Are the books still under copyright?
Yes, under US law the books – and in this case, the accompanying illustrations, which were done as work-for-hire – are protected for 95 years from when they were first created. It’s worth noting that copyright laws change (often driven by Disney protecting Mickey Mouse, who’s getting long in the tooth again).
The first Freddy book was originally called To and Again (published in 1927), using art by Adolfo Best-Maugard. That version, we believe, will go into the public domain in 2022. However the book was retitled as Freddy Goes to Florida and reissued with the more familiar art by Kurt Wiese in 1949, so the version most people are familiar with may be protected until 2044.
The second book was originally More To and Again (published in 1930), and it was also later retitled (as Freddy Goes to the North Pole) but because only the title was changed there was no new copyright. Therefore we believe it goes into the public domain in 2025.
With a minor variation or two, the rest of the books seem poised to enter public domain status in chronological order of their original publication dates – between 2027 (Freddy the Detective) and 2053 (Freddy and the Dragon).
Why has there never been an animated version of Freddy?
The performance and merchandising rights are administered separately and the owners have chosen not to put them to use. Of course, hope springs eternal and licensing agreements can change hands.
For a fascinating look at one effort to animate our friends from Centerboro and environs, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJKUDyNFzOg&t=6s
Does the world know about Our Pig?
Yes! Various Freddy titles have been published in other countries – including China, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and Vietnam – and translated appropriately. (It can be great fun to plug parts of foreign versions into Google translate to see what they look like re-translated into English. The title of one Polish version becomes “Piglet Frederick: The Great War of Pot,” for instance.)
You can see some foreign edition covers at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc4wEP93_AI
In addition to these countries, translation/publication rights have also been licensed at one point or another to publishing houses in the Czech Republic, Estonia, South Korea and Russia.
What’s more, Freddy books have been donated to or reliably spotted in more than 100 countries, as part of a Friends of Freddy effort to share Our Pig with the world.
There are plenty of “clues” in the books, although some contradict each other. It’s safe to say the town is in central New York State, somewhere near Syracuse – and, of course, it’s firmly lodged in the minds and hearts of Freddy fans.
Is there a biography of Walter R. Brooks, who created Freddy (and Mister Ed)?
Michael Cart is our resident Brooks expert, and his Talking Animals and Others: The Life and Works of Walter R. Brooks is a delightful and definitive read. It was published in 2009 by The Overlook Press (the same house that brought the Freddy books back into print) and it’s available online.
If I’m part of the Friends of Freddy Facebook group, am I a member of the club?
Er, not quite. While we’re glad to have you as part of our Facebook group, we encourage you to go our Join the Friends of Freddy page and become an actual member. (You can also go to the Friends of Freddy tab and select “Join the Club!”)
Dues are very modest, based on how you choose to receive our quarterly newsletter. Your membership also means you can attend our annual conventions and other events and helps support our efforts to preserve and perpetuate the books about our friends at the Bean Farm.
How can I make a donation to Friends of Freddy?
You can send a check to Friends of Freddy, PO Box 912, Greenbelt, MD 20767-0912, or designate an amount using Paypal. For US residents, your donation is tax-deductible and we will provide you with appropriate documentation. Please note that no strings can be attached to donations. Thanks for helping us with our mission to promote and preserve Freddy the Pig!
When was the First Animal Republic founded?
On page 48 of Freddy and the Ignormus, Charles the rooster (it’s always Charles, isn’t it?) pontificates: “Fellow citizens, we are gathered together here under the glorious banner of the F.A.R.; a banner, as you know, whose bright stripes and shining stars were flung to the breeze on that historic May 3…” and so on, and on, and on…
What the heck is a “phaeton?”
A phaeton is an open carriage, pulled by a horse or two – a transportation method that was not uncommon in rural areas when many of the Freddy books were written.
Interestingly, the name was used by Volkswagen for a luxury car in 2004 (starting price, then: $65,000+). The carmaker misread its market badly and US sales were miserable. Global production was discontinued in 2016.
What’s the plural of Freddy?
Definitively, it’s “Freddys.” On page 136 of Freddy Plays Football, Walter R. Brooks himself wrote this: “Yeah,” said Weedly. “Two Freddys would be pretty hard to take…”.