Minnie Peters, Ginger Meggs girlfriend, doll/ figure, plastic/ metal, Australia, 1921-1952
This figure bears no maker's marks. However, the character of Ginger Meggs was devised by cartoonist Jimmy Bancks in 1921. He first appeared as Ginger Smith in a coloured comic strip called 'Us Fellers' in the Sydney Sunday Sun newspaper. In 1922 he became Ginger Meggs. When the strip became the feature, a number of regular characters including Meggs' girlfriend Minnie Peters and enemy Tiger Kelly appeared. Meggs's colouring - particularly his red hair - was decided upon as a result of the limitations of the colour printing process which allowed only red, blue and yellow. The strip was set in a generic Australian suburban setting that reflected Bancks's memories of Hornsby.
Bancks moved to Melbourne in 1922 and Ginger Meggs was featured in the Sun News Pictorial. The first of a series of annuals appeared in 1924. A Meggs film called 'Those Terrible Twins' was released the next year. By the late 1920s Meggs was competing with Fatty Finn as Australia's most popular boy cartoon character.
Bancks returned to Sydney and the Sunday Sun in 1929 and Us Fellers was syndicated overseas. During the Second World War, 'Us Fellers' was renamed Ginger Meggs. The character became so well known that Prime Minister John Curtin referred to him as 'Australia's Peter Pan'.
In 1951 Bancks and Ginger Meggs moved from the Sunday Sun to the Sunday Telegraph - the popularity of Meggs took 80,000 readers with him. Bancks died in that year. The Meggs comic was carried on by Ron Vivian who maintained Bancks's storylines. However, the strip was not signed by Vivian, rather it carried the identification 'Created by Bancks'.
Vivian died in 1973 and the strip was taken over by Lloyd Piper who was permitted to sign the comics he drew. Piper died in 1984 and James Kemsley, who had worked on a 1980 feature film adapation of Ginger Meggs, was appointed as the Meggs cartoonist. Kemsley revived Meggs's popularity and won a 'Stanley' award for best Comic strip in 1990. His characterisation of Ginger has a more contemporary style than the Bancks drawings. This doll resembles Kemsley's Meggs. (see blue file for Ginger Meggs plastic figure)
This date range relates to the period of Jimmy Bancks's career as Ginger Meggs cartoonist and the era in which Bakelite type plastic was popular.