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"Happy Bob Harriday", Tip Top, 1947-49

George Herbert Heath was born in Tonbridge, Kent, in 1900, the son of Herbert Mission Heath, a cricket ball maker, and his wife Tamar. He studied art at Goldsmith's College, trained as an art teacher at Regent Street Polytechnic, then found a job as a teacher at Teddington Art School. He left about 1930 to become a commercial artist, working through an agency in London.

He started off in the comics and story papers of the Amalgamated Press, providing illustrations for prose stories, and soon started drawing adventure strips for Stan Gooch's titles, usually on the back page, in the early 1930s. He pioneered the use of speech balloons in adventure strips, which traditionally accompanied the pictures with typeset narration. Strips he drew included:

  • "Forest of Fear" (1932) and "The Sacred Eye of Satpura" (1934) for The Funny Wonder
  • "The Young Adventurers" (1932), "Two Little Wanderers" (1934) and "James Cagney" (1936) for Larks
  • "Red Man's Gold" (1934), "Our Funny Newsreel" (1934) and "Cowboy Charlie" (1952) for Jingles
  • "Two True Friends" (1938) for Crackers
  • "Clark Gable" (1938), "Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon" (1941), "Western Brothers" (1941) and "The Falcon" (1947-61) for Radio Fun
  • "Happy Bob Harriday" (1947-49) and "Rivals of the Spanish Main" (1948) for Tip Top
  • "The Undersea Pirates" (1956), "Jack Warner", "I Vow Vengeance", "Our Tec Teaser", "The House with Red Shutters" and "Family Theatre" for TV Fun
  • "Dogfight Dixon" (1960) and "Spy 13" (1960) for Thriller Picture Library

After "The Falcon" ended in 1961, he was apparently fired by Fleetway Publications, as the AP was know known, and started working for DC Thomson's The Victor and The Hotspur for much less money. Strips he drew for them included:

  • "The Roll-Along Logans" (1962-)
  • "Front Page Ferguson" (1967)
  • "The Rainbow Boys" (1968)

He died in 1968 before he could finish the last of these. His wife was also an illustrator who worked for Picturegoer and Woman's Own, but I have yet to find out her name. His wife's name was Queenie, and she was my aunt. George was always known to us as Henry. Their son, Michael Heath, is a well-known cartoonist who is currently cartoon editor of the Spectator.


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