Based on the story of Babar and the travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.
Babar the Elephant is a French children’s fictional character who first appeared in Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff in 1931 and enjoyed immediate success. An English language version, entitled The Story of Babar and introduced by A.A. Milne, appeared in 1933 in Britain and also in the United States. The book is based on a tale that Brunhoff’s wife, Cecile, had invented for their children. It tells of a young elephant called Babar who, upon the death of his mother by a hunter, is chased by the hunter. He escapes, and in the process leaves the jungle, visits a big city, and returns to bring the benefits of civilization to his fellow elephants. Just as he returns to his community of elephants, their king dies from eating a bad mushroom. Because of his travels and civilization, he is immediately appointed king of the elephant kingdom. He marries his cousin, and they then have children and teach them valuable lessons.
Jean de Brunhoff published six more stories before his death in 1937. His son Laurent de Brunhoff, also a writer and illustrator, carried on the series from 1946 onwards with Babar et Le Coquin d’Arthur.
An animated TV series was produced in Canada by Nelvana Limited and Clifford Ross Company, and originally ran from January 3, 1989 to June 5, 1991 with 65 episodes, plus an additional 13 episodes in 2000. The character has also appeared in a number of films, and the Babar stories have inspired musical works by Francis Poulenc and Raphael Mostel.
Frank Luther (August 4, 1899 – November 16, 1980) was an American country music singer, dance band vocalist, playwright, songwriter and pianist.
In 1946, Luther – by now a Decca Records executive, in charge of children’s, educational, and religious recordings – returned to the studios to re-record many of his pre-war albums for children and to make many others, including “The Birthday Party Record” released on Decca in the fall of 1950. He had taken college-level courses in child psychology and was now busy as an educational lecturer, also doing hundreds of personal appearances in schools each year. Recording prolifically, his tenor voice began to mellow. By the early 1950s, he was singing baritone. Some years earlier, Luther and Zora Layman had divorced. He remarried and had two children, a daughter and son, in the late 1940s. He continued to record regularly for Decca through 1954.
Frank Luther continued to record, forming his own label and then working for a variety of educational record companies. He did a series for United Artists Records, some albums of songs adapted from the writings of various children’s authors, and some narrations of children’s books. These included Babar Songs and Stories, an LP of retellings of Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar the Elephant series he recorded for Vocalion Records in the early 1960s. On this album he punctuated his narrations of The Story of Babar, The Travels of Babar, Babar the King, Babar and his Children, Zephir’s Holiday and Babar and Father Christmas with snatches of song at various junctures in the stories.