London: , 1987. Item #04152
Santa Being Hijacked
LE CAIN, Errol, illustrator. BRICUSSE, Leslie. An original watercolor painting from "Christmas 1993 or Santa's Last Ride." (Faber, 1987). [Santa being hijacked]. Image size: 16 3/8 x 11 1/2 inches. [Page 22]. "It was as though, in some strange way,/I saw in one extraordinary day/A miniature kaleidoscope/Of human lunacy and hope -/A well-matched pair, like man and wife,/Who stick together all through life./"In Africa, a dreadful drought/Cut all our drinking water out./In Mexico, it was so hot/Three reindeer fainted on the spot./In Russia, were stiff with ice./In Cuba, we were hijacked twice." Matted, framed and glazed.
In 1986 Leslie Bricusse showed David Brass a poem that he had written entitled Christmas 1993 or Santa's Last Ride. It described how difficult Santa’s job of delivering gifts around the world had become in these modern times. David, who had known Leslie for many years, had the idea to create a book from the poem and introduced Errol Le Cain to Leslie Bricusse. The book was published in 1987 - unfortunately Errol Le Cain died just before the publication date. It was his last work.
Errol John Le Cain (5 March 1941 – 3 January 1989) was a British animator and children's book illustrator. He won the 1984 Kate Greenaway Medal for Hiawatha's Childhood (Faber & Faber), recognizing the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject.
Descended from a French-Canadian great-grandfather, Le Cain was born in Singapore but evacuated to Agra, India with his mother and other relations the following year to escape the Japanese invasion. His father was captured and interned in Changi Prison. Returning to Singapore after the war, he attended St.Patrick's Catholic school. With no formal art education, his talent was nevertheless evident from an early age, Le Cain was fascinated by cinema and made his first animated film, The Enchanted Mouse, with a friend's 8-mm camera at age 11. His next work, The Little Goatherd, was created with a 16-mm camera at age 15. This came to the attention of agents for British film distributor Pearl & Dean, who offered to pay his passage to London that year (1956) to pursue a career in animation for film and television.
In 1965, Le Cain joined Richard Williams's animation studio and worked on a wide range of animation projects, including film titles for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Casino Royale, and The Charge of the Light Brigade. His most important work with Richard Williams was for the unfinished (1964 to 1992) animated film The Thief and the Cobbler.
Le Cain turned freelance in 1969, working on sets for BBC television productions, continuing with animation projects, and beginning his career as a children's book illustrator.
Le Cain's first children's illustrations were published by Faber and Faber in a story he'd originally storyboarded for film, King Arthur's Sword (1968), which began a long association with Faber that continued to his death. His first book "made me aware of the scope and possibilities of children's book illustration, and now I am convinced this is the medium for me". Le Cain wrote 3 and illustrated 48 children's books during his lifetime, recognized for their richly decorative watercolours and masterful command of design and colour. His self-authored works were King Arthur's Sword (1968), The Cabbage Princess (1969) and The White Cat (1973). He was commended for the 1969, 1975, and 1978 Greenaway awards before winning the 1984 Medal and was commended again for 1987. The four commended books were The Cabbage Princess; Thorn Rose, or the Sleeping Beauty based on the version related by the Brothers Grimm; The Twelve Dancing Princesses, retold from the Brothers Grimm; and The Enchanter's Daughter by Antonia Barber.
Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021) was an English composer, lyricist, and playwright, most prominently working in musicals and also film theme songs. Bricusse was educated at University College School in London and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge University, he was Secretary of Footlights between 1952 and 1953 and Footlights President during the following year.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Bricusse enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Anthony Newley. They wrote the musical Stop the World - I Want to Get Off (1961) which was successful in London and on Broadway, and was made into a film version in 1966. Also in collaboration with Newley, Bricusse wrote The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd (1965) and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), based on the children's book by Roald Dahl, and for which they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song Score.
Working solely as a lyricist, he collaborated with composer Cyril Ornadel on Pickwick (1963), based on Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, a successful vehicle for Harry Secombe. Later collaborators included Henry Mancini (Victor Victoria in 1982) and John Williams (Hook in 1991). As composer and lyricist he scored the successful film Doctor Dolittle (1967), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Talk to the Animals"), and the less-successful Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969).