Culture The Wolery

Mr. Owl

Image for Mr. Owl

One in a series of posts dedicated to pop-culture depictions of owls — as stand-ins for educated, highbrow humans — from 1924–1983. The series derives its title from Owl’s home in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Mr. Owl is the owl music teacher in David Corwin and Richard Scarry’s The Chipmunks’ Merry Christmas, a 1959 Little Golden Book — one of the first Alvin and the Chipmunks books.

Like several of his pop-culture predecessors, Mr. Owl is a strict taskmaster dressed in a rather old-fashioned suit, complete with waistcoat. Although Richard Scarry depicts him (above) as a smiling and friendly soul, Mr. Owl does not hesitate to shout at Alvin within seconds of the lesson’s kickoff.

The music-teacher owl had, by this point — note that 1959, in my periodization schema, is the apex of the cultural era known as the Fifties — solidified into a meme. See this series’ previous installments Professor Owl and Fritz Owl.

Tags: Owls