Rupert In Dreamland

The 8th November 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the birthday of a little bear cub- Rupert. My first introduction was in the ITV lunchtime puppet series The Adventures of Rupert Bear but I began to get the annuals at Christmas time during the early 1970s.   

  Mary Tourtel created the first Rupert strip for the Daily Express as a rival to the Daily Mails Teddy Tales and called it Little Bear Lost with a single picture with brief text at the bottom of the ladies page. Rupert proved to be popular with readers. By 1923 Mary decided that Rupert should have a similar adventure to Alice and created Rupert in Dreamland where he falls asleep in an armchair and has a succession of episodes, and meeting along the way such character's as a gander, sailor, hippo, an ostritch, Old Mother Hubbard, and Bill Badger.

The Wonderland characters that briefly appear are the White Rabbit, fish footman, and Humpty Dumpty. There is a tea party with Old King Cole and other nursey rhyme characters, the plum pudding and jelly start to fight and cause the table to be up-turned. In picture 49 a dog photographer under the sheet with camera on a tripod takes Rupert and Bill's picture. At the end the gander takes him back but crash lands waking Rupert up who has fallen out of his chair.

This story is available as a Nutwood special issue re-printed by The Followers of Rupert (1999) and priced at £7 and £1.30 for postage.

Stephen Martin.