Curious George is having a big year.
The mischievous monkey who has been capturing audiences for decades will celebrate his 75th birthday this year. And the extraordinary husband-and-wife team that brought him to life are also getting their due.
A new documentary project that successfully raised more than $180,000 on Kickstarter will bring the incredible story of George’s creators to a screen near you.
Audiences will learn in “Monkey Business: The Curious Adventures of George’s Creators” how H.A. and Margret fled Nazis encroaching on 1940s Paris with their manuscript in tow. At that point, the monkey was named Fifi and starred in The Adventures of Fifi. But he was given a new name when they signed with publishing house Houghton Mifflin after arriving in New York City.
Curious George, the first of seven original books that the Reys wrote, was published in 1941. Devoted fans can order themselves a 75th-anniversary edition reprint of the original.
While the original Curious George story has its problems ― the Man with the Yellow Hat took George from his home “in Africa” just because he was “a nice little monkey” ― the series has modernized while still enduring decades-long admiration from child and adult fans alike.
Margret let Houghton Mifflin take control of the brand after her husband died in 1977, according to NPR. It expanded into a global phenomenon, with more than 75 million books sold in more than 16 languages, a TV show, three movies and a video game.
Now that’s something to celebrate. Good thing there’s no shortage of Curious George birthday party gear.