Cedar Rapids Gazette
April 18, 1992
I am not quite sure why Showtime decided to call Shelley Duvallâ€™s latest series of childrenâ€™s programs â€œBedtime Stories.â€ The storiesÂ certainly wonâ€™t put children to sleep, judging by two episodes previewed this week â€” but thatâ€™s meant to be high praise.
â€œShelley Duvallâ€™s Bedtime Storiesâ€ debuts on Showtime Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. with the episode â€œElbertâ€™s Bad Word/Weird Parents.â€ AnotherÂ previewed episode, â€œElizabeth and Larry/Bill and Peteâ€ airs April 28. The series continues through May 26.
When reviewing childrenâ€™s shows, ifs best to go right to the experts so I put my 4-year-old and 6-year-old to work. Both were completelyÂ enthralled by the programs, with hardly a squirm or wiggle evident during the viewing.
Actress Duvall (“Popeyeâ€) has developed quite a reputation over the years in producing high quality childrenâ€™s programming; her previousÂ efforts include the award-winning Showtime series â€œFairie Tale Theatreâ€ in 1982.
This latest series seems to continue the tradition. The shows transfer high quality childrenâ€™s books to animated form and Duvall hosts and taps actor-pals to narrate.
â€œElbert,â€ based on the book by Audrey Wood, is narrated by Ringo Starr. Itâ€™s about a boy who is harassed by a â€œbad wordâ€ that takes the form of a fuzzy little worm like thing. â€œWeird Parents,â€ also a Wood book, is narrated by Bette Midler. It tells of an average boy and his embarrassment over having â€œweird parents.â€
Itâ€™s the tale of a woman and her pet alligator who thinks heâ€™s a person. â€œBill and Peteâ€ was written and illustrated by Tomi de Paola who exhibited at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in November 1990. Itâ€™s narrated by Dudley Moore and tells of a crocodile on the Nile whose toothbrush happens to be a bird and his best friend.
My fellow reviewers gave thumbs up to all four segments but â€œElizabeth and Larryâ€ garnered the highest praise: â€œThis is a good one!â€
Each mentioned a part that stood out for them.
The animation for â€œBedtime Storiesâ€ is good, the narration spirited and perfectly geared to younger viewers. The tales are mixed enough to appeal to a range of ages (recommended for 2- to 6-year-olds but kids a little older probably still will enjoy them) and all contain a moral ranging from, â€œItâ€™s OK to have â€˜weird parentsâ€™ because they love you even if they are weird,â€ to â€œProblems can be solved by working together.â€