Monday, July 22, 2013

Holy Hiatus, Batman!

The Blackbirds are taking a break. We'll be back in touch next week, but until then, please enjoy our little gift to you:
Paul Newman

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Skinny -- 101 Dalmatians

I was junk shopping yesterday with my mom, and amazingly, came across an item that is on the buy-it-immediately-when-you-find-it-for-a-non-insanely-high-price list.  I was jumping up and down with excitement. 

Literally.   I jumped up and down.  I did the little good-junk-score dance.  Mom had to tell me to calm down, and that I was making a scene.

You have to understand, I've never seen one of these in person!  It's not an item for me personally -- it's for the other Blackbird.  I've tried to get her one for a Christmas present for the past 3 years, and I can never afford it -- if I can even find it.  And it was, drum roll please...$12 and 20% off. What?  That's a non-insanely-high price!

Here it is:

Let me explain.  She collects books illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, and we're huge Disney fans.  She's wanted this book, and well, I've wanted this book in our collection, just because it's really hard to find and it's illustrated by the Johnstone sisters.  More on them in a later edition of The Skinny.

Dodie Smith

Johnstone sisters

Hopefully, you've all seen the Disney movie -- at least the 1961 animated version, which is the best.  That film is based on this book, written in 1956 by Dodie Smith.  She was an actress and playwright, born in England in 1896.  She lived in the UK until the 1940s, when she moved to the United States.  She also wrote the novels I Capture the Castle and Starlight Barking, the sequel to The Hundred and One Dalmatians.  Smith died in 1990.

Here are some quick, fun facts about Smith's book:
  •   Dodie Smith herself was the proud owner of nine dalmatians, including one named Pongo.
  • At one point, Pongo did have a litter of 15 puppies. One of them was stillborn, but Smith's husband managed to revive it.

  • Smith was inspired to write the book after a friend told her "Those dogs would make a lovely fur coat."
  • Smith's story was first serialized in 'Ladies' Home Journal' as 'The Great Dog Robbery.'
  • In the book, Pongo and Perdita are not the parents of the puppies. In the book, the couple is Pongo and Missis Pongo; Perdita is a stray, who had her puppies sold away, and she becomes the wet nurse for Missis' 15 pups.
  • Perdita's long-lost love is named Prince.

Info from,, and wikipedia.