It’s week two of our annual Hiatus, when the site practically shuts down, and all you get is completely unique content daily. It’s also an excuse to clean out the folders and post stuff that had no place to go. Or did, and I never got around to it.
Today: well, I can't give you the General Overarching Theme, because I'm about to quiz you, and that would give it away.
If you're a certain age, you'll be able to name the man who produced this show.
. . . and you should be able to name the composer, just on this.
More at the end of today's Bleat.
Behold the predecessor to Rolie Polie Olie: a wonderful collection of animate machinery. Like the work of William Joyce, the machines aren’t anthropomorphized beyond the addition of facial features, applied where convenient. The text was by Wallace Wadsworth, and the illustrations by Ruth Eger. It’s from 1931. I've had it for five years and I don't know where I got it; years ago I did a little site about it, and you've forgotten all about that.
Let’s take a look.
It's the Runaway Elevator.
“Up and Down! Up and down!” the Elevator said to himself. “I am tired of going up and down all day long, day after day. I wonder how it would seem to go sideways for a while.”
So he disengages from his tracks and heads out. Never occurred to any other elevator, apparently.
He wasn't missed; he got a friend, the Red Truck, to take his place.
People thought nothing of opening the elevator doors and finding an automobile.
Make way! Make way! A self-aware vertical conveyance is loose on the streets!
The caption for the illustration: “He bumped a big fat man so hard the man said Oomp!”
Not oomph: oomp.
We'll meet a steam shovel after the break.
Here’s the Hungry Gendered Steam Shovel. Note the Distant City; this building was being constructed miles from the center of town.
There’s also the Fire Engine that Grew Too Old and the Plane that Tried to Fly to the Sun. They’re all cautionary tales about exceeding the limitations prescribed by your nature. Or the nature of your limitations. Or something like that.
What pill did they give non-eating children in 1931?
It's the Tractor Who Ran Over That Damned Pile of Crap in the Yard.
Well, no. It's the Tractor Who Went on a Holiday, which meant that the crops weren't put in, and the farmer lost his farm when the bank foreclosed.
"Sorry!" said the Tractor.
Just kidding. Below: like Rolie Polie Olie and Thomas the Tank Engine, all in one. It's "The Sad Little Switch Engine."
No one seems to notice his despair. He's sad because he has been told - by the big bluff arse of an engine - that he cannot grow up to be a passenger engine, because items made of metal do not grow up.
This was news to him, despite everything he had observed in his existence.
I’m a heavy bag of flammable gas with a small container of people, half of whom smoke! It’s a beautiful day!
Let's just say this children's book was published before the unpleasantness at Lynnhurst, New Jersey.
It's a lovely book.
Now, to complete our quiz: today's subject is, sort of, Kid's Sci-Fi. The pictures above are for the very young. When you grew up - say, to age 12 - you might been excited when they announced a new show was coming from . . . well, the answer to the first clip was Irwin Allen. All of his shows were AWESOME except they also kinda disappointed, all the time.
John Williams wrote the theme. This is the closing credits theme . . .
. . . and here's the opening credits. Two versions: generous.
Why, you may ask, don't I put up the YouTube clips? You can find them if you like. I prefer the audio files - less of a commitment and you don't feel obligated to look at something.