1949 Walt Disney's The Grasshopper and the Ants. Paperbound. Walt Disney Productions. $15 from Second Story Books, Georgetown, Dec., '10.
This is a genuine find! I was finishing up in Second Story when I noticed this combination of a booklet and a 45 rpm record in the window. I had just given an extensive lecture two months earlier on "The Grasshopper and the Ant," including some criticism of Disney. This booklet may be the best illustrated Disney GA that I now have. There are two records along with the booklet; the records are produced by Capitol. The narrator is Don Wilson, who is joined by the original cast. Adaptor is Alan Livingston. The booklet itself starts with the telling but surprising image of the grasshopper spitting! I am delighted to have found this combination. I have not yet been able to play the records. 45 rpm record players are hard to find these days!
1955 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 1. Paperbound. Livre-Disque: Philips. $4.99 from T.J. Novak, St. Paul, through eBay, April, '12.
I already have one copy of this book and record, acquired from Francine Juneau through eBay in October of 2002. Now I have found a fresher copy with a separate record jacket and a different set of advertisements on its back cover. This back cover, for example, features not the fourth but the third member of this series of La Fontaine's fables. As I mention there, here ten fables are shown and read by Yves-Gérard le Dantec. A 45 rpm record is part of the package. Monochrome and polychrome pages alternate. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. I will keep the book and record together among the books.
1955 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 1. Pamphlet. Livre-Disque: Philips. $9 from Francine Juneau, Montreal, through eBay, Oct. '02.
Here ten fables are shown and read by Yves-Gérard le Dantec. A 45 rpm record is part of the book; it has its own little envelope inside the front cover. Monochrome and polychrome pages alternate. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. I see by the back cover that there are four volumes of La Fontaine. Now I have to find the other three! I will keep this specimen, including its record, with the books.
1955? Walt Disney's The Tortoise and the Hare. Unbreakable 78 rpm Little Golden Record RD 150. Gil Mack, the Sandpipers, Mitchell Miller and Orchestra. Record by Bestway. Jacket by Simon and Schuster, New York. Gift of Wendy Wright, Nov., '11.
Here is a short sung rendition of the story of Toby the Tortoise and Max the Hare. Max's problem is that he wastes time with a pretty female rabbit along the way. One website lists a copy as "50's." The record is certainly pre-1963 because Simon and Schuster's address in New York has a code but not a zip code. The record jacket is worn, but not badly for having lasted over fifty years! Click on the small illustration above to see a larger version of the record-jacket.
1956 Fables de la Fontaine 1. Jean A. Mercier. Hardbound. Monaco: Pathé Disques-Albums: S.A.M. Editions Les Flots Bleus. $5 from Luc Gauvreau, Montreal, March, '03.
This is a combination book that includes a 45 rpm record, with eight fables narrated by Gerard Philipe. Its first gift to me is that it shows the source for the illustrations used on the lovely menus produced for La Compagnie Générale Transatlantique in 1957. These are lovely watercolors! Each of the eight fables has a full-page (7¼" x 7¼") colored illustration: MM, "L'Ane et le petit Chien," WL, "Le Singe et le Dauphin," FC, "Le Petit Poisson et le Pêcheur," "Le Coche et la Mouche," and "Le Loup devenu Berger." My prize goes to the milkmaid! She is also on the cover. I do not know if the "1" on the cover and title-page suggests that there are other books of La Fontaine in the series, or merely that La Fontaine is the first in the disque-album series. The hunt continues!
1956 Les plus belles Fables de La Fontaine en relief et en musique. Editions Lucos. Pop-up. Paperbound. Mulhouse: Lucos: Le Petit Ménestral: Editions Lucien Adés. $19.98 from Claude Bru Valois, through eBay, Feb., '11.
This is a worthy combination of a 33 rpm record and six excellent pop-up scenes. The La Fontaine scenes, presented in landscape format with the fable on the flat surface closest to the reader, are about 90% intact. In several, one character or element is unhinged or otherwise defective. The scenes are GA; MM; OF; WL; FC; and TH. The best of them is WL, both for its artistic vigor and for its present condition. FC is also strong and well preserved. This is a heavy book. The small 33 rpm record is in a wrapper attached to the inside of the front cover. Its music is by Hubert Rostaing and the fables are read by François Perier. I will keep the record with the book. A lovely find!
1957 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 2. Jean Davy et Michel Bouquet. Paperbound. Livre-Disque: Philips. $9.95 from endingsandbeginnings, through eBay, August, '05.
Here is Volume Two, found three years after I found Volume One, published in 1955. This "Livre-Disque" contains eight fables. It is not clear what role Jean Davy et Michel Bouquet play. A 45 rpm record is part of the book; it has its own little envelope inside the front cover. Be careful! The record jacket is open on the bottom. Monochrome and polychrome pages alternate. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. The back cover of Volume One seemed to indicate four volumes in the set. This back cover shows only two. I will keep this specimen, including its record, with the books.
1957 Fables de La Fontaine par Fernandel. Cover art: Rosenberg. Decca. €5 from an unknown source, July, '09.
This is a combination book and 45 rpm record. Fernandel, who died in 1971, seems to be the narrator of seven fables on the record. The fables are WL, FC, GA, DW, TH, "The Lion and the Mosquito," and "The Financier and the Cobbler." The last story has a wonderfully relaxed cobbler in its image. Alternating page-pairs are done in duochrome with a heavy sepia look. The cover presents the animals from many fables together. It surprises me by seating the hare on top of the tortoise's shell. Where does that image or understanding come from? I will keep record and book together in the book collection.
1958 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 2. Paperbound. Livre-Disque: Philips. $4.99 from T.J. Novak, St. Paul, through eBay, April, '12.
I already have one copy of this book and record, acquired from endingsandbeginnings through eBay in August of 2005. Now I have found a fresher copy with a separate record jacket and different book covers. This front cover, for example, no longer features a picture of a 45 rpm record. The back cover shows not the first two volumes of this series but the third. The date on that version was 1957. Here it is 1958. This "Livre-Disque" contains eight fables. I still presume that Jean Davy et Michel Bouquet read the fables. Monochrome and polychrome pages alternate. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. I will keep the book and record together among the books.
1959 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 4. Paperbound. Livre-Disque: Philips. €5 from St. Ouen flea market, Paris, June, '09.
Here is Volume Four, found four years after I found Volume Two, published in 1957. Apparently I have one more livre-disque to find to have the set of four complete. This "Livre-Disque" contains six fables, pictured on the cover: DW, "The Heron"; "The Daughter"; "The Stalled Carter"; "The Merchant, the Gentleman, the Shepherd, and the King's Son"; and "The Ass Carrying Relics." Jean Davy, Michel Bouquet, Renée Faure, and Robert Manuel are readers of various of the six fables. A 45 rpm record is part of the book; it has its own little envelope inside the front cover. The booklet of fables is attached inside the overall jacket. Be careful! The record sleeve is open on the bottom. Some pages are monochrome and some polychrome. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. I enjoy particularly the disdainful pose of the young woman and then the contrasting pose of the man she ends up marrying. I will keep this specimen, including its record, with the books.
1960? Fables de la Fontaine, Volume IV. Read by members of Comédie Française. Microgroove Records FRL 1525. Bernard Lebow: Dust jacket printed in the USA. $4 from Stephane St-Arnaud, Montreal, Canada, through Ebay, Nov., '99.
There are eight favorite La Fontaine fables on the Side A and six on Side B. This record seems to have been produced in this country. The dust jacket is in English.
1961 Animal Stories of Aesop. Narrated by Sterling Holloway. Disneyland Record DQ 1221. Walt Disney Productions. $2, Summer, '89. Extra copy for $2 from Coin Corner and Hobbies, Oregon City, OR, through Ebay, March, '99. Third copy from an unknown source.
One reader with occasional interruptions from kids and a bit of music. Versions are on the sentimental side. AL (six minutes), AD (four minutes), OF (six minutes), "The Lion and the Goat" (three minutes), and FG (four minutes). The countercultural ant likes to sing, and so gets thirsty. The best fable features the (father) frog and the ox. "The Lion and the Goat" has a scratch and repeats on the original '89 copy. The fox passes up many grapes to get the best; the story runs to too much length.
1961 Fables de La Fontaine, No. 3. Paperbound. Livre-Disque: Philips. $4.99 from T.J. Novak, St. Paul, through eBay, April, '12.
At last I have found Number 3 in a series of four combinations of book and record. There is a slight anomaly, since the only date I can find here is 1961 on the back cover of the booklet, and my copy of Number 3 is dated 1959. This "Livre-Disque" contains eight fables, pictured and mentioned on the cover: FK, "The Lion and the Mosquito"; BF, "The Ass and the Little Dog"; "The Eye of the Master"; "The Cock, the Cat, and the Mouse"; 2P; and "The Little Fish and the Angler." Renée Faure and Jean Davy are readers of various of the fables. A 45 rpm record is part of the book; it has its own little envelope inside the front cover. The booklet of fables is attached inside the overall jacket. As in other volumes, some pages are monochrome and some polychrome. The illustrations are lively if nothing else. I enjoy particularly the vested gentleman holding a lapdog and being accosted by the ass! I will keep this specimen, including its record, with the books.
1962? The Fox and the Grapes/The City Mouse and the Country Mouse. 78 RPM record 6" in diameter. Narrated by June Winters and the Speartones. Lionel 49730-114, Fairy Tales 3. $4.99 from Anthony Testa, Le Roy, NY, through Ebay, Jan., '01.
Lionel made recordings for kids?! In fact they made at least fourteen of them for 45 RPM, one of which offered fables, and twenty-five in 78 RPM, two of which presented fables. Now to look for those other two!
1964? the tortoise and the hare/the little white duck. 45 rpm Mr. Pickwick Extended Play Record. No singers or composer acknowledged. Woodbury, NY: Pickwick International. $.05 at flea market, 1991.
TH lasts 3:21. It seems like vintage "Hit Paraders" music: cute, silly, bubbly, harmless. If there were not a zip code on the jacket, I would have guessed the date of production to be 10 years earlier. The rabbit in this version keeps thinking he can always catch up, and he enjoys many diversions.
1965 Aesop's Fables the Smothers Brothers Way. Words and Music by John McCarthy. Arranged and Produced by David Carroll. The Smothers Brothers. Mercury Records SR 60989. MG 20989. $12 at Yesterday's Memories Book & Record Store, Feb., 1987. Extra copy for $7.50 from Martin D. McKay, Cambridge, OH, through Ebay, Feb., '99.
Clever working of songs into a typical Smothers Brothers routine, with lots of nonsense included. The fables are respected by and large. Tommy howls and gets into it, and sometimes the moral comes through. See the same material on a compact disk.
1965? Aesop's Best Known Fables. Featuring the Regency Players. Talespinners for Children. UAC 11068. Los Angeles, CA: Liberty/UA, Inc. Sunset Records. Entertainment from Transamerica Corporation. $4.99 from Robert Beckley Newton, MS, through Ebay, May, '00.
From the jacket, it appears that each side presents three groupings of three fables each. Each grouping lasts between three and about five minutes.
1965? Aesop's Fables. Narrated by Burgess Meredith. Arranged and Conducted by Reg Owen and Wally Stott. NY: Golden Records LP 152. $5 from Robin Chaney, Schoolcraft, MI, through Ebay, Oct., '99.
Side One is devoted to TH, and Side Two to FC. This record originally cost only $1.98.
1967 Aesop's Fables. Read by Boris Karloff. Directed by Howard Sackler. NY: Caedmon. Gift of Pat Donnelly from the Milwaukee Public Library, June, '93.
Twenty-one fables on each side. Karloff's reading is sensitive but surprisingly low-keyed. The texts, whose author I cannot identify, seem classic, pithy, well expressed. This record is not as clear as the audio cassette of the same production.
1967? Aesop's Fables. "The Rabbit and the Turtle" plus 32 other fables for the delight and development of children. Sung by Judy Stewart and Bob Ragaini. Mercury Playcraft PLP-1303. $7 from JLO West/Special Records, Universal City, CA, through Ebay, Nov., '99.
The Ebay seller writes that these fables are set into modern verse and provided with lively contemporary musical backgrounds.
1968 The Grasshopper and the Ants. 33 rpm long-playing record enclosed in the back flap of a booklet with the same title. Walt Disney Presents the Story (Side A, read by Robie Lester) and a Song (Side B, by L. Morey and L. Harline). Walt Disney Productions LLP-331. Included in the booklet price of $4.50 at Old Bank Antiques, Hastings, March, '94. This record is kept with the book.
The last few minutes of the story's side are especially scratchy. This version differs slightly from the tape version I have under 1971/77. The song, "The World Owes Me a Living," does not follow the lyrics of Margaret Wise Brown's version (1939, reprinted in 1962 and 1993).
1969? In Due Time: Aesop's Fables. 33 rpm long-playing record. Chicago: Cadet Concept Records. LPS 323. $5 from Jads Jams, Safford, AZ, through Ebay, August, '99.
The back of the jacket calls this "Stereo Storybook" a "collection of latter day fables…musical tales that light upon life, love, loneliness…."
1970? Fables de La Fontaine. Read in French by Gerard Philipe, Julien Bertheau, Berthe Bovy, Georges Chamarat, Jacques Charon, and Yvonne Gaudeau. French and English bilingual text included. Caedmon TC 1211. $1 from Mel Grimes, Pacific Grove, CA, through Ebay, May, '00.
Though the fables are read in French, the extensive commentary on the jacket's back is in English. The French and English face each other in the accompanying large translation booklet.
1970? Fables of India. Told by Zia Mohyeddin. Music by Deben Bhattacharya. Directed by Howard Sackler. Caedmon TC 1168. Formerly property of the Johnson Camden Library, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY. $15 from Judy Lewis, Morehead, KY, through Ebay, June, '99.
Side One features "The Brahmin and the Villain," "The Long-Eared Cat and the Vulture," "The Restless Pigeon and his Wife," and "The Camel and his Neighbor." Side Two has "The Adder and the Fox," "The Twin Parrots," "The Blue Jackal," "Good-Speed and the Elephant King," and "The Monkey's Heart." There is some commentary on the back of the jacket. This recording seems to be in a series with Caedmon's other recordings that I have found, including La Fontaine, Tolstoy, and Aesop as read by Boris Karloff.
1971 Les Plus Belles Fables de La Fontaine. Dites par Francois Perier, Jacques Fabbri, Pierre Bertin. Livre-Disque. ALB-6034. Le Petit Menestrel. Disques de Adès. $20 from Robin Michel, Santa Clarita, CA, through eBay, March, '11.
Here are fifteen fables recorded on a 33 rpm, accompanied by a book. With music from Rameau and Couperin. I will keep the record with the book among the books rather than among the audio-visual materials.
1972 Disneyland Double Feature: Walt Disney Presents The Best Stories of Aesop and Animal Stories of Aesop. Both narrated by Sterling Holloway, with music composed and conducted by Camarata. Walt Disney Productions. Disneyland DDF-1. $4.99 from Teresa Vanwye, Indianapolis, IN, through Ebay, June, '00.
The second of the two records here is identical with the one produced by Disney in 1961. See my copies above. The first seems to follow the same format as the second, offering five fables: GGE, FC, and "The Hare and the Hound" on Side 1, with DM and TH on Side 2.
1972? Aesop's Fables. Book and Record Set. NY: Children's Records of America T 23552. $4 from Jean Lexington, El Dorado, AR, through Ebay, Sept., '00. Extra copy for $2 from Daryl Adkins, Dry Fork, VA, through Ebay, May, '99.
I had found the book half of this set twice earlier, and was surprised to find a book published by CBS records. Now I find the records, and they are not done by CBS! I will keep these books with the records and leave those two copies of the books with their respective collections. The presence of the book with the record in this set has one result, namely that the record jacket has almost no information about what is on the record!
1974 Leo Tolstoy: Fables and Fairy Tales. Read by Ian Richardson. Caedmon TC 1435. Formerly property of the Johnson Camden Library, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY. $6.01 from Judy Lewis, Morehead, KY, through Ebay, June, '99. Extra copy for $7 from Eric Maloney, W. Peterborough, NH, through Ebay, June, '00.
Side One features twelve short fables, while Side Two seems to be given to two fairy tales. Paul Kresh offers an introduction on the back of the jacket. Both copies seem to be in excellent condition.
1975? Aesop Fables. Art Director Tory Wolfe. Cover Illustration Marlyn Romero. Hollywood, FL: Kid Stuff Records KS053. $1 from Karen Podschun, Winfield, KS, through Ebay, Feb., '00.
Seven fables on each side. This approach to the record, including the jacket and its art, suggests that this may be among the simplest of the fable records I have found.
1975? Aesop's Fables in song. George Mysels. Sung by Patricia DeLoughry and Clyde Sechler with Betty Ann McCall, Cordovox. Omni Sound N-194. Delaware Water Gap, PA: Shawnee Press, Inc. $9.99 from Paul Neil Anderson, Bellevue, NE, through Ebay, May, '01.
There are eleven and thirteen bands, respectively, on the two sides of this record. "Recommended for listening and singing in elementary schools and for family enjoyment by children of all ages."
1980? Fables in Action. Author: Winifred Howard. Various speakers, musicians, and singers. Oklahoma City, OK: Melody House Recordings MH-21. $6 at Castalia Books in Berkeley, June, '89. Extra copy, formerly property of the Johnson Camden Library, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY, for $2 from Judy Lewis, Morehead, KY, through Ebay, March, '99.
T of C on the back. Various instruments, sound effects, songs, and stories with different voices. The jacket suggests various activities for kids: barking, growling, roaring, gestures. Nice simple songs. Satisfactory for use with very small children. SW gets the bet wrong. "Ricky Rabbit and Tommy Turtle" makes nice use of Brahms' lullaby. The lion saves the man, not in the circus, but from an attacking tiger. The FC reader jumps from "Miss Caw" to "Miss Crow." Moral: "When you're pretending to do something big, you may do something silly." Four fables on each side.
1980? Les Fables de La Fontaine. Illustrées par des enfants et interprétées par l'imitateur Jean Valton à la manière des Grandes Vedettes. Pamphlet with a record. Printed in France. Series: Alors, Raconte… Paris: Dillard et Cie. $4 from Pierre Cantin, Chelsea, Quebec, through Ebay, Feb., '01. Extra copy (2010), which I will keep with the records, while the first copy stays with the books.
This square little presentation 7¼" square offers five delightful illustrations by children, the texts of six fables, and a 45 rpm record. The first of the illustrations is on the cover. La Fontaine writes seated under a tree, while various animals look on. Of the other four illustrations, I recommend especially FC. The other three present TH, GA, and OR. The record was produced by La Discotheque de Paris.
1983? Toucan Sam at the Big Race. Kellogg Company. $4 at a flea market about '95.
This is a paper-based record made to be played at 33 1/3 rpm. It shows a colorful illustration of Toucan Sam waving a checkered flag for the tortoise, who beats the hare to the finish line. I presume that this record came in a box of cereal.
1987? The Untold Fables: Aesop's Apocalypse. Engineer and Assistant Production by David Carey and Jim Dotson. Dionysus Records ID 123312. $5 from Kevin Wells, Seattle, WA, through Ebay, March, '99.
Side B offers "The Man and the Wooden God." Otherwise it may be hard to find the connection with Aesop or fable here. In case it is not clear to readers (as it was not to me), "The Untold Fables" is the name of the group.