Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" Wednesday 3 of 3

Here, in my third and last post about Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer for this Christmas season, I'm going to make a sidetrack and mention one thing.


Remember Little Golden Books? They're still out there you know. The scan for this post are of my very own copy of Little Golden Books' version of our favorite sleigh-leader, which I've probably had since I was 3 or 4...since 1966 or 67 at the very latest.

There's my name on the inside cover leaf to prove it. Eat your heart's out.

Little Golden Books began in 1942 with a couple of innovations that sent them onto almost every American child's bookshelf since.

They were sturdy....proof in the pudding right here evidenced by my 43 year old copy still standing up to strenuous scanning...which had never been thought of before.

They were sold in outlets other than bookstores. Department stores. 5 and Dimes. Clothing stores. Supermarkets. This leads to the final one.

Because they would be produced in such quantity to fill all these outlets, they were affordable.

Extremely affordable.

In 1942 they had a cover price of 25'll note that mine own copy from 24 years later is still only marked at 29 cents. In fact, if you pick one up today, in 2009, they are only $2.99. What the hell can you buy for $2.99???? What else that has this much to offer, isn't worth 5 times that price?

I remember what they felt like in my small 3, 4, 5, 6 year old hands...they were easy to handle, but they had weight which gave it import. And all those shiny gold spines look (yes, I said "look" not "looked"...present tense, they're still there) so good lined up on my bookshelf. All square and uniform in size. As a child they looked important, like grown-up books. But they were better than grown-up books. They were filled with magic.

And they were mine.

This book and the Gene Autry record of the Rudolph song were my big connection with this character. As much as I love the Rankin-Bass animated TV special, this was a different era. There was no home video, there was no cable TV. The special was on once a year. That was it. You watched it on TV, then it was gone until next year.

And remember when you were a kid...Christmases were about 10 years apart it seemed, not every 3 months as seems now!

So this book (which still SMELLS the same as when I was a kid by-the-way) was my "hold-it-in-your-hands-and-stare-for-hours-and-get-lost-in-it-forever-or-until-someone-thinks-you-may-have-gone-goofy" experience.

Gorgeous artwork by Richard Scarry. Color schemes and character expressions/poses that are SOOOOO deceptively simple, but mean so much to the eye that "really" looks.

And all in easy to hold, sturdy and important looking Little Golden Book form.

Let's read it together - like always, just click on the thumbnails to enlarge:

That is minimalist set dressing if ever I saw it. Stimulating still for the magic that hides behind it's red, blue and brown.

Them's some mean and hateful names for a reindeer that just wants to fit in and be valuable.

It's hard to draw hoofed animals anthropomorphically. They always want to be drawn on all fours and have rigid backs. Richard Scarry had the secret though...them reindeers is "butt-sleddin'" fools!

Ratted out by rabbits.

Rudolph knows he won't cut it. Everyone told him so. And you know what experts "everyone" is.

There it is again. How'd he undo the lock with hooves? And if I drew this, this way, you'd swear he was doing permanent damage to his spine! Scarry pulls it off though.

Great to hear how the other famous reindeer qualified! I used to try and tell who was who in the crowd of reindeer.

Like trying to tell football players apart without their jerseys though. Just faceless mooks.

There they go again! How's he working that train switch with a hoof?? Scarry makes it possible.

A paintbrush?!? NOW he's gone too far!

Ooooooooooooh...a foggy Christmas the plot thickens. Like the fog.

Dasher and Dancer are ego-maniacs. I've always suspected.

Yes. I did notice. My name is NOT on the good list. I've reread this book every year and it's never there.

My favorite picture in the book. Brilliant composition. As brilliant as Rudolph's nose.

That's right Bitches! Y'all can SUCK IT!

That's a happy Christmas!

I hope you liked it.

I hope you go get your kid or grand kid or the neighbors kid a Little Golden Book and you read it together.

I'm going back to the bookshelf.

I got a hankerin' to see what "The Pokey Little Puppy" is up to.

Merry Christmas!


Random Acts of Happy said...

I still have my Rudolph and Tawny Scrawny Lion LGBs
I'm sure I had, at one point, a couple different Captain Kangaroo ones too...Oh lord how I miss Captain Kangaroo!

Keep up the good work my friend...


Anonymous said...

THIS IS WONDERFUL! Thank you for posting it! These illustrations are probably the most charming rendition of Rudolph I've seen.

Jeff Overturf said...

Glad you like them Anony...these images have been part of my Christmas since before I can remember.

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