Kay Thompson's Eloise in Hollywood

( 2 )

Overview

In 1957 on the set of Funny Face Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight first thought Eloise might go to Hollywood

Now forty-nine years later...

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Overview

In 1957 on the set of Funny Face Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight first thought Eloise might go to Hollywood

Now forty-nine years later she'll finally have her silver screen debut

It's rawther extraordinary really
with apes and biplanes and thrills
and starring of course ELOISE

Here's the thing of it dahlings
Buy your popcorn now
and do find a seat quickly
The show is about to start
And you absolutely
cawn't miss it!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"After [50] years, a rambunctious 6-year-old named Eloise is poised to become an overnight sensation in Hollywood and on the bookshelves."
Daily Variety
From The Critics
Based on an idea tossed around by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight while on the set of Funny Face in 1957 and adhering closely to the original duo's style, this new tale follows Eloise as she heads west to visit her mother's Hollywood Movie Mogul friend. Fans will happily take the Concierge's advice: "Enjoy, Dahlings!" (ages 4 and up)
The November 2006 issue of Child magazine
Publishers Weekly
If your mother is even one-half worth her salt then sooner or later she's bound to make the acquaintance of a famous Hollywood Movie Mogul who will insist you simply must must must drop in for a visit." And that's how Eloise, Nanny, Weenie and Skipperdee land in glittering Hollywood in this rollicking if overlong caper penned by screenwriters Stem and Weiss, who competently mimic the distinctive voice created by Kay Thompson. Choosing the mode of transport favored by "many famous studio types," Eloise and her traveling companions board a train for Los Angeles, where the Mogul's chauffeur gives them a tour of the town's hot spots before delivering them to the pleasingly pink Hollywood Hills Hotel. Not surprisingly, the aspiring young actress manages to steal the show as she eventually (in the book's last third) gets her (brief) moment in the spotlight in a movie starring a "boy genius who solves crimes for the President." Enik's (Love and Kisses, Eloise) flourishes-filled, animated pen-and-ink illustrations feature pink and turquoise watercolor washes, and pay homage to Knight's Eloise art. A bustling, full-color gatefold reveals Eloise joyfully romping through a studio back lot. The text and pictures have a more contemporary feel than those in the original tales, but the creators have mostly kept the essentials intact, and that's rawther good news. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Daily Variety

"After [50] years, a rambunctious 6-year-old named Eloise is poised to become an overnight sensation in Hollywood and on the bookshelves."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689842894
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/24/2006
  • Series: Eloise Series
  • Pages: 70
  • Sales rank: 717,474
  • Age range: 3 months - 8 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kay Thompson (1909-1998) was a singer, dancer, vocal arranger, and coach of many MGM musicals in the 1940s.
The Eloise character grew out of the voice of a precocious six-year-old that Miss Thompson put on to amuse her friends. Collaborating with Hilary Knight on what was an immediate bestseller, Kay Thompson became a literary sensation when Eloise was published in 1955. The book has sold more than 2 million copies to date. Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight created four more Eloise books, Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmas, Eloise in Moscow, and Eloise Takes a Bawth.

Hilary Knight, son of artist-writers Clayton Knight and Katharine Sturges, was educated at the Art Students League, where he studied with Reginald Marsh. Besides the Eloise books, Hilary Knight has illustrated more than fifty books for children, six of which he wrote himself.
He lives and works in New York City, not far from The Plaza Hotel.

Biography

Kay Thompson was already a character before she created one, spur of the moment, in the late '40s. The story varies, but goes something like this: Thompson -- a nightclub performer and composer -- showed up late to a rehearsal for a show she was appearing in. Her coach said, "Who do you think you are, coming here five minutes late?" Thompson put on a voice and responded, "I am Eloise, I am six." It was the beginning of a private joke among Thompson's circle, and the beginning of a children's classic.

Urged to write a book starring Eloise, Thompson began the project in earnest while "holed up at the Plaza" with illustrator Hilary Knight. The 1955 book was, as Life called it in 1957, "rampantly popular," with accompanying merchandise including dolls, children's clothing, and a record of a song coauthored and performed by Thompson ("Who is the little girl who knows everybody's business in New York?/I spend an enormous amount of time in the lobby. I have to see what's going on there./Who's on the telephone most of the day?/I have to call room service a lot and tell them to charge it, please and thank you very much.") The premise was irresistible: A precocious six-year-old living in the Plaza Hotel, making mischief, eventually traveling to Paris and Moscow? What's not to like?

Brimming with confidence, self-importance and a general disregard for rules, Eloise had to have been a refreshing anomaly among female characters in the '50s. Thompson, as headstrong and independent as her heroine, has been called a protofeminist. The cadence of Thompson's text was also unusual. Stringing together fragments and rhymes, Thompson's "Eloisiana" gives the six-year-old a grown-up twist, combining catchphrases such as "Charge it, please" and "For Lord's sake" with made-up words ("skibble," "slomp") and Eloise's appropriation of her nanny's accent and thrice-repeated words ("We've got to get out of this tub tub tub").

After an unfortunate 1956 television adaptation of Eloise, Thompson (who appeared as herself in the Playhouse 90 show) banned any further dramatic interpretations. She also felt that the sequels had done the original book a disservice, and allowed them to go out of print, earning a reputation for being capricious and difficult. When Thompson died in 1998, the character had a revival. Thompson's sister authorized rereleases of the Eloise sequels and a special edition of the original book, which was shepherded by illustrator Knight. In 2002, Simon & Schuster released the final Thompson-Knight collaboration, Eloise Takes a Bawth.

Good To Know

Thompson got into a scrape with Donald Trump when he took over ownership of the Plaza hotel and denied her the free rrom she had enjoyed for years. According to the Eloise web site, this transgression resulted in her refusal to allow Eloise's use for any kind of Plaza marketing.

Despite Thompson's preference, another attempt will be made to bring Eloise to life: ABC has two Eloise movies in the works. Eloise is slated for May 2003, and Eloise at Christmastime follows in December 2003.

Thompson was a vocal arranger and composer who worked on several films in the '40s and '50s, including Weekend at the Waldorf, Ziegfeld Follies, and Funny Face, which she also acted in alongside Audrey Hepburn in 1957.

Thompson coached Judy Garland during her Hollywood days; according to a 1996 article in Vanity Fair, she became a close friend of Garland's who often traveled with her and children Liza and Lorna.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Catherine Louise Fink (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 9, 1909
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1998
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

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