The best episodes from Shelley Duval’s Faerie Tale Theatre

 Who wouldn’t love drooling over the classic fairy tales? However, in the 80s Shelley Duvall was way ahead of the times, delivering quirky, comedic, dark as well as bizarre retellings of classic fairy tales. Her show Faerie Tale Theatre employed many well-known actors like Jeff Bridges, Paul Reubens, Helen Mirren as well as Robin Williams. The show ran for six seasons are features many popular stories like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid etc.

In this article, we will list Six of the best episodes from the series that you can watch with your kids.

Six Best episodes from Shelley Duval’s Faerie Tale Theatre

The Nightingale

The nightingale

This is the story of a vain and sheltered emperor. One day he hears the voice of a Nightingale whose voice is so beautiful that it moves him to tears. He was so enthralled with the bird that he wanted to keep it for himself. However, he learns a lesson in compassionate forgiveness instead.

Moral of the story:

True friends let each other be themselves.

The emperor selfishly caged the Nightingale so that he could be entertained. However, it made the bird miserable. He eventually learns that their friendship worked better when the bird was free and he was happier for it.

True friends will always remain by your side.

The Nightingale immediately flies to the emperor’s side once she hears that he was dying.



This episode is one that can be re-watched over and over again. The costumes are gorgeous and the actors perfectly fit their roles.

Similar to the traditional story, Cinderella has a very abusive stepfamily. One day, she meets the fairy godmother who helps her go to the ball held at the castle. When the clock strikes 12, Cinderella runs out after falling in love with someone she can never be with.

However, there are a few changes in this version of the story. For example, there are multiple balls Cinderella sneaks into, giving her more time to spend with the prince. Furthermore, we also see why the stepmother puts Cinderella down throughout the story.

All in all, this is one story you must not miss.

Moral lessons in Cinderella

Moral of the story:

Be kinds towards all and learn to forgive people for their wrong doings.

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle

This classic is the story of a man out of time due to a bad case of narcolepsy. Played by Harry Dean Stanton, Rip Van Winkle is a lazy old man who has to endure his screeching wife and her attempts to make him do work. One day, he wanders out into the mountains and comes across some pirates. They end up having a merry time and Rip Van Winkle gets drunk. When he wakes up twenty years have passed and everyone he knows except for his son has died. Furthermore, his country has changed into the United States of America and his loyalty towards King George puts him at odds with the patriotic towns people.

Moral of the story:

Life continues with or without a person. Additionally, change in life is inevitable.  

The story shows that a person will pay if they try to avoid change in life.



The story is about a boy named Pinocchio. Whenever he doesn’t complete the work given or does it wrong, his nose grows. But, when he promises Sofia that he won’t do it again, his nose changes back to normal. However, once he goes back home, he forgets his promise and repeats the same mistake. That is until Gepetto gets swallowed a whale.

This episode is based on the original story by Carlo Colloid rather than the Disney version.

Jordan Peterson life lessons from Disney’s Pinocchio

Moral of the story:

If you are brave as well as truthful and you listen to your conscience, then you will surely find salvation.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This is a more faithful adaptation of the story than the Disney movie one. Here, the evil queen disguises herself and makes many attempts on Snow White’s life. The rest of the story is similar to the one you already know.

This is a must watch due to the excelling portrayal of the characters. The evil queen, played by Vanessa Redgrave is completely full of herself, like she should be. Furthermore, Vincent Price who plays the Magic Mirror makes the best expressions when the queen praises herself. Additionally, snow white and her relationship with the dwarves is very loveable.

Moral of the story:

Your insecurities do not justify your attitude

Every time the evil queen asks the magic mirror who was the fairest, she goes into a deep range because the answer was always Snow White. This is not a great reaction to your insecurities. Everyone has insecurities; but, they learn how to overcome them. However, the evil queen does not and instead she resorts to killing Snow White.

The tale of the frog prince

The Tale Of The Frog Prince

This was the first episode of the show, the one that started it all. This episode is the retelling of the Disney story starring Robin Williams and Terri Garr. It follows the spilt princess who befriends a frog she met after dropping her golden ball. She finds out that the frog is under the spell of an evil fair and kisses it to break the curse. The frog then transforms into a handsome prince.

Moral of the story:

You should never judge someone in an instant or by how they look. Instead, always try to understand the person’s situation and act accordingly.


Shelley Duval’s Faerie Tale Theatre has many more episodes that retell different fairy tales. Furthermore, the episodes are adaptations of the original story, not the Disney version. Therefore, they may be different from what you know. Additionally, as they are based on the original stories, some episodes can contain adult content that may be inappropriate for children.

The above 6 episodes are only a tiny fraction of all the wonderful stories in the show. You must watch the rest with your family and kids.

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