Speech Bubbles
Drawn by Gordon Bell

63 appearances (over 63 pages) from issue no. 25 (05/07/75) to no. 87 (11/09/76).
All were printed in black and white.

What does it say on the tin (or in that rhyming couplet at the top of the first page)?
“Laughter means Fiends Beans!”

Young Fred loves baked beans so much he eats them with everything – even his cornflakes. Seeing an advertisement for cheap beans in a newspaper (FIENDS BEANS GOING CHEAP! A PRODUCT OF TRANSYLVANIA), Fred’s mum duly sends for a crate, which arrives a few days later. He takes a couple of cans on a camping trip, where he discovers their special powers – they turn him into a monster, creature or beast, that just happens to be relevant to the situation he is in. In this first instance he becomes a bull, and charges the bull that had charged him. Other examples include a sea monster at the swimming baths, a giant crab at the beach, and a hairy monster at the barber’s.

Although this is the usual scenario (especially in the first twenty or so stories), the beans can affect anything animal, vegetable or mineral. Dad turns into a horse (and thinks he has had a nightMARE) in issue no. 49, and Mum turns into a monster in issue no. 58. In a three-week spree a burglar (issue no. 69), Fred’s sister Frederika (no. 70 – her one and only appearance), and an actor in a beans commercial (no. 71) all suffer the effects. In the last instance, Fred’s adding of curry to the beans makes the actor turn from a cowboy to an Indian (as in someone from India, not a Native American).

Fred feeds the beans to his pet mouse Percy (issue no. 29), pet goldfish Goldie (59), and pet budgie Joey (issue 47). In the last case it’s because he wants to see if he can make the hitherto mute bird speak. He gets more than he bargained for– “Who’s a pretty boy now, then?” screeches an enormous vulture as it bursts out of its cage. A mouse in a lion’s cage at the zoo (issue no. 53) and another in Fred’s back alley (55) were also recipients. The smallest creature to metamorphose was an ant at Shortleet Safari Park (77).

When thrown onto the ground the beans produce a beanstalk (issue no. 60), and can turn plants into ferocious versions of themselves– dandelions and snapdragons in issue no. 83. Inanimate objects are not immune – a mechanical digger (issue no. 78), vacuum cleaner (81), and even Fred’s family’s car (73) are all transformed.

Billy The Kid and Pongo appeared in issue no. 32.

Fred and his beans appeared in Slojak (issue no. 57 – with Jimmy Kellie of Wonder Wellies), Rip Van Tinkle (no. 69), and Little ‘Orror (no. 86).