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Goodnight moon, hello sweet sweet money

August 19th, 2008 by Conor Lastowka · 10 Comments

goodnight moon

We’ve all read Goodnight Moon, or at least had it read to us.  It turns out that contrary to popular belief, the Old Lady Whispering ‘Hush’, is not the most intriguing character in the Goodnight Moon saga.  This interesting Wall Street Journal article by Joshua Prager (his book about Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World was excellent), introduces us to Albert Clarke, who was willed the royalties to Goodnight Moon by the author when he was nine years old.

Artists rendition, aka, my mental picture, of Mr. Clarke

As you may guess, this eventually turns into a huge annual sum of money, $572,370 in 1999.  And Mr. Clarke handles it about as well as your average lottery winner:

Arrests followed for grand larceny, menacing, resisting arrest, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal trespass, assault. According to police records, he usually got off with fines, though he once served six months in Westchester County Penitentiary for disorderly conduct after a fight in a parking lot. (The sentence was extended for getting into another fight while in jail.)

“I won most of those fights,” he says. “I’ve broken people’s noses, knocked their teeth out.”

The Goodnight Moon heir is of course now bankrupt, but the changes to copyright law over the past decade have ensured that he or his kids will be reaping the fortunes for at least the next 40 years. Goodnight bowl of mush indeed!

Tags: Books · RiffTrax

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Derek Martz on Aug 19, 2008 at 10:48 am

    More like “Goodnight Moonshine”! Amirite!?! UP HIGH!

  • 2 justhesh on Aug 19, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Geez, what is your guys’ obsession with the McConaugheys? First you put up a picture of Matthew, but now his brother, Rooster!

  • 3 Neb on Aug 19, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Good night, Irene…

  • 4 RemmieBarrow on Aug 19, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I never figured that a children’s book author could have such a soap opera like life.

  • 5 Ra-chan on Aug 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    You know, if it had been a normal person who got the rights to the book, this never would have been in the news! This person is doing a service to our society by making our news-reading experience more exciting.

  • 6 Libby on Aug 19, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Aww, that made me sad. :(

  • 7 Charlie W on Aug 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm


  • 8 Rob T Firefly on Aug 20, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Good job encouraging the artistic vitality of that dead lady, Sonny Bono!

  • 9 MSTJedi on Aug 20, 2008 at 8:08 am

    At the risk of being seriously crass, this guy would do the memory of the author a favor by pulling a Sonny Bono.

  • 10 Suzanne on Aug 21, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I have started a new Facebook group on this very subject.