Lasting legacy of fun and laughter

MR GEORGE MOONIE, former managing editor of children's publications for D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd and the first editor of The Beano, has died in Rose House nursing home, Constitution Terrace, Dundee, after a long illness. He was 87.

Mr Moonie was born in Dundee and educated at Harris Academy. He joined D. C. Thomson in 1930 as an office boy and later transferred to the editorial department. He began his career in children's magazines on the boys' paper The Rover.

He then became chief sub-editor of The Wizard and in addition in 1937 took over the same position on The Hotspur. The following year he was asked to create a companion paper to the newly-launched comic The Dandy. This was The Beano - which first appeared in July 1938 - a mix of cartoon and picture stories featuring a host of characters, many of them remaining children's favourites to this day.

In January 1941 Mr Moonie joined the Royal Marines. He was attached to 5th Battalion as signals officer and later promoted captain. Mr Moonie assumed command of 537 Landing Craft (Assault) Flotilla, which took part in the Normandy landings in 1944, and was mentioned in despatches. He was also sent to the Pacific to train the Americans in landing techniques. When hostilities ended in 1945 he became training officer at HMS Woolverstone, Ipswich, ending his service with the rank of mayor.

Mr Moonie resumed his post as editor of The Beano after demob, and was then asked to produce a new magazine for girls. Judy was launched in 1960, then he produced a second girls' paper, Diana, in 1963.

In the late 1960s he joined the company's management and became managing editor of children's publications in 1974.

Mr Moonie, retired in October 1983 after 53 years' service.

Away from work he was a keen sportsman having played football for Harris FP before and after the war. In his younger days he was a member of Cliftonbank Cricket Club in Lochee. He later became a keen bowler of a different kind, being a member of both Balgay Bowling Club and Dundee Indoor Bowling Club. He was also a keen badminton player and a former captain of Downfield Golf Club.

He was keenly involved with The Boys' Brigade, and was an officer in the 18th (St Peter's) and captain of St David's (North). He was also an elder at Logie St John's Cross Church in Dundee.

Mr Moonie is survived by his wife Muriel, whom he married in 1943, and his daughter Pauline. He was pre-deceased by son Peter who died in 1996. Mr Moonie is further survived by his grandchildren Martin, Stephen, Susan and Kathleen, and one great grandson.

The present editor of The Beano (there have only been three since 1938) Euan Kerr said last night, "Despite going on to edit other magazines and also becoming managing editor, I'm sure George's happiest times were spent presiding over Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx and all the other great comic characters he introduced to the nation.

"Long after he retired he would phone me up with script suggestions for The Bash Street Kits, a story which I'm sure was George's favourite of all.

"His lasting legacy, is with these characters who continue to make today's sophisticated youngsters laugh as much as ever."

Taken from "The Courier", March 23, 2002