Jimmy Stewart recorded four different Winnie the Pooh stories for RCA Victor – Kanga and Baby Roo, Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh and the Heffalump and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Through the years, these have been released in several formats – Upside-Down books, singles and albums. We will look at each of these in separate blogs, beginning with the Upside-Down books.
The concept behind this series was simple. Each set included two fully illustrated stories. As the record played a story, the child could follow along in the book. When one story was finished, the book was simply turned upside-down and there was a different storybook to follow as the second record was played. This book/record was released in formats 78 rpm and 45 rpm formats.
This series was first previewed in Billboard magazine on July 14, 1951.
There were two releases in this format and both were issued in 78 RPM and 45 RPM editions. The first was Winnie the Pooh and the Heffalump/Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (RCA Victor Little Nipper Series). The 78 RPM release number was Y 438, while the 45 RPM’s was WY 438.
Since there will be three separate blog entries for Stewart’s Winnie the Pooh material, only one of the stories from this and one from the following release will be used here, saving the other two stories for the two blogs to come. Both stories in this blog will have cues for turning the page and turning the book upside down, just like the original releases. So, here’s Winnie the Pooh and the Heffalump. The pages of the book have also been included so that you can follow along just as a child would have done.
The last few lines at the bottom of this page are upside down because they mark the end of the other story, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger which, of course, is upside down.
This set was issued on black vinyl with a yellow label and yellow vinyl with a blue label:
This set entered the Billboard Best Selling Children’s Records chart on March 15, 1952, with both the 78 RPM and 45 RPM sets listed together. In their first week on the chart, they were at position #14. The sets remained on the chart for 10 non-consecutive weeks and reached their highest position of #6 on May 17, 1952.
This set was also issued on black vinyl with a yellow label:
Here’s the audio for Kanga and Baby Roo and also the book pages so that you can follow along.
You’ll notice that the 45 RPM records were pressed on yellow vinyl.
Once again, the first page of the book carried the same credits, but with different drawings:
RCA also supplied record stores with special divider cards for the record bins containing these records. There was a different card for each set.
High-Fidelity magazine, in its November-December, 1952 issue, reviewed the sets this way.
RCA was very high on the sales possibilities of the Stewart recordings. According to the following article (Kingsport News, Kingsport, KY, February 27, 1953), they though the records would still be selling in 25 years. Interestingly enough, an album of this material was re-issued by RCA in 1976, 23 years after this article first appeared.