Cowboy Annuals But Not The Mysterious Book With An Elephant On The Cover?
Childhood. Where would we be without it? Nowhere I suppose. Discuss.
Actually, although my childhood was sort of chaotic and disjointed and fragmented and scary and bewildering I look back on certain parts of it with great affection. Particularly the time spent reading my favourite books.
Now I have to hold my hands up and say I wasn’t the brightest kid down our street. I much preferred balls to books. And I certainly never read anything more taxing than “Stick ’em up Pecos Pete, ya lily-livered, cowardly varmint. You’re under arrest!”…..”Go to hell Sheriff”…….”You asked for it Pete”…. Bang. Bang. That sort of thing.
And for me that was ‘proper‘ literature. And I loved it.
So why am I bothering you with trivia like this? Well, I’m on a quest. I want to rediscover those books, and experience the thrill of reading those books again. Of course they are long gone. Pulped probably. Recycled into unread paperbacks about nuclear fission and the history of microbes.
There are three or four books, or it could even be five, I would really like to get my hands on again. I have done the usual Google and Amazon search and have definitely found a couple of them….the Kit Carson Cowboy Annuals of 1955 and 1959. I recognise the covers. But there is one book I can’t locate at all. And that is the one that is really puzzling me. I believe it is an annual from the early 1950s called ‘Ajax Annual’ and might have a picture of an elephant on the front cover, an Indian elephant possibly.
There is an excellent book shop in Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire where I almost found it. The chap who runs the shop recognised my descriptions of the various stories inside the book and showed me his only copy of an Ajax annual and it had all the ingredients inside….the style was exactly the same as my treasured book.
My book had Woozy Winks and Plastic Man (Plas) in which Woozy goes into a flea circus and they jump all over him and later in the story he goes into a concert hall and picks up the conductor’s baton and sticks it down the back of his shirt to scratch the fleas and the orchestra thinks he is the conductor and follows him as he ‘conducts’…….
And my favourite, a colourful cowboy story in which the blonde-haired hero in a very tall hat gets shot in the back with an arrow in a fort and appears to die (I can still recall the shock and horror I felt when seeing this fabulous son of the range get it in the back…heck, I’m quivering right now)……all beautifully comic-book style illustrated. Lovely reds, greens and yellows….
So the Ajax book in the antique book shop was almost the book I was after, but not quite. Very much like life itself really…almost but not quite. Discuss (Optional)
So, this summer I’m on a private and personal quest….to locate and buy the Kit Carson annuals and somehow to find the missing ‘Ajax’ book. Now that is a quest worth undertaking.
EPILOGUE: I have just this minute located the ‘Elephant’ book on Amazon, but unfortunately it is not THE book….So I am still looking for an Ajax Annual from the 1950s but not the one with the elephant on the cover. So the facts get murkier and murkier and the mystery deepens…but doesn’t it always in good quest stories?