October 4, 2009

Mechanic was inspiration for ‘Menace’

A 62-year-old mechanic says he was excited to learn he was the inspiration behind the title character of the British comic strip Dennis the Menace.

Former merchant navy officer Robert Fair told The Sunday Times of London he can understand how his youthful persona served as the inspiration for the mischievous young boy at the center of the popular comic strip.

The description of Dennis the Menace does sound like me when I was young. I was always getting into trouble and I got a few slaps from my father and the belt at school lots of times, said the mechanic from Dundee, Scotland.

Rosemary Moffat, daughter of Menace creator David Davey Law, revealed the connection between the cartoon character and Fair. The British creation is different from the U.S. comic strip Dennis the Menace created by Hank Ketcham. Both were created in 1951.

Law and Fair's father had been friends, but Law never informed Fair's family of the cartoon connection because he was concerned it may upset them. Law died in 1971.

Moffat told The Times that Fair routinely visited her home as a child, giving her father the inspiration for his famed character.

Every time he left the house my father used to start laughing and say, 'What a menace he is,' Moffat said.