Creator of the Bash Street Kids and Alf Tupper; teacher, writer, producer, musician Born November 25, 1919; Died July 28, 2007.
John T Robertson, who has died aged 87, was a multi-talented individual who touched the lives of millions as creator of The Bash Street Kids and Alf Tupper, and thousands in his teaching roles at Bellahouston Academy, Dumbarton Academy, Hermitage Academy and finally Clydebank High, where he was headteacher for 15 years.
He combined a unique teaching style with his role as writer, producer and musical director of dozens of popular school shows from The Lost Chord and Transports of Delight onwards.
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His concept was to involve the whole school - from the most talented performers to those who were tone-deaf and had stage fright.
Everybody was found a place in the team and many life-long friendships were forged in the process.
He also wrote and produced Risingest for the Clydebank centenary celebrations in 1986, which was a huge success, and he wrote some memorable original songs - When the Bombers Came was haunting.
He was awarded the title of Bankie of the Year shortly after Risingest, which was some achievement for a Paisley Buddie.
Robertson's vivid imagination and writing skills led him to his parallel career writing comic scripts for DC Thomson, for whom his creations gave adventure, excitement and humour to millions of boys and girls for more than 30 years in titles such as The Hotspur, The Rover and The Wizard.
His most famous creations were The Bash Street Kids, apparently loosely based on a real class at Bellahouston Academy; Alf Tupper - The Tough of the Track; and characters such as Wee Bandy, for whom Willie Henderson was the inspiration, and Gorgeous Gus.
These were just a few of hundreds of stories he wrote. There were also some famous girls' comic characters in titles such as the Bunty and Judy.
When he retired from Clydebank High in 1984, DC Thomson retired him as well - much to his chagrin, though it was more to do with the decline in circulation of comics than anything else. They gave him a fantastic one-off print, showing some of his characters emerging from a schoolteacher's head under the headline, "The secret life of John T Robertson".
This was presented at his retirement bash in the Erskine Hotel, which was a memorable night with a sing-along to one of his songbooks.
That then led him to his third career, that of organist in Dalnottar crematorium, where he played in his "Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer" style until just a couple of years ago. Even then he continued to make a few cameo performances until the start of this year.
He also played the accordion, which made appearances at all sorts of parties over the years and led the fun and the sing-along. His musical career actually started as a drummer in a jazz band while he was at Glasgow University. That ended when his father, who was a minister at the Hope Hall in Paisley, smelled beer on his breath after a gig and that was the end of the drum kit and the jazz band.
Robertson had a huge range of interests and other activities: Clydebank Rotary, where he was a past president and lent his talent to so many fundraisers, education exchanges and social functions; Clydebank & District Golf Club, where he spoke and played at umpteen prize dinners and Burns Suppers; the Poppy Day appeal, where he was a collector for many years, and Cartha then Clydesdale hockey clubs.
He was president of Cartha when he, along with his friend John Harris, took the club to Clydesdale. He played until he was 54 - an achievement believed to be unique in those days for an outfield player. He also wrote more than 100 wonderful hockey songs over those years which are still occasionally sung with some gusto at "The Dale".
He had a fantastic collection of whisky labels and enjoyed a wee dram, particularly of single malt - although in Robertson's house it was anything but "wee". Other interests included all kinds of music, from Wurlitzer organs to jazz to opera, the theatre, photography, his dogs - the last two are Carlo and Pippa. Everything was done with the same enthusiasm.
Robertson was married to Rita for 49 years. He married Margaret in 1997 and for the next decade they travelled the world in everything from an MG to a white-water raft and including such transports of delight as the QE2, the QM2 and Concorde. He was a loving grandfather to Louise and Vicky and father-in-law to Moira. By Alastair H Robertson