Friday, 2 August 2013

DRAWN FROM MEMORY

Isn't it strange how a single image can evoke a whole chapter of past memories?

July 1959 and the ten-year-old Sibley received, as a birthday present, a book that was to become a much-loved and highly-treasured possession...

Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp, published by the British company Dean & Son of (if I'm not mistaken) Ludgate Hill, London.

The book was filled with what are now thought of as iconic images from the then newly-released Disney animated film...


 
 

Thus, long before I saw the movie, I knew the story  of the elegant Lady and her liaison with a mongrel from 'the wrong side of the tracks' and had all the key scenes by heart.

Then came that fatal day – I still shudder to recall it – when I came home from school to find that we had been visited by an aunt and uncle and their son and that my Mother had given my cousin my precious book to keep him amused and allowed him to carry it off...

Picture my shock! Imagine my despair! Visualise, if you will, the trauma: desperately trying to be 'grown up' and not show my inexpressible anger, my inconsolable grief at being parted from 'just a silly old children's book' that I had, apparently, 'outgrown years ago'!

It took me two decades (in those pre-eBay days) to find myself a replacement copy with which to assuage the gnawing canker of loss...

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through an animation auction catalogue when I spotted an item that was, according to the cataloguer, the original art for the cover of a Disney storybook based on Walt Disney's The Lady and the Tramp...


'Cover?' I snorted contemptuously, 'Pah!'

I knew exactly what it was: not the cover, but the end-papers to that most dearly-loved book, showing the titular characters and their canine neighbours, Trusty the Bloodhound and Jock the Scottish Terrier – along with a series of mini-sketches of key-episodes from the story linked by a trail of doggy paw-prints!

I should like to tell you that I bid on the item and successfully secured the item for permanent display on the walls of Chez Sibley, but, alas, I was out-bid and the picture is, even now, en route to another Disney dog-fancier!

But, hey, at least I know that it's out there somewhere – like a stray dog without a collar – and, who knows, one day our paths may cross again...

Meanwhile, I have been reacquainted with half-forgotten memories – happy and sad – from my childhood, that (as David sagely observed) probably explain rather a lot about my obsessive attitude towards my book collection...


18 comments:

Wobble The Witch Cat said...

I can fully understand your irritation at losing your copy of the Deans book of Lady and the Tramp , as I too had a copy and like you I treasured it!

This series of books were beautifully illustrated and I had several in the series I still have them in fact in storage at present!

Beth Stilborn said...

You have me yearning for some of my childhood books with this marvelous post, Brian! I have a feeling I had some sort of book with Lady and the Tramp in it. Possibly a Little Golden Book? I also had a Little Golden Book with Donald Duck and a toy sailboat that Chip and Dale sailed. I may have to take a look on eBay!

Thank you for this!

Suzanne said...

Oh gosh - I remember some of my childhood books, some of which nobody else seems to have heard of! Do you remember Pookie the rabbit who went off to the North Pole to beg Winter to come back?

Bob S said...

The Art of Animation. Library copy. C.1976. 'Nuff said.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

"Thus, long before I saw the movie, I knew the story of the elegant Lady and her liaison with a mongrel from 'the wrong side of the tracks' and had all the key scenes by heart."

Seems like the only way we ever knew these movies existed was through clips of them that showed up in a Disney TV program (over here, it would be the popular Sunday night anthology program aired on one of the "Big Three" networks from the 1950's on into the early 80's). Then there were books or story LP's, and that's how I came to know of these films as well and whatever story they could tell me of what happens in them. The pre-home video days were the hardest a kid had to endure knowing it would be years before they might see a film like Lady and the Tramp on the big screen again (for me, it was it's re-release in 1986). It was nice Disney eventually released it on home video shortly afterwards but it still didn't seem quite the same as having saw it on the big screen (when it was in Cinemascope versus the secondary version filmed in full-frame). Of course nowadays all that seems moot when compared to the ease of finding the movie at all. It just seems so far away to consider a time when we had to wait those 7 or 8 years to see these again or a chance to see them in a private screening like in school, kids today have it TOO easy I say.

Brian Sibley said...

Beth - Here's that Donald Duck Little Golden Book! :)

Suzanne – Here are LOTS of Pookie Books! I wonder if yours is among them...?

Bob – Yes, well, the confidences of the Confessional are, I trust, forever sacred... ;)

Christopher – How right you are!! Disney books, comics, clips on TV and the Disneyland Storyteller LPs were as much responsible for my Disney obsessiveness as seeing the actual films. I can remember desperately waiting to see Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice and Peter Pan and, above all, Pinocchio and then going back and back to the cinema six times in one week (for multiple viewings) because I knew I wouldn't see it again for another seven years...

Anonymous said...

I once heard Barry Humphries being interviewed on Mariella Frostrup's Radio 4 show. If I remember rightly - unlikely, but possible - he once came home to find that his mother had given every book that he owned to a passing Salvation Army collector. Her justification was that she knew he'd already read them. He credited this episode for making him a bibliophile so extreme that he fears for the collapse of his house under the weight of his collection. It's amusing to think of the two of you deep in Hobbit-chat and having so very much in common!

Brian Sibley said...

Mothers! Can't live with them, but can't live without them.... :)

Boll Weavil said...

I knew all the stories in Disney's Giant Story Book by heart at that age Mr B. That and a book of Fairy Stories provided all my reading over and over again. When I let them go, my mother kept them, unknown to me, for many years, so we could be reunited many years later. They now stand again on my shelves. My twins used them as a reference for their degree and they are currently pressing some flowers from Carolanne's bridal bouquet.

Brian Sibley said...

A wise mother, you had!

Wish we'd known the date of the nuptials, we'd have sent Carolanne wedding greetings. Please give her our belated love...

Boll Weavil said...

Will do..thank you.It all came up rather quickly tbh.Both Carolanne and Hazel passed their BA Hons on the same day - last Saturday. They both got firsts.

Brian Sibley said...

Great news! :)

Rob Cox said...

Good to have you back blogging, Brian. I don't comment often but do miss them when they aren't here!

Rob Cox said...

Good to have you back blogging, Brian. I don't comment often but do miss your musings when they aren't here!

Brian Sibley said...

Aw! Thank you! :)

Christopher Sobieniak said...

"How right you are!! Disney books, comics, clips on TV and the Disneyland Storyteller LPs were as much responsible for my Disney obsessiveness as seeing the actual films. I can remember desperately waiting to see Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice and Peter Pan and, above all, Pinocchio and then going back and back to the cinema six times in one week (for multiple viewings) because I knew I wouldn't see it again for another seven years...

Those were hard, grueling years indeed. I remember being upset for not seeing 101 Dalmatians that I had to content myself with a Panini sticker album of the same name for quite a while, but that luck ran out when those stickers stopped selling in the stores so I didn't get it all filled in!

Of course I also had The Disney Channel I begged my parents to fork over more dough for. It was worth every penny for what they could show on there.
http://vintagetoledotv.squarespace.com/buckeye-cablesystem/single-gallery/18040864
http://vintagetoledotv.squarespace.com/buckeye-cablesystem/single-gallery/17981408

Brian Sibley said...

I must have spent a fortune trying to collect the whole set of Panini stickers for various movies: I think that company was single-handedly responsible for maintaining the Italian economy...

My first experience of the Disney Chanel is quite amusing: I was staying in the Disneyland Hotel and had the Chanel on all the time watching these wonderful old short cartoons that I couldn't get to see anywhere in the UK. One morning while I was in the shower, I suddenly heard my own voice and (still dripping) dashed into the bedroom to see myself on TV on an old British (Southbank Show) TV documentary about Disney. Sadly the superimposed name on screen read: 'Brian Sidley'!

Christopher Sobieniak said...

"I think that company was single-handedly responsible for maintaining the Italian economy..."

I bet. Not sure they make much waves here but I see they also make sports cards too (but out of that for a long, long time).

"I was staying in the Disneyland Hotel and had the Chanel on all the time watching these wonderful old short cartoons that I couldn't get to see anywhere in the UK."

I bet most people's first impressions of The Disney Channel was the same way! You just couldn't believe it. That was the miracle of pay TV that I felt was lost since the 90's (and maybe because our impatience made it happen).

"Sadly the superimposed name on screen read: 'Brian Sidley"

You're not alone, I had a grandma who wrote my name as "Christ" on my Christmas cards!