Uncle Oojah, known at the time as Flip Flap, the Great Oojah, first appeared in the Daily Sketch newspaper on Tues 18th February 1919. Don, a young boy, bearing a passing similarity to Christopher Robin, is nonchalantly strolling through the garden sucking on his chocolate cigarette when an elephant appears leaning over the fence. A discussion ensues about cigarettes (mostly of the chocolate and rhubarb varieties) and then the Great Oojah announces he is looking for a little boy to be his Hum-Jum-Jarum. They take off at 365 miles per hour to ‘Never-Mind-Where’.
One cannot help noticing that much of the rest of the paper is given over to a competition launched by the Daily Sketch imploring British motherhood to look after their babies better (a lot of young men had just been slaughtered in the trenches, although I don'[t think it was the fault of British motherhood). It seems that the Great Oojah was not really on message that day, and of course, no-one would have heard of stranger danger in 1919. Don takes off with Flip Flap, The Great Oojah without so much as a goodbye, and as far as I can tell from subsequent stories, never sees his mother again.
For me, the great appeal of Uncle Oojah, is this kind of presumptive arrogance. He pompously assumes that he can do what he likes whilst actually being quite benign. I’d love to find other editions of the Daily Sketch newspaper featuring Flip Flap, the Great Oojah, but sadly they seem to be a real rarity. I am, however, delighted to be in possession of an original copy of this, the first ever Oojah story, soon to be celebrated at Uncle Oojah’s 100th birthday celebrations on 18th February 2018. If you have copies of other Oojah stories from the Daily Sketch please do get in touch.