Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Saucy side of the first superstar of comics

June 12, 2020

fleet-magazine-1932-ally-sloper-favourite-relish

Ally Sloper was ‘the first superstar of comics’, says The Oldie magazine, who inspired the screen personae of Charlie Chaplin and, especially, WC Fields.

ally-slopers-favourite-relishNo small accolade, but it doesn’t end there. From 1867, with his first appearance in Judy, a rival magazine to Punch, into the 1920s, Sloper also put his name to no end of goods – and got his very own weekly comic, Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday, which ran for nigh-on 40 years. His fame also spread through the music hall, theatre and magic lantern shows, and in motion pictures as early as 1898.

The BFI has a short comedy sketch online based around a man reading a copy of Half Holiday at the barber’s.

As shown here, Ally Sloper’s Relish was one of these products, alongside everything from clay pipes to doorstops to ceramics and watches. These, alongside empty bottles of the sauce, often come up on eBay searches for Ally Sloper. The advert is from the February 1932 copy of The Fleet, a monthly aiming at serving sailors and anyone else interested in Britain’s Royal Navy.