I went back and forth on this one for some time. Techincally, it’s not a “fairy tale” in the strictest sense, but rather a novel written by Italian author Collodi. But, over the years it’s become part of the pantheon of stories along with Cinderella, Snow White and the rest (something else for which we probably can thank Walt Disney). Also, I thought the dark, complex nature of the original would present an interesting challenge, so I figured it was worth a try.
“Well, couldn’t I go to school and then be a big star?”
Yeah, sorry about that. The point is, they all lived happily ever after.
- Pinocchio (1940) Though not particularly successful in its initial theatricla run, most film critics call this the most technically perfect Disney film of the early years of the studio. Gave us Jiminy (who , as I said, has become an indispensible part of the story) and the unofficial “Disney theme song,” in “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Interestingly, Mel Blanc recorded all the dialogue for the cat, Gideon, but when they decided the character should be silent, all they kept of his vocal track was a single hiccup. That hiccup marks the only time Blanc ever recorded a voice for a Disney cartoon.
- Pinocchio (TV)(1972) This musical production stars Sandy Duncan as Pinocchio and Danny Kaye as Geppetto. Also features Flip Wilson as the fox who leads him astray. I stole the “son is somebody for the poppa to love” line from this production as it just struck me as such a sweet moment.
- “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV) Paul “Pee-Wee Herman” Rubens plays the wooden boy in this episode which also features James Coburn, Carl Reiner, Michael Richards and James Belushi
- Geppetto (TV)(2000) A novel re-telling of the story through the woodcutter’s eyes. Drew Carey, Brent Spiner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Renee Auberjonois and Usher star, with original songs by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin,” “The Prince of Egypt”)