Why Dr. Seuss Liked Drawing Dirty Pictures

By Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In 1960, editors at Random House told The New Yorker that the demographic for the works of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, was children aged 5 to 9 years old. Books like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat have become perennial sellers, with the writer-illustrator as closely identified with childhood entertainment as Mister Rogers.

But Dr. Seuss had a mischievous side, one that was in sharp contrast to the kid-friendly material that kept him at the top of the bestseller lists for decades. Largely unseen by the public, it was directed at his editorial supervisors at Random House. When Geisel submitted the manuscript for Dr. Seuss’s ABC, an alphabet primer published in 1963, editor Michael Firth was surprised to see the letter “X” accompanied by a naked woman with the following copy:

“Big X, little x. X, X, X. / Someday, kiddies, you will learn about SEX.”

Geisel knew the page would never see the light of day: His habit of including lurid material stemmed from wanting to make sure his editors were paying attention to his work. (He may also have been trying to avoid the monotony that comes with all-ages prose.) Speaking of his work process, Geisel once said that his first drafts were full of “swear words and dirty words and everything else … then I go back and clean it up, have a little fun with it.”

The book cover for 'The Seven Lady Godivas' by Dr. Seuss
Random House

Whether there was ever an X-rated draft of Green Eggs and Ham has apparently been lost to history. The only mature-audience title Geisel published was 1939's The Seven Lady Godivas, which was created with an ambition to “draw the sexiest women I could.” (The nudist Godivas appear naked throughout the book.) It sold poorly, however, moving just 2500 copies during its initial release. For Seuss fans, it was better for both the author and his brand that he keep his more salacious urges to himself.

Show Off Your Love of Art With a Frida Kahlo Action Figure

Frida Kahlo Action Figure
Frida Kahlo Action Figure
Today is Art Day

If you're in the market for an action figure based on a real person, you've got plenty to choose from: Everyone from Snoop Dogg to the Pope is getting their own figurine these days. Now, Frida Kahlo has joined the ranks of icons who have become immortalized in plastic.

In 2017, Canadian art website Today Is Art Day (known for its Vincent van Gogh action figure) started a Kickstarter to give Kahlo the action figure treatment. The toy features the artist with a monkey pal on her shoulder, as well as a detachable heart and the faint smell of roses. The packaging has fun facts about the artist, along with some miniature artwork that can be cut out and affixed to a miniature easel.

“Not that I don’t like the great books and reproductions of artworks but, I think it’s more engaging to have a Frida Kahlo action figure on your desk rather than an art history book on your shelf," ‘Today Is Art Day’ founder David Beaulieu told Lost at E Minor during the Kickstarter campaign.

The Frida action figure is available on Amazon for $30.

Frida Kahlo Action Figure

Frida Kahlo Action Figure

[h/t Lost at E Minor]

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

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Rare Audio Clip of Frida Kahlo Discovered in Mexican Sound Library

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Even if they're not experts in art, many people are familiar with Frida Kahlo's most famous paintings. The Mexican artist's style, quotes, and artwork are still iconic 65 years after her death, but few people know what she sounded like. As CNN reports, the National Sound Library of Mexico recently announced the discovery of what could be the only surviving recording of her voice.

The clip comes from the 1955 pilot of the radio show El Bachiller. The episode profiles Diego Rivera, a muralist and Kahlo's on-again-off-again husband. In one section, Kahlo can be heard reciting a text entitled "Portrait of Diego" that poetically describes the appearance and temperament of her spouse.

Kahlo had already died when the episode aired, and the radio show notes that the voice being broadcast belongs to a painter "who no longer exists." The original recording of her voice likely dates back to 1954 or 1953 (she died in July 1954).

In a press release, the director of the National Sound Library of Mexico Pável Granados said that audio of Frida Kahlo is one of the most common requests they receive. The authenticity of the tape has yet to be confirmed, and authorities are currently investigating to see if the voice in the recording really belonged to the artist.

Surviving audio of Kahlo may be rare, but the painter left behind many artworks and writings that paint a rich picture of her life. Here are some facts about the icon.

[h/t CNN]

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