I've long been a fan of Charles Dickens, and have referenced him on my various blogs, most notably here, here, and here.
February 7th is the 198th anniversary of ol' Chuck's birth. I'm posting this a couple of days ahead of time for it to be a "birthday greeting" in its purest form, but who cares? He isn't going to see my blog, anyway.
I don't really have too much to say about the man -- at this very moment, that is -- other than the following three personal mini-anecdotes, but I'm sure I'll come up with something else before the end of this post!
1. My very first exposure to Mr. D's work was the fantastic cartoon, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. Out of all the older and newer adaptations I've seen since then -- and I've seen a lot of them, fellow babies! -- the Magoo version is my favorite, if only for its nostalgic value for me personally. A great story (albeit condensed), bolstered by a memorable soundtrack... What more could a six-year-old ask for?
Ol' Eb Scrooge is shown his probable future by The Ghost of
Christmas Yet to Come, a scene which scared the livin' crap
out of this li'l fox when I first viewed it, all alone in the dark!
2. The second time I was entertained by a Dickens story was when I accompanied the entire seventh grade class of my Middle School to a screening of Oliver!, the Oscar-winning musical based on Oliver Twist. Not much to add to that, other than the fact that Dickens' way with a yarn was already favorably working its way into my consciousness, preparing me for the following.
3. My first encounter with Dickens' actual writing was in high school, when my English Lit class got to read Great Expectations. I was one of those nerds who not only enjoyed the novel, but read ahead of the assigned chapters.
Picture this, if you will: The teacher asks the class a question. David's hand shoots up eagerly; he has the answer! The other kids in the class slump down in their seats in an attempt to make themselves invisible. The teacher looks around; she does not want to have to call on David yet again, but finally... she does.
David launches into a long, involved answer, touching upon many major and minor plot points in what is at that moment his very favorite novel.
Finally, the teacher interrupts. "Yes, David, that's all well and good... But most of what you're describing now takes place in chapters twelve through fourteen... and the rest of the class is on chapter five."
And here's a bit of Silver Fox trivia that you may never have noticed: If you scroll up to the title of this blog, you'll see something which may seem a bit odd, which is that the phrase "The Lair of the Silver Fox" has a period at its end. It's a title, not a sentence, so why the period? Dickens' two weekly magazines, Household Words and All the Year Round, in which he serialized some of his greatest stories (including Great Expectations), both had a period at the end of their names. Call it a tiny tribute, or a superstitious affectation... whatever. It's there, and it ain't goin' nowhere.
Here's a little gem from my private collection,
and there are more copies of All the Year Round,
as well as Household Words, where this came from!
Right-clicking on the image should enable you to open it
in a slightly larger size in another tab or window.
So, without further ado... Happy Birthday, Boz!
Thanks for your time.