For the longest time my siblings and I would watch Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre on Saturdays, or whenever it showed on PBS.
Rediscovering Faerie Tale Theatre
I know it was PBS because we had a big antennae on top of the house and only got a few channels.
A few months ago, while researching something entirely unrelated, I happened upon the Faerie Tale Theatre Wikipedia entry. It was a delightful shock, as I’d searched several times for the movies over the years but to no avail. That in my head, I definitely asked for the box set for Christmas. Surely that was the perfect, nostalgic gift for me.
When I brought it up to the family one evening, we briefly argued about someone taping hockey over all our taped Faerie Tale Theatre before an old, ratty VHS appeared, the old, ratty VCR was hooked up, and—before I knew what was happening—we were watching a wobbly Rumpelstiltskin.
My sister-in-law didn’t seem to enjoy the nostalgia quite as much as the rest of us.
A bit embarrassed at the cheesy and poor quality of the film, sets, writing, and acting, I still couldn’t get the movies out of my mind. Why did I love them so much? I still think about scenes and relate them to everyday life. Is that normal?
After a couple weeks of working through the episodes (there are seven discs—I’m not that committed to my hermitage), I wonder if it’s not exactly the movies I love. Maybe it’s the stories. The themes of courage and love and commitment to others. And, secretly, I like how their dreams come true in the end.
I know, right!? I’m such a cliche.
My sister asked me what my favourite episode is. I told her the Three Little Pigs, which I found really clever and charming. The star was the wolf, played by Jeff Goldblum and there was a twist ending.
But now I’m having second thoughts. I’m watching the Snow Queen, which was hands down my favourite as a child. It’s a story of a boy, infected by a goblin’s glass, whose heart becomes hardened. To slow the spread of the glass, the Snow Queen takes him to her ice palace, where he begins to freeze. It’s only by the dedication and courage of his best friend he is rescued and his heart softened.
Fantastical and simple. And the queen (Lee Remick) is so beautiful.
And the best line: “I wasn’t whispering my prayers. I was saying 8×8 is 46. I mean 64.” Hah. So silly.
When The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe came to theatres I wished so hard the White Witch would look like the Snow Queen. I’d always imagined it that way when I read the book.
But alas, I suppose the filmmakers didn’t watch Faerie Tale Theatre growing up.
Other Movie Reviews and Previews
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