16 vintage Little Golden Books that were based on TV shows

Both Maverick and Matt Dillon rode alongside the Poky Little Puppy.

In October 1942, Simon & Schuster and Western Publishing launched a new line of childrens books — Little Golden Books. Wrapped in distinctive illustration, these Little Golden Books were printed with no more than four colors, were bound with staples and cost only a quarter. Though they were cheaper than other kid books on the market, their impact on American childhood was more valuable than, well, gold.

In the decades since, billions of Little Golden Books have been sold. The Poky Little Puppy alone, one of the 12 original titles, has moved millions and millions of units. It is the best-selling hardcover children's book of all time in the United States.

But the Little Golden Books brand is about more than characters like the Little Red Hen and Scuffy the Tugboat. Over the years, the line has printed loads of licensed titles, from a handful of Howdy Doody books to stories based on Sesame Street, The Flintstones and more.

Of course, we were interested in some of the more obscure older Little Golden Books based on television shows. Some of them might surprise you. 

So, to celebrate the 75th birthday of Little Golden Books, here are some TV-inspired titles from the past. Did you read any of them?

1. Bozo the Clown


The most iconic of TV clowns dates back to 1949, when Bozo's Circus first aired on a local Los Angeles station. This book dates back to 1971, by which time The Bozo Show was a smash on Chicago's WGN.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

2. Buffalo Bill, Jr.


In the real world, there was no Buffalo Bill, Jr. He was a character created for television. Dick Jones starred in the Western that ran for two seasons in 1955–56. This book hit shelves in 1956.

Image: Collecting Little Golden Books

3. Bullwinkle


Mister Peabody and Rocky may have made the cover, too, but this 1972 title is billed to Bullwinkle alone.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

4. Cheyenne


Unlike the other Western titles seen on this list, Cheyenne featured a photograph of the TV show's star, Clint Walker.

5. Cave Kids


This 1963 Hanna-Barbera title was a spin-off of the Flintstones aimed at wee ones.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

6. Captain Kangaroo


The beloved children's television host landed his first Little Golden Book cover in 1956. Other titles followed, including Captain Kangaroo and the Panda a year later.

Image: meetmeatmikes

7. Donny and Marie: The Top Secret Project


The Mormon siblings were more than pop stars and variety television juggernauts. They also made it into school libraries thanks to this 1977 title.

Image: Amazon

8. Fireball XL5


Thunderbirds (1964–66) remains the most popular "Supermarionation" series made by puppet masters Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. But the British couple first created Fireball XL5, a marionette action show born in 1962. 

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

9. Gunsmoke


Marshal Matt Dillon galloped into his own Little Golden Book in 1958, back when the show was still in black-and-white.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

10. Lassie and Her Day in the Sun


Of course, the world's most famous collie had to have a handful of titles. Benji did, too.

Image: Etsy

11. The Lone Ranger


Who was the lucky kick riding behind the Ranger on Silver? You had to read this 1956 title to find out. You still can, too — it remains in print.

Image: Penguin Random House

12. Maverick


Even young readers loved James Garner's gambling antihero. It hit school libraries in 1959.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

13. Mister Ed the Talking Horse


The 1961 sitcom Mister Ed was based on a character from children's short stories by Walter R. Brooks dating back to 1937. So it was only natural that the chattering equine made it back to kids' books in 1962.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

14. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Henrietta Meets Someone New


Friendly Fred Rogers made the natural transition to 2-D kiddie tales with this 1974 title.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

15. Scooby-Doo and the Pirate Treasure


The Mystery Mobile gang mad popped up in a handful of Golden Books over the decades. This one dates back to the cartoon's golden era, 1974, as you can tell by the retro styling of the characters.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki

16. The Waltons and the Birthday Present


The wholesome Virginia clan were an ideal subject matter for Golden Books in 1975. Why are there holes in the top of that box in Elizabeth's hands? Spoiler alert: bunnies! Along with this title, there was The Waltons: Elizabeth and the Magic Lamp.

Image: Little Golden Books Wiki



Move over, Batman. Here comes Perry Mason. READ MORE

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James9 32 months ago
I had a "Bonanza" one when I was a kid. I loved that thing. I read it over and over until it finally fell apart !
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