This original artwork was used for the bookBugs Bunny by Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc., with illustrations adapted by Tom McKimson and Al Dempster. Published by Simon and Schuster in New York, New York, in 1949, pg.14-15.
Many of the stories published in the early years of Little Golden Books included classics such as Mother Goose, fables and fairy tales. After the war, a new era of prosperity emerged in America. This optimism coupled with the baby boom encouraged Americans to create an idealized world, where family and home were fundamental attributes and life was full of opportunities. The introduction of TV into the home had great impact on American society and culture, and its impact on Little Golden Books was no exception.
In the 19th century, consumer products such as toys, books and games were already used as a tie into historical events, sports and famous people, and this phenomenon was expanded with the introduction of radio, movies and television. These new means of communication generated a whole new cast of characters and the impact on Golden Books was significant. A license with Walt Disney granted Little Golden Books the right to publish stories about some of Disney’s earliest creations, including favorites such as Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Sleeping Beauty. Moreover, the books began to feature television personalities like Howdy Doody, Roy Rogers and Captain Kangaroo, as well as popular Saturday morning cartoon characters like Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny and Huckleberry Hound. These new agreements with Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera significantly reduced the development of original stories as the books featured stories taken from children’s television shows. This opened the flood gates to create consumer products associated with popular movie and cartoon personalities. This practice continues today and proves to be a very lucrative endeavor.
Born in 1911 in Atlantic City New Jersey, Al Dempster moved to California and studied at the Art Center school in LA. He joined the staff of Disney in 1939 as a layout trainee and shortly after was promoted to the Background department. His early works included Fantasia and Dumbo. He left Disney in 1945 but returned to Disney studio by 1952 where he worked on such renowned movies as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Santa's Toy Shoppe, Jungle Book and the Rescuers and Winnie the Pooh. He worked on more than a dozen Disney golden books. He died in 2001 and posthumously received the coveted Disney Legends Award in 2006 for his outstanding achievements and contribution to the Disney legacy.
Tom Mckimson (1907-1998) was best known for his work as an animator at Warner Bros. Studio. He joined Disney in 1928 but left in 1932 and moved over to work with Warner Bros., where he was credited with the original design for Tweety Bird. While working with Warner Bros. he also illustrated comic books for Dell Comics, including Bugs Bunny and Road Runner. He left Warner Bros. in 1947 and became the Art Director for Western Publishing, the original publishing company for Golden Books.