Here’s what a commenter named Maryellen posted on my Curious George story:
I unexpectedly met Mrs. Rey on the shuttle going from LaGuardia to Boston. She came in in a wheel chair and sat next to me in the first row. She told me all about writing the curious George stories, how she and her husband (by then deceased) had starting writing the stories in Paris, how she now lives in Cambridge Mass and went to New York to go to Saks where she was invited to attend the promotion of her Curious George dolls.
When the plane landed in Boston she got up to disembark as I did. I asked about the wheel chair and why she didn’t need it now. She said, oh I always get the wheel chair when I board so I get a good seat, but don’t bother when I land. I thought that that was so much like something curious George would do, but those who do need wheel chairs have been quite shocked and appalled that she pulled a stunt like that when I tell them the story! I will never forget that wonderful eccentric woman!
How excellent is that? As I said in Tablet, I at first thought such mischief sounded very George-like…except that it doesn’t. George wasn’t calculating or selfish. But that is the kind of plotting and strategizing that comes in handy when you need to escape Nazis, flee across continents and make a new life in a new country. And it fits with the show’s portrait of the Reys making business deals even on the run. Sounds like Margret was still working the hustle right up til the end.
One of the title cards in the show says something about how the Reys saw Margret as George and H.A. as the man in the yellow hat. I’m reminded of the wonderful Mike Leigh movie Happy-Go-Lucky, which argues that happiness is a choice, a willful act, a brave and sometimes reckless philosophy that can drive other people apeshit. I think the Reys and their simian creation embody that choice.