What do BOB HOPE, JOHN LOWE, and the first issue of the
revamped SMASH! comic from 1969 have in common? The answer
is that around 29 and a half years ago, on October 13th, 1984, I met Bob
Hope, saw John Lowe make history by scoring the first televised 9 dart
finish, and re-acquired the first issue of the 'new' Smash! I'd first bought
in March of 1969, then sold to a classmate a few days later. (For
that tale, click here. Go on, I'll wait right here for you.)
On that day in 1984, I was in Edinburgh to attend the legendary
Mr. Hope's show at The Playhouse, and stopped in at a comics shop
in the late afternoon to have a browse. There was a box containing 72
issues of the 95 issue run of the new Smash!, so I bought them all on the
spot. I took #1 away with me, plus two '50s movie mags which Bob auto-
graphed that evening, along with a couple of LP covers from recordings
of his old radio broadcasts. (In case you were wondering, I was sitting
in a bar having a soft drink before the show and watched Big John
score his 9 dart finish on the pub telly.)
As for those remaining issues of Smash!, I arranged to pick them
up from the dealer when he attended a Glasgow comic mart the next
week, I believe. (Incidentally, that mart was the one at which 2000 A.D.
offered me freelance work as a lettering artist.) If so, I seem to recall that
the dealer forgot to bring the comics with him, which means I either got
them at a subsequent mart, or through the post at intervals. (Of course,
I could be misremembering after all this time and perhaps it was a
later mart the dealer told me he'd be attending anyway.)
I've picked up 21 of the missing 22 issues over the intervening
years and, yesterday, obtained the absent ish (second-last one) from
Amazon, and am currently wishing my life away until it safely arrives.
It's taken me practically 30 years to complete the set since I re-acquired
that first issue in Edinburgh on that day in October of 1984, but you
know what? It only seems like a few years ago at the very most.
So hands up if you'd like to see a cover gallery of the revamped
Smash!? Better yet, why not let me know in the comments section.
You know how I look forward to hearing from you.