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Tin-Can Tommy

Tin-Can Tommy

Fact File


Possibly the saddest ever opening to a Beano story was the one that awaited readers on the back cover of the first issue. Beneath a scene of a crying woman and a thoughtful professor, ran the following rhyme - 'Professor Lee is deep in gloom, While sounds of sobbing fill the room, For it had been a bitter blow, When his son had died a year ago.'

This hardly seems like a cue for laughs, but by the second frame, the professor is looking a lot more excited. "We're sad because we've lost our son," he tells his wife. "But I'll try to make another one." And that's exactly what he does, constructing a clockwork boy out of cogs and springs in his work-room. 'Now see the Professor show his wife, Their clockwork son chock-full of life. And Mr Lee jumps as he thinks of the fun, He'll have with Tommy, his tin-can son.'

Tin Can 2

And there was plenty of fun with 'The Clockwork Boy' between 1938 and 1947. Over the years, he gained a robot pal, Babe, and even a mechanical horse called Ironsides.

Artwork on the early Tin-Can Tommy stories - originally titled 'The Adventures of Robert the Robot' - was produced in Milan by the Torelli Brothers, but hostilities between Britain and Italy during the Second World War meant that artwork had to be sought closer to home, with staff artists Sam Fair, George Drysdale and Chic Gordon ensuring the adventures of our clockwork chum proceeded like a well-oiled machine.

Tin Can 1

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