Clifford the Big Red Dog

photo of a clifford the big red dog mascot
Clifford at a White House Easter Egg Roll.
Have you ever heard of Clifford the Big Red Dog? Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 50 years, chances are pretty high that you have.

Clifford, the famous "Big Red Dog", is the well known and much loved character from dozens of books, as well as a TV series. The dog in the books was not based off of any one breed, but meant to encompass an all-around canine. The book series began in 1963, written by Norman Bridwell and published by Scholastic. Since its beginning, Clifford the Big Red Dog has grown in popularity, and the dog Clifford even became the mascot for the publishing company!

The inspiration for Mr. Bridwell's character of Clifford came from the many years he spent trying to get into illustrating and writing books. One company he went to wasn't interested, but saw two of his drawings and told him there could be a story in it. The drawing were of a horse-sized bloodhound and a small girl. Bridwell went home that night and created the main character for his series. His first idea in naming the dog was "Tiny", but his wife thought that rather a silly name for a big dog (she failed to see the irony, perhaps?) She suggested the name "Clifford", after an imaginary friend she had in her youth. Bridwell liked the name and used it. Clifford's owner and best friend, Emily Elizabeth, is named for the Bridwell's daughter.

Clifford the Big Red Dog comes from normal sized canine parents. He also has two brothers and two sisters. Clifford was born the runt of the litter and adopted by the family of Emily Elizabeth. The story goes that the love from Emily Elizabeth was so great, that Clifford grew to be upwards of 25 feet tall! He is so big that Emily Elizabeth is often pictured riding on his back like a house.

Writer Norman Bridwell says that he created Clifford after his dreams of what he would have liked to have as a childhood pet. He based the personality off of his own dog, and other dogs he saw on TV, in movies, and around town. Clifford is portrayed to do many imaginative things, but Mr. Bridwell has stated that he never planned to make any of the book story-lines to be unbelievable. He would never make Clifford be able to time travel or fly around in space, for instance

The book series was made into an animated TV series in the year 2000. It ran from 2000 to 2003. It was on PBS and the dog was voiced by "Three's Company" actor John Ritter. There were 68 episodes released, and a made for TV movie, over the years. The series was one of many educational series on PBS, and was funded by Scholastic Studios.

Clifford is such a popular dog that he has been made into many holiday decorations, clothing, stuffed animals, toys, and collectibles  In 2003, there was a Clifford mascot at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. He has been a guest at many other public appearances.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a lovable, friendly dog, whose love for his owner (and hers for him) is without measure. The books and TV series have been loved and appreciated for a long time and surely will continue to be in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment