Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blast from the Past: Wishbone

We all have TV shows that we remember fondly from our childhood.  I have been thinking a lot about the ones I used to watch and which of them I wish were still around for other kids to enjoy. 

One such show is "Wishbone", which involved the cute little dog to the left interacting with various literature classics.  That's right.  I did not just put that picture there to lure you in with its cuteness.

This show aired from 1995 to 1998 and each episode was just half an hour long for a total of 48 episodes.

What is important to note about this show is that through Wishbone's daydreams, where he often assumes the title role of each story and can speak, the audience is introduced to stories they may be too young to read or just have not read yet and in a manner that did not sanitize the original tale.

Some of the stories featured in the series were Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, A Scandal in Bohemia (Sherlock Holmes) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, The Imaginary Invalid by Moliere, The Tempest by William Shakespeare & The Odyssey by Homer.

Another interesting thing about "Wishbone" (though it was rare) was that it explored stories from different races.  The African folk tale of Anansi the Spider and the African American tale The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton are both featured in an episode of the show.  In another episode, the Native American story The Story of the Deathless Voice and the Navajo culture are explored.

I wish shows like this were still around today because I feel like children are missing out.  I like to think that if "Wishbone" had continued, there would have been more diverse stories included in future episodes and more female authored stories introduced through Wishbone's imagination.

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