Saturday, June 16, 2012

Literary Toons: Festival of Family Classics (1972)

Rankin-Bass returned to syndication 40 years ago with a series that aired in the bridge before network primetime shows between 1972-76.

Festival of Family Classics, sponsored by Burger Chef restaurants, was R-B's answer to CBS' Famous Classic Tales series that was airing periodically around the same time, but in a more condensed, half-hour format. 20 episodes in all were produced, mining some of the same ground as their rivals. For example, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was adapted for both series, while other stories, such as Puss 'N' Boots, were licensed solely to R-B.

This much I remember. The series aired in my area on the local CBS affiliate of the period, usually on a Thursday night. Wikipedia's entry on the series states that it has aired on Teletoon Retro in Canada, and supposedly on Boomerang, too. However, it wasn't on Da Boom here in the US, I assure you.

Anyway, here's the open, accompanied by a sample of the adaptation of Lewis Carroll's well-known, and oft-adapted, classic, Alice in Wonderland.

Insofar as I know, the series is not yet available on DVD, due probably to rights issues over the stories included in the series.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I've never seen this but the animation style of R-B seemed to fit the fairy tale theme.

In a way it reminds me of the ABC Weekend Specials which were adaptations of popular children's books.

BTW, I've never heard of Burger Chef restaurants!

hobbyfan said...

They were a small chain that tried to go national in the 70's, and didn't go very far.

Mushi Studios, out of Japan, animated most of R-B's line-animated fare (i.e. Frosty) during the 60's & 70's, but I'm not sure what happened to them.

Not all the Weekend Specials were book adaptations, and some of those were actually live-action (i.e. Ransom of Red Chief).