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Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:51 am


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the fictional creature. For other uses of the name, see Gremlin (disambiguation).
A gremlin is a mythological mischievous creature. Gremlins are depicted as mechanically oriented and extremely devious. The word "gremlin" comes from Old English grëmian, meaning, "to vex" or, "to anger", from grim, "severe" (further information about grim found in a dictionary containing the full etymology), and is related to German grämen, "to grieve".
The concept of the Gremlins as responsible for sabotaging aircraft is said to have originated in a tale told among men of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom serving in the Middle East during World War II. The story attempted to explain the accidents which often occurred during their flights.[edit]

The gremlin in popular culture

The lore of the gremlin was reportedly told to Roald Dahl by colleagues of his in the 80th squadron of the Royal Air Force during his own service in the Middle East. Dahl had his own experience in an accidental crash-landing in the Libyan Desert. He was believed to have recovered and briefly resumed serving in Greece and Syria but his frequent headaches soon caused him to be relieved of active duty. In January, 1942 he was transferred to Washington, DC as Assistant Air Attache. There he eventually authored his novel The Gremlins. He showed the finished manuscript to Sidney Bernstein, the head of the British Information Service. Sidney reportedly came up with the idea to send it to Walt Disney.
The manuscript arrived in Disney's hands in July, 1942 and he considered using it as material for a film. The film project never materialised but Disney managed to have the story published in the December, 1942 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. About half a year later a revised version of the story was published in a picture book published by Random House. Thanks mainly to Disney, the story had its share of publicity which helped in introducing the concept to a wider audience. Issues #33-#41 of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories published between June, 1943 and February, 1944 contained a nine-episode series of short silent stories featuring a Gremlin Gus as their star. The first was drawn by Vivie Risto and the rest of them by Walt Kelly. This served as their introduction to the comic book audience.
Falling Hare (1943), in which Bugs Bunny is tormented by a gremlin

It was at this point Robert Clampett created his 1943 Bugs Bunny film, Falling Hare. With Disney's film never materialising, this short had the significance of being the first to introduce the concept of the Gremlin to cinema audiences.
Bugs is featured as relaxing at an air field, reading the book Victory Through Hare Power, while no one else seems to be there. Bugs is amused when his book mentions a creature of World War II folklore, the Gremlin as responsible for "diabolical sabotage" in aircrafts, spreading havoc. But then Bugs hears noises indicating activity at a near-by bomber plane. When he investigates, he discovers a Gremlin working at sabotaging the airplane. Before he knows it Bugs ends up piloting the plane while the Gremlin continues his work at destroying it.
A 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", featured gremlins in this "aviation monster" sense, as William Shatner was a passenger watching helplessly as the creature attacked the plane. This episode was remade as a segment of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie, in which John Lithgow played the passenger watching in terror as the gremlin ripped apart one of the passenger jet's engines in mid-flight. The 1995 "Treehouse of Horror IV" episode of The Simpsons included a segment titled "Terror at 5½ Feet", an obvious parody of the Twilight Zone episode. In the segment, Bart Simpson played Shatner's role, watching as a gremlin tore apart his school bus.
A movie called Gremlins, directed by Joe Dante, was released in 1984, followed by the sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch in 1990. The gremlins in these movies had nothing obvious to do with aircraft in particular, although they were portrayed as adept at subverting or sabotaging mechanical systems, especially in the second movie which took place in a high-tech office tower. Also, a reference to the earlier mythologies was mentioned in the first film.
In the early 1970s, the American Motor Company (AMC, which was purchased by Dodge/Chrysler in the 1980s) produced a compact hatchback called the Gremlin.


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