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Dinner 7

Date: Saturday, 23rd June 2001

Place: New Bombay Brasserie, 75 Alexander Street, Crows Nest

Guest Speaker: Jim Russell, comic strip artist, well known for "The Potts"

I always thought it would be impossible to top Dinner # 3 for sheer fun. ‘Doc’ Neeson’s wonderful performance lives on.. and so will the ripping yarns of Jim Russell, the 92 year old comic strip artist synonymous with Australia's Favourite Family, The Potts (and of course, Uncle Dick). What a wonderful treat was had by us all as he conducted us through the highways and byways of his fascinating life. We were all in hysterics when this self-effacing nonagenarian regaled us with, among others, the tale of drinking in the Press Club in Fleet Street and telling a young Rupert Murdoch that his ideas on the future of journalism were a bit silly. Jim worked for the glorious Smith’s Weekly in its heyday and hobnobbed with the likes of Syd Nicholls.

All this was preceded by much chit-chat and Phantom camaraderie. Catherine Seers, wife of brand new Member Carlyle, was concerned that she would be entering a den of fuddy-duddies. Poor deluded woman... well, not any more. She’ll be back!

A great deal of goodies were dispensed throughout the evening. Richard Lindner's Langmeil Wines were received with particular enthusiasm. Richard Fry dispensed 21 Frew comics (some given away, some sold for the Childrens Hospital) numbered in the 300’s to 700’s. These were donated by one of his clients who dragged them out from their dusty home in his garage. Some rare Phantom ties were snapped up quickly and a beautifully framed Felmang page on wax tracing paper was auctioned for over $400.

However, the piéce de resistance was the artwork of Steve Panozzo. His Lee Falk Tribute (Guardian: Bryan Shedden) was a gem and deserves to be shown with those of Sy Barry and Antonio Lemos. Jim Shepherd commented that Steve had captured the real Lee Falk... and he should know. Steve also drew an Uncle Dick cartoon á la Jim Russell which our erstwhile benefactor René White secured with a bid of $550. (Beware René! Barry Edmunds has sworn to save his drachmas and outbid you next time!). This record price was achieved because a) the artwork was worth it, b) Antonio Di Dio could suck blood out of a stone and c) Daniel Fry, recently discharged from hospital himself, put on his best pathetic sick child face and caused the bidding to continue.

Thanks to Bryan Shedden, the Goody Bag contained a CD which includes Bryan’s entire Deep Woods site plus all the Phantom Dailies and Sundays for the last few years. As a bonus Bryan added a near complete scan of all the Swedish Fantomen covers. Another major inclusion for those attending the Dinner was a video of the Phantom 2040 animated movie. Hours of fun for our lucky Members!

It was a great night. Thanks to all who came and all who made it so.


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