Saturday, July 4, 2009
Happy Fourth with Johnny Tremain
There's no better way to celebrate Independence Day here in Tulgey Wood than to celebrate Walt Disney's Johnny Tremain (1957). To do just that, let's showcase one of two comic books created to tie-in with the Disney screen adaption of Esther Forbes' superbly researched and written historical novel (still one of the bestselling books for young readers). The comic story itself was drawn by the masterful Alex Toth (he also drew other Disney comic-book adaptations, including his now-legendary Zorro stories) but the striking cover is attributed to illustrator Taylor Oughton, who created other action-adventure covers for Dell-published comics in the 1950s. The comic-book adaptations covers hedged their bets a bit, emphasizing the real Revolutionary War-era people and events over Johnny and his fictional friends. As seen in this cover from Four Color # 822, published in August 1957, the emphasis is all on silversmith Paul Revere, with Johnny (a silversmith apprentice) given a mere "with" billing and a cameo portrait. Incidently, last year, Walt Disney's Johnny Tremain was screened at Boston's Old South Meeting House on July 3. Let's hope that historic city makes a July 4th screening an annual event, for where better to see the movie about Johnny Tremain (Remember His Name) of Old Boston Town than in Boston itself.