Monday, 30 April 2018

TV21 ANNUAL COVER GALLERY...


Characters copyright relevant and respective owners

As I was coming back from the main shopping centre in my town this evening, I took the route that was near to the house in which I'd lived when TV CENTURY 21 first came out in 1965 (but dated 2065 remember).  I've often walked along that way in the last few years, and had noticed an elderly man who used to sit in the open doorway of his bungalow, listening to his radio and watching the world go by.  We nodded to one another on two or three occasions as I passed, but never spoke a word other than a brief "A' right" in the few scant seconds our gaze connected on my circuitous way home.  I'd even started to keep an eye out for him whenever I was in the area, so that I could swap 'nods' with him in case my acknowledgement of his presence was the only interaction he had with another person in his long and lonely day.  It would've bothered me if, while lost in thought, I'd forgotten to glance at his doorway and thereby inadvertently ignored him on my way past.  What if he looked at me in anticipation, expecting a nod that never came?  

Tonight his door was closed, and several items of household furniture and appliances lay scattered on his small lawn and footpath.  A fireplace, washing machine, tumble dryer (or small fridge), several odds'n'ends - and his wheelchair.  That tends to suggest he's passed away, rather than gone into an old folks home, and although I didn't know the man or anything about him, I felt kind of sad that another light had apparently gone out in the world.  I couldn't help but wonder what his interests or hobbies had been, what he'd done with his life, and whether he'd owned anything that he'd wish to be preserved or passed on, rather than thrown in a skip or given to a charity shop.

For all I know, he could have been an ardent comics collector with a full set of the original EAGLE, and maybe even, as a young adult, collected TV21 because it had been cast in Eagle's mould.  Now perhaps his collection lay in bin bags, or had been given to grandchildren or nieces and nephews, who would read these prized gems with no regard for their condition and then casually, callously, discard them afterwards.  Whenever I'm in the area in the future, I'll probably find myself automatically preparing to nod to him as I walk by his bungalow, before remembering that he's no longer there.  Which means, I suppose, that in some kind of ironic way, he'll always be sitting in that doorway - at least in my mind.  It also made me think of what lay ahead of me in my own future, and whether I'll likewise be an old man on my lonesome, worrying about what's going to happen to my collection of comics and toys when I die.  A sobering thought indeed.

(Update:  I've since learned that the gentleman's name was MATT, and that he'd once been a banker.  A neighbour told me he was cheated out of his life savings by his girlfriend, but I don't know at what stage in his life that happened.  He has indeed passed on, so let's hope he's now at peace in a better place.)

And so, because I was thinking of TV21, and having just recently acquired the last two Annuals I needed (1969 & '70) to complete the set of eight, I thought I'd display them here.  As you can see, the last three come from a time when the comic was completely different to what it had started out as.  Despite what it says on the cover of the 1971 book, JOE 90 doesn't appear inside - nor does any other strip based on a GERRY ANDERSON puppet programme.  The comic had taken the nation by storm, but was barely a feeble puff by the time it finally breathed its last in the early '70s.  And thus do the mighty fall into ruin - as, also, must we who look at the stars while standing in the gutter, hoping for an immortality that may not exist and therefore may never inherit.

Enjoy the covers.





Y'know, it's hard to believe that there were only eight Annuals in total over a period of seven years - and that only the first five of them are in the style of TV21 as it had been when first released.  Back then, the comic seemed to have been around forever, yet five slim volumes on a bookshelf are all there is to represent its yearly output, in what felt like an eternity at the time.  Funny that.  The remaining three Annuals spring from an entirely different style of comic altogether, the same in name only.



10 comments:

Philip Crawley said...

Quite the evolution of an institution in eight covers! I still have the third one down (no cover date on it) which I think must have been purchased for me back in the day judging by the childish handwriting inside the cover. Still readable but best not to hold it up by the covers - quite a few of the pages would fall out!

I travel to work each day on public transport and I look around at the carriage full of strangers and wonder about their lives. Of course some of them answer that question via a noisy phone conversion that the whole carriage can hear (w*nkers), and others you deduce by looking at their apparel (tradesperson, office worker, etc) or a bag full of university textbooks and the like. But that aside you know nothing about their hobbies or interests. You could be sitting next to someone with a lot of shared interests to yourself and never know it.

Kid said...

Regarding that third Annual, PC, it's notorious for it's binding (as may be some of the others) - I've got two copies and neither of them is perfect, nor have any other copies been that I've ever seen. I had the first Annual as a kid, and perhaps the second (though perhaps not bought new), but I don't think I ever had any of the other books. I remember looking at the 1972 one in a shop called W. & R. Holmes in 1972 (meaning that it must've been remaindered stock as it would've originally gone on sale at the end of '71), but I never bought it. Finally acquired a copy a good few years ago.

Jim Reeves sang a song called 'A Stranger's Just A Friend You Do Not Know' - it's a nice sentiment, but probably only true in one in a hundred instances. (Hope your Dalek collection is growing.)

Philip Crawley said...

Dalek collection stopped at 24, in assorted sizes. Still a higher tally than the Cybermen but it was neck-and-neck for a while there. The only other Daleks that I'm after are hard to find and / or expensive so that's about it for the moment. International shipping costs are killing this whole collection via eBay lark. I used to order quite a bit from the UK sellers, Daleks and otherwise - but when it can cost you in some instances twice as much as you payed for an item to have it sent to you them I'm out.

Kid said...

Yeah, some of those postage costs are prohibitive. I notice the same thing with a lot of stuff in America that I'm interested in; like you say, the p&p is as much as or more than the item itself. Maybe some Australian seller will eventually offload the stuff you want with more reasonable p&p costs, so don't give up hope.

Colin Jones said...

That's why I'm glad I don't have a collection of toys and comics - I don't have to worry about their fate when I'm gone.

Kid said...

Life can be pretty dull without something to worry about, CJ.

Paul Mcscotty said...

I can't recall ever getting more than the odd issue of the weekly "classic" TV21 as a kid as it was a bit more expensive than other UK comics and I wasn't a big fan of Jerry Anderson. I can't recall even seeing the TV 21 annuals as a kid. I do remember getting a few of the IPC/Fleetway weekly versions with Marvel reprints but they weren't great.

Jim Reeves' "A strangers just a friend" was a favourite of my mums she used to play it so often I think I could rattle of the lyrics even now some 45 years plus later.

I really need to thin my collection down I'm not a completest collector but have sooooo many comics most are total tat so I envy CJ (a bit).

Kid said...

Ah, your mum was obviously a woman of taste and discernment, PM. I need to thin down my collection as well, but I can't stop adding to it. Recently bought 8 or 9 Knockout Annuals to complete the collection of 13, so my stash is growing all the time. Every comic has a memory though, so where do I start? What memories should I decide to jettison? Should I 'phone a friend or go 50-50? Decisions, decisions.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Those pictures of Zero X remind me of the old Fireball XL-5 TV show!

Kid said...

Zero X always struck me as a Fireball XL5 rip-off, JfD, with less charismatic characters. I was a bit miffed when Fireball was 'demoted' in TV21 and Zero X was given prominence.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...