Noddy and the Wrongly Convicted

The Noddy books, created by Enid Blyton, follow the adventures of Noddy, a kind-hearted character living in Toyland. Noddy learns valuable lessons about friendship, honesty, and kindness in a whimsical world inhabited by various toy characters like Big Ears the Brownie, Mr. Plod the Policeman, Tessie Bear, and the mischievous goblins Sly and Gobbo. These stories emphasize good behaviour, problem-solving, and the joys of friendship, appealing to children’s imaginations. Adapted into TV shows and movies, these tales continue to captivate new generations.


Growing up with Noddy’s books from the age of 7, I noticed parallels between the second Noddy book, “Hurrah for Little Noddy,” and the life of Rubin Carter, a, African-American boxer known as Hurricane for his fighting style. Carter faced injustice when he was wrongly accused of a triple murder and imprisoned. His convictions in 1967 and 1976 respectively were overturned in 1985 due to racism and withheld evidence. Post-release, Carter helped others wrongly accused, mirroring themes in Noddy’s second book, highlighting the notion of injustice.


  1. Humble Beginnings – Carter was born in New Jersey where his infamous story took place but had a troubled life before his career as a boxer. He had a criminal record even during his career and was in and out of prison several times which contributed to him being accused of the triple murders later on. Noddy did not originate in Toyland but was taken there by his close friend Big Ears when he first met him shortly after he was created but ran away when his carver started creating a lion which Noddy is afraid of.Carter, while in and out of prison, briefly enlisted in the army before being court martialled although it was there that he developed an interest in boxing which he took up as a career. Noddy did not have a job until the end of the second book and was doing his best to find one. He worked briefly as a chimney sweep and car cleaner which were his only two part-time jobs before he found himself in his troubled situation. During that time, he was settling down in Toyland by setting up his house with furniture and toiletries and was even helped by his neighbours, the Tubby Bears whom he shared a warm equation with. Carter always had trouble from the law not just because of his criminal record but also due to being outspoken during the civil rights tension in the United States at the time. However, Noddy was only known for making small mistakes such as in his debut book where he accidently let out the animals of Noah’s Ark although he ended up saving a little doll from the Ark’s lion before returning her to her mother while the lion fled to the ark. When he went to court to be decided upon as to whether or not he could reside in Toyland, he admitted to releasing the animals by accident but was saved thanks to the testimony of the doll’s mother and was allowed to reside in Toyland.

  2. The wrong place at the wrong time during the crime – Both the crimes for which Noddy and Carter were wrongly accused of occurred at night although while the triple murder for which Carter was accused of occurred at 2:30 am, it is not known what time the theft of the cars by the goblins took place.The crime Carter was convicted of unfairly was murder while Noddy was unfairly imprisoned for stealing cars. Also, Noddy was by himself while Carter was accompanied by a friend and fan of his named John Artis who also received the same sentence as Carter but was lighter.Police were not present to investigate after the car theft by the goblins and thus did not stop Noddy while Carter and Artis were stopped two times by the police investigating the bar’s murders after they happened.Noddy’s last job was as a car cleaner although one night he accidently left his hat at the garage he worked at which was owned by a man called Mr Sparks and that night he walked to the garage to find his hat. Carter similarly, on the night of the crime was searching for lost army guns. They were ultimately found in his car and were similar to the real killers’ weapons although fingerprints were not taken at the crime scene. In Noddy’s case, his accusation was immediate because his hat was found the day after the theft by Mr Sparks and everyone believed he had stolen their cars.Carter had his own car during the crime while Noddy was forced to use an old car to try to get after the goblins to stop them, only to be unsuccessful when the car crashed and he was found by Big Ears who took him into his house for the night since Noddy had nowhere to go at present due to it being so late. Carter went home after he and Artis were taken before one of the dying victims by the police who asked the dying man if Carter and Artis were those who had shot him. The wounded man shook his head, implying that he was not sure. Carter’s car was by happenstance appeared to be similar to that of the killers which is another reason he was stopped a few times by the police.

  3. Investigations – Based on the testimony of two thieves Arthur Dexter Bradley and moreover his friend and accomplice Alfred Bello who were robbing a shop near the scene of the murder, police arrested Carter and Artis even though earlier they were not thought to be suspects and a grand jury made no indictments against them. A year after the murders, both were sent to prison when they were found guilty. Carter showed defiance by refusing prison clothing or food to proclaim his innocence and while many believed in his innocence thanks to his autobiography, one who certainly knew he was innocent was a public investigator named Fred Hogan. Regarding Noddy however, there were no witnesses who saw either him or the theft by the goblins during that night. Noddy told his story to Big Ears the same way although apart from evidently not using a self-written autobiography to proclaim his innocence, up to that point, the only person who knew that Noddy had nothing to do with what he would later be accused of was Big-Ears who was a good person. However, Big-Ears was not a witness to the theft itself and when in prison, Noddy defied no rules anymore than having written a book to proclaim his innocence. Another person who was a witness to the murder was a nearby neighbour Patricia Valentine who unfortunately still believes to this day that Carter is guilty.Vincent DeSimone was the lead detective into the murders that Carter and Artis had been accused of in the similar manner that Mr Plod was investigating the car theft although Mr Plod was a policeman rather than a detective. DeSimone and Carter had never actually met before the murders.
    Hogan during his investigation was joined by Selwyn Raab of the New York times. After reading the trial transcripts, Raab went to visit DeSimone to tell him that he was interested in writing about the case but believing that Raab did not agree with Carter’s imprisonment, DeSimone indirectly threatened him which caused Raab to leave immediately. Big-Ears also investigated by watching the goblin village from far where he would learn that indeed the goblins had stolen the cars before the two headed off to inform the police as well as Mr Sparks.

  4. Capture – Following his arrest, Carter and Artis were put on trial at court where after the defence did their best to counter that Carter and Artis had nothing to do with the murders, the prosecution successfully penetrated that notion upon which a jury of all-white people found Carter and Artis guilty of the murders although they chose not to give them the death sentence despite the protests of the prosecution and instead granted them life imprisonment. Noddy however was not put on trial and simply went with Big Ears to inform the police and Mr Sparks about where the cars were.
    However, instead of listening to him, they captured and threw him in prison because they were firmly convinced that he was responsible for having stolen the cars. Carter’s wife Mae Thelma (with whom he has a son and daughter even though they are divorced) screamed in agony on hearing her husband’s guilty verdict. Carter briefly looked at her helplessly while awaiting his transferal to prison. When Noddy was caught by Mr Plod and Mr Sparks and marched away to the police station, he could not find Big-Ears in the crowd that threw insults at him for stealing their cars despite looking for him.

  5. Successful protest – Carter’s time in prison lasted 18 years while Noddy was freed almost immediately after he was thrown in prison thanks to Big-Ears. Also, before his release, Carter was reconvicted in 1976 and finally released in 1985. Big-Ears’ devotion in speaking up for Noddy’s innocence is a mirror image to a young African-American youth, Lesra Martin who was adopted by a Canadian commune. Lesra read Carter’s book following the former boxer’s second conviction and so did the commune. Upon reading the book, they were convinced of Carter’s innocence and worked together to free him after Lesra met and got to know Carter.
    Lesra’s Canadian family collaborated closely with Carter’s defence team, gathering evidence, including witness testimonies from the night of the murders. Presenting this compilation before a federal court, Judge H. Lee Sarokin who presided over it granted Carter a Writ of Habeas Corpus, attributing his conviction to racism and the suppression of crucial evidence. Sarokin highlighted the racial targeting of Carter who being an African-American was wrongly accused of a crime where race played a role and the triple murder was thought to be a racial revenge motive which was theoretically put forward by the prosecution due to a black man having been killed by a white man earlier during the same night since the victims of the triple murder were all white. This contrasted with Noddy’s situation where Big-Ears promptly affirmed Noddy’s innocence to the police, explaining the truth of what occurred which convinced the police and Mr Sparks that they should have listened to Noddy rather than arrest him immediately, believing he was brave enough to try to stop the theft. In Carter’s case after the first trial, Bello, admitted to being coerced into lying, backed by a tape where promises of leniency to him by DeSimone were made. Despite this, Bello recanted his testimony again during the second trial, contributing to Carter’s reconviction. Carter’s eventual release was facilitated by both the racial revenge theory and the withholding of Bello’s lie-detector tests before both trials since that was the evidence that could have helped him in his first trial.

  6. Release and Celebration – Noddy was pleasantly surprised when he was let out of prison almost immediately after he was thrown in while Carter had worked hard for his release through self-defiance and the practice of law as well as inner peace before ultimately being vindicated.While Mr Plod did apologise to Noddy for throwing him in prison rather than listen to him in the first place, DeSimone and Carter never made amends and in fact two years after Carter’s first conviction, DeSimone resigned from his position because he was unhappy with how a murder investigation was being handled and him being criticised for how he was doing so. Three years after Carter’s second conviction, DeSimone died and never got to know of Carter’s release later on.
    One of the seeming foundations for Carter’s second trial was when a host of celebrities formed together in a protest for a retrial. This included Muhammed Ali and Elen Burstyn but most of all it included Bob Dylan who after reading Carter’s book wrote and sang a song titled after Carter’s nickname ‘Hurricane’ which declared that Carter was innocent. After the second trial was unsuccessful, Dylan never sang it again and even the judge who freed Carter declined to hear the song when his family offered it to him while he was first assigned to the case. However, Dylan did apologize to Carter after his release for not being able to help him further. No song was sung for Noddy except the party thrown for him which saw him receiving his first car although this could also mirror when Carter received an honorary championship belt in recognition of his 20-year fight for freedom.
    The real killers of the crime that Carter was accused of to this date have never been caught let alone pursued while the goblins despite being found to have stolen the cars, firmly denied having stolen were not imprisoned but instead Mr Plod fined them all a single large brown penny each as a reminder not to steal any toy cars again.
    Following his release by Federal Court and the judge H. Lee Sarokin who presided over it, Carter did not interact with the media but quietly left while Artis who had been released earlier on parole did answer questions from the media. In the aftermath of the goblins being fined for stealing the toy cars by paying a brown penny each as a fine to the police, the respective owners of the cars got them back and returned home although Noddy was allowed to drive the police van until the party thrown for him which saw him get a new car as a reward for his efforts.
    Upon his release from prison, Carter went on to become an advocate for the wrongly convicted and took it upon himself to help people who were accused of crimes that they did not commit. In a similar manner after receiving his first car, Noddy had his first true job by deciding to become a taxi driver. 



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