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Retro : Still in a 'Faerie Tale' World : DISNEY REPEATS SHOWTIME'S ADAPTATIONS OF FAMOUS FABLES

January 23, 1994|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Barney the Dinosaur doesn't appear in any episodes of Faerie Tale Theatre, one of the most delightful and innovative family series ever to hit cable television. But there are wolves, pigs, frogs and mermaids galore.

Repeats of the award-winning series recently began on the Disney Channel.

"Faerie Tale Theatre" is the brainchild of actress Shelley Duvall, best known for her offbeat roles in such Robert Altman films as "Popeye" and "Thieves Like Us." Not only was she executive producer of the series, Duvall wore the hats of host and guest star.

Each of the 27 episodes, which originally aired from 1982 to '87 on Showtime, took a unique, quirky spin on venerable fairy tales. Knockabout humor, music, innovative sets and stellar casts were the series' calling cards. The show doesn't talk down to children and is sophisticated enough for adults to appreciate. Among the more notable episodes were "The Tale of the Frog Prince," with a high-flying Robin Williams, and "The Three Little Pigs," with Billy Crystal hamming it up with glee.

The series also attracted major film directors. Francis Ford Coppola directed "Rip Van Winkle," with Harry Dean Stanton, and French director Roger Vadim helmed "Beauty and the Beast," starring Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon.

Duvall has also had great success with her two subsequent series for Showtime: "Tall Tales and Legends," and her current animated show "Bedtime Stories."

Upcoming episodes of "Faerie Tale Theatre" on Disney include:

Monday: "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers," starring Dana Hill, Peter MacNicol, Christopher Lee, Frank Zappa and David Warner.

Jan. 31: "Sleeping Beauty," starring Christopher Reeve, Bernadette Peters, Beverly D'Angelo, Sally Kellerman, Carol Kane and Rene Auberjonois.

Feb. 7: "Cinderella," starring Jennifer Beals, Matthew Broderick, Jean Stapleton and Eve Arden.

Feb. 14: "Beauty and the Beast," starring Klaus Kinski, Susan Sarandon, Anjelica Huston and Stephen Elliot.

Feb. 21: "Puss in Boots," starring Gregory Hines, Ben Vereen, George Kirby, Alfre Woodward and Brock Peters.

Feb. 28: "Rumpelstiltskin," starring Shelley Duvall, Ned Beatty, Herve Villechaize and Bud Cort. Emile Ardolino ("Sister Act," "Gypsy") directed.

"Faerie Tale Theatre" airs Mondays at 7 p.m. and repeats Saturdays at 6 p.m. on the Disney Channel.

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