October 26, 2002:

If one reads most or all the features that I have written, on The Walter Tetley Web Page, it's fairly easy to ascertain that the Fractured Fairy Tales are right near the top of my favorite Jay Ward cartoons. These unorthodox fairy tales are truly the "jewel in the crown" of Ward and Scott's work. I don't think that I would have ever developed the love that I did, for Rocky, Bullwinkle (and their entourage of friends), Hoppity Hooper, George of the Jungle and his pals, had the Fractured Fairy Tales been excluded. Usually when I tuned into Rocky and Bullwinkle----even if the main part of the show was pretty good-----the show never really did begin until Edward Everett Horton began narrating those twisted Grimm Brothers tales! For me, Rocky and Bullwinkle were like the "warm-up band" on their own show----with their "supporting characters", on this side-show, as the main reason why I went to the "concert"!

During one of Rocky and Bullwinkle's five seasons, Ward and Scott gave up on the Fractured Fairy Tales and produced Aesop and Son episodes instead. Though the format of Aesop's fables was similar to the Fractured Fairy Tales (even the new narrator was similar to Edward Everett Horton; Charles Ruggles was born in 1886, just like Horton----and ironically they also both died in the same year), I was always so disappointed whenever I saw the opening scene with the chisel in Aesop's hand, rather than the fairy with the huge story book. I would always wait "with bated breath" hoping for a fractured fairy tale; not an Aesop's fable (and I would groan to myself when I realized: ' No----you won't get your wish today; not on this show!!'). For me there was no comparison. I'll admit a few of the fables were pretty good…….but just a few of them.

If I could use only one word to describe these fairy tales, I would choose CHARM. If I could choose only two words, I would choose CHARMING JEWEL. They appealed to me because they were part of folklore and fantasy. They appealed to me because many of their stories took place in a world long lost to us (as long ago as Medieval times). The Fractured Fairy Tales were probably the most artistic and creative part of Jay Ward's endeavors. How do I count the ways that I loved these quaint stories? Let me make a meager attempt to try to count the ways. I don't know if I could ever do these creations justice, but I will try.

I loved that so many of the stories were full of castles, drawbridges, knights, kings and horses---so many beautiful horses with flowing manes (OK; so most of the animated horses weren't that great; but I did use my imagination, too, when I watched these tales). I loved the woodland and meadow scenes---- I loved the densely wooded forests; many of which were ENCHANTED, MAGICAL forests. I loved the open meadows with thick green grass and many colorful, pretty flowers (and sometimes there would be a river or lake closeby). I also loved some of the forests when they were made to look more ominous, by casting them in a darker light (both the trees themselves, and the eerie, gloomy sky around them).

I loved the "antique", even "gaudy", surrealistic colors that the animators sometimes used to paint the buildings and castles of small villages in a given tale. This would sometimes set the town and the buildings apart from the characters in the story; almost make the people look real and the town and the buildings look more like a separate fantasy (not every town scene was like this of course; I am recalling a few specific episodes). I loved one episode in which the animators took great pains to sketch a gingerbread house for Hansel and Grettel----complete with candy shingels (of course this gingerbread house was ensconced deep in the forest, all by itself).

I liked the occasional appearance of an old-fashioned spinning wheel. When I was a boy, we had a spinning wheel in the attic of our first house. This was an heirloom dating back to at least the 19th Century. It was passed down from some of my German ancestors (we called them Pennsylvania-Dutch, rather than German, where I grew up). Because Mom never used the spinning wheel, or ever took it out of the attic, that heirloom held a kind of "mystique" for me. So it was neat to see it in a Jay Ward cartoon.

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