Friday, 31 July 2015

Mr Therm’s Adventures on the Home Front

By the end of the 1950s a new era of affluence was dawning in Austerity Britain. New technologies and home improvements were actively embraced by a grateful populace. Despite being a little long in the tooth, Mr Therm (born 1931) was still doing his bit for the gas industry in the pages of the quintessentially middle class boys’ comic, The Eagle. It may seem like a doomed project to interest adolescent youth in the finer points of home insulation or transforming a hostess trolley but they were very different times. Ian Allan ABCs and I-SPY books offered genuine high-level distraction to youngsters for whom a fruit gum or a minute ice cream wafer that melted and collapsed in an instant was the ultimate in treats. Mr Therm’s adventures appear somewhat overloaded in didactic content and the entertainment value was nugatory despite the occasional lumbering attempts to inject some humour into the proceedings. For many years Mr Therm’s cheery contours had brightened up the exceedingly dull and stuffy world of British consumer advertising but he might have been expected to retire by this point – given the steady rise in Cold War nuclear paranoia in this period, he could well have been relaunched as Mr Thermo-Nuclear. As for his inventor the sober and industrious illustrator, Eric Fraser would dedicate his talents to the world of literature and performance and never again produce anything with the recognition value of Mr Therm. 

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