[Dodie Smith, author of 'The Hundred and One Dalamatians'.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Dodie') to 'Popie' (theatre historian W. J. MacQueen-Pope), regarding her contract with Walt Disney, a celebratory dinner in London, the death of her own dalmatians

Dodie Smith [Dorothy Gladys Smith] (1896-1990), children's writer and playwright, author of 'The Hundred and One Dalmatians' (1956) and 'I Capture the Castle' (1948) [W. J. MacQueen-Pope (1888-1960)]
Publication details: 
2 December 1957. On letterhead of The Barretts, Finchingfield, Essex.
SKU: 22939

See the entries for Smith and MacQueen-Pope in the Oxford DNB. Walt Disney had read The Hundred and One Dalmatians earlier in the year in which the present letter was written, and had immediately begun negotiations for the rights, much to Smith's delight, as she had hoped that he would make it into a film. 2pp, 8vo. A long letter, in a close and elegant hand. Writing on behalf of herself and her 'friend' and business manager Alec Macbeth Beesley, and on receipt of his latest book, she begins: 'Dear Popie, | How very, very kind of you to send us Give me Yesterday! Thank you so much. Our house is full of decorators (following our recent acquisition of electric light - and the eviction of many ceiling-blackening lamps) and I've had a terrible cold.' Nevertheless she has enjoyed 'several happy escapes into your book and, though I'm only up to page 60, I feel sure it is one of your very best'. She thinks that the book 'may have an even larger appeal' than MP's theatre books, as 'even more people are interested in yesterday than in the theatre; not, of course, counting the very young, who are mainly interested in the future - none of us, I fear, being quite able to enjoy our present while we've still got it'. With regard to a celebratory dinner at the Ivy restaurant in London a few weeks before, she fears he may have thought her 'slightly dazed [...] It was the first time I had been there - or to any London restaurant - for over 3 1/2 years, and the visit was only made possible because all of our dear dogs are now dead. They all lived to be 14 1/2 and the son, Dandy, left us only this autumn. Much as we miss them, we are, for the present, resisting the temptation to get more dogs, and are forcing ourselves to come up to the theatre occasionally. But the lunch party at the Ivy was due to the fact that Walt Disney has bought The Hundred and One Dalmatians to make into one of his cartoon films (we are told the job will take his animators five yers) and we were meeting members of the Disney organisation to exchange the contracts. We are very happy about the sale but wish we had our dalmatians alive to rejoice with us.' She turns to a play she is 'still struggling with': 'as so often when I am nearing the end of a job, the work's made more difficult because a new idea beckons, saying I'd be so much easier and funnier. Do write me!' There are references to 'Helen Hopkinson of the New Yorker' and 'the R.A.D.A. Matinée tomorrow'. After the latter they will 'drop' their London visits for a while, 'with a certain amount of relief, as we don't seem to enjoy the theatre as we did'. She hopes he may have lunch with them in the following year, but does not 'hold out any hope' that she 'could tackle that musical' (elsewhere he had suggested collaboration). She will get in touch once she has 'cleared the decks here' and they have started coming to London again. She ends with thanks for the book and 'every good wish' for its success.