The memoirs of a Cracker Jack Toy Designer C. Carey Cloud
Cloud Nine: The Dreamer and the Realist
by C. Carey Cloud
Publisher: Cloudcrest (June 1983)
Carey Cloud worked on numerous pop-up books with Blue Ribbon Press. From his autobiography Cloud Nine
I designed a novelty for children, and my search for a market for the item led to Sam and Ira Gold, who represented the Blue Ribbon Book Publishers in New York. They didn't care much for my concept, but they were looking for novel juvenile book ideas. We eventually devised the pop-up book: the leverage created on opening the book pulled up an action picture in the center spread.
I later obtained two patents on the idea. The Golds took my first sketch to Blue Ribbon Publishers. They were elated over the idea and wanted several books. This is when I started to smoke better cigars.
Sixteen-hour workdays were required to produce a book on schedule. When one book was completed, another assignment was waiting. I made seventeen books in twelve months. We made pop-up books out of all the Mother Goose characters. Then we made some using famous comic strip characters.
Ira Gold remarked one day: "We have action, now if only we could get sound." My next book was "Terry and the Pirates." I created a popup showing Terry rising from behind a rock, aiming a pistol at the reader. Then I went to a novelty store in the Palmer House and purchased a book of fake matches. A cap exploded when the matchbook was opened. I removed the matches and glued the matchbook in position under Terry. When the book was opened and Terry popped up with pistol in hand, the hidden matchbook went "BANG!"
I presented the book to Ira. He opened it. His reaction was unexpected-he almost fell from his chair, his composure destroyed. Ira's response indicated he was not pleased with the idea. I remarked, "You said 'get action' and I gave you action." Slightly mollified, Ira growled, "Yes, but not that kind of action." I didn't dare let him know it was only a joke.