (23 November 1974)

19 thoughts on “I’ll Make You Dance!

  1. Reminds me of a Strange Story, “In Her Mother’s Shoes” from Tammy. Mr Howarth makes a promise to his dying wife to make their newborn daughter Elena a famous ballerina like her mother. He is hellbent on honouring that promise, despite the fact that it is blatantly obvious that Elena just can’t dance, he’s wasting huge amounts of money on her ballet training, and he can’t get it into his head that he is making her life a misery with his relentless drive to make her a dancer. When Elena stumbles across her mother’s shoes, they give her the power to dance – but as Elena finds out, that can only last as long as the shoes!

    In the end Mr Howarth wakes up and stops what he’s doing. Does Debra do the same? And just how talented is Drina as a dancer?

    1. I liked that Strange Story. Usually in this situation, the daughter turns out to have inherited her mother’s talent, even if it takes the supposed magic of the shoes to bring it out, but poor Elena just has two left feet. At least she gets a puppy out of it.

      By the bye, the Tammy is a reprint from June – 18 December 1971.

      1. Thank you for the information. I like the story too. But poor Shirley must have had a tough time drawing those tiny panels crammed on two pages.

        In another Tammy story, “Dancer Entranced”, it does turn out the girl has her mother’s talent, but it took something (imagined hypnosis) to bring it out. Until then, she thought she was hopeless. But that isn’t the case with Elena.

        1. I suppose we’ll never know what Shirley Bellwood’s picture strip artwork looked like, as none seems to have survived. The examples I’ve seen suggest that strip artists used pretty large boards (A3 size or more?), even for newspaper strips which might reproduce at only a few inches long.

          Strip artists working on this scale would have had to compensate for the fact that their work would be reproduced at far less than its original size, and one effect of this, which I’ve seen in exhibitions of original artwork, is a tremendous boldness and clarity in the inking – the art seems to fairly jump off the wall at you.

          1. One piece of original Bellwood artwork did survive, one of Misty. Just a little bit missing, cut out for some reason. Some odd pieces of Jinty originals survived as well because they were sent to Scandinavia for Dutch translations.

      2. Maybe one of these days we should draw up a list of the Strange Stories. I have made a list (with some gaps) in my Tammy index.

        1. It would be good to have a full list. I think you must have nearly all of the Tammys in the index, but there is then the problem of 9 ½ years’ worth of June and School Friend. I have a nearly full run of 1972, but only dribs and drabs of earlier years. I’d be happy to do a listing for 1972, for what it’s worth. Another way to add to the number might be to list the stories reprinted in the two June Books of Strange Stories – 41 in total, most presumably from the period 1965-70, although some of these were later reprinted elsewhere. I have both books and would be happy to list these also.

          1. I still have some gaps in my Tammy index 1977-1979. I could send you my indexes for Jinty and Tammy, as Jinty reprinted a lot of Strange Stories as Gypsy Rose stories. Both are Excel documents. I don’t know if I have your email or not.

          2. I’m happy to do a list of the June stories which I have. Thanks for your offer to send the Tammy and Jinty lists, which will be very useful to merge and cross-check with the June stories. I’ll email you in case you no longer have my email.

          3. Looks like the Sandie annuals also had Strange Story reprints, with the Storyteller removed and text boxes in his place.

          4. The Storyteller had a long absence in 1973. He did not reappear until 13 April 1974, by popular demand. This was only two months before June merged with Tammy. I wonder if June’s upcoming cancellation was a factor in his return, as he was one regular from June who could carry on in the merger, and he was guaranteed to be a winner.

          5. I think you may be right. I don’t have any June & Pixies, but I get the impression that the attempt to bring in Pixie’s younger readers may have watered down June’s previous quality during 1973. It’s certainly no surprise that the Storyteller should be resurrected for the Tammy merger, as the series was an obvious good fit for Tammy.

      3. Except the puppy eats the shoes the night Elena is set to go on, so that’s the end of that power to dance from beyond, and her debut turns to custard with her own two left feet. Guess the Strange Story was making the old point that you can’t fake your way to success with magic if you don’t have true talent. Sooner or later the magic comes unstuck one way or other.

      4. In another Strange Story, which I think was in a School Friend annual, a girl who wants to be a ballerina is given a pair of magic ballet shoes to give her the power to dance because she has a kind heart. But success makes her arrogant and hard-hearted. As her heart is no longer kind, the power ceases to function and she gets booed off the stage. She realises her error, quits the stage, devotes the rest of her life to kindness, and becomes renowned for it.

        1. I don’t recall this story, but I’ll look out for it. It does look as if the identification of reprints in the annuals etc may be a little hit and miss, as quite a few of them cut out the Storyteller and the Strange Story masthead. It’s not unexpected that this should happen in Sandie and other titles that were not part of J&SF, but I was quite surprised to find that many of the School Friend Annual reprints were de-branded in this way.

          1. I checked through the 1973 issues I have on disc, and the Storyteller was definitely absent during that period. Perhaps he disappeared when Pixie joined, which was 20 January 1973.

    2. The girls have a special connection, on her last performance when the man she wants to marry comes to her despite Debra’s scheming, she dances better than ever, Debra finally realises she needs to let her go and then they both collapse. Debra apologies to her sister but the strain has all been too much and she passes away. Drina now free gives up dancing and plans to marry and live her own life.

      1. Thank you for the information, Lorraine. The story sounds a lot like one of the first Sandie stories, “Sandra Must Dance”.

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