Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Faerie Tale Theater

You heard me.

Shelly Duvall’s 1980s brainchild..

You want all-star casts? How about Susan Surandon as Beauty and Angelica Huston and Natasha Richardson as her sisters?

James Earl Jones as the genie. Vanessa Redgrave as the Evil Stepmother. Jennifer Beals as Cinderella. Joan Collins as Hansel and Gretel’s stepmother. The list goes ON, people. And it’s all these stars when they were sick young. Elizabeth McGovern is like 15 when she plays Snow White.

I remember Faerie Tale Theater so fondly from my own childhood and now that I’ve revisited it with my own kids, I find the appeal still there. I mean, yes, its totally silly and often laughable and I’m not saying Jeff Bridges would win another Oscar for his portrayal of Rapunzel’s prince or anything, but it is a totally different league than Disney in almost every way.

I love that it sticks pretty closely to the original source and that all the actors take it seriously, not like they’re deigning to do kiddie theater. I love the language and the slow pace and the level of respect in general. When its over, you can discuss similarities and differences from other versions you’ve seen and whammo, you’re building cognitive skills and priming future comp lit majors.

In other words, if your kid is going to love fairy tales, better make it the good stuff.

I found nearly all of them in my local library, but I know for a fact clips are out there on Youtube and Netflix. Now go watch Joan Collins. You won’t regret it.