The Gremlins by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Bill Justice and Al Dempster
First British Edition Published by Collins, London, 1943
Onlaid Leather Binding by The Chelsea Bindery
Full Title: The Gremlins from the Walt Disney Production: A Royal Air Force Story
Binding Details: Beautiful onlaid full leather binding by the Chelsea Bindery in red morocco leather. The front cover is ruled in gold gilt and features a multi-colored morocco leather onlay of seven cavorting gremlins as depicted on the title page. There is gold gilted titling to the front cover and spine, marbled endpapers, gold ruling and decorative gilt to the dentilles, and all page ends are gold gilted. The original cover is bound in at the back of the book. The Chelsea Bindery binder’s stamp appears in gold gilt on the bottom of the inside front cover.
Book Details: This is the first British edition of Roald Dahl’s first book “The Gremlins from the Walt Disney Production: A Royal Air Force Story” published by Collins, London and Glasgow in 1943. The Gremlins was written as a promotional device for a feature-length Disney animation that was never produced because the studio could not establish firm copyright in the “gremlin” characters and the British Air Ministry wanted final approval of the script and production. Although the film was never produced, an agreement was reached that the book could be published and royalties would be split between the RAF Benevolent Fund and Dahl.
Reed Milnes in his article “The Gremlins” and a Tale of Two Storytellers wrote, “In April of 1943, the Disney studio partnered with Roald Dahl to publish The Gremlins: A Royal Air Force Story Penned by Dahl and illustrated by Disney Legends Bill Justice and Al Dempster, and with a cover design by Mary Blair, the book was considered an international success but efforts to reprint the book were stymied by the wartime paper shortage.” In his short story “Lucky Break,” Dahl writes, “Each day, I worked with the great Disney at his studio in Burbank, roughing out the story line for the forthcoming film. I had a ball.” Now known as the imagination behind so many favorite stories that enthrall children and adults alike, it is fascinating to know that Dahl began with The Gremlins—and guidance from Walt Disney.”
Measuring 11.125” x 9”, the book is beautifully illustrated with 12 full-page and 1 double-page color as well as black-and-white illustrations by Bill Justice and Al Dempster from Walt Disney studios.
Condition Report: The binding is in FINE condition. Internally, the book is very clean with some mild age toning to the paper and some offsetting to the page facing the bound in original front cover. Overall, this is a spectacular onlaid binding by The Chelsea Bindery that houses the first book written by Roald Dahl.
Photographs of the binding, close-ups of the onlays, the title page, the bound in cover, and several stock illustrations from the book appear in the photo section of the listing.