The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins — The Cubbins Connection
When Ted Geisel was twelve (1916), his silent movie hero was Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who made a dozen films that year. Fairbanks’ strong suit was playing hatted heroes in epic costume dramas. He starred as Don Juan, The Thief of Baghdad, The Black Pirate, Zorro, D’Artagnan, Petruchio, The Gaucho, and in 1922—Robin Hood. Even as an adult, Fairbanks remained Ted’s favorite actor.
When you look at Bartholomew Cubbins and read his story, it’s impossible not to conjure up images of Robin Hood and his famous hat with its pointed feather. The Oscar nominated Technicolor film, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, opened on May 14, 1938; The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins hit the bookstores that fall. It’s serendipitous that these two classics came out the same year—the movie still shown today, the book still read.
“In the beginning, Bartholomew Cubbins didn’t have five hundred hats. He had only one hat.” Thus begins Dr. Seuss’s fable about the little boy in the Robin Hood “red” hat with “the feather that always pointed straight up,” and the improbable impossibility of doffing it in deference to his king. Again and again the removal of Bartholomew’s hat would only reveal another right there in its place on the top of his head. The story becomes a “thriller” as King Derwin descends into rage, threatening a perplexed Bartholomew’s very existence. The happy resolution is completely Seussian, “But neither Bartholomew Cubbins, nor King Derwin himself, nor anyone else in the Kingdom of Didd could ever explain how the strange thing had happened. They only could say it just ‘happened to happen’ and was not very likely to happen again.”
About The Art of Dr. Seuss
For over 60 years, Dr. Seuss’s illustrations have brought visual realization to his fantastic and imaginary worlds. However, his artistic talent went far beyond the printed page to his collection of Secret Art. Dr. Seuss always dreamed of sharing these works with his fans and had entrusted his wife, Audrey, to carry out his wishes once he was gone. In 1997, this dream was realized when The Art of Dr. Seuss project was launched. For the first time, collectors were able to see and acquire lithographs, serigraphs, and sculptures reproduced from Geisel’s original drawings and paintings. This historic project has opened the world’s eyes to the unique artistic talent of Dr. Seuss and, as such, galleries, museums, and collectors have helped make Audrey S. Geisel’s promise, and Dr. Seuss’s dream, a reality. To view the collection or find a gallery where you can see and acquire artworks, visit www.drseussart.com
About the Artist: Theodor Seuss Geisel (American, 1904–1991)
Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, began his career as a little known editorial cartoonist in the 1920s. His intriguing perspective and fresh concepts ignited his career, and his work evolved quickly to deft illustrations, modeled sculpture, and sophisticated oil paintings of elaborate imagination.
Dr. Seuss is currently best known as one of the most beloved and bestselling children’s authors of all time, having written and illustrated classics such as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Geisel was also a political cartoonist for PM magazine during World War II, as well as a contributing illustrator for Vanity Fair and Life. He had a long, successful advertising career, and was an Academy Award winner for his wartime documentaries, as well as his animated short film,Gerald McBoing Boing. Today his paintings hang in fine art galleries alongside old and contemporary masters including Picasso, Warhol, Rembrandt, Miró, and others.
His unique artistic vision emerged as the golden thread which linked every facet of his varied career, and his artwork became the platform from which he delivered 44 children’s books, over 400 World War II political cartoons, hundreds of advertisements, and countless editorials filled with wonderfully inventive animals, characters, and clever humor. Geisel single-handedly forged a new genre of art that falls somewhere between the Surrealist Movement of the early 20th century and the inspired nonsense of a child’s classroom doodles.
TM & © 2013 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved