Faerie Tale Theatre

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Faerie Tale Theatre
The 6-DVD box set cover by former distributor Starmaker II.
Also known asShelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre
GenreFairytale fantasy
Created byShelley Duvall
Presented byShelley Duvall
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes27 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Shelley Duvall for Gaylord Productions, Lions Gate Films and Platypus Productions
Running time50 min.
Original networkShowtime
Original releaseSeptember 11, 1982 –
November 14, 1987
Followed byTall Tales & Legends
Nightmare Classics
Related showsShirley Temple's Storybook
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child

Faerie Tale Theatre (also known as Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre) is an American live-action fairytale fantasy anthology television series, consisting of 27 episodes, retelling 25 fairy tales, particularly tales by The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen, plus the poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" and a special episode called "The Grimm's Party", showcasing the series cast and crew, that originally aired on Showtime from September 11, 1982 until November 14, 1987. Shelley Duvall, who created the series served as host and executive producer of the program alongside Bridget Terry and Fred Fuchs, and occasionally starred in, narrated episodes and also served as a voice artist for the animatronic Nightingale in episode The Nightingale; the series was directed by luminaries such as Francis Ford Coppola, Emile Ardolino and Tim Burton, and would feature numerous Hollywood stars; predominately of the period, in character roles. This was one of the first examples of cable original programming, alongside HBO's Fraggle Rock.[1]

The series was followed by two other less successful shorter anthology series produced by Duvall: Tall Tales & Legends (9 episodes), which followed the same format as Faerie Tale Theatre and focused on classic American folk tales, and Nightmare Classics (4 episodes produced out of the planned 6).


Shelley Duvall began conception of Faerie Tale Theatre while filming the live-action film Popeye in Malta, she reportedly asked her co-star, Robin Williams, his opinion on "The Frog Prince", a fairy tale she was reading during production.[2] Williams thought it was funny and would later star in the namesake pilot episode of the series, written, narrated and directed by Monty Python's, Eric Idle, who himself would appear in a future episode (The Pied Piper of Hamelin) Many of the episodes produced by Fred Fuchs in association with Duvall, were written by Rod Ash, Mark Curtiss, Maryedith Burrell and Robert C. Jones. Episodes opened with Duvall introducing herself and giving a brief synopsis of the fairy tale that would follow; each episode featured live-action adaptations, with celebrities from the performance world in costume. Duvall herself would feature in 3 episodes and serve as narrator in three others.



Many episodes feature backdrops and settings inspired by specific artists and children's book illustrators,[3] including Maxfield Parrish ("The Frog Prince"), Norman Rockwell ("Goldilocks and the Three Bears"), Arthur Rackham ("Hansel and Gretel"), Edmund Dulac ("The Nightingale"), Aubrey Beardsley and Harry Clarke ("The Princess and the Pea") Gustav Klimt ("Rapunzel"), N. C. Wyeth ("Rumpelstiltskin", "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"), Kay Nielsen ("Sleeping Beauty"), Brueghel and Dürer ("The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers"), Jennie Harbour ("Little Red Riding Hood"), and George Cruikshank ("Thumbelina"), as well as filmmakers, such as Jean Cocteau ("Beauty and the Beast").

Home media[edit]

Faerie Tale Theatre was released on VHS, Betamax, CED and Laserdisc in the 1980s through mid 1990s, initially by CBS/FOX Video, followed by Playhouse Video (an extended label under CBS/FOX), and later Razz Ma Tazz Entertainment/Cabin Fever Entertainment.

Starmaker II held the rights to the series from 2004 to 2006, and at first released 26 episodes as individual DVDs;[4] this was followed by a double-sided 4-disc box set and then a 6-disc box set, each version containing the same 26 episodes. The "Greatest Moments" episode was not included in this release.

After 2006, Koch Vision held the series' distribution rights, and in November 2006 licensed the rights worldwide (excluding DVDs in North America) to the British company 3DD Entertainment.[5][6] A new remastered 7-disc box set, including the lost "Greatest Moments" episode, was released by Koch Vision on September 2, 2008.[7] In 2009, Koch Vision released the episodes by theme on six DVD compilations: Tales from the Brothers Grimm ("Hansel and Gretel", "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin", and "Little Red Riding Hood"), Funny Tales ("The Tale of The Frog Prince", "Pinocchio", "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed"), Tales from Hans Christian Andersen ("The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen" and "Thumbelina"), Princess Tales ("Cinderella", "The Little Mermaid", "The Dancing Princesses" and "The Princess and the Pea"), Magical Tales ("Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp", "Beauty and the Beast", "Puss in Boots" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs") and Bedtime Tales ("Jack and the Beanstalk", "Sleeping Beauty", "Rip Van Winkle" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears").[8]

When released on DVD by Starmaker II and Koch Vision, the following scenes were cut from the series:[citation needed]

  • "Goldilocks and the Three Bears": Papa Bear and Mama Bear trying to fix Cubby Bear's chair; the Charades scene is shortened.
  • "The Pied Piper of Hamelin": Julius Caesar Rat's monologue.
  • "Rumpelstiltskin": the Miller's daughter singing with the animals in the forest (this scene was also unavailable on the VHS releases)[citation needed]


Faerie Tale Theatre won a Peabody Award, a TCA Award and a Golden CableACE Award, it later aired as edited re-runs on the Disney Channel[9] as well as in syndication on various television stations,[10] including PBS[11][12] and BookTelevision.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sandra Salmans (6 February 1984). "Showtime Challenges Rivals" – via NYTimes.com.
  2. ^ Suskin, Steven (2008-09-07). "THE DVD SHELF: "Mad Men" Season One, and Duvall's "Faerie Tale Theatre"". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  3. ^ Stengel, Richard and Denise Worrell (July 25, 1983). "Video: Cinderella Puts On a Show". Time.
  4. ^ Bianculli, David (October 28, 2004). "Old Family Treasures Unearthed On DVD". New York Daily News.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "3DD Takes On New Properties from U.S. Companies". World Screen. November 3, 2006. Archived from the original on December 19, 2007.
  6. ^ "International Market: 3DD Entertainment". Cynopsis: Multi-Cultural & International Edition. November 6, 2006. Archived from the original on June 1, 2008.
  7. ^ "Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre: The Complete Collection (2008)". Amazon.com. ASIN: B001AZIRV8
  8. ^ Catalog kochvision.com
  9. ^ Bianculli, David (September 26, 1995). "Cable Viewers Suffer Unkindest Cuts Of All". New York Daily News.
  10. ^ Nanwalt, Sasha (August 6, 1989). "TELEVISION; Shelley Duvall Tries Scaring Up A New Audience". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Lomartire, Paul (April 21, 1992). "'BEDTIME STORIES' A FINE SHOW FOR KIDS". Palm Beach Post.
  12. ^ KLRU TV Schedule – Search By Title: List of KLRU programs Archived 2012-09-18 at the Wayback Machine klru.org
  13. ^ "Program Schedule". BookTelevision. March 29, 2007. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007.

External links[edit]