This is Anthony and we are taking the Way Back Machine back to 1959!
We are going to visit everyone’s favorite Moose and Squirrel, Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle… briefly. Rocky and Bullwinkle were the featured characters of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (and about 8 other different titles for the show); within that umbrella, there were other, short cartoon features, including “Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties” and “Peabody’s Improbable History”. The 3rd of these short features is the reason for our trip to 1959: “Fractured Fairy Tales”. Thanks for loaning us the Machine, Mr. Peabody.
“Fractured Fairy Tales” were the comedic, and not entirely accurate, re-tellings of “Aesop’s Fables”, about 5-7 minutes per fable. Each episode started with an animated Aesop, chiseling his name onto a scroll, wall, or other object. His son would then appear with a jackhammer and carve “and son” underneath Aesop’s name.
We are taking a look at 2 fairy tales, this Saturday.
The first Fractured Fairy Tale is “The Turtle and the Hare”, based (loosely) on “The Tortoise and the Hare”. It starts with Aesop’s son, training for a race against noted wolf cubs, Romulus and Remus. The son is instructed to sit in a chair by the starting line, as Aseop begins the tale. The tale centers around Mr. Hair… er, Mr. HARE, a rabbit with a notorious appetite: he has 3 square meals every hour, on the hour. In between meals, Hare calls the local grocery store, asking for a bag of walnuts to be delivered to his door.
Enter the 2nd main character, the delivery man: The Tortoise.
Yes, I know that the title says “The TURTLE and the Hare”.
Anyway, Tortoise delivers the walnuts to Mr. Hare…. in 1 year’s time. Yes, it took him 1 year to make it to Hare’s house. An understandably upset Hare took the nuts. Later, he orders some Tutti Frutty Ice Cream, after chewing out the store manager. The ice cream arrives… melted, 1 year later. Hare ends up wearing the ice cream, after asking Tortoise to “let him have it”.
3rd time’s the charm? Mr. Hare calls the grocery store again and orders… a stick of TNT. Lit. With a 1-year wick. Jerk! A year later, Tortoise approaches, then you hear an explosion. Hare laughs at him, chiding him for being late 3 times. Tortoise hands him another stick of TNT – “it was a 2-for-1 sale” – and it was lit.
Hare storms off to the store and demands that Tortoise be fired: “fire him and hire me! I’m the fastest creature in the forest!”
“2nd fastest”, replied Tortoise. OH, SNAP!!
So, the race is on: the winner will apparently become the delivery boy for the grocery store. As the race starts, Mr. Hare takes off in a blur of speed. Tortoise, however, starts cooking some Carrot Scallapini in a big pot, at the starting line. Hare, entranced by the smell (and me, intrigued by ‘Carrot Scallapini’….), returns to the starting line, asking for some. Tortoise promises to give him some, “as long as he agrees to run” afterwards. Hare agrees then starts eating… the whole pot… while Tortoise walks across the starting line. 3 hours later, we have a shot of a bloated Hare, slumped at the starting line. Aesop ensures his son that Hare was smoked by Tortoise in the race. We end with Aesop telling his son the moral of the story:
Ah yes – spelling puns.
Fractured Fairy Tale #2 is “Fe Fi Fo Fum”, based on “Jack and the Beanstalk”. It tells the tale of Jack, a spoiled boy who had nearly every toy he could imagine, at the cost of nearly every cent that his mom owned. She did have a cow, which is nice, I guess.
So, Jack’s mom asks him to take the cow into town and trade it for some gold or food. Nice idea, except Jack is a kid and isn’t an expert in trading. What did he get for the cow? 6 “magical” Lima Beans. Mom was not pleased, throwing the beans out of the living room window.
The next morning, a beanstalk wakes Jack up. That’s not a typo – the beanstalk reached into a window and touched him on the cheek. Naturally, Jack does what every boy does when woken up by beanstalks: he climbs it.
At the top of the stalk, he finds a Giant’s castle… and a tall, talking rat. The rat – “your Fairy God Mouse” – told Jack that the Giant has property that he stole from Jack’s dad; he also told him that the Giant can smell intruders and when he spots them, he will say “Fe Fi Fo Fum!”.
With that knowledge, Jack heads into the Giants’ home and hides as the Giant comes in behind him. The Giant demands that his wife brings him the Golden Hen (not a Golden Goose)… which Jack promptly steals and takes back to his mom. The next day, he steals a bag of 14,000 gold pieces. Finally, Jack heads back and tries to steal a “When The Saints Go Marching In”-singing harp. As he approaches, the Giant and his wife smell something “interesting”. “Fi Fo Fum Fe” led to an amusing argument between the Giant and his wife, regarding “fe” and “fi”.
While this is going on, Jack grabs the Harp and runs… but is told on by the Harp. Jack escapes down the beanstalk, cutting it when he reached the bottom, but the Giant doesn’t follow: he is afraid of heights. The Giant now “foop”s and “teewp”s, instead of “fe”s and “fi”s. Jack ultimately learns the lesson of giving, as his gifts to his mom makes them (and the returned cow) happy and wealthy. Even the Fairy God Mouse came out well.
These Fractured Fairy Tales were some of my favorite parts of Rocky and Bullwinkle, mainly for their silliness. That silliness still holds up today. They keep to the general story but add some neat and humorous twists to them. Watch and enjoy the 2 above, while I return the Way Back Machine to Mr. Peabody.