After radio DJ Kenny Everett left BBC Radio 1, he landed at London’s brand new commercial station Capital Radio, which came on air in 1973, where his love of reel-to-reel tape recorders and his amazing arsenal of sound effects reached full fruition with his very own weekly sci-fi serial – Captain Kremmen.
Inspired in part thanks to Everett’s love of Dan Dare, Captain Kremmen spawned a cartoon series produced by Cosgrove Hall within his Thames TV series, a comic strip, books, videos, cassettes and even a single of the theme music.
It was also broadcast on a number of other ILR stations and abroad – but few people seem to recall there was a “Captain Kremmen” strip that ran in the Evening Standard, published in 1978 and running for just under 130 episodes, which were collected at the time by Alan Jeffries, who has sent us some in the hope of finding out more about it.
The strip is the work of Roger Wade Walker, creator of “Eric the Punk Cat“, who also drew Captain Kremmen and the Krells, a comic album published by Corgi in 1977, written by Chris Browne, designed and drawn by Roger with lettering by Chris Welch. You can buy a copy from Amazon if you’re rich (there’s a copy of Eric the Punk Cat there, too), although be advised that this is a story riddled with contemporary stereotyping.
Roger Wade Walker‘s background was in illustration but he did occasional uncredited work for Fleetway’s aerial warfare comic Air Ace Picture Library in the early 1960s. According to an article on the University of Exeter blog by Paul Gerard Williams, he was included in the project because of his friendship with Everett. As the comedian’s neighbour, the artist had spent time in Everett’s home studio and observed him recording the Kremmen serials.
“Walker, who shared Everett’s love for the Eagle, first depicted Kremmen in a visual style whose realism was akin to that comic’s Dan Dare strip,” Paul notes. “The artist recollects that the final, cartoonish version came about because Kremmen needed to resemble the character depicted in the animated shorts, and Cosgrove Hall could not produce an animated version of Walker’s Eagle-inspired pencils in time for broadcast on the Kenny Everett Video Show.
It seems a shame that the “Captain Kremmen” newspaper strip has been forgotten – there doesn’t seem to be any mention of it on the terrific Ultimate Kenny Everett Sketch Site. We hope you enjoyed this look at a lost story.
• But does anyone out there know if the newspaper strip an entirely new story, or is it a representation of Captain Kremmen and the Krells, the dim-witted space hero’s battle with one of his arch enemies? Let us know!
Captain Kremmen’s vital statistics
Full name: Captain Elvis Brandenburg Kremmen
Born: December 25th 1944
Physical attributes: supreme athlete, concert pianist, Concorde pilot and an IQ of 498
The name of Captain Kremmen came from Superfun, a library of comedy “drop-ins” (very short audio recordings used on radio shows) produced by Mel Blanc, the voice actor, and his son Noel
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With much thanks to Alan Jeffries for the scans of the newspaper strip!