Throwback Thursday: Clifford Turns 50

Clifford the dog turns 50
Courtesy of Scholastic

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since Emily Elizabeth took a shine to the tiniest, reddest puppy in the litter, loving him so much that he grew to be more than two stories tall. In honor of everyone’s favorite former runt, Scholastic Media is throwing a yearlong birthday bash for Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Way back in 1963, author Norman Bridwell wasn’t sure his career would amount to much of anything. Aspiring to be an illustrator of children’s books, nearly every publisher he approached with his drawings was uninterested, until one executive suggested Bridwell write and illustrate his own book. She’d been taken in by one particular drawing of his, depicting a little girl with a huge, red dog. Suggesting there might be a story behind the image, Bridwell was sent on his way, and that weekend he produced the series’ seminal volume, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Some 90 books, a television series, movie, live musical and video game later, Clifford is more than a household name — he’s a beloved teacher of social values and a reminder that even the smallest among us can grow into a BIG success.

Scholastic has taken into account Clifford’s appeal both to children and the nostalgic adults among us, and has planned its celebratory promotions accordingly.

For kids, the publishing house is rolling out several new Clifford titles and promoting “Clifford’s BIG Birthday Sweepstakes,” where winners get the chance to hold a party in their own hometown or classroom. There’s also fun to be had online — kids can build Clifford a special birthday card or download the new BIG Birthday App and help Emily Elizabeth plan a party in Clifford’s doghouse.

Older fans wanting to showcase their Clifford love can turn to three new Facebook apps set to launch this November, December and January, where you can build Clifford a birthday cake, play the online party game or design an original T-shirt with “Clifford’s BIG Red Shirt Builder.”

Find some inspiration from the Clifford clip below!


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!