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Illustrations and Adaptations of "The Golden Touch": A List in Progress

by Dr. John Idol

Dr. John L. Idol, Jr., Professor emeritus, Clemson University
Dr. John L. Idol, Jr., Professor emeritus, Clemson University (photography by Lou Procopio)

Illustrations appearing in Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1852 and subsequent issues and editions.

Hammat Billings illustrated the first edition. His mistaken depiction of Mercury with King Midas appeared in several subsequent issues by Ticknor and Fields and Houghton, Mifflin.

A handsome volume with four b/w illustrations and a headpiece by F. S. Church was published by Houghton, Mifflin in 1884.

The Salem Edition (1893) of Wonder Book featured a full-page b/w drawing F. S. Church. See entry immediately above.

Walter Crane, influenced by Pre-Raphaelite artists, did a celebrated edition of Wonder Book for Houghton, Mifflin, 1893. Re-issued in a handsome volume by Oxford Press in 1996.

An unidentified artist provided an illustration for The Kelmscott edition of Wonder Book, 1896; the same full-page b/w drawing appeared in the same year in a publication by Thomas Y. Crowell & Company.

An unidentified illustrator provided three b/w drawings for the McLoughlin Brothers' edition of 1908.

H. Granville Fell depicted King Midas turning roses to gold in a vividly colored illustration in the 1910 edition by J. M. Dent & Sons.

A full-page b/w drawing by an unidentified artist appeared in an edition published prior to Christmas 1912, the year in which Laurette received it as a gift. The publisher was A. L. Burt Company.

Milo Winter drew Midas in his counting room in a richly colored scene for the Rand McNally & Company edition in 1913.

Arthur Rackham's three color plates and b/w headpiece are justly celebrated. His work appeared in the 1922 edition issued by Hodder and Stoughton. Reissued in cheaper editions, the latest by Quality Paperback Book Club, 2000.

Among the border decorations supplied by Anne Chuse for the 1928 edition by the J. H. Sears Company is a drawing suggestive of King Midas and Marygold.

Fern Bisel Peat's two b/w drawings appeared in a 1929 edition published by the Saalfield Publishing Company.

Frederick Richardson provided one colored and one b/w drawing for the 1930 publication by The John C. Winston Company.

A headpiece, a tailpiece, two b/w drawings and a colored drawing by S. van Abbé appeared in the J. M. Dent & Sons publication in 1949.

The illustrator is unidentified in a 1950 full-page b/w drawing that serves as the frontispiece in an edition published by Arcadia House. The same illustration, also serving as the frontispiece, appeared in the 1931 edition by Standard Book Company.

Harold Jones provided four b/w drawings and a tailpiece for the 1963 edition of a work entitled The Complete Greek Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Dick Cuffari's full-page b/w depiction of King Midas counting his gold coins appeared in a Grosset & Dunlap edition in 1967.

An unidentified illustrator did two full-page b/w drawings for the 1979 publication by Bobley Publishing Corp. The same drawings appeared in the 1981 edition by Sharon Publications, Inc.

In an undated edition by Macrae Smith Company, Publishers, Edward Shenton did a full-page b/w drawing and Eleanore Plaisted Abbott supplied a full-page colored drawing.

Working in the manner of, Aubrey Beardsley, Willy Pogany, one of the most accomplished illustrators of books for children and adults, did a full-page colored drawing, a full-page b/w drawing as well as a head- and tailpiece for an edition Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales Published by George W. Jacobs & Company. No publication date given.

An unidentified illustrator provided a full-page colored drawing that served as the frontispiece for an edition by DeWolfe, Fiske, & Co, Midas being depicted in anguish over Marygold's transformation into gold.

Illustrated full text of "The Golden Touch"

Combining b/w drawings of various sizes with colored renderings mostly in gold and rusty red, Paul Galdone drew more than 20 illustrations for the 1959 edition by Whittlesey House.

As rendered into Turkish by Z. Gülsoy under the title Altin Yapan Kral, and published by Varlik Yayinevi in 1962, Güngör Kabakcioglu drew five full-page b/w illustrations.

For a series entitled "Night Lights" (glow in the dark books), Richard Salvucci provided eleven full-page colored drawings (which indeed glow in the dark) for the 1987 edition by St. Martin's Press.

Illustrated adapted versions of "The Golden Touch"

Classics Illustrated Junior, No. 534, coupled with Aesop's "Stone Soup." Published first in 1956 and re-issued. Much condensed, adds monkey. Artist(s) unidentified.

Retold by Al Perkins and illustrated with illustrations on each of its 67 pages, some spreading over two adjoining pages, by Harold Berson, the tale was published by Beginner Books, a division of Random House, in 1969.

Retold by Michelle Baron, with lyrics by Michelle and Phil Baron, and illustrations by Russell Hicks, Theresa Mazurek, Douglas McCarthy, Allyn Conley, Lorann Downer, Rivka, Fay Whitemountain, Su-Zan, Lisa Souza, Julie Ann Armstrong, Julie Zakowski, and Pat Ventura, the tale Was published by World of Wonder in 1987. Colored drawings appear on each of its 28 pages, several full-page.

Kathryn Hewitt retold and illustrated King Midas and the Golden Touch In a 1987 publication by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. All illustrations, varying in size, are in color, rendered in watercolor and gouache. On the dedication page, she has Hawthorne looking aghast at a copy of her book.

A Scholastic Inc. publication of 1989 also used the title King Midas and the Golden Touch. Freya Littledale retold the story while Daniel Horne provided 15 colored drawings, most of them full-page.

Under the title King Midas, an abbreviated story was used in an edition meant to give instructions in American Sign Language. Dawn Majewski provided 28 colored drawings, most of them filling 4/5 of a page. Line drawings showing the American Sign Language alphabet and rendering a number of sentences into sign language were done by Sandra Cozzolino. This unusual bit of Hawthorne was published by Kendall Green Publications in 1990.

A much truncated version of the story was offered in The Golden Touch and Other Stories, edited by David Foulds for Oxford University Press in 1992. The cover and two partial pages were done in color by Chou Man Yung.

Charlotte and Kinuko Y. Craft combined talents to create another King Midas and the Golden Touch for the 1999 publication by HarperCollins. Twenty-four richly colored illustrations of varying sizes grace this stunning volume.

Under the Holiday House imprint of 1999, John Warren Stewig and Omar Rayyan recast the story as King Midas. This edition is notable for its touches of realism and humor. Rayyan's 25 colored drawings are a delightful treat. For example, when Midas comes to breakfast, he finds on his table a box of cereal, with the wording for brand name "Plato" and for type of cereal "Poseidon Puffs."

An undated King Midas and the Golden Touch, the story retold by Al Perkins and pictures provided by Haig and Regina Shekerjian, was published under the imprint of Scholastic Inc. Pictures of varying sizes appear on most of its 32 pages.

Embellished adaptations

Walt Disney expanded and greatly modified the tale and then produced an illustrated a book bearing the title The Golden Touch, published by Whitman Publishing Company in 1937. Five full-page color drawings and over 150 b/w drawings, many of them full-page give this version something of the feel of a graphic novel. Marygold had no role. Something of her role is taken by Puss, a cat finally welcomed back to life by a wiser king. A film version preceded the book, with Billy Bletcher doing the voice of King Midas. The film was Disney's last as a director.

Two editions of Lynne Reid Banks' The Adventures of King Midas have appeared, the first illustrated by Joseph A. Smith, the second by Hilda Offen, the first published by Avon Camelot in 1976, the second, in 1993, by Collins. Marygold becomes Delia in this retelling. King Midas encounters a witch, a magician, weird animals and plants, and dangers. Smith drew nine b/w pictures, Offen, a dozen, plus headpieces for all the chapters.

Video versions

New Age Video, Inc, in 1985, produced a film in color, with a running time of 18 minutes, for its series entitled Fairy Tale Classics. An unidentified artist did the illustrations. The background music is Handel's Water Music.

In 1991, Diamond Entertainment Corporation released King Midas, in a nine-minute narration featuring Hans Conreid. The film presented four other favorite tales for children.

Rabbit Ears turned to Michael Caine for narration and to Ellis Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma for music in its The Story of King Midas and the Golden Touch, a thirty-minute variation on the tale. Illustrations were provided by Rodica Prato for this 1991 production. In this retelling, the daughter of Midas is named Zoe.

An online version starring a cast of elementary school kids in a much modified retelling is available at www.livevideo.com. (Search for "Midas and the Golden Touch: A Greek Myth.")

Televised episode

Under the rubric Mythic Warriors, CBS presented an episode of the tale on January 15, 2000.

Dramatic adaptations

King Midas and the Miraculous Golden Touch, by Michele L. Vacca, created a play for eight named characters including Marygold, a wife, Miranda, an accountant, Sir Calvin the Calculating, a prophetess and seer, Sylvia the Sybil, Lester the Jester, Lorelei of the Lea, and a Narrator/Mysterious Stranger. Many unnamed characters round out a large cast of a play written for children and published in 2001. It has many special effects, music, humor, and slapstick. It was published by On Stage of Chicago. It has a running time of over an hour.

Much briefer is Willard Simms' King Midas and the Golden Touch, with a running time of thirty minutes. Only four characters appear: Midas, Nicky, Glenna, and Marian. Published in 2007 by Pioneer Drama Services, Inc., it has special effects meant to dazzle a childish audience, an overflowing bucket trick and a disappearing candle trick.

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