It’s funny to think that a Television show on the PBS network in the 1990’s would be considered one of the driving forces for my childhood literary habits, but here we are. I love to read. (You’re probably thinking, obviously, Irene, you made this book blog) However, whenever I think back to the times of my childhood when my mother tried to get me to read the “Great Literary Classics”, I remember mentally rolling my eyes and being filled with so much anxiety, pressure, and dread to read these books and enjoy them because I was 6/7 years old and I had to make my mother proud!
Growing up in my early years, my family didn’t have cable television. We had free, basic cable and the only station that I sat myself in front of the TV for hours on end was PBS. My options were among, but not limited to: Arthur, Dragon Tales, Mister Rogers, Barney and Friends and Wishbone. The first time I ever saw ‘Wishbone’ I remember thinking, “This is it! This is my gateway to not actually reading these boring books my mom wants me to read! What better than a show about a dog or a REAL, LIVE, TALKING dog no less, whose episode titles were titles of classic literature mixed with dog puns! (i.e. The Prince and a PAWper) To me, a dog dressing up as the famous literary characters my mom kept rambling about and being thrust into the pages of the story was my problem solved. (This wasn’t my exact thought, but you get the idea)
With Wishbone I could sail a boat on the Mississippi with Tom Sawyer, fall asleep for 20 years as Rip Van Winkle, and relate the heroic and brave story of Joan of Arc to the badass side-story of Sam, the best friend of Wishbone’s owner, Joe, who became the only girl on the boy’s high school basketball team. Wishbone told these classic literary tales in their true form. Sure, he was a talking dog interacting with humans from the past, but the stories never strayed from their source. I loved Wishbone SO MUCH, that I read the Wishbone easy-to-read chapter books. I also remember receiving Wishbone computer picture print-outs from this boy that went to my church, for no reason other than because he knew I loved Wishbone. I was OBSESSED. I was even Wishbone for Halloween. And I will tell you, that was my FAVORITE costume I ever wore. Even though half the kids in my first grade class didn’t even know who Wishbone was, I WORKED IT ANYWAY.
So here’s to you, Wishbone, whose real name was actually Soccer. I know you’ve probably passed on by now, but it is because of you and PBS (IMDB) that I love reading and know enough about classic literature to write a one whole paragraph summary of classics from ‘Robin Hood’ to ‘Don Quixote’
Here’s a funny take on how the pitch for the Television series could have, but probably actually went by writer Abbey Fenbert for The-Toast.net The Pitch Meeting for ‘Wishbone’
*Here’s an embarrassing albeit memorable photo of me in my Wishbone costume circa 1999