Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Takin' It Back



So for personal reasons, I'm trying to find media for kids that I have access to on the cheap cheap (I'm broke and canceled most of my streaming services but I have a free Amazon trial.) and I came across a lot of Golden Film's stuff. And I have feelings.

For those who don't know Golden Films spent most of the 90's making mockbusters of Disney Renaissance movies... and I was burned by them.  And I don't blame my parents for not knowing the magic of "I Won't Say I'm In Love". I blame Golden Films.  The rat bastards.

That is their business model. Tricking ignorant or naive adults into spending money on products their kids don't want. Screw 'em.

...

And then I get out of my head for a second. And ask myself do I really want to excuse Disney for branding stories that are supposed to belong to the public to the point where they kind of own them now.

Like that's where it started. We excused that business for far too long. But by now it's clear we have given the mouse too much power over us and it must be brought low.

Oh who am I kidin' I'm not giving up Star Wars, Marvel, Ghibli, and Pixar. I'm not.

... But I don't have to make it so easy for The Mouse either.

Here is my list of movies and shows that retell folk and fairy tales so if you want that you don't have to come crawling on your knees to the mouse if you don't want to.

Honorable Mentions
Before I continue I want to establish that I want this to be a pragmatic list of stuff that is easily and legally available, not just stuff I like.  But since a lot of these sorts of things are children shows a good bit of them have been lost to time. So here are some of those.

Merry Melodies Shorts


I can think of no better way to stick it to The Mouse than to watch Looney Tunes. Back in that golden age both Disney and Warner Brothers adapted a lot of fairy tales and honestly, I like the Merry Melodies shorts better. But here is the thing, some Loony Tunes shorts are easier to find than others and I just don't know where to find all the ones I want streaming.

Long Ago and Far Away


It was a PBS animated story anthology hosted by Mr. Darth Vader himself.

Shelly Duvall's Fairytale Theatre and Tall Tale's and Legends

These are actually two separate shows but they had more or less the same feel. The only difference is the types of stories they would tell. It's always kind of annoyed me that we pretend like there is no new folklore... mostly because in doing so we're pretending like simply because of its age my country has no stories of its own so any show that delves into tall tales, or urban legends gets a thumbs up from me.

Simsala Grimm


It's a German TV show and it actually looks kind of good as a fairy tale anthology featuring a lot of stories Disney hasn't touched yet... it's just that I have no clue how to get it legally.

Grimm's Fairytale Classics

And we're back to that actually good but I have no clue how to stream it thing.


The Stuff That You Can Actually Stream
Jim Henson's The Storyteller

When making this list what was most important to me is that these stories were not just trying to cash in on the Disney wave. (Sorry Don Bluth but Anastasia and Thumbelina to a lesser extent are about as Disney as you can get without actually being Disney) And there are a few ways I test for that. The principal one is that I look for movies and shows that adapt stories that Disney hasn't yet touched. The Storyteller is one of those. Instead of "Beauty and the Beast" you get "Hans the Hedge Hog". Instead of "Cinderella", you get  "Allerleirauh".  It bounces from service to service but generally, you can find it somewhere. I think though am not sure that right now HBO is streaming it.

Correction: I thought it was HBO but it's actually on Starz

Happily Ever After Fairytales for Every Child


Okay most of the stuff on this list is pretty old. It's going to be stuff from the 70's and 80's. Happily Ever After ran ... almost this century. So it's something I would actually show to a kid rather than just watch by myself drowning in the nostalgia. You can stream it on HBO.

Stories to Remember (Light Year Entertainment)

It's a bit hard to find because Amazon doesn't list it as an actual series but the as individual stories of that series with almost no indication that they're in the same style and made by the same company. But they are there. (By the way that's something it does with another entry on this list) But they do have most of them.

Anyway, the voice work is amazing on each of these and characterizes them as stories being told rather than just watched and there is something I love about that.

Ever After

You know how everybody said Disney's live-action remake of Cinderella was perfunctory since it wasn't all that different from the cartoon. This one isn't that. Mostly because this version of Cinderella actually has a personality.

Roger's and Hammerstien's Cinderella ALL OF THEM


I'm cheating because Disney owns the rights to a couple of them. But still, this one bugs more than most. See back in the day, the Disney Channel would actually run marathons of different versions of Cinderella.  And they were all interesting. I know for a FACT there are a million interesting places to take that story and when given the chance they didn't.

Shirley Temple's Storybook

Life is a circle. Yeah, I would prefer Shelly Duval as the celebrity endorsed anthology but Shirley Temple's Storybook is actually available. Also, note if you want to see a pre-Disney version of Winnie the Pooh here you go.

World Masterpiece Theatre

If you're looking for a man who can out Disney Disney look no further than Hayao Miyazaki. Back before he founded Ghibli he worked with Toei, on World Masterpiece Theatre (Specifically he was on Anne of Green Gables episodes) which was a series that adapted a number of well-known children's stories.

The thing about World Masterpiece Theatre along with Grimm's Classic Fairy Tales is that for a long time they were the international anime market. Gundam and Lupin the Third existed but good old red jacket took a long time to crossover. (Toonami popularized a lot of older anime. Not just Lupin, Dragon Ball and Gundam but also Astroboy and Cyborg 009.)

 Again Amazon lists them all individually so they can be hard to find but they're there.

Jiri Trnka's Films

They're available. I haven't seen them but bear mentioning.


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