It is with much regret that we record the imminent demise of the paper publication of The Dandy comic. Founded in 1937, the final issue will appear in all good newsagents on its 75th anniversary in December. It will henceforth appear only online.
Much will be made of the passing of the comic that brought to life the adventures of Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan, and Beryl the Peril. They will be much missed. And so will be the free gifts that persuaded little purchasers to part with their pocket money. They included such gems as the Cut-out Fun Gun (1939); Whirlybird Helicopter (1960); and the Double-dip Swizzlestick (2004). In tribute, we present some of the most memorable free gifts. We will not see their like again.
The Dandy Whirlybird
Issue 990, 1960
A white, plastic “bird” would fly off the top of another twirled piece of plastic when you pulled down “hard” on a piece of rubber at one end and released it.
Funny Face Maker
Issue 1772, 1975
This toy came with cards that had half a cartoon face on one side and half a monster on the other. By sliding a card into the plastic “Funny Face Maker”, the reflection from a little mirror attached to the side would, ingeniously, create a funny face.
Issue 1530, 1971
A “heavy button or coin”, which wasn’t provided, would be attached to the nose of two red and white pieces of card. Then, when the connected piece of string was swung around a person’s head, it would create a noisy humming sound.
Korky Glow Mask
Issue 1771, 1975
Given out on Halloween, you would cut around the dotted lines of Korky the Cat’s face on a piece of card. Then, while wearing it, if you were lucky, it would actually glow in the dark.
Red Indian Bow and Arrow
Issue 39, 1938
A small toy that was only three or four inches long, complete with two arrows. Only one is said to remain in existence.
Issue 1663, 1973
A three-inch cardboard disk with slits around the edges was attached to a piece of string and, when spun around, would create a whining sound.
Korky’s Squeaky Squawker
Issue 1662, 1973
A simple squeeze of the rubber at the end of this balloon-shaped toy would, according to Korky the Cat, make a squeak “louder than mice”.
The Dandy Thunderbang
Issue 991, 1960
A popular toy that many other comics mimicked and gave away. Tissue paper wedged between two pieces of brown card would, when slammed together, supposedly make the sound of a gunshot. It needed plenty of wrist snap, and no little imagination.
The Express Whistler
Issue 1, 1937
The Dandy’s first ever free gift. The yellow and blue tin-plate toy had eight different engine whistles to blow. Only one is said to be left in existence, with a copy of the comic plus toy selling for £21,000 in 2004.
Issue 2, 1937
“Your Frog will leap like a Jumping Jack, If you pull the lever back.” Once the lever was resting on the “tar” by the tin frog’s head, you would set it down on the table and, if the spring didn’t recoil before you put it down, the red amphibian would leap off the table seconds later.
Issue 11, 1938
Sweets and chocolate were an early favourite giveaway and have been a fixture of the comic ever since. Only one wrapper of the first Nougat bar, however, remains today.