13th November 2017
First Picture: Rupert Logo
Second Picture: Rupert Album 1958
Third Picture: Rupert and Friends
Forth Picture; Rupert and Paul McCartney
Throughout my childhood I remember having Rupert books around the house. Rupert Bear was a children's comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8th November 1920. Rupert's initial purpose was to win sales from the rival newspapers the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. In 1935, Ruperts artist and storyteller was taken over by Alfred Bestall, who was previously an illustrator for Punch. He proved to be successful in the field of children's literature and worked on Rupert stories and artwork well into his 90s. More recently, various other artists and writers have continued the series.
The comic strip was, and still is, published daily in the Daily Express, with many of these stories later being printed in books, and every year since 1936 a Rupert annual has also been released. Rupert Bear has become a well-known character in children's culture in the United Kingdom, and the success of the Rupert stories has led to the creation of several television series based on the character. The character also has a large fan following, with such groups as The Followers of Rupert.
Rupert is a bear who lives with his parents in a house in Nutwood, a fictional idyllic English village. He is drawn wearing a red jumper and bright yellow checked trousers, with matching yellow scarf. Originally depicted as a brown bear, his colour soon changed to white to save on printing costs, though he remained brown on the covers of the annuals.
Most of the other characters in the series are also animals with humanlike form. They are all scaled to be about the same size as Rupert, regardless of species. Rupert's animal friends are usually referred to as his "chums" or "pals". Aside from his best friend Bill Badger, some of the most enduring pals are an elephant (Edward Trunk), a mouse (Willie), Pong-Ping the Pekingese, Algy the Pug, Podgy Pig, Bingo the Brainy Pup, Freddie and Ferdy Fox, the identical twins Reggie and Rex Rabbit, and Ming the dragon. The kindly Wise Old Goat also lives in Nutwood, and helps Rupert in some of his adventures. One of the most unusual and evocative characters is Raggety, a woodland troll like creature made from twigs, who is often grumpy and annoying. In the 2006 television revival of the series, Raggety was transformed into a friendly elf with broken English.
There are also a few human characters in the stories, such as the Professor (who lives in a castle with his servant, Bodkin), Tiger Lily (a Chinese girl), her father "the Conjuror", and several less frequently occurring characters such as Sailor Sam, Gaffer Jarge, Captain Binnacle and Rollo, the Gypsy boy. There is also a recurring Merboy.
The series often features fantastic and magical adventures in faraway lands. Each story begins in Nutwood, where Rupert usually sets out on a small errand for his mother or to visit a friend, which then develops into an adventure to an exotic place such as King Frost's Castle, the Kingdom of the Birds, underground, or to the bottom of the sea. Sometimes one of the Professor's inventions opens the door to one of Rupert's adventures. At the end of the story Rupert returns to Nutwood, where all is safe and well, and where his parents seem perfectly happy about his adventures.
Unlike most modern comic strips, Rupert Bear has always been produced in the original form of strip with illustrations accompanying text as opposed to text being incorporated into the art in speech bubbles.
Alfred Bestall developed the classic Rupert story format: the story is told in picture form (generally two panels each day in the newspaper and four panels to a page in the annuals), in simple page-headers, in simple two-line-per-image verse and then as running prose at the foot enabling Rupert Annuals to be "read" on four levels.
It may be remembered that Rupert appeared in Paul McCartney's 1984 music video "We All Stand Together"; Paul McCartney also made an animated video starring Rupert called Rupert and the Frog Song.
Every year since 1936, a Rupert Bear annual has been released, even during the years of World War II, during a paper shortage in other words this years will be the 81st.
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News and Views:
On this day 13th November 1960-1965
On 13/11/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/11/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/11/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/11/1964 the number one single was (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandy Shaw and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/11/1965 the number one single was Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Liverpool. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69. The big news story of the day was Take Your Pick (AR)".