Tuesday, 3 May 2011

R is for... Rupert Bear

Rupert began life as a newspaper’s marketing ploy in order to win readers from a rival. He first appeared in the pages of the Daily Express in 1920, and today can be found on an interactive website; a CGI-animated television series, and a seemingly limitless collection of merchandise. Not bad for a 91-year old bear!

One secret to Rupert’s success could be down to his creators realising that an annual, promoting both him and the paper, could come out every Christmas and be collected. This tradition began in 1936...and continues to this day. The annual I remember most was the one celebrating 1971 (pictured), which, given the year, must have been my brother's, and later found its way to me. I recall there was a story about some magical seaweed on a beach, and some weird gold gnomes that popped up in the bushes. The illustrations were incredibly detailed, especially the endpapers, and I could stare at them for hours, making up my own adventures.

I remember begging my mum for the video of Rupert and the Frog Song – which was an animated cartoon feature by Sir Paul McCartney that promoted his 1984 song ‘We All Stand Together’. That Christmas I was a happy girl – can’t say the same for the rest of the family who had to listen to it over and over again. Let’s sing the grand finish – ‘We all. Stand. TOGETHER!’

Rupert Bear
Published: 1920 onwards
Author and Illustrator: Mary Tourtel, Alfred Bestall (and many others)

Annual fact one: I’d always get an annual for Christmas (an annual being a collection of stories in a hard-cover, for anyone unfamiliar).

Annual fact two: A Christmas day annual was full of fun. A Boxing Day annual would be an encyclopaedia, dictionary, or the Guinness Book of Records.

Annual fact three: I always received a Mandy annual without fail. This is because (whispers) Mandy is my real name. Sh! It’s an un-secret.

Annual fact four: Other annuals would be Mr Men, Jem (Sings: She’s truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!), Beano, and Whizzer and Chips.

Annual fact five: I often buy my friends annuals at Christmas from retro fairs as I think it’s just not Christmas without one. This means nearly all of them have random annuals poking out of their bookcase thanks to me. Hee! They love me really.


snafu said...

Hi, Looking at Morning-AJ's psots, I spotted her link to your page and just had to follow. I am definately a fan too, but to learn the real truth behind the myth follow this link. http://cassus-vas.blogspot.com/2010/12/book-review-rupert-bear.html

Al said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al said...

I loved Rupert as a child.
He seems to have entirely fallen out of the scene in Oz.

Myne said...

I don't remember reading this but it sounds lovely.

Old Kitty said...

I used to get Mandy annuals too - or were they Tammy?? Hmm!! Anyway!! Yay for Rupert the Bear!!!

Take care

Maggie May said...

Rupert was my absolute favourite as a child and my brother & I read all the little rhymes under the cartoon like pictures.
I still have a soft spot for him. Wish I had kept all the albums I had.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

MorningAJ said...

Pom. Pom-pom. (tra la la) Pom. Pom-pom. (etc) Good old Paul McCartney!

I was taught to read with Rupert. My dad used to make me read it out loud - and no cheating by just reading the rhyming couplet either!

music obsessive said...

You're absolutely right - no Christmas is complete without an Annual. Mine started with 'Eagle' in the *ahem* early 60s and then interestingly moved on to 'Beryl the Peril', drawn by one of the best cartoonists ever, David Law. Just to think of those drawings makes me chuckle now.

These days, the kids go wild over Dr Who so the tradition continues.

AC Quigley said...

You're right - Christmas isn't Christmas without an annual. I still get The Beano annual every year, I have over 25 of them - a whole shelf full!!

Dolly said...

How I loved Rupert, still do in fact. And I think I remember that annual with the seaweed too!

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed your post as much as I did Rupert as a child! Thanks for sharing.

Happy Frog and I said...

Rupert was wonderful. I'd forgotten how much I loved getting annuals for Christmas when I was a child, thanks for the reminder. Also thanks for the little snippet information about you, I love stuff like that :-)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I bought tons of Rupert greeting cards at Hatchard's when I was in London. I love Rupert Bear.
And, Paul McCartney.

Anonymous said...

Loyal readers are tough to come by, but u have just converted me! :)