Retro Heaven

The Saint in ’68

The 1968 The Saint Annual….

Thought I would share this fifty year old gem from my collection with you. The Saint annual for 1968! How I miss my childhood days reading an action-packed adventure annual featuring James Bond, Second World War Heroes or, in this case, Roger Moore as Simon Templar aka The Saint!

There can be few authors as prolific as Leslie Charteris and his famous stickman symbol which became so well known in the many countries in which his books were published. Or hero was already well established long before Roger Moore brought him to the television screen but television brought the Saint a new dynamic and, for kids, it was the accompanying annual which made the perfect Christmas and birthday present.

And fine gifts they made too, for junior fans this 1968 edition contained eleven short stories as well as chapters of information about the Saint, sporting facts, record-breakers, motor racing and the new pop stars of the day including a page on a certain Jimi Hendrix!…

Another newcomer who has a strong personality is that young man from America-Jimi Hendrix. Jimi’s success and style bear absolutely no resemblance to Engelbert’s (Humperdink) …Almost overnight Jimi became the idol of thousands of teenagers, and the terror of mums and dads up and down the country’ They go on to tell us how Jimi’s ‘bizarre appearance has made him the target for criticism from mums and dads across Britain’  Those parents really knew how to spoil the fun!

What I am drawn to is the wonderful period artwork, sadly, the artists are not credited but they are so evocative of that era and the sense of excitement and adventure which books and the early days of broadcasting brought to us. Clearly these new stories were aimed at the junior fan but that didn’t stop them from showing us, if it were ever needed, Simon Templar’s gift for getting the girls, seeing one girl looking particularly forlorn over her boyfriend the Saint steps in…’Never one to miss an opportunity, Simon pressed his advantage. “Perhaps dinner this evening might help to take your mind off this nasty incident?” The girl hesitated, then succumbed to the Saint’s dashing smile and engaging presence (of course she did)

The annuals weren’t afraid to throw in a little product advertising either, the Saint’s car of choice was a Volvo 1800 and the publishers waste no time in selling the car’s fabulous engineering to its young audience. How comforting for a twelve year old to learn that the Volvo 1800 has ‘a special valve in the breaking system which prevents the rear wheels from locking in case of emergency braking’ or, more importantly, ‘an additional protection is the underbody sealing on every Volvo which safeguards corrosion forming from the result of flying gravel and road salt’.. Phew, I’m sold!

So there you have it, a bit of fun memorabilia from my favourite year of the last century! It’s a nice collectors item when in good condition and something of a must for any self-respecting Saint fan in my view. Yes, the target audience was for children but it’s part of the rich history of Leslie Charteris’ famous character and a wonderful way to see this particular version of the late 60s.


6 replies »

    • There is something about the artwork that is hard to describe. It seems so refreshing in a world of a billion Instagram photos. I agree, it happened more than you might naturally assume in the literary world and it is a shame. I recently wrote about women’s magazines from the 60s and apart from the top American and British artists many who contributed artwork went unrecognised. It’s quite wrong in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

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