Saturday, April 7, 2018

G: Gremlins

I know gremlins are not obscure. Most of us have heard of the mischievous little fellas, the movie of the same name (1984), and even the AMC car produced in the 1970s. (One of my elementary school teachers drove a Gremlin, and I thought it was the most awesome car I had ever seen. Hey, it was the '70s, people.)

Image result for gremlin car

I always assumed that the gremlins of legend had a long and storied past, similar to brownies, sprites, and leprechauns. But the gremlin origin story dates back only to the 1920s, when Royal Air Force pilots invented the concept to assign responsibility for otherwise inexplicable aircraft malfunctions. (The term gremlin is thought to be a portmanteau of Grimm's Fairy Tales and Fremlin Beer.) Some returning airmen even swore that they had seen tiny creatures sabotaging their equipment. Historian Marlin Bressi suggested that gremlins boosted morale by providing a means for deflecting blame. Move over, scapegoat, here comes the scapegremlin!

Image result for gremlin war poster 

Well before he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, author Roald Dahl is credited with introducing gremlins into popular culture. He had served in the RAF and survived a crash landing in the Middle East (Caused by gremlins, perhaps? The world may never know.). In his first children's novel, The Gremlins, the title characters were little men who lived in clouds and hangars and ate...postage stamps...?

And who can forget the 1963 Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", starring William Shatner and a gremlin who wears only slightly more eyeliner?

Related image

Here's hoping you stay safe from the gremlins today, my friends! 


  1. I have a category on my blog site for Wow Notes - those things, big and little, that just have you saying "Wow!" This one qualifies. Love the history of gremlins, and the great images.
    Have a good day off tomorrow, Jenny. I'm looking forward to reading you again on Monday.

  2. The best is the car. Now even the VW Bug/Beetle is gone. Sigh.

  3. I love Gremlin cars, and the old Beetles mentioned above! I'm not a car person, but I do like odd-looking cars.

    I haven't read the Gremlins, but I love Roald Dahl so I'll have to get my hands on it!

    1. I'm not much of a car person, either. I prefer books :-)

  4. Cool Blog! Good Luck with the A-Z Challenge! Zulu Delta

  5. I had no idea gremlins had such a history!From cars to beer. Entertaining and informative!

    My Friend Rosey - G is for Grannie

  6. Gremlins brings to mind the movie.
    (My latest blog post: