Sunday, 20 August 2017

A Cartoon & Comic Book Tour Of #London No.20 – Two Very Fine Willies #WillieRushton #WilliamHogarth

Daily Constitutional Editor Adam writes…

Every year at this busy time I dig into the archives of The Daily Constitutional and repost a few favourites - it allows me to enjoy the school holidays with my daughter and still lead my London Walks tours.

This year I'm reposting my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London - a series of posts tracing the inky footsteps left behind in our capital by everyone from William Hogarth to Scooby Doo. It's been one of the most popular series of all on The Daily Constitutional and I'm looking forward to updating it after the holidays with posts on Captain America, the X-Men, George Cruikshank and Mary Darly. In the meantime, here's the story so far…



Panel 20: William Hogarth & Willie Rushton


I started my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London at St George's Church in Bloomsbury in the company of William Hogarth (Panel 1). 

In Panel 20, it's that man again!  I'm visiting Hogarth's grave in Chiswick…

(Catch up with Panel 1 HERE).

And he'll be making a THIRD appearance a little later in the series.





Find Hogarth's grave at St Nicholas Church, Chiswick…







Willie No.2 is rather more up-to-date. Willie Rushton.

Long, long ago, before airheads, boors and one-man-blands dominated our television screens, the broadcasters used to let people like Willie Rushton into our homes.

He wasn't much to look at, I'll be frank. But whenever he came on screen, there was a palpable sense that life was just about to become that little bit better.

Willie Rushton (1937 - 1996) was the complete all-rounder. Writer, comedian, cricket fan, actor, satirist and cartoonist.

He was a fixture of the legendary satirical TV programme That Was The Week That Was in the 60s. He drew cartoons for The Daily Telegraph and many other publications. He was a cornerstone of BBC Radio 4's most august programme, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue from 1974 - 1996. He was one of the founders of Private Eye. He stood for parliament in 1963, running under the slogan "Death To the Tories" and polled a mighty 45 votes.


An early 70's L.P sleeve featuring Rushton's cartoon's

I first became aware of Mr Rushton on a 1970's TV show called Quick on the Draw in which cartoonists such as Rushton and the great Bill Tidy would come up with cartoons on the spot. I'd pay double the license fee to see Steve Bell and Martin Rowson on such a show today.

Many of us would rather that Rushton was still ineligible for a blue plaque. Alas he qualified for one in 1996 by dying at the age of 59. He is much missed.



His plaque can be found at Mornington Crescent underground station, commemorating the daft gameshow Mornington Crescent, such a beloved featured of the aforementioned radio show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.


That he made us laugh is an achievement great enough.

That he was a founder of Private Eye, the last remaining satirical magazine in this country, makes him every bit as important a figure as Hogarth. I get the feeling that he would have hated the pomposity of that statement, but I believe it to be true.

He is at least worthy of having a gyratory system in his honour, an honour already bestowed upon Willie No.1…




My own personal tribute is to hashtag Mr Rushton (see blog post title). I wonder if we can get him trending?

Willie Rushton's ashes, legend has it, are interred on the boundary line at the Oval cricket ground in South London.






A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



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