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Invisible Ink
Famous Names, Unknown writings
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Humour Writers by Newspaper/Magazine

Humour Writers

Paul David Wimsett's insight:

Here are a list of humour writers by publication:


Daily Express: J B Morton 

                        D B Wyndham-Lewis (both as Beachcomber)


New Yorker: Robert Benchley

                     H F Ellis

                     S J Perelman 


Observer: Paul Jennings


The Oldie:  Barry Cryer

                  Richard Ingrams

                  Maureen LipmanPrivate


Private Eye: Peter Cook

                    e e cummings (poet)

                    Ian Hislop

                    John Wells (Dear Bill)


Punch: Alan Coren

            H F Ellis

            A P Herbert

            Richard Mallett          

            Anthony Robertson (How to Do and Say in England) 


The Sun: Frankie Boyle

                Jeremy Clarkson


Sunday Express: Nat Gubbins


The Times: Giles Coren

                   Simon Hoggart

                   Caitlin Moran


(Mostly according to Paul Jenning's Book of Nonsense.)


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Eric Morecambe-Books What He Wrote

Eric Morecambe-Books What He Wrote | Invisible Ink |
Paul David Wimsett's insight:

Eric Bartholomew or Morecambe as what he is more well known as is famous for his double act with Ernie Wise including the famous Christmas shows, dancing with Angela Ripon; Singing in the Rain routine, and the phrase "What do you think of the show so far? Rubbish!"

He wrote two novels Mr Lonely, what we know as a Z-list comedian who sleeps around. The other book Stella was published posthumously-a working class comedienne's rise to fame.

He also created a children's book The Reluctant Vampire, who prefers chips to blood. There was a sequel, The Vampire's Revenge. 

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Happy Families - Quentin Blake, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton

Happy Families - Quentin Blake, Alan Coren, Willie Rushton | Invisible Ink |

Rather than go for one author I've adapted my idea and go for out of print compilations and go through the contributors. This time I'm doing "Happy Families", a book published in 1992 showing various families (illustrated by famous authors) as in the card game, with notes on them from various writers.


The illustrators:


'Alex' (Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor): Creators of a strip cartoon in Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

Steve Bell: Guardian political cartoonist. Famously drew John Major's underpants...

Quentin Blake: Famously illustrated Roald Dahl stories, as well as the Agaton Sax stories.

Raymond Briggs: Creator of the Snowman, Father Christmas and Fungus the Bogeyman.

Peter Cross: Cartoonist of wildlife scenes and creator of album covers.

Barry Fantoni: Private Eye cartoonist,  of Neasden FC who also appeared on Private Passions.

Fluck and Law: Creators of ITV's Spitting Image in the 1980.

Nicholas Garland: Political cartoonist for Daily Telegraph, also illustrating for the Spectator and The Independent. Famously illustrated Barry MacKenzie strip (see Barry Humphries)

Gray Jolliffe: Illustrator of Wicked Willie and 

Sue Macartney-Snapes: illustrator of Modern Stereotypes.

'Matt' (Matthew Pritchett): Cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph.

John Jenson:

Willie Rushton: Private Eye illustrator, panelist on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Fart in the Night, famously on That Was The Week That Was.


I'll do the writers later.

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Reveal All About Johnny Ball...

Reveal All About Johnny Ball... | Invisible Ink |

This is the ideal time to look at the out of print work of a favourite from my childhood Johnny Ball, more famous now as the father of Zoe Ball. He presented a number of TV series including "Think of a Number" and "Johnny Ball Reveals All."


His out of print work includes:


Mathemagicians (2009) How maths applies to everything.


Think Box (1982) No details, but probably more of the same.


Think of a Number (1979) The world of wonder that is numbers. (Pic above)


UPDATE: Sadly Johnny Ball went out in the first vote. Our commiserations...





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Barry Humphries - The Spookiest of Comic Writing

Barry Humphries - The Spookiest of Comic Writing | Invisible Ink |

Barry Humphries will be eternally associated with the housewife megastar from Moony Ponds (a real place, apparently) Dame Edna Everage, who even appeared on Ally McBeal, and cultural attache Sir Les Patterson, but there is much more to his work than that.

His lesser known character today was Barry McKenzie, the archetypal Australian with phrases like "strewth!", "pommy bastards", "technicolor chunder" and "dumb as a sack of hammers". He lives in Earls Court, a stomping ground for ex-pat Aussies. The illustration is from Bazza Pulls it Off in 1972, written with Nicholas Garland. The title of a spoof of the girls' school play "Daisy Pulls it Off" but there may be a double entendre... A Complete Barry McKenzie by the same authors was published in 1988. 


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Sir Patrick Moore - Some Work We Just Don't Know

Sir Patrick Moore - Some Work We Just Don't Know | Invisible Ink |

Sir Patrick Moore was born after the Big Bang...okay, it was 1923. He is famous for wearing his monocle, his ill-fitting suits, playing his glockenspiel and saying "Good evening!". He is slightly ailing health at the moment but he still presents The Sky at Night.



People get het up about the difference between astronomy and astrology, but in fact Moore has written books on both. The difference is that astrology is trying to look for patterns that can relate to your own life  whether by analogy of story or by prediction (like the star in the Bible)  whereas astronomy is looking at the stars for their own sake. The photo above is from Legends of the Stars which may technically be in print somewhere.


Here is his out of print works: 


Observers Book of Astronomy (1962) A little known book about the night sky.


Planet of Fear (1972) A science fiction novel with plenty of fear and the threat of Armageddon in it. It is a Scott Saunders adventure. For some reason this is retailing on Amazon for a penny. Disgusting!


Space Travel for the Under Teens (1992) For little astronauts, how the universe works.


Patrick Moore on Mars (1998) Everything we know about Mars thus far.


Patrick Moore on the Moon (2001) A follow up but on the Moon.


Can You Play Cricket on Mars? (2008) Answers questions like: Is there a dark side of the moon? Is the moon hot at its core? and so on.





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Terry Wogan - The TOGmeister

Terry Wogan - The TOGmeister | Invisible Ink |

Terry Wogan is famous for his followers - Terry's OId Geezers/Gals and his appearance on Blankety Blank and his own chat show. He has created updates of the Janet & John books, slightly risque, but what about his out of print work?


Wogan on Wogan (1998) Confusingly this isn't an autobiography, but a selection of his interviews for the chat show "Wogan".


Terry's Bumper Tog's Book (1996) This is a selection of letters and emails (it says in the description but email addresses weren't given out by that many programmes in the 90s...) from Terry's listeners to his breakfast show. Illustrated by Gray Jollife, who also illustrated Wicked Willie.


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Muppets - Who Said Variety Was Dead? (Statler and Waldorf probably)

Muppets - Who Said Variety Was Dead? (Statler and Waldorf probably) | Invisible Ink |

Jim Henson's famous creations started with just a way to learn the alphabet and numbers with Sesame Street. Discovering that he could get famous people to work with them (although it seemed quite reluctantly sometimes) the Muppet Show was born, Kermit the host, Miss Piggy the glam act, Fozzie the comedian, Gonzo (what was Gonzo) the stuntman, the scientists Bunsen and Beaker, the Swedish chef and of course the critics Statler and Waldorf. Several films followed as well as another version Fraggle Rock (more story based) and live action films-Muppets even appearing in Star Wars of course (or should that be Jim Henson puppets?).

There are millions of out of print Muppet things, like the comics pictured, but here is stuff which some details are referred to on the web.


Miss Piggy's Guide to Life (1981) Supposedly written by Henry Beard. This is famously quoted very often. "Express your feelings all the time except when you're trying to hide something" and "I plan to write my books when I've find the appropriate writing attire and a colour-coordinated pen.


Favourite Songs of the Muppets (1986) Songs include: C is for Cookie, The Rainbow Connection, Moving Right Along, Being Green and of course The Muppet Show Theme.


The Muppet Master (1988) Brought out on Jim Henson's death (I know...that long ago...) this celebrates the master manipulator.


The Muppets Make Puppets (1995) This confusingly titled book shows you how to make Muppets with stuff around the house.

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Kenneth Williams - Acid Dropper

Kenneth Williams - Acid Dropper | Invisible Ink |

Kenneth Williams is famous for being a Carry On actor as well as being in Just a Minute and Round the Horne. Some people may remember him on H...H...H...Hancock's Half Hour.


His Acid Drops has been in and out of print for years and in fact included cartoons by the aforementioned Graeme Garden. An acid drop by the way is just another name for a pear drop, quite a sour sweet (pictured). It consists an A-Z of various insults given by the rich and famous.


Yellow design, KW eating an acid drop, 1980


There's one showing KW's head (blue background) from 1981


There is one showing him eating an acid drop in 1988.


The Complete Acid Drops with KW in a star design was published in 1999. It has an introduction by Gyles Brandreth.

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Richard Curtis - Actually the Man Behind Blackadder and Bean.

Richard Curtis - Actually the Man Behind Blackadder and Bean. | Invisible Ink |

Given what we know of him - the light 'fluffy' writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, and the writer of that nice sitcom The Vicar of Dibley and fairly nice Mr Bean, it is remarkable how versatile Richard Curtis is. Of course he helped bring Blackadder to us and recently wrote Doctor Who but if you look at his out of print work you see horror and adaptions of Greek Myths.


Squirm (see picture) was a horror film in the 1970s about worms burying themselves in people's heads, set in the rural world of Fly Creek. Richard Curtis wrote the novelisation. According to the reviews it falls short of being at the level of Stephen King.


There are several books written with Tony Robinson about Greek Myths, Odysseus The Greatest Hero of Them All (1988), Odysseus-The Journey Through Hell (1991) (both of these 'available' as audiobooks) and Theseus, Monster Killer (1992). The last one was read on Jackanory. 


Okay, you can find a Mr Bean on his out of print works - Mr Bean Goes to Town, published in 2001 by Penguin Readers. He also appears in the updated The Penguin Book of Comedy Sketches, edited by Frank Muir, which contains 50 years worth of sketches.



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Peter Ustinov - Actor, Speaker and Writer of Note.

Peter Ustinov - Actor, Speaker and Writer of Note. | Invisible Ink |

Peter Ustinov is most famous for his portrayal of Hercules Poirot, but he was much more than that. Born in Russia, he wrote, he spoke, and he even acted with the Muppets!


There is so much work of his that is out of print but here is a selection.


The Old Man and Mr Smith (1990) God and the Devil meet at a hotel, but neither of them seem to be as they should be. Perhaps they've softened with time...


Krumnagel (1993) Krumnagel is a big man in the Mid West. His big problem is to shoot first and then ask questions. And then he visits the UK...


Monsieur Rene (2000) - Rene is the President of concierges. He brings together a number of his fellow porters to spy on his hotel's guests...

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Rolf Harris - The Wizard of Oz

Rolf Harris - The Wizard of Oz | Invisible Ink |

Where do we start with Rolf Harris? Musician - using the woobleboard, didgeridoo and stylophone, with songs like Two Little Boys and Jake the Peg (Peg is just slang for leg by the way), presenter: own show in the 60s, Animal Hospital, Cartoon Club, Cartoon Club, artist; painted the Queen, drew on various shows, the list goes on.


Here is a list of his out of print works:


Your Cartoon Time (1987) How to draw cartoons.


Personality Cats (1994) A humorous look at his pet cats.


Rolf Harris Songbook (1996) Featuring many of his songs-14 of them. I'm trying to think of more. Stairway to Heaven. Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport. The Court of King Caracticus.


How to Draw Cartoons (1998) Possibly a update of the above. 


Rolf Harris: A Life in Art (2010) Brief biography but mainly shows paintings. Limited run.


By the way the animal shown is a Rolfaroo...

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Alan Coren-A Writer With Punch

Alan Coren-A Writer With Punch | Invisible Ink |
Paul David Wimsett's insight:

Alan Coren, a writer for "Punch" magazine, was also known for being on "The News Quiz" and "Call My Bluff". He had two children, Giles and Victoria. He died in 2007.

His work seems to come from headlines of the period and as such, sadly does seem to date. The picture shown is from The Sanity Inspector in 1976. He wrote a number of books about his beloved Cricklewood including The Cricklewood Dome (1998), A Year in Cricklewood (1998), The Cricklewood Tapestry (2001), A Year in Cricklewood and Tojours Cricklewood? (1993).

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Wossie's Out of Print Work

Wossie's Out of Print Work | Invisible Ink |

Alternative History of Cinema ( cover)

Paul David Wimsett's insight:

Jonathan Ross


As well as making THAT phone call, Jonathan Ross is famous for being a chat show host as well as being a presenter on the Film programme. 

His out of print work include a graphic novel called Turf from 2011, set during the prohibition era. He also wrote the The Incredible Strange Film Book in 1995, describing low budget film making (B movies, I assume from the cover). He wrote a book called Go to Bed With Jonathan Ross in 1988, presumably a spoof of In Bed With Madonna.

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Joan Rivers - Can I talk?

Joan Rivers - Can I talk? | Invisible Ink |

Joan Molinsky, more commonly known as Joan Rivers, was born in 1933 and is an American comedian and presenter. For some reason she is most famous amongst the glitterati of Hollywood however for having had plastic surgery.


Joan Rivers created a murder mystery in 2009, not unsurprisingly about the Oscars, called Murder at the Academy Awards(see picture). Also this year she writes a book about plastic surgery called Men are Stupid and They Like Big Boobs.


She has written about childbirth in 1988 with Having a Baby Can be a Scream.


She talks about growing old in a disgraceful fashion in Don't Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit in 2000.

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Doctor Who's Talking Books

Doctor Who's Talking Books | Invisible Ink |

Not so much Invisible Ink as silent voices, I'm looking into the talking books of the Eleven doctors.

Although many doctors-William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Paul McCann and Matt Smith have no non-Doctor vocal work, the others do have a extensive range.


Jon Pertwee-Obviously a recording of Worzel Gummidge by Barbara Euphan Todd, Art of Coarse Sailing by Michael Green.


Tom Baker-Books like Robinson Crusoe, most of the works of Dickens, The Russia House and A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carre, Bomber by Len Deighton, Thirty Nine Steps and Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones.


Colin Baker-Roger and the Rotten Trolls by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls author).


Sylvester McCoy-The Eddie Dickens series of books.


David Tennant-On His Majesty's Secret Service, Silver: Return to Treasure Island, Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson, The Beasts of Clawstone Castle and How to Train Your Dragon.




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Joyce Grenfell - Statelier than a Flotilla

Joyce Grenfell - Statelier than a Flotilla | Invisible Ink |

Joyce Grenfell (née Phipps) was famous her comic monologues involving schoolchildren (especially George) and being the policewoman aka jolly hockey sticks mistress in the first lot of St Trinians films. She made her stage debut in the very archaicly named Little Review in 1938. Here is a list of her out of print work.


(1978) Stately as a Galleon: Collection of songs and sketches.


(1987) Nanny Says: Written with Hugh Casson and Sir Hugh Maxwell this is a collection of Nanny's sayings.


(2000) Hats Off: Collections of her poems and some of her drawings.


(2005) George, Don't Do That 









































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Frank Muir on Matters Ablutionary

Frank Muir on Matters Ablutionary | Invisible Ink |

Frank Muir was known for his writing with Denis Norden, especially "Take It From Here", but they also wrote "Balham, Gateway to the South" sketch, amongst others to Peter Sellers. He also wrote his own biography and "The Walpole Orange".


I'm concentrated on "The Book of Bathtime" quite a slimline book, concerning many matters of the bathroom. You only need to look at the index:


baths and bathing, pleasures of; Turkish; Mixed; Necessary or not...etc

bed wetting

Elizabeth I, Queen; neccessary bathing; teeth; paper; breaking wind; acquires W.C.

mail-order catalogues

privies; risk of falling in; nostalgia for; location; portable; multiple

urinating, competitive; practice of; ladies

urine, as tooth-cleaner

W.C. introduced; names for; functions; inventions and design; nostalgia for; decorations and embellishments; eulogised.


...and so on...

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Sooty - A Hand with its out of print works

Sooty - A Hand with its out of print works | Invisible Ink |

(I think I might be having a bit of trouble with the guests at the moment...)


Izzy Wizzy, goes the famous spell, and Sooty is here. The famous bear who is accompanied first by Harry Corbett, then his son Matthew Corbett, and now by Richard Cadell, he was also accompanied by the famous squeak, Sweep, and Soo, as well as other characters like Butch, and I remember Silver Mice singing a song for some reason. He recently hit the news for attacking fellow magician Paul Daniels.


His out of print includes:


1956: Sooty's Treasure Island with pop up pictures. (Other pop ups include: Sooty in Storyland, 1968 and Sooty and the Balloons 1976)


1969 Sooty's Jumbo Trouble with 20 pages (see pic above). Not much more info available.


1989 Sooty's Magic Tricks. Sooty visits Lord and Lady Shutle-Koccke and has a mischievous idea.


1990 The Secret Life of Sooty: The ins and ons between Matthew and Harry Corbett...


(Look I'm not saying it! I'm definitely not saying it!! Please don't make me!!)


Bye, bye everybody! Bye bye!



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Les Dawson - The Northern Face of Doom

Les Dawson - The Northern Face of Doom | Invisible Ink |

Les Dawson was famous for being a Northern comic who would spout diatribe about his mother-in-law and his awful wife, as well as playing the depressive Cosmo Smallpiece and Cissie out of Cissie and Ada. He also played the piano badly.


The Spy Who Came (1976) A Cold War spoof.


Cosmo Smallpiece's Guide to Male Liberation (1979) The depressive writes his own book. Probably involves sex.


Hitler was My Mother in Law (1988) See picture-a tale of dastardly conspiracy, featuring in the Amy Pluckett letters.


Les Dawson Gives up (1989) A new approach to the world of self help.


Come Back with the Wind (1990) A spoof of Gone with the Wind, a person from the South, falls in love with someone of the North-of England.


Blade of Passion (1998) Novel-unsure of content.


Well Fared my Lovely (1999) A Hamnett or Marlow spoof. He takes the lid of the world of conspiracy.

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Victoria Wood - The Lass from Lancashire

Victoria Wood - The Lass from Lancashire | Invisible Ink |

Victoria Wood is famous for her collaborations with Julie Walters, as well as Susie Blake, Celia Imrie, and Duncan Preston, with occasional appearances by Thora Hird. From her start in New Faces, she is known for Acorn Antiques (originally a sketch on As Seen On TV), dinnerladies and her songs, as seen below.


Up to You, Porky (1983) were sketches for stage as well as As Seen On TV.


Lucky Bag (1984) A song book featuring "Let's Do It" and "At the Chippie" and so on.


Barmy (1987) Further sketches from As Seen On TV. (See picture)


Mens Sana in Thingumummy Dooda. (1991) A misquote from the Latin. This was a series of half hour pieces, most famous for Live with Pam spoof.


Talent/Good Fun/Pat & Margaret (1998) Omnibus of plays. Talent won the Evening Standard Award and featured Julie Walters. Not sure about Good Fun. Pat & Margaret was about a TV presenter reunited with a chip shop owner.

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Eric Sykes - The Man Who Was Nearly Milligan

Eric Sykes - The Man Who Was Nearly Milligan | Invisible Ink |

Eric Sykes, who has recently died, was famous for writing the Goon Show when Spike Milligan was ill. He also starred in Sykes of Sebastopol Terrace and wrote Educating Archie. His out of print work includes:


The UFOs are Coming (1995) Apparently the UFOs are coming on Wednesday. But what has this got to do with a strange visitor to Norman Waterhouse's barber's.


Smelling of Roses (1998) Sparkes and Miller, two Desert Rats with misgivings, want a quiet war. For some unknown reason they become heroes...


A version of Charley's Aunt (2001).

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Ex-Goodie Graeme Garden

Ex-Goodie Graeme Garden | Invisible Ink |

Dr David Graeme Garden is most famous for being a Goodie and appearing on the Radio 4 panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Writing which he has published which is out of print include:


The Compendium of Very Silly Games (1987) which includes games like "What the Deuce" (pictured) and the intellectual "Bum Pee Poo".


The Skylighters (with Neil Canning) (1988) No details can be found.


The Seventh Men. No details can be found.

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