Monday, 21 December 2020

Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Annuals

 I've written before about The Children's Hour Annual on this blog (and listed what I've found of Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Annual on my other blog) and thought I should cover Uncle Mac's and Raymond Sheppard's contributions in more detail as it's quite interesting.


Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book [1949?]
Unknown artist
The British Library lists only 2 of this title - one 1947 (125 pages) and one 1949 (156 pages) and the 'orange' one - shown above - has a contents page showing the last story starts on page 152 (but it ends on the unnumbered page 157 so a cataloguer might have been lazy or very meticulous!)

Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book [1949?]
Contents page - Unknown artist

So let's get started on Raymond Sheppard's work in this.

The first piece is the end-papers used at the front and back of the book

Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book [1949?]
End-papers by Raymond Sheppard

The compilation of the various charactersfrom this album appear on two pages, signed by Sheppard and I love the running bear's expression. On the next piece, the title page, we see the same odd three-headed giant figure as above.

Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book [1949?]
Title page - Raymond Sheppard

The giant figure is Odds-Bobs-and-Mackerel (whose stories seem to be by George Baker both on the radio and here in the book) who is described as the twenty foot giant with three heads, in order from left to right - Odds, Bobs and then Mackerel!

Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book [1949?]
Title page - artist unknown

Here's the contents page for others who might want it. We are focusing on two stories in this volume: "Odds-Bobs-and-Mackerel and the Pirates" (pp.69-74) and "The snowman and the scarecrow" (pp.125-126).

p.69 "...and gone off with his bundle
on his shoulder while everyone was asleep"

p.70 "Now he was allowed to tie a red handkerchief round his head,
and stick a cutlass, a dagger, and a pair of pistols in his belt"

p.71 "There was an enormous splash as Odds-Bobs-and-Mackerel
fell into the water, and floundered about, and came gasping to the top."

p.72 ".  lying on deck, one leg each side of the mainmast
his feet up on the foredeck and his shoulders against the poop "

p.73 "...and a wild yell from all three heads at once, tumbled overboard."

p. 74 "Then he turned to Mr. Simpkins, standing there
all loaded with chains and crying like anything."

Although May E. Jenkin ('Elizabeth' as she is known to listeners) is not credited in the Radio Times of
Thursday 19 August 1948, when the pirates story was broadcast at 5pm on the BBC Home Service, we know she is credited as having read aloud the other three episodes of 'OBM' in 1948. The name of George Baker (the author) appears throughout the Radio Times from its earliest times, so unfortunately I can't pin anything down about him (her?).

 The second story "The snowman and the scarecrow" is by Madge Slaney and she is credited (together with Philip Green) as having the story broadcast on 15 March 1949 and it was read by none other than Uncle Mac himself. She also gets a credit earlier for 14 June edition 1948 for a story called "How Smart Black Cow found a Friend". Interestingly there was a Wimbledon player by the same name who played between 1926 and 1949 and on the BBC a violncello player around these dates called William Ernest Slaney. BUT I'm not claiming to know they are tied into our author!

p. 125 "And the old scarecrow said:
“Yes, of course you can. Hop inside.”"

p.125 "The proud snowman said
“No, I won't lend you my warm scarf”"

p.126 "He sat down in front of the old scarecrow and said:
“Please will you let me sit in the pocket of your coat?”"


I'm so glad that this version of the Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Annual was published with signatures of artists including Sheppard as they are not repeated in the 'yellow' version below. Before I go there, I've listed the artists I've spotted in the 'orange' version in case anyone is looking for their work. Barbara C. Freeman, 'Valerie',  'Wrall', 'H.B.', 'Gala'


Uncle Mac's Children's Hour Book "Yellow" version

This image is borrowed from the Internet as mine does not have a dustjacket and I wanted to show it as we may yet find one for the 'orange' version!  If the unknown artist used kids known to him or her as models, I should think some (on the spine) would be 'miffed' as they have been eliminated from the hardback due to there only being a cloth strip in-between the outside covers.

As discussed already dates for these publications are uncertain and why the 'yellow' version is so different is anybody's guess. The cover with the yellow background also has the same contents as above and is credited to Purnell, not Sampson Low as above and the stories and images are exactly the same except....

All images have been traced in outline - eliminating a lot of the subtle shadings - and coloured in a single 'spot' colour! I have reproduced the Sheppard pictures just for completeness but at a lower resolution - to save Blog space!




No comments:

Post a Comment