Saturday, 25 January 2014

PBOTD: 25th January, Lois Castellain: Adolphus the TV Horse

Adolphus is one of those creations you look at and wonder how you missed. He seems such an ebullient creature, it's difficult to believe how completely he and his friends have faded from view.

Adolphus, Constable, 1964
Adolphus the Clydesdale was created by author and illustrator Lois Castellain, and first appeared as a sort of cross between cartoon and short story in Riding Magazine. Riding had a Young Rider's section, which included a short story, two pages of letters from young readers, and, from September, 1939, Adolphus and his friend Dodie, the Shetland. They were there to do a job: Adolphus was a walking anatomy lesson. He was so bony that it was easy to see his points. His sidekick was a much better covered equine: a Shetland called Dodie.

Adolphus in Riding Magazine, September 1939
The books are not particularly easy to find. The first book, Adolphus, was published in 1939, presumably to tie in with their introduction in Riding. The second, Adolphus the TV Horse, was published nearly 30 years later, when times had changed, and the farm horse was a rare beast. Adolphus has been made redundant, and is not happy. He runs away and finds a brief spell of fame on a tv show until he finds he is needed, after all, on the farm.

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