|Faerie Tale Theatre|
|Also known as||Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre|
|Created by||Shelley Duvall|
|Presented by||Shelley Duvall|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||27 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Shelley Duvall for Gaylord Production Company, Lions Gate Films and Platypus Productions|
Frederic E. Fuchs
|Running time||39–58 minutes|
|Original release||September 11, 1982 –|
November 14, 1987
|Followed by||Tall Tales & Legends|
|Related shows||Shirley 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 of 27 episodes, that originally aired on Showtime from September 11, 1982 until November 14, 1987. It is a retelling of 25 fairy tales, particularly those written by The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen, an additional episode is based on the poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin".
The 27th episode was a reunion episode of cast and crew titled "Grimm Party", in which in Fairytale style, celebrating the series they attended a gala in fancy dress.
The series follow a similar style to an earlier series narrated by Shirley Temple, titled Shirley Temple's Storybook, that ran from 1958 and 1961 and also featured numerous Hollywood stars in roles.
Actress Shelley Duvall who conceived the series, served as executive producer and host alongside associate producers Bridget Terry and Frederic E. Fuchs, she also occasionally starred in episodes and was a featured narrator, as well as providing the voice of the animatronic Nightingale, in the episode of the same title.
Episodes were directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Ivan Passer, Emile Ardolino and Tim Burton, among others and featured numerous Hollywood performers in iconic roles.
The series was one of the first examples of original cable programming, alongside HBO's Fraggle Rock.
The series was followed by three other less successful shorter anthologies also produced by Duvall: Tall Tales & Legends (9 episodes), which follows the same format as Faerie Tale Theatre and focuses on classic American folk tales, Nightmare Classics (4 episodes produced of the intended 6), aimed at a young adult audience, and Bedtime Stories (12 episodes).
Duvall began conception of Faerie Tale Theatre while filming the live-action 1980 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. 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 the 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. All of the episodes were produced and shot from 1982 to 1985 and videotaped mostly at the ABC Television Studios in Hollywood, California.
Every episode opened with Duvall introducing herself and giving a brief synopsis of the fairy tale to follow. Each episode features live-action adaptations, with celebrities from the performance world in costume. Duvall features in three episodes playing various characters and narrates three others.
Main article: List of Faerie Tale Theatre episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||2||September 11, 1982||October 16, 1982|
|2||6||February 5, 1983||December 5, 1983|
|3||7||January 9, 1984||September 17, 1984|
|4||7||February 12, 1985||October 5, 1985|
|5||2||July 14, 1986||August 11, 1986|
|6||3||March 23, 1987||November 14, 1987|
Many episodes feature backdrops and settings inspired by specific artists and children's book illustrators, 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|
|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|
|filmmakers, such as Jean Cocteau||Beauty and the Beast|
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. While in the UK, it was released by MGM-UA Home Video.
Starmaker II held the rights to the series from 2004 to 2006, and at first released 26 episodes as individual DVDs. 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. A new remastered 7-disc box set, including the lost "Greatest Moments" episode, was released by Koch Vision on September 2, 2008. 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").
When released on DVD by Starmaker II and Koch Vision, the following scenes were cut from the series:
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 as well as in syndication on various television stations, including PBS and BookTelevision.
The series aired in Italy on Rai 1.