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The (Penny) Popular

   The Penny Popular was launched by the Amalgamated Press on 12th Oct 1912 and had little original content instead relying on the reprinting of stories from earlier publications.
   The first series featured stories from St Jim's, Sexton Blake and Jack, Sam & Pete. This format continued for about four years then Sexton Blake and Pete were dropped in favour of Greyfriars and Rookwood. From  Issue 1/237 the Popular advertised itself as "the All-School story Paper".
  The Penny Popular closed for a short time in 1918 due to the paper shortage with the second series being launched less than a year later. The 'Penny Popular' became the 'Popular' with  Issue 2/85.
   Most of the Hamilton stories in the Popular are abridged reprints or substitute stories so I would advise reading them in their original format if they are available. All of the Magnets, most of the Gems and many of the Boys' Friends have now been scanned.
  An detailed article on the history of the Popular by Eric Fayne was published in the Collectors Digest Annual.  You can read it here.

  The following list is very much "work in progress" and in all probability will never be finished as there is little interest in the Popular these days (apart from the Rio Kid stories). The list below focuses primarily on the Hamilton content but I've added a some detail of the work of other writers in dark green.

The information below is pulled together from a number of sources. The data for Greyfriars and St Jim's is primarily taken from articles published in the Collectors Digest by Bill Lofts and Derek Adley. The data for Rookwood is again taken from a Lofts and Adley index which was incomplete when Derek Adley died. (The painstaking research of Allan S fortunately filled the many gaps). The St Franks data comes from the Greyfriars Index site http://www.greyfriarsindex.co.uk/index.htm and Sexton Blake (including a number of front cover scans) from the Blakiana site www.mark-hodder.com/Blakiana/#home

All the stories listed below are by Charles Hamilton unless indicated otherwise.

The scans are courtesy of Allan S, Nandu, Eddie Peart, Brian Sayer, Naveed, Bob and Ernesto.

To reduce the time that it takes for the page to load I have split the Popular into two sections. You can access them from the links below-

Series 1            Series 2



Greyfriars in the Penny Popular.
   The Greyfriars stories first appeared in Popular issue 1/222 were reprinted from the first issue of the Magnet. However the stories were heavily abridged and proved disappointing when compared to the original publication. In 1919 the Popular announced that it was discontinuing the reprint policy and all Greyfriars material would be original. Hamilton was unavailable so the new stories were all written by GR Samways. However Samways was unable to keep up with his workload so the reprints returned within a couple of years.
   An article by Bill Lofts on the Magnet in the Popular can be found in the Collectors Digest and is available here.

St Jim's in the Penny Popular.
   The St Jim's reprints began with the first issue of the Popular and reprinted Issue 1/1 of the Gem but the stories were heavily abridged and proved disappointing when compared with the original publication. In 1919 the reprints stopped and new stories were specially written, mostly by John Nix Pentelow. In some issues the St Jim's stories didn't appear or were limited to half a page. The reprints returned within a few years and continued until Christmas 1929 when the last St Jim's tale appeared in the Popular.
   An article by Bill Lofts on the Gem in the Popular can be found in the Collectors Digest and is available  here.

Rookwood in the Penny Popular
    In 1917 Rookwood joined the Penny Popular. However the Rookwood stories had only started in the 'Boys' Friend' in 1915 so the Rookwood stories in series 1 consisted mainly of sub stories and rewrites of Cliveden tales from the 'Boys' Herald'. When series 2 was launched in 1919 the Editor had decided enough time had lapsed to allow reprinting of the original stories from the Boys Friend so in 1919 original Rookwood stories started from the beginning. Many of the Rookwood stories have been scanned as they were only lightly abridged (if at all) and issues of the Boys Friend are difficult to come by.

Cedar Creek in the Penny Popular
The stories of Cedar Creek were originally a feature of the Boys' Friend. The stories purported to be of Frank Richard's schooldays in Canada as told by his good friend Martin Clifford. Frank's Father had lost all his money forcing Frank to go and live with his Uncle in Canada.
   The 1953 Collectors' Digest Annual featured an article by Leonard Packman that introduced us to the characters of Cedar Creek, you can read the article here.

Herlock Sholmes in the Penny Popular
Charles Hamilton created Herlock Sholmes for the Greyfriars Herald. The paper shortage closed the paper after only 18 issues but the stories continued intermittently in the Magnet, Gem and the Penny Popular.

Rio Kid in the Penny Popular
Hamilton was asked to write a new story for the Popular and on the 21st Jan 1928 the Rio Kid was born under the pen name of Ralph Redway. To quote Eric Fayne "Nothing better ever appeared in the Popular or any other paper for that matter. The Rio Kid stories were grand. Completely convincing, geographically correct to the last detail, original in plot and full of thrills these wild west tales had unforgettable charm".
   For the 1952 Collectors Digest annual Eric Fayne wrote an article on the roamings of the Rio Kid. Charles Hamilton wrote to the CD to say it was the best article he had ever read. The article was reprinted in the CD annual some 35 years later and you can read it here.
   Gary has compiled a chronological list of the Rio Kid stories across all the publications. You can find it here.

The Popolaki Patrol in the Popular
The Popolaki Patrol appeared in the Popular in 1930 sandwiched between the last two series of the Rio Kid. The series is rarely mentioned now and even looking through the Collectors Digest there has been little mention of it over the years. Eric Fayne briefly touched on Popolaki in his 'Lets be controversial' column, you can read the article here.

Ferrers Locke in the Popular
     In issue 2/451 Ferrers Locke stories appeared for the first time in the Popular. These stories were originally published in the Greyfriars Herald and featured Ferrers Locke and his young assistant Jack Drake. Jack had attended Greyfriars School but when his Father lost his fortune Jack left Greyfriars to become assistant to the famous detective. Ferrers Locke was a Hamilton creation and the early stories were Hamilton's own work but the latter stories were by substitute writers.

To reduce the time that it takes for the page to load I have split the Popular into two sections. You can access them from the links below-

Series 1            Series 2

The Popular