Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Howard Garis!


If Howard Garis was still around, he'd be 133 years old. Who, the youngsters are asking, is Howard Garis? Just a guy who had a huge influence on my life, though I never met him. Garis was a writer. He created a character I loved as a kid, Uncle Wiggily, the kindly old rabbit gentleman. I even had an Uncle Wiggily board game. Other characters in the books were Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy, the Alligator, and Baby Bunny. But Garis wrote a ton of other things. He was the first "Victor Appleton" and wrote the first thirty-five Tom Swift books. He wrote most of the Motor Boys series, not to mention a lot of the Bobbsey Twins books (his wife wrote more of them than he did). And that's not nearly all. Baseball Joe and Dick Hamilton were also Garis characters. He wrote the Great Marvel series as Roy Rockwood (and maybe some of the Bomba books under that name, too). Most of these books have been long forgotten except by old codgers like me who read them in their misspent youth. They seemed wonderful to me then, bu it's probably better that I don't re-read them.

8 comments:

Graham said...

The Tom Swift books, in their updated versions, were still going strong in the late 70s when I was starting to read science fiction. Though as I recall, there wasn't much science in there.

Anonymous said...

I remember playing the Uncle Wiggily game when I was a kid, and I remeber my third grade teacher, Mrs. Grumbles, reading a chapter or two of a Bobbsey Twins book to the class every day after lunch. They were very exciting to a third grader.

Danny

James Reasoner said...

I spent many an enjoyable hour playing the Uncle Wiggily Game when I was a kid. And both of my daughters played it when they visited my folks. I never read any of the original Tom Swift books (Tom Swift Jr. was around when I was a kid), but we had quite a few Bobbsey Twins books and I read a bunch of Bomba books from the library (back in the days when a library still dared to have Bomba books on the shelves).

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Linda still has her Uncle Wiggily game, dated 1952, and we've played it with the kids when they were young. Great graphics.

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that the Bomba books were written by a different person. I recently read the first four of the original
Tom Swift books and enjoyed them all. My only disappointment was the lack of the "Tom Swifties" that were popular a while back. Many moons ago, as a kid, I read one of the Bobbsey Twins and found it moved along very well.

Jerry House

Bill said...

I'm glad to see from these comments that I'm not the only one who played that Uncle Wiggily game. I hope everyone realizes that having played it pretty much destroys your street cred.

I've heard different things about the Bomba books, but I tend to agree that Garis didn't write them.

Doc Quatermass said...

Wifey and I played the Uncle Wiggily board game as well as Clue and Sorry with our daughter. We still try to fit in some games when she comes home to visit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_R._Garis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Rockwood

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/r#a1625

Bill Crider said...

I have one Uncle Wiggly book, and one Roy Rockwood, something about the Rocket Boys.