Everything Action Theater: Wishbone

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is hitting theaters this weekend after decades of the books intriguing and scarring children for life, mostly due to the horrific imagery created by Stephen Gammell.  Slightly less scarring book adaptations appeared on PBS throughout the 90s thanks to a scrappy Jack Russell terrier named Wishbone.  Debuting on PBS in 1995, the show ran until 1997 and provided an easy entry into classics of literature for many 90s kids.  Each episode of Wishbone would follow Wishbone as something in the present, usually regarding his owner Joe (Jordan Wall), would remind me of a classic of literature, like Robin Hood, The Time Machine, Oliver Twist, Shakespeare and more.  Larry Brantley voiced Wishbone’s inner thoughts and the most wonderfully weird aspect of the show was that Wishbone was incorporated into the stories he was recalling, usually as the lead character.  This lead to things like say, an actress play Juliet in the Romeo & Juliet episode having to act opposite a dog dressed in Shakespearan clothing (although the conceit of the show is that the characters in the story segments do not see a dog).  The show was a massive hit, earning multiple Emmy awards and a Peabody award and spawned a series of books, toys, and a few random VHS and DVD releases.  The first episode of the show adapted Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and the present-day story followed Joe and his friends as they got their Hardy Boys on and tried to figure out why a mysterious man was digging up the town’s No Name Grave.  Check it out below.

 

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