I like to do a post about an annual around Christmas time, although with this book I originally wanted to do it for Halloween as it’s filled with so many spooky stories (and actually hardly a Christmas theme in sight!). But as I didn’t have the time to finish it for then, it will be a Christmas post after all.
From the cover we see no Winter theme, just two girls holding a balloon. Like most Judy annuals of the 80s, featured inside the front and back covers are a collection of photos – here we have everything from diving helmets to highland horses. As I mentioned lots of spooky stories, along with regular characters from the weeklies, a large selection of features and just the one photo story.
(For just a list of contents go to the last page)
Lost Saturday (Pages: 5-9)
Art: Martin Puigagut?
Carla Trent is intending to visit her friend Sandra, but gets lost on her way, then a helpful motorist picks her up. Oddly it starts to snow in August, though the woman is not surprised. She brings her back to her house, she has a daughter her age and says she may know Sandra. They are having a party and say they will ring Sandra to come over. Carla still finds things odd, she checks to see if a car coming is Sandra arriving, it is not her friend and the car skids into a gas main and there is big explosion. Carla wakes up in Sandra’s house, she tells Carla that she was found by the roadside, she must have dreamed all the other events as there is no snow and the house she describes are still being developed. Months later Sandra invites her to a party with a new family that has moved in close by. Carla realises its the same party she was at before so she manages to get everyone out before the car explodes.
Junior Nanny (Pages: 13-15)
Art: Oliver Passingham
This is the only Christmas story in the annual (although there are some stories set during Winter). Chris Johnson has her work cut out for her when a 4 year old orphan, Alan, joins the home. He had been living with relatives who neglected him and his treasured comfort was an old bucket as it was the only toy he owned. When one of the other children kicks the bucket, Alan gets upset and doesn’t trust them and won’t play with them. Chris puzzles about how to help Alan she notices he is fond of helping with the babies. So Chris gets a little Christmas tree for the babies and talking with Alan, he agrees it needs a special bucket. After successfully separating him from his bucket, Alan begins to play with other kids.
Her Finest Hour (Pages: 17-19)
Harriet Cole had performed her first concert as a pianist. The audience gave her an encore and many praised Harriet, saying she had a bright future ahead of her. Terpsichore, the muse of dance and music, appears in her dressing room saying she will grant her her dearest wish. Harriet says she would like to relive the hour between 8pm to 9pm again. She gets her wish and she enjoys hearing herself play as everything is on autopilot, but then she meets the muse again and can’t stop herself from wishing for the same thing again. She only then realises her mistake, that she made her wish a few minutes before 9 and now is she is stuck in this loop forever!
Dottie’s Ye Olde Joke Book (Pages: 20-21)
One panel jokes with a historical theme.
Danger, Min at Work! (Pages: 24-25)
Min can never keep a job, in this story she gets a job in a bakery. It ends up being a disaster – Min puts her foot in flour, stacks the bread tins too high causing them to fall over on the baker. Then she manages to knock the water tap on and the flour and yeast making a whole dough the takes over the shop!
Wee Slavey (Pages: 27-31)
Art: John Leonard Higson
This Wee Slavey story takes place before Nellie worked for the Selby-Smythes. Instead she is working in an orphanage under the mean and grasping, Mrs Eckstine. While working picking up stones for a Lady Burrows, Nellie finds a ruby. Mrs Eckstine immediately takes it from her. Then Nellie finds out the stone is cursed and tries to warn Mrs Eckstine to give it back. She dismisses such superstition, but after several mishaps it does seem the ruby is out to get her! It does get returned to Lady Burrows, and she is so happy to have the jewel back, she takes all the orphans out for the day.
Lost Chance (Pages: 37-39)
Art: Claude Berridge
Jenny Norton wants to become a writer, and writes whenever she gets the chance, even if gets her in trouble in school! She sees a competition to write for “Girls’ Weekly” but the final day for posting is the next day. She pits all her time into the competition staying up late at night and starting early next morning. She is just finished and goes to help her mom with something, when the wind blows her manuscript onto a bonfire. With no time to write another entry Jenny believes her opportunity is gone. Then to her surprise, the next week her teacher calls her over to tell her she has given Jenny’s confiscated writings to friend at “Girls’ Weekly”. The friend was so impressed she wants Jenny to write for the book.
The Afanc (Pages: 42-46)
Art: Norman Lee
In a village in North Wales, Ben Evans, the gamekeeper has disappeared. Then one night a police patrol car sees Ben Evans on a horse but he is shaggy and wild looking, and suddenly vanishes again. They report back to the station, a woman says what they saw was the Afanc returned for revenge. Old folk tales tell of him, ruling the Welsh forest and hunting the unwary traveler, he was lured away but vowed to return. The police think this is rubbish, but the local gazette run the story and schoolgirl Prue and her friends are interested in the story. Their teacher is not impressed by the girls talk and makes them write an essay on critical journalism. The girls decide that she would believe them if she saw herself the Afanc herself. So Prue dresses up and rides out on horse, she frightens Miss Bake, who swerves her car into a ditch and causes the horse to bolt.The other girls own up and help Miss Blake, but Prue has disappeared. She is never seen again, at least by anyone who can tell the tale. Later a lost tourist goes missing. With all the disappearances, the police begin the wonder if there is some truth with the Afanc story.
Big ‘n’ Bertha (Pages: 50-51)
Dad wants to teach Big to be a guard dog, but he’s not having much success. Then Big catches a burgler, when he trips over the sleeping dog!
Born to Dance (Pages: 52-55)
Art: Jose Ariza?
Paula Delaney is assistant to Madame Nina Nerova a ballet teacher. They invite a film team to see Madame teaching hoping to attract new stars. While lots of enthusiastic girls audition only one girl, Tessie has star quality, but she runs away when she realises she is being filmed. Watching the film Paula figures out who she is by her resemblance to another dancer. They go to Tessie’s house where they meet her mother, a previous pupil of Madame Nerova and whose promising ballerina career was destroyed by accident. She was so bitter and sad about it, that Tessie hid her love of ballet from her, but it turns out her mother is happy to see her daughter dance and wants to see her become the str she could never be.
Dottie’s New Year (Pages: 56-57)
A humour strip with a panel for every month, that tells how Dottie has spent her year.
Cora Cupid (Pages: 58-63)
Art: Giorgio Letteri
Cora is always meddling in peoples love lives after a falling out with friends, she decides not to meddle any more. Even when she sees opportunities to get long term couple,Neil and Laura, back together, she resists. Then her friends start talking to her again because they want her to sort Neil and Laura out! But Cora has convinced herself not to meddle so much, that she can’t work her magic anymore. So her friends end up scheming with Neil and Laura to get her confidence back.
The Honest Thief (Pages: 65-67)
Art: Bert Hill
A “Girl with the Golden Smile” story. Jill steals a book about art from Westerby Department store. She wants to give it to her disabled sister to use, and plans to return it later. Anna tracks her down, and finds out her whole story, how they have little money, but Jill wants to help encourage her sister’s art talent. She promises not to steal again and Anna gets her sister a job doing portraits at Westerby’s. Seems odd that Jill would “borrow” the book from the department store, when there are libraries whose purpose is the lend books and its all legal too!
Anita’s Butler (Pages: 74-76)
Art: Bert Hill
Mareton (Anita’s ghost butler) does not trust a boy, Bob Wilson, who is helping with a charity auction, that Anita is also volunteering at. Mareton sees him steal a medal and go off in sports car with older woman. Then he sees him tampering with a plane at air display. He convinces Anita to stop the plane, but the pilot turns out to be the woman from the sports car. She is Bob’s mother, he was fixing her plane and the medal he “stole” was actually his grandfathers medal, that was wrongly donated. The Wilson’s don’t mind the misunderstanding and take Anita for a plane ride.
First-Time Faith (Pages: 77-79)
Art: Jim Baikie
Faith Hope wanted to be the girl with the most entries in a local firm’s Book of Records. She gets an idea of getting new entry, when it comes to celebrating Lady Bernicia, the town’s hero. Bernicia never wore her wedding dress, instead wearing black in protest and started uprising against the invading Normans. Faith wants to be the first to wear the dress. She enlists the help of Monica the museum curators daughter to get the dress for her. On the day of pageant, the lights go out and Monica ends of getting her dad’s overalls instead. Somehow Faith doesn’t notice the difference in the dark! So Faith doesn’t get her entry in the Record book.
Pony Tales (Pages: 80)
Humour strip about girls and their pony.
Is a Goldfish Really a Girl’s Best Friend? (Pages: 81-83)
A girl ponders about what the best pet would be. A dog would be a lot of work with all the walks, tortoise sleeps half the year, budgies tend to fly off an elephant takes up too much room. She concludes her goldfish really is the best.
The Golden Touch (Pages: 84-87)
May Ferrier’s father works for Lady Meshan. One night a constable comes across May with box of jewels, which had been missing for a year. May claims to have just sensed it, but her father is accused of stealing it from Lady Mesham and telling May where he hid them. At a trial their lawyer has an idea. He proposes that May is a diviner who can detect gold. Lady Mesham dismisses the idea, thinking the test has been set up in advance. But then May says she has gold on her person and a dentist in the courtroom confirms she has gold fillings. The charges are dropped and the Ferriers even get a reward for finding stolen goods.
The Haunted Churchyard (Pages: 91-95)
Art: Norman Lee
Petra Markham is dared by her friends to take a shortcut through a supposedly haunted graveyard. Her bravery soon leaves her when she hears a low wailing sound and she runs towards the church finding the vicars house. The Vicar goes with her to investigate and they find a trapped dog is source of wailing. The Vicar says it must belong to a neighbour, Mrs Bragg, and they go to his house for cocoa. The next day after recounting the tale to her friends, Petra realises she left her homework at the Vicar’s house. She goes back but the house is derelict. She finds her homework there and is confronted by Mrs Bragg. She tells Petra, she had a puppy 40 years ago but he injured his paw around the time the last vicar of the church died!
Boyfriends (Pages: 97)
Humour strip where a poor guy is hassled by wannabe girlfriend.
Abandoned! (Pages: 98-101)
Art: Jose Ariza?
This is an Emma Report story, at Morningside Children’s Home, the children are watching Emma do a report at zoo, then the Matron has special surprise, Emma has come to visit. Afterwards Janey sneaks into Emma’s car, she wants her help as she’s been looking after dog and the Home doesn’t allow big pets. They take the dog to a vet, Emma met through her time at television. Emma leaves vet to contact the children’s home as Janey seems to be hitting it off with him and his wife, and she suspects Janey could find a new home with them.
Bobby Dazzler (Pages: 106-107)
Art: Giorgio Letteri
Don and Mike both want to accompany Bobby to disco and there is only one spare ticket. She tells them whoever scores most goals at next match will take her. They get the same amount of goals but Bobby has managed to get an extra ticket, she just decided to wait until after the match to tell them!
Schoolgirl Vet (Pages: 109-111)
Kay Burrows family have a visitor, Miss Soong, who practice acupuncture. Wen Kay’s brother hasto attend to a lame cow, Kay and Miss Soong help. The cow is given all sort of treatments, including Miss Soong’s alternative treatments and the cow is cured. Kay is convinced it is Miss Soong that cured her, but Kay’s brothers not so sure, but he keeps that to himself!
The Warning (Pages: 113-115)
Art: Claude Berridge
Prudence Wells is on a train when she is puzzled that she keeps seeing the same man at each stop. At the third stop the man the man calls out for help. She gets off at next stop and sees the man. She goes to talk to him, causing him to move towards her and narrowly avoid a falling trunk that would have knocked him in front of a train!
Party Girl (Pages: 121-125)
Art: Matias Alonso
Samantha Parry is only interested in going to parties and having fun. She neglects her ill grandmother so she can go out with her potential new boyfriend Dominic. She even considers poisoning her grandmother to get rid of her. After midnight when a party ends, Dominic invites her to an all night party. While he goes to meet the host, Samantha finds something unsettling about the party, the drinks are flat, the food stale and the people seem strange and unhappy. She tries to leave but somehow ends up back in the same room again. She tells Dominic she wants to leave, but he tells her the host is very interested in meeting her and as her grandmother died tonight she can stay and have a life long party just like she wanted. We see the hosts shadow which appears to be the devil. Meanwhile a cop interviews a man, as an ambulance takes body away. He says the girl just drove into the wall but the shocking part was she was sitting on pillion and nobody was actually driving the bike!