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Og: the Big Little Book (1936)

11.5 cm (3 5/8" × 4 ½"), b/w cartoon drawing on every 2-page spread. Cover illustrations by Jack Murray (see below). 428 pp. Big Little Book #1115, Racine, Wisconsin. Whitman Publishing Co. (Copyright 1936 by Stephen Slesinger, New York, N.Y.)

As can be seen from the cover and title page, Irving Crump is not clearly credited as the author of the Big Little Book, but rather the book is "Based on the famous radio adventure series by Irving Crump." The copyright notice on the title page verso shows "Stephen Slesinger":

"copyright 1936, by Stephen Slesinger, Inc. New York, N.Y."
The artist is not credited, but Slesinger himself was an illustrator.1

Here's the listing from www.BigLittleBooks.com (Oct. 2004):

BookNumberTitleGoodVGFine
GW148   1115OG, SON OF FIRE       8.7517.5035.00
Big Little Book®; 1936. Hard cover. Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 ½" x 1 ½"; 432 pages. Author: Irving Crump. Artist: Kevin Royt.

COLLECTOR'S NOTE: This book was written and drawn specially for the BLB format. The storyline was reprinted in The Funnies where it became an ongoing feature.


According to the Larry Lowery, of the BigLittleBooks site, this book originally sold for 10¢.

AT the back of his 1965 Og, Son of Og, Crump writes "... the first Og story, Og, Son of Fire (1922). Two other books about this prehistoric boy followed and a little later Og and his friends were featured on radio for two years." The "two other books" are Og, Boy of Battle (1925), and Og of the Cave People (1935), all three published first by Dodd, Mead & Co., and (at least the latter two) later reprinted in a cheaper edition from the same plates by Grosset and Dunlap. Though Crump doesn't specifically mention the Big Little Book edition, he says in Og, Son of Og, "Since then, there have been more Og books, a radio series, cartoon strips, games and figurines of the popular hero." (I'm not aware of any other Og books, outside of the BLB, nor of the cartoon strips, unless he intended that to also mean the BLB edition...)

Stylistically, as a BLB, it is of course nothing like any of the other Og books. Each 2-page spread has a cartoon drawing on the right-hand page, and the text is mostly dialogue, with most paragraphs only a sentence or two in length.

It is useful in the reconstruction of the nature of the radio show, of which no recorded episodes nor scripts seem to have survived.

The main characters are Og and Ru, young men, and Nada, a young woman. Their ages are unclear. The story opens with the introduction of Pong, the Devil Doctor, and his intention to banish Ak, the old flint maker, Nada's father, to the Fire Mountain, and death.

This theme is essentially a rewrite of the opening section of Og of the Cave People. In that book, Pong was the Devil Doctor of the Flat Heads (also known as the Tree People), and a delegation from them requests that Og, Ru and Tao (the youth replaced by Nada on the radio*) come back and destroy the monster of the mists. (The "Tree People" of Og, Son of Fire, the first book, were different, more ape-like — they appear in Chapter 8 of this Big Little Book, led, as in the original book, by Scar Face.)

Ru first appeared in Og, Boy of Battle, wherein the two went off to kill the great snake that had killed Ru's elder brother, and then on to further adventures.

Og, at the beginning of this Big Little Book, has not yet discovered how to make fire — that happens in Chapter 5, fulfilling the dream of Ak, Nada's father (who died in Chapter 3). Nada invents shoes in Chapter 7, and Og invents the spear. He comes up with the bow and arrow in Chapter 9.

[* But the Libby's ad for the radio show in the April, 1935 issue of Boys' Life says "...Og, Tao, Ru, The Cave People and the Flat Heads..."]

1. The Cave People
2. Into the Fire Mountain
3. Ak's Gift to His People
4. The Jaws of Death
5. Og's Fire
6. The Great Gray Wolves
  9
52
80
114
140
166
 7. In the Snows
 8. The Tree People
 9. Saber Tooth Snarls
10. In the White Caves
11. The Flat Heads
12. The New Village
196
238
282
308
346
408

Cover Art

The cover art, front and back, is by Jack Murray, variations of his illustrations of scenes from Og of the Cave People [OCP] and, originally, Boys' Life, (which do not otherwise appear in this BLB edition of Og Son of Fire).


The full weight of the wolf's body struck the Cave Boy full in the chest [OCP-163]
The Cubs of the Wolf (Boys' Life June, 1935)


Back cover
Right and left the wooly one swung his heavy head, each time with a twiting upward thrust [OCP-183] The Charm that Worked (Boys; Life March, 1935)

 


Note:
  1. cf. Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The New Adventures of Tarzan "Pop-up." (1935) Illustrated by Stephen Slesinger. Slesinger, along with artist Fred Harmon, created the comic strip "Red Ryder & Little Beaver" in 1938. The Game of Alley Oop - Manufactured by the Royal Toy Company, Inc. Copyright 1937 Stephen Slesinger Inc. Whitman Big Little Book #1429 THE TEXAS KID by Steve Saxton, illus. by Milt Youngren. 1937 by Stephen Slesinger. Whitman Big Little Book #1103 Zane Grey's KING OF THE MOUNTED based on the Famous Adventure Strip, 1936 Stephen Slesinger...


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