Category Archives: Judy

Judy 1992

This was the second to last Judy annual published, and is filled with an impressive 25 picture stories/humour strips, 2 text stories, 2 poems and 2 features. The cover is winter themed  whit Judy makinf a snowman. Inside it has the opening splash page of Judy & Co. at Summer Fayre and  the last pages has them at the Winter Fayre in the same composition, I like those bookend type pictures. This book also has a table contents. There are a nice variety of stories; a good lot of humour, spooky, drama and a bit of Christmas magic. Plenty of  regulars make and appearance such as Junior Nanny, The Honourable S.J, Wee Slavey and Bobby Dazzler make an appearance. There are 5 specifically Christmas themed stories, and others that seem to be set around winter. (For just a list of contents go to the next page)

Picture Stories

A Christmas Wish   (Pages: 4-11)

Art: Guy Peeters

Starting things off on a Christmas note, this is the story of Jenny who lives with her invalid mother in small flat, in a poor part of town. Jenny tries to stay positive for her mother’s sake, especially as this may be her late Christmas. She tells her they will have nice Christmas goodies as she goes out shopping, while in reality her savings don’t stretch to much. She picks up a small turkey, bruised apples and a few cheap flowers for her mom. Returning home she trips in the doorway and is helped by a girl. The girl then asks a favour  to help her and her friends deliver toys to children’s hospital. Jenny although anxious to get back to her mom, is happy to help a good cause. Afterwards as she is returning home, the driver who is dressed as Santa, asks her what her Christmas wish is. Jenny says she would like a beautiful view for her Mom on Christmas, as she is confined to the flat.

The next moment Jenny wakes up in hallway, she thinks she must have been knocked out when she fell and it was all a dream. When she picks up her shopping she is surprised by a change, everything she bought seems to be fresher and bigger. When she goes to her Mom Christmas morning and opens the curtains, they see it has been snowing and it makes the usual dull view look beautiful, delighting Jenny and her mom. It’s a nice story with a bit of Christmas magic to get readers into spirit of things.

What is a…Mum?/ Dad? / Brother? /Sister?  (Pages: 10 / 48 / 81 / 113)

These fun little strips consist of one page (7 panels) and start with “a mum is someone who…” and then gives 6 panels of more annoying habits of the family member, before the last panel showing a good quality.

“Don’t Touch My Hair!” (Pages: 14-15)

Liz Croft is delighted when she gets picked to  act for a shampoo commercial, but this fame quickly goes to her head. She becomes more boastful, but a worse trait is she becomes over cautious about minding her hair. Because she doesn’t want it damaged, she makes excuses to miss a swimming competition, backs out of helping at a friends BBQ, she spends some of her moms money on expensive shampoo and attacks a girl who catches her hair in door as a joke. The evening the ad is meant to air, she invites some people to watch but is in for a shock when her part get cut. She is upset about this, and even more upset realising what how foolish she has been, she decides to cut her hair and hopes to make up for her past actions.

It’s a good lesson learned for Liz  (and for the readers) about priorities and not to get swept out by looks or fame. It has also some really nice art.

Wee Slavey (Pages: 17-21)

At the Shelby-Smythe house, William’s nephew, Nigel, is visiting.  Nellie is quite fond of the charming and pleasant man, but William is not impressed with his career aspirations. Nigel is hoping William can help with his acting career, but William refuses. As Nigel leaves, he tells Nellie his only hope is to get in contact with a long absent Aunt Clarissa. Then coincidentally a few days later Clarissa arrives! Nellie hopes to get a message to Nigel but is caught and reprimanded by Lady Amelia. Clarissa hearing this thinks she could do with a servant if they are not happy with Nellie. Of course the Shelby-Smythes can’t be without Nellie, so end up giving her wage increase much to her surprise. Meanwhile Clarissa is talking abut how well Nigel is doing and William thinks maybe they should invest in him after all. Later at Christmas dinner, Nellie accidentally knocks into Clarissa and her wig falls off revealing “Clarissa” to  actually be Nigel! He assures the family he was about to reveal himself anyway, and he just wanted to prove his acting talent. William angry at being made a fool, wants him out of the house. Nellie can’t help but giggle at Nigel in the dress and soon the whole family see the funny side and Christmas is saved!

While this is set at Christmas, it’s not very prominent in the storyline, other than the dinner and the importance of family. There are other more Christmas themed Wee Slavey stories that come to mind first, so it was only on a re-read I realised this was set at Christmas! Wee Slavey can always be relied on to be good fun and Nellie usually comes up on top.

Pepper the Pony (Pages: 22 / 112)

In this long standing humour strip of Lucinda and her pony Pepper, they manage to get the upper hand in the two stories presented here. In the first strip, Lucinda’s cousin Basil arrives showing off his 4 wheel drive car boasting about how much better it is than a horse. But Lucinda outsmarts him by challenging him to race, which she wins as when they come to a wall of course Pepper can jump while Basil is left stuck in the car.

In the second strip another arrogant person, Sheila, looks down on Pepper for not being as groomed as her horse. Lucinda does spruce Pepper up, but Sheila still makes nasty comments. She gets her comeuppance when she jumps into muddy water with her horse and there the ones that look unkempt.

The Badge (Pages: 23-27)

Julie is delighted when Johnny gives her his Fleece Club Badge, as it’s a sign that they are a serious couple. But even so, Julie can’t help but feel insecure, especially When Johnny is talking to friendly and pretty girl Wendy. Her and Johnny have a fight about this, and soon after, when she is out, he collects his badge back from her mom. Then she sees Wendy with a badge and she looks guilty. Julie is terribly upset until Johnny turns up for disco. He had taken badge to make it into a pendant for her. She realises how silly she was, Johnny’s been quiet because of exams and Wendy looked guilty because she is nice person and had heard they quarreled about her. She finds out from Johnny that Wendy is now going out with another Fleece Club member. She feels happy and content now.

There isn’t a lot of romance themed stories in this book, this story while not a favourite is still fine. Julie’s insecurities seem relatable, and I’m glad that Wendy wasn’t some antagonistic girl trying to steal her boyfriend, she is just a genuinely nice person.

Judy & Co. (Pages: 28 / 58)

Art: Norman Lee

Our title character gets two strips on this book. In the first Judy prepares herself, making sure she’s comfortable and won’t be disturbed so she can read her favourite magazine “Judy”. Always a little strange when characters in these books reference the book they are fictional characters in, but it is a regular occurrence! (it’s also acts as advertisement so readers know they should pick up weekly issues).

In the second story, it’s a more straight forward humour set up. Judy tries to sled into boy to get their attention, but they jump out of the way except one…. a snowman.

Cinderella Jones (Pages: 29-32)

Art: Oliver Passingham

At Happyholme they are celebrating Mr Jones 50th birthday and mention how Agnes 50th birthday will be soon after that. Cindy goes to give Agne’s Aunt Flossie cake and she goes to take her photo, but Flossie tells her she already has lots of photos and encourages Cindy to look through them. When Agnes hears Flossie still has a photo of her entry to a beauty contest when she was 18, she gets very snappy, tells Cindy to get on with housework and for the rest of the day she is in a bad mood. Agnes decides it’s time for a clear out and makes a big bonfire, getting Cindy and Mr Jones to do most of the work. Agnes brings out more bags to bur,n but Cindy notices they are Flossie’s photos, she finds the one stepmother doesn’t want her to see and she sees why she wants it burns. Agnes chases her around, she makes promises of more money and help for Cindy. The photo shows that Agnes has been lying about her age shes 55 not 50. Mr Jones wonders whats going on but Cindy says its just her and Stepmothers secret and burns the photo. Agnes praises Cindy and then gets Isobelle and Sarah to get up off sun loungers and help.

Another on of my favourite characters, I like that despite everything Agnes and Cindy do have a good relationship, and Passingham dos great job at the comedic expressions. It is one of those stories where Cindy often breaks the fourth wall, addressing the reader directly, which is fun and gets reader more invested with the character.

My Sister’s Keeper (Pages: 33-37)

Alison Fry lives with her parents writers of child psychology (what an oddly specific job, for something that barely comes into play). She is happy when they decide to foster a girl the same age as her, Glenda. Not much is known about her, she had turned up nearly a year ago with no family. Alison tries to be welcoming, when she enquires about a box she has, Glenda is very possessive of it and asks Alison to never open it. One day Alison finds her in the woods one day talking to someone but she can’t make out who. Glenda says it was her sister, Serena, an air hostess. When she voices her concerns to her parents, they tell her orphans often invent siblings when they are lonely and she just needs time to adjust (presumably their psychology knowledge coming in useful!). Glenda still goes off on her own a lot and talks about her sister to other classmates, making things awkward for Alison.

Glenda tells Alison her, that Serena is taking her to Tunisia for a week and then when Alison can’t go to school because of cold, they are very worried when Glenda doesn’t return. They go to talk to her form teacher who says her sister collected her. Alison gets the idea to look in Glenda’s box for a clue. In it she finds a newspaper clipping dated exactly a year ago with story of air stewardess saving passengers in a flight to Tunisia but herself and sister Glenda were killed. Spooky stories where it turns out the person was a ghost all along was quite popular in annuals, presumably as the reveal was a good way to end the story and fitted well into the short story format.

Candy’s Crowd (Pages: 40-47)

Art: Eduardo Feito

Candy and her friends Ann, Patti and Di are all going on a skiing trip with the school. Ann is upset that her dad may get new job and she will have to leave Fullwood and her friends. Mr Potter, one of the teachers that is meant to be organising the trip is very scatterbrained, so he muddles things up such as what rooms everyone is in and nearly taking Bernice’s mom’s bag. Bernice is a pain and know it all so Candy’s not too upset when she hurts her leg, while showing off. Meanwhile Patti’s getting to know some boys and Ann finds out her father got the job, so girls want to try and make this the best holiday. On the last night they have disco and fancy dress competition. After return home, Patti is going to miss Alan, the boy she met, but she gets over it when she hears about new neighbour. Meanwhile Ann hadn’t heard the whole story about her Dad’s new job, it turns out he isn’t taking job as his current job has given him a promotion, so Candy’s crowd get to stay together.

Candy’s Crowd was Judy’s soap story for a while but not as well known as other similar stories like The Comp or Penny’s Place. Still it is fine story and also notable for Eduardo Feito’s art.

Linda’s Lesson (Pages: 52-57)

In 1890 Linda Robertson starts her first day  as a maid in the Cobden house. Linda’s mother thinks she doesn’t know what hard work is, and that is why she has been sent here, but Linda thinks it’ll be easy. She soon finds that her mother was right, not only is she worked off her feet, the butler Mr Bennet slaps her for impertinence and cook gives her a small grisly piece of meat for dinner. Linda says some odd things and she gets another slap for asking what coal is. She tells another maid Daisy about her mom and that she is going to contact her saying she’s learned her lesson. She goes upstairs and pulls out a computer. It turns out Linda’s from 200 years in the future, she returns and tells her mom she wont ever complain of chores again. Especially as it’s so easy in 21st century as we see her command robot to do all tidying. (Yes she really had little to complain about!)

The Girl with the Golden Smile (Pages: 59-63)

Art: Bert Hill

Anna Marshall  is a trainee at Westerby’s department store, meaning she moves around all the departments in the store. One day in the china and gift department Anna learns about their wedding list service that the store runs, where people can leave a list of gifts they would like and wedding guests can come and pick an item off it. One such customer that is using the wedding list, is a young bride, Bridget. When Bridget’s great grandmother arrives to look at the list, Anna notices she seems troubled. Then Anna notices the problem, all the items are very expensive, and  the old lady is feeling deflated. But Anna comes up with perfect solution, a crystal vase, they come in all sorts of sizes including miniature  and that can fit in the old lady’s budget.

A few weeks later Anna is in the bakery department and delivers a wedding cake to Bridget, there is one problem for Bridget as she’s not happy with the plastic decoration. Again Anna has a helpful suggestion, then the way out she bumps into the great grandmother who has come to see the wedding gifts displayed. She thinks Bridget is ashamed of her small gift, but it turns out it is now in pride in place on top of the cake (thanks to Anna’s suggestion). She is so happy that it will even be in the wedding photos, Anna thinks today the grandmother has the golden smile.

Bridget seems to be a bit thoughtless, from the little we see, I think her wedding preparations might take a toll on the people around her! It is a very sweet story though, because you do feel for the great-grandmother, who is put in an awkward position thinking she can’t afford anything, so it is nice to see how everything works out and she gets a boast of pride at her present being so important.

Big ‘n’ Bertha (Pages: 64)

Anther humour strip, here Dad tricks Big and Bertha into falling into pond as he takes their photo, by asking them to take a step back. But they get their own back by making him back into wet cement when he takes another photo.

The Honourable S.J. (Pages: 65-80)

This is set during S.J and Ann’s time at Millford. It is Christmas and S.J still has all the girls fooled that she is nice person, only Ann knows better. She wants Ann to convince the girls to buy her a porcelain horse for Christmas, but she is too late to persuade them and they buy her a big box of chocolates. S.J. is not going to let it go that easy so she steals the chocolates and then makes sure Ann will get the class to get the right gift to replace them. She also steals £10 from a student’s Christmas card, then lends her £10 saying she can pay back next term, making her look very generous.

Ann is then invited to the Christmas Ball at Moorfield Hall by the Headgirl. She thinks S.J will be mad and stop her, but she says she will be home in the Cheetwell Hall playing Santa for children of  a local orphange. Then Ann hears her scheming on phone with her chauffeur, Wilson, telling him to wait for her at side gate of Moorfield Hall and she will be in her Santa outfit. Ann at first thinks S.J. is out to spoil things for but  then she realises S.J. being more devious than that and is after the jewellery that Lady Moorfield gives out every year. By coincidence at the party, Ann sees S.J. dressed as fairy attack the Moorfield Santa, when she confronts S.J. she locks her in a cloakroom. Luckily there’s another way out, but she isn’t in time to catch S.J.. Ann thinks S.J. has won again, as without any other witnesses, no one will believe her. S.J makes appearance at the Cheetwell party giving gifts to orphans will look good for her in the paper though she really wants to get away and check out her goodies. Ann after returning from the party hears the news of the theft, and she is delighted to find out that this year Lady Moorfield sold her jewellery to help carious charity and each box tells what charity it has gone to. While Ann happily takes in this news, S.J. is discovering this herself as she opens up the boxes, it’s not fair, she thinks!

It’s quite a long story at 16 pages, and anyone that wasn’t familiar with S.J. certainly gets to know what kind of person she is. The actual main plot of the Christmas ball doesn’t get going until later in the story, so we get to see S.J.’s other devious scheming beforehand. It is very satisfying end to see that things don’t work out for S.J and her expression at finding this out is very well conveyed.

Who’s Spoiling Things for Lucy? (Pages: 82-89)

Lucy feels lucky to be at the Lamona ballet school, as she only got her place because she first reserve. One of the other girls Jane makes some nasty comments about her, and doubts her abilities. Luckily she gets friendly with a girl Karen, who sticks up for her. Then things start going wrong for Lucy like her hair-tie and shoe going missing or her music sheet being changed. Lucy and Karen suspect Jane, but she always seems one step ahead even when they try to keep things safe. Things get so bad that Lucy will have to leave the school unless she can prove herself in one last performance. On the day of the performance Karen’s friend Jackie visits her. It seems they both got into the school, but when Jackie’s father got a job in America she had to give up her place, when the job fell through it was too late for Jackie to get back in. Karen is surprised to hear Jackie is no longer upset about this, after reading Karen’s letters she realised all the hard work involved and only wants dancing as a hobby.

Of course it is then revealed that it was Karen playing the tricks on Lucy, but knowing Jackie no longer wants a place, she rushes to get Lucy’s dress from where she hid it, but it is gone. She is confronted by Jane who has figured everything out, she promises not to tell Lucy though. Then Lucy arrives her dance has gone well and she is being kept at school. While Jane won’t say her enemy is, she tells her Karen will explain everything!

With other similar stories it’s not a surprise that the secret enemy is actually the supposed friend. Karen’s motivations are to help another friend but getting someone dismissed from school is a terrible thing and its hard to imagine Lucy being too forgiving! We don’t know what the consequences are as the story ends before that, but Jane making Karen own up herself rather than telling on her is a good start.

The Frog Prince (Pages: 92-95)

Art: Wilf Street

Lady Eleanor is beautiful but vain and cold-hearted. She has many suitors because of her beauty, but she won’t settle for anything less than a prince and others she scares away with her demands. When her father asks her to distribute gold to poor children in the village instead she gives it an old lady (whom she had just insulted) when she says she will marry a prince. She tells her to go to an enchanted pool at midnight on the last day of the year where she will see a frog with a crown. He is an enchanted prince and one kiss from her will complete the spell. She does as she says, but he doesn’t change, he tells her he is already prince of the pool so why would he change instead she changes into a frog to become his princess!

Junior Nanny (Pages: 97-101)

Art: Oliver Passingham

At the residential nursery, all the kids have been irritable and fighting after a bout of heavy colds. Chris Johnson and the other nurses, think a trip to Santa might cheer them up. But then while queuing one of the children, Lucy, says she wishes she had a mummy to bring her to Santa, and that subdues everyone. The next day Chris meets some women from the old folks home and they talk about how nice it would be to have a visit from the children. Chris isn’t sure that the children will bring much joy, with the way they’ve been feeling. Then she comes up with idea and enlists Matron’s help to make an announcement that Santa has sent urgent message.  He needs help from the children as the old folks have asked for a visit as a Christmas gift. Chris tells them to be his little helpers they need to practice being cheery. So on Christmas Eve after a successful visit the children through acting happy become happy and decide they want to adopt the old people as their grandparents. Chris is relieved to see lots of smiles Christmas day.

A nice Christmas story and reminder of how it can be tough for those without families so nice to see everyone come together and have a happy ending.

It Never Rains But it Pours (Pages: 105-111)

Art: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Raye doesn’t like to see her quiet cousin Amy do better than her, so when Amy get a date with Peter, a jealous Raye tries to sabotage it. She convinces Amy to take Peter to the disco on their date, as she knows that’s not his scene.  Then when she comes across a rainmaker pendant at a stall, it seems like an extra way to make the date go wrong. The rainmaker appears to be a genuine article so when Raye lends it to Amy, her and Peter  get soaked on the way to the disco and have miserable time. The next day Amy, is returning pendant to Raye when it starts raining again. Peter happens to be out fishing and tells her to take cover under her umbrella. The get on better this time as they have time to actually talk to each other, then Amy accidentally drops pendant into river. Amy apologies to Raye about pendant but tells her it seemed to have brought  her luck, bringing her and Peter together.

Another nasty character out to spoil things while pretending to be nice, surprisingly the magical element of her scheme isn’t questioned much, but I suppose the main thing is it doesn’t work like she planned.

Bobby Dazzler (Pages: 114-117)

After a talk to the school by Sir Jacob Lang , owner of local woods,  Bobby has her eyes peeled for poachers. Unfortunately her suspicions prove false, as Mike and Don confront bird watchers and friends of  the forest society on her urging. After all those false starts, they reproach Bobby for being so suspicious, so when they happily help some men out carrying their bags, she tries to see it as positive. But then of course it turns out the men were the poachers and disappear quickly leaving Mike and Don to be caught by Sir Jacob. It’s an amusing (if standard) Bobby Dazzler story.

The Power of the Song (Pages: 118-125)

Art: Guy Peeters

While walking through a subway on the way to school, friends, Faye and Kelly, hear a busker singing. For Kelly the lyrics seem empowering “Dream the word and you can say it. Dream the deed and you can do it”  but Faye finds it unsettling. Later at school Kelly is upset when another girl Trish gets the part of Rapunzal in a play. Faye tries to cheer her up by saying its just because she looks the part with her long hair. Kelly says she has a mind to cut it off. Faye assumes she’ll calm down but is shocked when she actually does it, people say things they don’t mean all the time. Kelly tells her it’s because people don’t usually have the nerve but hearing the buskers song has given her the nerve. And she’s not the only one, soon more and more people get in trouble, one girl cuts her cheating boyfriends brakes, people are fighting and the school is getting wrecked. Faye talks to the busker but he says he doesn’t have any powers, and he isn’t putting bad ideas in her friends heads they were already there. Faye uses his song against him, telling him she wants him to go away, which he does. Things return to normal for a while but then she sees in magazine that the busker is to get his own countrywide tv show!

What if we actually always did what we said we’d do, especially in anger, is a scary thought! Faye and others feel guilt for not stopping their friends actions, because they dismiss it as throwaway words and in ordinary circumstances they’d be right. While the busker says the ideas were in the people’s heads already, we don’t see any one do positive things, so it does seem to be only the bad ideas he encourages, and he appears to get some enjoyment out of it. We don’t know where he came from, but the ending means he won’t be gotten rid of so easily!

Text Stories

Wedding Belle   (Pages: 49-51)

Belle Love is a bridesmaid for hire, she gets a job with Carol who has had to move her wedding forward as her and her husband to be are moving abroad due to job opportunity. But moving the wedding to Christmas Eve has brought some problems. Firstly Carol’s Spring dress isn’t ideal for the weather and it’s too late for alterations, luckily Belle comes up with solution to make winter capes made from new velvet curtains her mother has decided she doesn’t want. But then Carol is disappointed so many people can’t make the wedding as she always dreamed of getting married in a full church (Like The Girl with the Golden Smile story seems another Bride that has not thought of other people’s circumstances in the wedding plan). There are two invitations leftover and Carol says Belle can use them though it won’t make a big difference. Carol is surprised on the wedding day that Belle has managed to fill the church for her. She had sent the two invitations to an old folks home and children’s home and is Carol is delighted.

I Hate My Gran!   (Pages: 102-104)

When Gina’s sister Rosie moves out Gina is upset at first as they were very close, then she cheers herself up by thinking she can have Rosie’s bright big bedroom. Her parents soon put stop to that plan, when they tell her they’ve invited Gran to stay. Not only losing out on the room, Gina finds her Gran living with her causes other annoyances, such as not being able to play her records so loud, her gran always asking her to run errands and she not feeling comfortable inviting friends around. Another blow comes when she gets a chance to go to a disco but her parents have no money to give her for a new outfit as the spent so much on Gran’s new room. A little while later Gran calls Gina into her room, she had made her a stunning outfit for the disco that she had copied from magazine. She tells her it is to make up for the room and a thanks for all the errands she runs. Gina suddenly sees things from her Gran’s perspective, it must be awful to give up her independence and leave her home and being so old that running to post office is a big job and she realises she hasn’t been very welcoming. She thanks Gran for the dress and then she stays asking her if she wants to play cards. Thinking about the times her and Rosie played cards, she now thinks Gran could take Rosie’s place as a special friend.

It’s a nice story and we can see why Gina would be frustrated by the changes but glad to see her understand how much more difficult it is for her Gran and that it’s start of building a good relationship between them.

Features

There are just a couple of features in this annual; how to make a Dressing Table Tidy (Page: 16), Part Time / Yummy!  (Pages: 38-39) which have some tips on how to hold party, what games to play, decorations and music and some recipes that you could use for the party.

Then there are two poems Quite Contrary (Pages: 90-91) which is a poem about everything being topsy turvy such as dogs taking their owners on walks and ducks feeding humans and Anticipation (Page: 96)which is about a dog waiting to be taken for a walk.

Final Thoughts

This is another annual that I first read when I was younger (and re-read many a time), so have a certain attachment to it. I’m also a big fan of most of the Judy regular characters so always good to have more stories of them. Some of my favourite stories here are; Cinderella Jones, Cinderella is a story that has been told and reimagined many times but this is one of my favourite versions, the comedic characters (captured brilliantly by Passingham) and family dynamics are always fun. The Girl with the Golden Smile and I Hate My Gran!, I like for similar reasons as the older person gets recognition, the difficulties of growing old acknowledged and happy ending thanks in part for younger women seeing things from their perspective. Maybe I’m getting more sentimental as I grow older, they were both sweet stories I thought. On the other side of things Power of the Song is an unsettling, well done story with decent art by Peeters and a more subdued colouring that’s fitting. Other honourable mentions go to The Honourable S.J. in particular for that last page where S.J. realises her scheme has gone wrong A Christmas Wish which is nice story for the holidays and What is a… which are fun little strips (when I was younger I did compare it to my own family members to see what held true!)

My least favourite is probably It Never Rains but it Pours, not a terrible story but there are more interesting stories in the book and though other stories have similar tropes (i.e. the false friend), this didn’t capture anything extra for me. The Badge was lower down on my list initially too, but has actually grown on me over time. I did enjoy re-reading all the stories here even those I wouldn’t consider my favouites and as always there’s lots of great art to look at as well.

 

Polly of Pickpocket Row [1984]

  • Polly of Pickpocket Row – Judy PSL: #250 [1984]
  • Reprinted –  Bunty PSL: #432 [1997]

Plot

In the 19th century, Polly Pickles is left alone after her mother’s death, and gets no respite as the landlord immediately kicks her out of her home and takes all the furniture to pay for rent owed. She escapes the parish Beadle who wants to take her to the workhouse orphanage, but with no where to go she has to stay on the streets. Hungry, she offers to work for a baker for some food but he only shoves her away, dropping a loaf of bread in the process. In desperation she grabs the loaf but the baker chases her.Her first bit of luck is she runs into a lady who pies for the bread, claiming Polly was bringing it to her and then offers Polly a home. The lady Miss Darby, brings her to a nice home with lots of other children, she calls her home a school and tells her she has already made a good start in her lessons. Polly is shocked when she realises that Miss Darby means it is a school for thieves!

Miss Darby tells her they only steal from the rich and it is all for a good cause. She brings her out for her first lesson with two other girls Emily and Matilda. They are all dressed up, so no-one would mistake them for common urchin thieves. Miss Darby tells Polly it is important to look respectable, and the girls certainly use this when the steal from a woman and slip the purse to Miss Darby and are out of sight before the woman realises what has happened. Polly gets her first task when Harry steals a watch from a captain. Miss Darby realising he is a good man that rescued people from a shipwreck, gets Polly to return the watch. She does this by knocking some books and when he bends over to help pick them up she pretends he must have dropped his watch. With this being a success, it’s time for Polly to do the reverse and Miss Darby asks her who is deserving to be robbed. She chooses Mr Grice the sweatshop owner where her mother use to work dressmaking. She is nearly caught but Miss Darby’s intervention helps her escape, but then she runs into the Beadle. Luckily again her new family are looking out for her and Harry helps her escape. Polly hopes to share Mr Grice’s money with his worker’s but Miss Darby tells her it would raise too many suspicions and she has a better use for the money.

Seems someone has been keeping an eye on Miss Darby’s operation, Ned Griffin, a thief himself, he is not fooled by their “respectable” looks. He confronts Polly and Harry, they manage to give him the slip, but he is still hanging around the street where they live as he suspects their base is around there. As he is not familiar with Emily and Matilda, they approach him then frame him for stealing their jewelry, calling to police for help. He runs away and the police take chase, and though he was trying to blackmail them, the children are still upset when he fall in front of a train and is killed.

Miss Darby is still away but Harry takes Polly on a job. Polly is to distract Lord Lester while playing with hoop while Harry takes a case of money. The men figure out she is an accomplice and take her prisoner in hopes to exchange her for the money. Polly isn’t going to passively take this, there seems to be no escape from room, but she hides in chimney making them think she has escaped then runs out. Lester and his men are soon after her, but they are met by Miss Darby and the police! She claims Lester kidnapped her niece, she will let the matter drop if he gives donation to charity. Harry admires her nerve with her convincing everyone she is a respectable lady, though Darby counters that is exactly what she is. The next day she shows them where the money has gone to – building a home for unwanted children, they will no longer have to steal and she wants only happy days for all of them from now on.

Thoughts

It is nice to see this story has a happy ending and Miss Darby’s motives were sincere. Many of these kind of stories would have the protagonist tricked and used by the “kindly” benefactor. At the start Miss Darby does seem genuine, and her return of the captain’s watch seems like she has her own morality code, but the reader might still be cautious, perhaps she is just lulling Polly into false security, especially as some of her actions seem suspicious. Such as not wanting to share the money with workers and going away on secret trips. Luckily it is her charges she has in mind and the people she robbed aren’t ones that would earn our sympathy.

It’s easy to see how Polly is lured into this world, the welcoming Miss Darby, the nice clothes and food and warm house. Her career as thief is slowly built as she progresses from returning an item, to robbing from someone she knows is deserving of it, to stealing from a stranger. The set up of having them all look respectable certainly makes their activities easier. While there is not one villain in the story, there are several antagonists that Polly has to outwit, all at different social levels. Firstly the Beadle, who pops up twice to try and take Polly, he is in authority to do his job, but the orphanage would be worst than a jail sentence for Polly and even when she has a home, he still pursues her not believing her. Then Ned, a ruffian,  who is the most dangerous as he is on to their scheme. The children feel bad about his untimely end but Ned was dangerous and was suspect in a murder himself, so a bit of karma for him to fall in front of train. Lastly there are the people they rob, Mr Lester being the most proactive, actually kidnapping Polly as he wants a chance to get his money back and he believes the police would be of no help, and he is into some shady gambling herself. Polly while she does get help from others, she can be quite proactive, maybe learning more from Darby’s “school” she is quite crafty in how she gets away from Lester. It’s nice to see Polly’s new family look out for her and it is satisfying end that she has found a home and won’t have to continue stealing to earn her keep.

 

Meg – the Hunted One

Plot

In the early 17th century, a  young girl called Meg lived alone on Exmoor. She had been brought up by an elderly woman Blind Biddy, But, when she was fourteen, Meg found herself alone after Blind Biddy had been condemned and put to death by Josh Mortiboys, a wealthy landowner, who had sworn that Meg would share the same fate. Meg had been, staying with a lawyer who had befriended her, but, one nighty Mortiboys came looking for her. She ran away over the moor from the protection of Lawyer Miller’s house and of Jack Oakley, a friendly farmer, whom Meg had helped earlier. With her pet raven and her deer, she fled across the rain-swept moorland.

Notes

  • Art: Phil Gascoine (unconfirmed)

Appeared

  • Meg – the Hunted One – Judy: #631 (12 February 1972) – #642 (29 April 1972)

Scrubcat

Plot

Born and raised in the outback of Australia, young Scrubcat Jackson had been the only one to see where nuclear rockets had landed when they had been launched in mistake by a foreign power. Her uncanny knowledge of the country had enabled Scrubcat to lead Major Chisolm, the de-fusing expert, to five of the rockets.

Notes

  • Art: Ron Smith
  • Reworked from a Wizard story of the same name, with the protagonist changed to female.

Appeared

  • Scrubcat – Judy: #631 (12 February 1972) – #650 (24 June 1972)

Peri of the Ponies

Plot

Peri Wills was a girl with a special way  with ponies. She had the chance of attending a first-class pony school and there she learnt a great deal. But through a misunderstanding, she had to leave before taking her instructor’s certificate. Her longing to be with ponies led her to take an unpaid job at a ramshackle riding school kept by Mr and Mrs Hopkins.
Peri started to groom one of the ponies.

Notes

  • Art: Ron Smith

Appeared

  • Peri of the Ponies – Judy: #559 (26 September 1970) – #573 (2 January 1971)

Turkey Trott

Plot

Two hundred years ago, Trudy Trott and her young brother, Tom, helped their grandparents drive a flock of turkeys to the big market in London. They had stayed to help Edith, a young girl who was trying to keep a little pie-shop going after the death of her mother.

Notes

Appeared

  • Turkey Trott – Judy:  #558 (19 September 1070) – #567 (21 November 1970)

Minnie the Meanie [1982]

We’re heading towards that time of year to be extra-generous to people while spending up large on gifts, holidays and other treats. But here’s a cautionary tale from Judy not to take either one to extremes. The consequences can be just as damaging as for the other extreme that we always hear about at Christmas – Scrooge. As the parents in this story found out, not even a pools win is a limitless amount of money for spending.

Published: Judy: #1153 (13 February 1982) to #1166 (15 May 1982)
Reprinted – Judy: #1564 (30 December 1989) to #1577 (31 March 1990)

Episodes: 14

Artist: Unknown artist – “Merry”

Writer: Unknown. Possibly the same writer as “Hard Times for Helen

Plot

Minnie Mill and her family live in a shabby house in Badger Street. Then they win £300,000 on the pools.

Unfortunately Mum and Dad let the whole new flush of money go to their heads and turn into super-spendthrifts. They go crazy on buying new things right, left and centre. They treat the money as if it will never cease to end and begin to lose the meaning of its value. For example, when Dad receives a letter saying there’s a back payment from his old company he scorns it because it seems like chickenfeed to what he has now and can’t be bothered collecting it. Minnie is horrified at his attitude, and she collects it herself because someone around here has to be sensible. They give no thought to investment or long-term planning at all, despite the offer – and warning – from the pools representative.

The worst of it is that Mum is a good-natured woman with a heart of gold, so it is an all-too-easy matter for the money to turn her generosity into over-generosity. Dad is just the same. And Minnie is quick to realise why the residents of Badger Street who previously took little notice of them are suddenly crowding around to be nice and friendly – they are out to take advantage of the money and the parents’ generosity. Dad soon has a well-earned reputation for spending and giving away huge handfuls of money as if it were nothing and people say he’ll give away his last penny.

Minnie is also finding that kids are taking advantage of her as well and pretending to be friendly while finding ways to cheat her out of huge sums of money. Several of these tactics are really despicable. For example, one girl, Gladdie, appears to be genuine, so Minnie trusts her with £600 to pay her mother’s rent with. When she discovers the money has in fact gone into Gladdie’s bank account, she orders her to pay the money to charity – or else. Another girl, Ida, cons Minnie out of money that was supposed to go on replenishing her grandmother’s empty coal cellar. When Minnie finds out, she helps to replenish the cellar secretly. Even a girl who is far richer than Minnie cheats her out of money.

Minnie reckons she has no friends anymore; the ones she had have joined the bullies who shout “Minnie the Meanie!” at her. Only one girl, Rosie, seems to be a friend. But by now Minnie has been so badly burned she just can’t trust anyone.

Because of all this cadging and cheating, Minnie becomes afraid to display her generosity openly and with the gay abandon that the parents do. She resorts to doing it in secret, and where she sees it is going to a genuine cause, such as replenishing the grandmother’s coal supply or getting treatment for a sick dog.

Minnie also starts saving any money she can get her hands on (including Dad’s unwanted back payment) because she realises their money will run out because of their careless spending, and a reserve will be required for when this happens. This and not displaying her generosity openly give the impression that she is turning into a miser, a reputation she believes she must cultivate in order to protect her parents’ money as best she can. The people of Badger Street start to bully and jeer at her, calling her “Minnie the Meanie!” in the street. This causes misunderstandings with her parents, who think she is turning into a miser too. So they don’t listen when she tries to tell them that people are taking advantage of them. They just brush it off because they have lots of money anyway, so what’s the big deal?

At first the parents dismiss warning signs that they are spending too much. Dad laughs and says there’s still plenty left. They buy over a house next door (and make an overinflated offer for it!) so they can add it to their own and develop their residence in accordance with how they are rising up the social scale. Once the redevelopment is complete, Mum throws out the furnishings they only just bought when the money first arrived and buys whole new ones!

Ironically, the parents don’t even approve of Minnie saving money instead of spending it as they do and think it’s just more of her miserliness. This attitude gets really bizarre. For example, when they find out what Minnie did with the back payment, what angers them is that she saved the money instead of spending it! They are far less bothered about her taking the money herself.

Minnie’s saving causes other problems too. For example, she goes on a shopping spree, and then returns the gifts for money, which gets banked. Nasty Ella Stevens finds out and starts blackmailing her. To get Ella off her back, Minnie tells the folks herself. She then teaches Ella a lesson by compelling her to donate £20 to the Youth Club Roof Fund.

One day Dad comes in looking awfully worried. He does not say what is wrong, but Minnie guesses that Dad is paying more heed to warning signals that the money is running out. Indeed, he now becomes more wary about spending money. Strangely, Dad would still much rather have Minnie spending than saving, which she steps up of course. Meanwhile, Mum pays no attention and continues with heedless spending.

Dad getting worried about the spending prompts nasty gossip from the neighbours that the parents are getting as mean as Minnie. Despite Minnie’s protests not to give in to such bullying, Mum tries to stop the gossip by lavishing even more generosity on them.

One of the worst cases of this is when Mum takes the residents of Badger Street on an outing that includes a funfair and an expensive lunch. Dad joins in Minnie’s protests that they are spending far more than necessary on the trip, what with buying snacks for the residents on top of the lunch and giving them all spending money at the fair. Mum just tells him that he’s getting as bad as Minnie and he gives in to keep the peace. Minnie secretly cancels the lunch and temporarily hides Dad’s wallet so he can’t treat the residents elsewhere, hoping their reaction will make the parents see sense. Their reaction is to accuse the parents of pulling cheap tricks despite the other treats they provided, stalk off to find a cuppa without including the Mills, and they show they care more about a free lunch than Dad getting his wallet nicked. Dad is outraged and disgusted at this, while Mum does not open her eyes at all. However, Minnie has new hope that Dad is beginning to see things her way.

Indeed, Dad starts quarrelling with Mum over her overspending while she says he’s just a big meanie like Minnie. Minnie cannot reason with her either. Dad groans when the latest bank statement arrives, and Minnie can guess why.

All too soon the inevitable happens because of Mum’s overspending. But by the time she learns this, it’s too late – her latest spending spree has not only eaten up the last of the money but also run up an additional £29,500 in bills to pay! So they are now in huge debt and there are angry creditors on the doorstep.

Fortunately Minnie managed to save enough to clear the debts, and there is even a bit left over. The parents now understand why Minnie was saving so hard. So the next time the bullies call Minnie a meanie, Mum gives them a real piece of her mind and tells them what Minnie did for them. After this they apologise to Minnie, admit they were just jealous and how horrible they were. They also guess who the secret beneficiary was and now realise how wise Minnie was not to spend the money the way her parents did. Minnie gets her friends back and forgives their conduct. The other Badger Street residents rally around to help out once the word spreads (with a few gloating exceptions).

The parents have to find a new way to make ends meet. At Minnie’s suggestion, they use the two cars they have now and the remaining money to start a taxi business.

Thoughts

This story is so realistic because it draws on so many real-life stories that we hear about. People who go from rags to riches, only to end up in rags again. People who win vast fortunes – only to lose the lot within a few years because they handled the money badly, as the Mill parents did. People who come into a huge amount of money get taken advantage of by cadgers and false friends. Which is precisely the reason why some people who win the lotto prefer to stay quiet about it. Over-generous people losing huge amounts of money because they can’t stop giving – sometimes even when they can’t even afford to give – and cadgers taking advantage of them as well. People who found that huge wins turned sour for them and prove the old adage that money is not everything. All of it is revolving around in this story.

Through Minnie’s eyes, we see an exploration of greed and how it brings out the worst in people, even in people Minnie thought were her friends. Minnie always sees vultures swooping in on what the parents have to give away and cadgers dropping in to take advantage with sob stories and such. She also sees jealousy in people when they’re not grasping, such as nasty gossips. Jealousy is clearly behind all their nastiness towards Minnie as they were whispering she was turning into a miser well before she started on her so-called miserly conduct. At the party to celebrate the win they are gossiping that she is a miser just because she doesn’t look so happy; in fact it’s because she already suspects their cadging.

While the residents of Badger Street say Mrs Mill has a heart of gold, they do not reciprocate it in any way or show any gratitude for the things the Mill parents do for them. They don’t even give the Mill family a cup of flour when they ask for one or offer to help out when Dad loses his wallet. All they do is take, take, take from the Mill family now that they’re in the money, and they don’t give anything in return. They have a nerve calling Minnie a meanie when they are so mean themselves towards the Mill family and don’t show them any generosity. It’s not until the very end that they rediscover their kindness and give something back to the Mill family.

The story also comments on how a huge supply of money can get people to take things for granted. Dad laughs off the back payment because it looks nothing compared to his win. Mum throws out brand-new and expensive furnishings and thinks nothing of the expense of buying new ones. An expensive trolley goes when the vultures swoop on the old furnishings, but Mum dismisses it as no big deal (Dad is more horrified). Mum thinks little of a woman cadging off her because she’s got so much money anyway. The parents would never have thought that way in the days when they lived in shabby accommodation and Mum had to be a careful housekeeper because they did not have much money. Minnie never goes that way at all and is appalled at her parents’ attitude.

This story is no exception to girls’ serials where the protagonist has far more brains, common sense and perception than her parents. While the parents are so blithe to the cadging or shrug it off, Minnie can see right through it. Minnie gets victimised by the cadging too, but at least she rumbles the cadgers and does something about it wherever she can. Also, Minnie never catches the “buying disease” as her parents do and goes crazy on spending, so she is quick to realise where it is all going to lead. She is the only one to take active steps to prepare for that eventuality. Dad eventually heeds the warning signals about the impending doom, but he does not really do anything about it. He does worry and quarrels with his wife about overspending, but he does not actually tell the family what is going on or show them the bank statements. Nor did he put any remaining money into a reserve, as Minnie did.

Minnie is more assertive than many protagonists. So many of them, such as Helen Shaw from “Hard Times for Helen”, just suffer in silence and don’t speak out (until the end). But Minnie is not afraid to speak up. She constantly speaks parents about the cadging, even if they don’t listen. At times she even talks back at the cadgers and bullies.

And of course it’s all thanks to the protagonist that things do not turn out so badly for the parents in the end. If it had not been for Minnie, their stupidity, lack of foresight and heedless spending would have ruined them entirely and they would ended up even worse off than when they were to begin with. As it is, Minnie’s money and brains and Mum’s not-too-bad idea of buying a second car enable them to begin on a new business venture that keeps them from going right back to square one or even worse.

It’s a relief all around when the money goes, because it brought only trouble. But then, much of that was due to the parents handling the money badly and not heeding the advice of the pools representative. If the Mill parents get another chance at the pools, they will no doubt try to use the money more wisely.

Teacher’s Pet [1990]

  • Teacher’s Pet  – Judy: #1574 (10 March 1990) – #1583 (12 May 1990)
  • Artist: Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)

Plot

Anna Norman gets on well in school until the arrival of a new teacher Miss Johnstone. Her new form teacher, starts favouring her immediately, earning Anna the name of “Teacher’s Pet” from her classmates. Even when Anna tries to get in trouble it makes things worse, such as when she is late to class she expects to be punished, like her other classmates were, but “Stoney” Johnstone just lets her away with it, and everyone else just thinks Anna’s taking advantage. When it comes time to elect a form captain Johnstone makes it clear that she thinks Anna has the right qualities for the job and commiserates with her when she lose out to Lucy. No amount of objections from Anna can convince her friends that she never wanted to be captain. It continues to get worse, on a museum trip, Johnstone implies that Anna told tales on Lucy and Anna rues the day the teacher took a liking to her. One good thing comes out of the trip is that her old friend Ros has gotten suspicious of Johnstone’s motives and points out to Anna that everything she does gets her in trouble and perhaps Johnstone doesn’t favour her at all!

Anna puts this theory test by speaking in slang to Johnstone when no one else is around, and gets a more typical “Stoney” response, but in class when she does it, Johnstone suggests she’d be perfect for reading the lead Pygmalion. She enlists Ros’s help to find out why Johnstone is doing this, Ros agrees to help but doesn’t want to get too involved for fear of losing friends. So in secret Ros and Anna start investigating Miss Johnstone, they find out where she lives and theorize that Anna may look like a sister that she dislikes. That theory is soon disproved as Johnstone is an only child. While Stoney is away for the weekend they do more snooping where she lives and gets talking to a neighbour of hers. Seeing a letter in a book she lent the neghbour, they think they have a new clue. It involves the local dramatics society and they think Stoney is upset because she lost out to a younger actress similar to Anna that also has the same name. Again this theory quickly goes nowhere, as the letter actually was Mrs Greys’, the neighbour.

Johnstone assigns Anna to the school disco committee, despite Lucy volunteering, not winning Anna any favours from the others. The theme is to be the 60s, so Anna asks to borrow some of her Dad’s records, but he won’t let his precious collection out of the house, her mom says he had them even before they met (some foreshadowing here!). Then while setting up for the disco, Anna gets in Stoney’s bad books temporarily for playing “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. Stoney ends up scratching the record in her hurry to turn it off. Wayne, the owner of the record, blames Anna for putting it on. Ros thinks they finally have a clue to Stoney’s past and they must find out why she hates that song so much.

Things look up for Anna, when Ros introduces her to her cousin Tom and they hit it off, but of course Stoney tries to cause problems. Anna then tells her mom that she she is having problems with Miss Johnstone praising her all the time, so her mom says she will have a word with her on parents night. But on the night Johnstone leaves suddenly with a headache before meeting the Normans. Ros who has smoothed things with Tom, reckons that Stoney had a broken romance, and wanted to break Anna and Tom up, though it doesn’t explain why she’s targeting Anna specifically. She soon finds out the reason why, when they get a chance to look in Johnstone’s flat while Mrs Grey is looking after her cat. Anna finds a picture of young Johnstone with a man whose face is crossed out, but she recognises the car in the background. A visit to her grandmother and looking through old photo albums, confirms her suspicions, the man in the photo was her dad! Mr Norman had never made the connection with the name but he was once engaged to Jean Johnstone but broke it off because of her jealousy and moodiness. They contact the headmistress and Johnstone doesn’t even deny it when confronted, she is happy she took her revenge. Learning the truth her classmates are sorry for how they treated Anna, she forgives them easily as she doesn’t want to end up like Stoney holding a grudge for years.

Thoughts

This is an interesting hate campaign story, there are several things that make it stand out from similar stories. Firstly that it is an adult campaigning against the protagonist rather than a peer. Miss Johnstone is in a position of power, she abuses this terribly and has no regrets that she punishes an innocent girl for the perceived wrong doings of her father. She also doesn’t regret ruining her own career because of this. Even without her revenge plan, Miss Johnstone isn’t a nice person, she soon earns her nickname “Stoney” with her tough discipline and hard attitude. We later learn it is not just being dumped that has turned her into this bitter person (although it certainly doesn’t help!) as even as a younger woman Johnstone was prone to jealousy and moodiness. Seems Mr Norman had a lucky escape!

Another thing that makes it stand out, is that it is not clear that there is a hate campaign against Anna to begin with. Other stories have had the “friend” of the protagonist turn out to be their secret enemy, but here because of Miss Johnstone’s strategy it’s not clear there is a hate campaign. Certainly it is a devious scheme, by praising and acting like she thinks Anna is great, she causes trouble without suspicion. It is nearly half ways through the story before her motives are actually questioned. Some of the girls thoughts on why Johnstone is after Anna are a stretch (such as looking like a hated sister) but they don’t have a lot to go on, so they have to think of some reason. Anna was lucky to find the photo and recognise the car and end Johnstone’s revenge. I like that Anna’s parents are supportive too, because often adults in these stories can be dismissive, especially considering Anna’s complaints are “Johnstone’s too nice to her”! While her mother doesn’t think it can be that bad, she does say she will talk to Johnstone and when they find out who she really is, they go straight to the Headmistress.

Anna’s friends are a bit quick to judge her, even Ros at first when she agrees to help, she doesn’t stand up for her in public. This might be excused if she didn’t want to put Johnstone onto their investigation but she also says she doesn’t want to get involved and lose her friends. Although as Ros becomes more convinced of Johnstone’s motives, she does become more active in supporting Anna, even introducing her to Tom, her cousin. I’m sure Anna, as a nice person, would have forgiven all her friends anyway, but it’s good to see it tie in with Johnstone, as she doesn’t want to become a bitter, unforgiving person like her. It brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.

The Runaway Rogers

Plot

The four Rogers children, whose parents  disappeared on a trip abroad, ran away from a children’s home to their Aunt Margedd’s cottage in North Wales —only to find the place empty and deserted. Ben and Danny Rogers followed a shepherd boy into the mountains at night and were led to Aunt Margedd, living in a ruined chapel. But when Ben and Twm, the shepherd, boy, returned to the cottage for Agnes and Connie, they found it burning fiercely.

Notes

Appeared

  • The Runaway Rogers – Judy: #565 (7 November 1970) – #573 (2 January 1971)