Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wishbone's Influence

I attribute a certain degree of my literary interests to watching Wishbone.

This show I find very commendable for introducing children to the "classics," that is, stories either highly revered or referenced in our culture. From The Phantom of the Opera and A Tale of Two Cities to The Odyssey and Faust, this show covered a wide range and skillfully got across the main points of each story in a very limited time frame. It did more than summarize each story; this deeper look into themes was helped by the correlating modern day plot. The team behind this show also managed to make the material approachable to children without diminishing it.

I've read books because of first seeing them portrayed on Wishbone. I remember, back when I was in middle school and just starting to stretch out into the "wider world" of books, pawing through the classics at Barnes and Noble. Ah, Northanger Abbey, I remember that episode--that might be fun to read (I actually didn't like it much--Jane Austen just doesn't much interest me . . . but that's beside the point). Silas Marner was a similar story for me.

Even the books I haven't yet read, I am glad to know the basics of through my understanding of the Wishbone episodes. The show was my first introduction to Faust, The Odyssey, Don Quixote, Cyrano de Bergerac, and others. Sure, I've learned more about them since, but I think it was a step ahead to already know the basics.

It was a strange experience reading The Moonstone for class two years ago. I remembered the episode, but not all the details. So as I read the book, following along with the mystery, I slowly began to remember more . . . namely, that it was Wishbone's character who stole the Moonstone . . . but I had to be sure exactly which character Wishbone had been. It was very strange.

It's also funny to compare the adaptations in Wishbone to those of movies. Frankenstein, for instance, is very abridged in the episode, of course, but it gets most of the main things across; do all the movies achieve as much?

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