OK, this has to be quick, because I've got preschool pickup in a couple of minutes:
So Kottke points to this UK Independent roundup of The 50 Books Every Child Should Read.
Which I click through, even though it's for like 11-year-olds, maybe there's something for the kid, or maybe we do a similar roundup for toddlers.
And on it is Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince, and yeah, I'm a sucker for children's stories by seemingly incongruous writers [I'll backfill some links to examples later].
So, The Happy Prince, the title story for Wilde's children's storybook collection, first published in 1888. I do remember The Selfish Giant. I'll look that up later, too. Stark illustrations from my childhood.
And then I see that of course, it's been adapted a million times, including,
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child did a version of the title story set in New York City featuring Ed Koch as the Happy Prince (who was the statue of the cities last mayor) and Cyndi Lauper as a street wise pigeon named "Pidge" (in place of the Swallow).And holy crap, are you kidding me? Ed Koch and Cyndi Lauper? This sounds like a bigger train wreck than even Shelly Duvall's TV fairy tales. [More on that later, too, perhaps? Or perhaps not.]
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child is a real thing, and it was produced in three seasons, 1995, 1997, and 1999-2000 for HBO Family, which is why I've never heard of it. And as I've found with Richard Macguire, the kid culture of the 90s is a black hole, too new to be retro-rediscovered, and too old to be monetizable by its original creators. Also, I was kid-free in the 90s, and so was completely blind/oblivious, and damn happy about it, too, if I remember correctly.
Except. HBO Family is a channel that exists. And this Happily Ever After series apparently continues on it to this day. The trailer on the HBO website [which doesn't look like it's been updated since it was created in 1995-2000, and thus asks me if I am a high bandwidth real media user or not] makes the whole series look a bit cheesy, frankly. Why would I trust Robert Guillaume to retell all our classic fairy tales in a newer, "fresher" [i.e., less white] way? I mean, clearly, it needs to be done, but.
Holy smokes, this show is on right this second. 11AM EST The Happy Prince. So I go and watch it. It is real. It is just starting. It is slackly animated. It is about a mayor instead of a prince, a mayor named Prince. It is--oh holy crap, people, Ed Koch can't act, he can't even read!
This whole series could be a slow-rolling disaster at the far end of your digital cable channel selector, and you didn't even know it! Save us, Whoopi Goldberg's bayou Rapunzel, you're our only hope!