Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, Illustrated by Barney Tobey

July 25, 2017
August 30, 2017

Barney Tobey’s whimsical illustrations bring to life Ian Fleming’s fantastic 1968 tale Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The Magical Car, which Al Perkins adapted for beginning readers. Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one children’s book—and it's a classic! See more than two dozen watercolor illustrations and cartoons by Tobey on view at the Museum.

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” the sound the car makes on ignition, is the name of the flying, floating, self-driving automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. Filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry, this jaunty story for the whole family is more relevant than ever as self-driving cars begin to emerge in our modern era.

In this fun exhibition, Tobey’s never-before-seen preparatory watercolor illustrations are paired with the book’s colored page proofs. Endpaper and cover designs demonstrate how a book is constructed. The book was published the same year as the popular film adaptation starring Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes, featuring the Academy Award-nominated theme song, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

About the artist
A native New Yorker, Barney Tobey (1906–1989) was a prolific cartoonist and illustrator. During his lifetime, Tobey designed four covers and more than 1,200 cartoons published in the New Yorker alone. His works also appeared in Collier’s, the SaturdayEvening Post, and Variety, among other publications.

Creative: Tronvig Group