Sunday, May 28, 2006

Faerie Tales can come true

The proof is in the fact that my very own DVD set of Faerie Tale Theatre recently arrived.

I loved this show like cake when I was a kid. Do you remember it? Faerie Tale Theatre is a series of lavish, live-action retellings of fairy tales that aired on Showtime from 1982-1987. It was produced by Shelley Duvall, who also appeared in a couple of the segments: Rumplestiltskin and Rapunzel, I believe. There were 26 episodes featuring appearances by a wide range of well-known '80's actors guaranteed to marvel and amuse, from Joan Collins and Rick Schroeder to Vanessa Redgrave and Vincent Price.

My childhood memories of the show were fond and fervent, if a little fuzzy. Then, a couple years ago during a visit to Atlanta, I spotted some familiar cover artwork in the children's section of an independent video rental store. Could it be? It was: several videotapes from the series ("Cinderella," "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," and "The Dancing Princesses" if I recall correctly). They were rented and watched and prodigious giggling ensued. They even had the original cover artwork, something my DVD set is sadly lacking.

The series is awesome and great for kids (even if the creepy image of Mick Jagger from "The Nightingale" was indelibly pressed upon my brain). They managed to get some of the decently big stars of the era to take part in the series, so there are some pretty memorable '80's-flashback pairings. A few of my beloved episodes were "Cinderella" (featuring Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Beals), "The Little Mermaid" (with Pam Dawber and Treat Williams), and (the final episode and my absolute favorite) "The Dancing Princesses" (starring Lesley Ann Warren and Peter Weller).

Then there are some episodes that I can't remember at all, like "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp" (with Robert Carradine, Leonard Nimoy and James Earl Jones -- what a cast!). Some others I dimly recall, like "Sleeping Beauty" with Bernadette Peters and Christopher Reeve, or "The Snow Queen" with Melissa Gilbert and Lauren Hutton.

I'm looking forward to watching all the Faerie Tale Theatre episodes now, both for the camp factor and to see if watching will magically transport me back to my childhood. I'm sure seeing them again will bring back memories both misty and watercolored. However, if I really wanted to travel back in time, I'd have to have my sister come over so we could go to swim practice in matching neon-green suits at 7:30 in the morning, then play Clue and eat mounds of parmesan-covered spaghetti. Now that would be a blast from the past.

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