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The Gremlins. From the Walt Disney Production. A Royal Air Force Story
London and Glasgow: Collins,, [1944]. Quarto (274 × 217 mm). Deluxe binding of blue calf, front cover titled in gilt and with a gremlin stamped in blind, cloud-effect blue endpapers. Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. Extremities rubbed, internally bright and clean, a very good copy. First UK edition, preceded by the first US edition of the previous year. A special copy, bound for presentation, signed by 32 assorted dignitaries, probably at a special dinner in London in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund. The eclectic group of signatories include Air Marshall Richard Peck, Assistant Chief of Air Staff, London, and Dahl's superior, to whom Dahl wrote about his time in Hollywood "wangling the script" into Disney and boasting about the imminent book publication; Sir Charles Johns Mole, British architect who served in the Ministry of Works, eventually becoming its director-general; the Labour parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Works, George Hicks MP; and the great jockey Gordon Richards. Roald Dahl's first book and his only collaboration with Walt Disney, The Gremlins was written as a promotional device for a feature-length Disney animation that was never produced, partly because the studio could not establish firm copyright in the "gremlin" characters (Dahl claimed to have invented them, though they had been common currency in the RAF and had appeared in print at least once before) and partly because the British Air Ministry wanted final approval of the script and production. It was eventually agreed that royalties would be split between the RAF Benevolent Fund and Dahl. The book is still described on the title and the front cover as being "From the Walt Disney Production", although the Disney studio had written to Dahl in August 1943 cancelling any further preproduction work. The US edition is much sought-after by Dahl collectors but is not especially scarce - the print run was 50,000 copies. The British edition was not so large and is much less often encountered.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2014-01-23           Check availability:      Biblio    

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