Saturday, April 30, 2016

Golden Book Richard Scarry VHS: Part 1: The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids

So, in my last post, I said I'd be talking about a VHS I watched when I was a little kid. So, of course, that's what I'm going to talk about.

Now, when I was very little, some of the first VHS tapes that I had were made by the Golden Book company, and they each had a few stories on them that used pictures from the Little Golden Books along with voiceovers for the characters(with some of the pictures digitally edited to give them a "movie" feel).

Now, even though I had about five different VHS tapes from this series at the same time, there was really only one that I watched when I was three. I wouldn't watch the other ones until quite a bit of time later. This particular VHS tape was titled, "Richard Scarry's Old MacDonald's Farm, and Other Animal Tales."

Now, I watched this video A LOT when I was young, and it was one of my favorites. I come across it  on YouTube sometimes, and I just HAVE to watch it, because I get all nostalgic. In fact, I re-watched it right before I came to write this post.

This VHS includes three stories by Richard Scarry. The first is about Old MacDonald, and how his kids throw a huge family reunion at his farm. Oh, and they grow pickles too, which is even funnier when you're an adult and watching this, because you know that pickles don't actually grow. You have to grow cucumbers and pickle them to get pickles!

The other two stories were Richard Scarry's adaptations of "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids," and "The Bremen-town Musicians." These are both based on fairy tales, and since they were my introduction to BOTH stories, I decided to talk about them both. But, in order to keep my posts from being too long, I will cover "Bremen-town Musicians" in my next post, and just talk about "Wolf and the Seven Little Kids."

Now, before I begin, I strongly suggest watching this entire VHS before you read my thoughts about it, because it is HILARIOUS! The entire VHS has been up on YouTube for quite a few years, and you can watch the entire thing by clicking on this link.

The story is, of course, way softened in the Richard Scarry version. In the original, a wolf is trying to get into a house where seven young goats live while their mother is away, but they won't let him. He tricks them, and they let him in.

The original Brothers Grimm story implies that the wolf completely successful at his trickery, while the Richard Scarry version portrays him as a stereotypical idiot. And it is very funny. Plus, the kids get to slam the window on his fingers, so... Yeah!

In the original, the wolf swallows all the kids whole (except for one, who hides). He goes to rest under a tree, and the mother goat cuts him open, frees the kids, fills him with stones, and sews him back shut.

In the Richard Scarry version, the wolf puts all the kids in a sack, so that he can take them home and have a feast. While he's resting under the tree, the mother goat cuts open the sack, frees the kids, fills the sack with stones, and sews it back shut. Wouldn't it have been easier just to untie the sack?

The ending to the Richard Scarry version is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the original ending. In the original, the wolf takes a drink by the lake, and the heavy stones inside him cause him to fall in and drown.

In the Richard Scarry version, the wolf is completely humiliated! He gets home, opens the sack, and finds that there are stones in it instead of goats. He is angry and hungry, and the story doesn't end there! No! It has more to it, as the wolf gets humiliated more! He doesn't die at the end, but at the end, I'm sure he'd rather be dead than in the situation he's in! I'm not even going to spoil it for you. Watch it yourself, because it's hilarious!

I know this is kind of strange coming from a partial-purist, but I actually like the Richard Scarry version better than the original. Maybe it's just because of the nostalgia, but it's just SO funny! It's the version that always pops into my head when I hear "Wolf and the Seven Little Kids."

Next time, I'll get to the other story, "Bremen-town Musicians." Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Three Bears

Okay, so for my fairy tale posts, I decided to start with one of the first fairy tales I can remember being read to me; "The Three Bears."

Now, I was very, very, VERY young when this story was first read to me. I was two years old or younger. I had the book that you can see in the picture below (that is, you can see the picture if that stupid glitch doesn't happen).

Now, I'm sure everybody knows this story already, because it's one of the most famous fairy tales out there. Basically, it's this family of bears that go for a walk while their porridge is cooling, and a little girl named Goldilocks goes into their house and eats their porridge, sits in their chairs, and lays in their beds. Then the three bears come home. Their porridge bowls have been eaten out of, and their child's porridge is completely gone. Their chairs have been sat on, and their child's chair is broken. Their beds have been used, and Goldilocks is still in their child's bed. Goldilocks wakes up and sees the bears and runs away in fear, never to return again.

Now, of course, this book that had been read to me was a little kid version of the story. So, of course, it had an innocent little girl who survives at the very end. And the bears end up sharing their porridge in order for their son to have some after his is eaten, and they fix his chair. Yeah. It was for kids.

Now, I was one of those kids who wanted my favorite stories read to me over and over and over again. So this book got read to me about a million times, and I never got tired of it. In fact, this WAS the story of "The Three Bears" for me until I was about five years old, and my parents bought another book called, "The Golden Goose Book."

If it looks familier, it's because it's a very famous book that has illustrations by Leonard Leslie Brooke. His drawings in the book are fantastic and worth looking at if you haven't seen them. This book is in the public domain, and is on Project Gutenberg, so you can take a look at it if you want.

This book included the stories of "The Golden Goose," "The Three Bears," "The Three Little Pigs," and "Tom Thumb." My parents started reading me and my brothers "The Three Bears" out of this book, and we enjoyed it a lot. In this book, the girl who trespassed in the Bears' house was named "Goldenlocks" instead of "Goldilocks," which I thought was kind of funny.

I found out more about this story when I was in middle school (which is when I started looking into the older versions of the fairy tales). I found out that most modern versions are based on a story by Robert Southy I was surprised to find out that originally, the intruder was not a little girl at all. Instead, it was an old, ugly woman. And not only that, but the story describes many times how she uses bad language, and how she would have stolen the Bears' spoons if they had been made of silver instead of wood. And at the end, they leave it up to the reader what happens to her after she jumps out the window after the Bears discover her. It gives you the idea that maybe she broke her neck, or ran into the woods and was lost, or found her way out and was "taken up by the constable to the house of correction for the vagrant she was." Clearly, this was not the innocent story that most kids heard from their parents. This was a breaking and entering story.

But that wasn't the most surprising part. The most surprising part was that the Bears weren't even a family. We're used to hearing "Father Bear," "Mother Bear," and "Baby Bear." But in this version, they were "the Great Huge Bear," "The Middle Bear," and "The Little Small Wee Bear." And ALL THREE OF THEM were male bears! Haha! I'll let you have your own opinion on whether these Bears were just friends who lived in the same house or something

The version of the story in "The Golden Goose Book" was Southy's version. But it had been edited to replace the Old Woman with Goldenlocks (as well as remove the nasty things that she does), and change the Middle Bear to female.

Apparently, the change from an Old Woman to a little girl first appeared about ten years after the story's publication, where she was replaced with a girl named "Silver-Hair." This girl apparently went through a lot of name changes before publishers decided that "Goldilocks" was the name that most people preferred.

Interestingly, there is a variant of this tale, called "Scrapefoot," which includes a fox as the intruder instead of a human. Joseph Jacobs thought that maybe when Southy heard the story, it had included a vixen (female fox) as the intruder, but he misunderstood "vixen" to mean "spiteful woman." That's a very plausible theory, in my opinion.

The funny thing about modern versions of this story is that they appear to make Goldilocks the character that most kids connect with. It's the character that they like to hear about the most, and they're happy when she escapes the Bears. In reality, it's really the BEARS that we should be connecting with. They're the ones who have trespassing problems. The intruder is the antagonist, not the hero, and I'm afraid that modern versions have made that hard for kids to realize. In fact, Roald Dahl made note of this in a parody poem he wrote of the story, where Goldilocks does really awful things in the Bears' house, and then gets eaten by them at the end!

All, in all, this story hasn't really changed that much from the older versions. But it's still worth noting that modern versions should probably cast Goldilocks in a more negative light, and make the Bears the characters that we identify with. 

As a story that I remember fondly as a kid, it's nice to go back and remember it. Next time... I'll be talking about a VHS tape that I watched as a little kid. What VHS is it? Well... You'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


There was once a time-period where people were encouraged to use their imaginations. In this time-period, people would make up fantastic stories, which they would tell to people. The stories were very interesting, and they would be passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.

As the stories were passed down, they evolved, and more details were implemented into them. Sometimes people would take the familier stories, and make new stories out of them.

Then, one day, someone decided to try to write the stories down. And so he did. And when that happened, more people decided to try writing down the stories being told in their countries as well. Soon, many books had been written that contained these fantastic stories, which contained marvelous creatures like dwarfs and fairies. And these stories were enjoyed for many generations.

But alas, like most wonderful things in the world, these stories were soon taken over by more popular items.

The motion picture was invented, and it allowed people to watch stories play out on screen. Of course, these marvelous stories were prime choices for these new inventions, and we're soon put to screen. Unfortunately, many things that happened in these stories didn't play out very well on screen, and had to be changed. Many of the important parts of these stories lost their meaning in adaptation, and the factor that children would be watching the films increased the need to change the stories.

And, sadly, over the next hundred or so years, the people realized that they didn't need to read anymore, because they could just watch the stories play out on screen. So they got rid of most of their books, and watched these films almost every day. Little did they know that the stories they thought they knew were much different. But few people even cared anymore, and the versions of the stories on screen became the ones that people thought about when the stories were mentioned, and not the ones that had been written so long ago.

But there was still hope. For there was a collective group called the Nerds. The Nerds wrote many books about these stories, trying to release them to the public once again. They kept trying, over and over, for many years.

And soon, there came the arrival of an amazing invention, which allowed people to communicate with each other worldwide. It was called the Internet. The Nerds wasted no time in putting their thoughts on the Internet, and the results were fantastic. Many more people became Nerds as a result of this worldwide sensation, and many of the Nerds met each other as a result.

But still, the public at large didn't know about these stories. But did this stop the Nerds from trying? No.

In fact, more Nerds more born as the years went by, and more thoughts were contributed to the Internet.

One Nerd was born in the nineties. His name was Ozfan95, who was raised a Nerd from childbirth. He read many stories from these great time periods many, many times. He loved them so much. In sixth grade, he discovered many more of these stories at the Public Library, and decide to study them even more than he ever had. And he did, for many years afterwards.

And then, one day, he decided to share his thoughts about the stories on the Internet, just as many other Nerds had done for about twenty years. This is his blog.

I'm Ozfan95, and I'm not just some random person. I'm a Nerd, and I'm proud to be one. This blog will explain all about fairy tales, including those of the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Joseph Jacobs, among others. While many others have written blogs on fairy tales in the past, every person's opinion matters. And so I'm here. And I dedicate this blog to everybody who loves these stories, and wants to hear more about them.