Watch Jim Henson's The Storyteller

Shortly before his sudden and tragic death in 1990, Jim Henson created and produced The Storyteller. Taking the rock-music video as his model, Henson dramatized nine fairy tales, set them to engaging music, enlisted major actors to play fantasy characters, and added extraordinary special effects using the resources of his Creature Shop. The result? A sequence of programs that not only won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's program, but which continues to charm children and adults alike.

The tales dramatized in The Storyteller are narrated by a wizened old man (John Hurt) and his lovable talking dog (a muppet played by Brian Henson). Neither has a name, but both are vital elements in each program: as the storyteller tells the tale to his dog, each scene is dramatized, sometimes in a very meta-theatrical way as the characters in the narration move in and out of the frame. With each scene, the dog reacts with great emotion and wonder, asking questions that elicit necessary plot information and that motivate scene changes.

The original nine episodes of The Storyteller were drawn from European tales, and had a very medieval bent. The Storyteller: Greek Myths added four more episodes to the series, with Michael Gambon replacing John Hurt in the role of the storyteller.

The Jim Henson Company
1 Season, 13 Episodes
January 31, 1987
Family
8.9/10
Cast: John Hurt, Brian Henson, Frederick Warder, David Greenaway
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Jim Henson's The Storyteller Full Episode Guide

  • When the evil king threatens Perseus' mother he must bring back the head of Medusa, whose piercing eyes will turn anyone who looks upon her to stone. Will the help of the gods be enough to aid in this seemingly impossible task?

  • The great musician Orpheus vows to bring back the soul of his beloved Eurydice from the depths of Hades. But the task he must complete to reunite with his love turns out to be as tortuous as the fate he will have to endure.

  • Daedalus, one of the greatest inventors in Greece, and his son Icarus are betrayed by the cruel King Minos and must flee for their lives. To escape, Daedalus creates wings so they can fly to safety. But, will the young Icarus heed his father's instructions or will their dreams melt away?

  • A young prince is tricked into helping a heartless giant escape from the king's dungeon. The evil giant unleashes teror across the land and those who go off to fight him never return. The young prince becomes the servant of the giant and tries to find where the giant's heart is hidden. But even if he were able to get the heart, can all be made right once more?

  • Upon fleeing her kingdom to escape an arranged marriage, the lovely Princess Sapsorrow toils in the kitchen of a faraway palace, disguised as an ugly hag. Her masquerade is no ball, as Sapsorrow has fallen in love with a prince, who sees her only as a peasant!

  • Returning from war, a young soldier trades his last biscuit for a magical sack... into which anything summoned will enter! Trapping devils and even death itself, the soldier brings peace to his country. But death soon proves a greater enemy captured than free!

  • Upon news of the birth of a Luck child - a peasant boy predicted by wise man to one day wear the crown - the cruel-hearted king seeks out the boy, pretending to take him under his terrible wing. Will luck indeed play a part in our hero's final destiny?

  • The storyteller recalls his days of servitude to the king for bamboozling the royal cook out of a free meal. A story a day was his punishment - or else he'll boil in the cook's cauldron of oil! All goes well until the final day... when he can't think of a story to save his life!

  • Hans, a hedgehog-boy, feels ostracized in his town so he runs away. Twenty years later, Hans helps a king lost in the woods find his way back to his kingdom. The king rewards Hans with the first thing that the king will see when he re-enters his kingdom. But when the first thing he sees turns out to be his beautiful daughter, will despair take hold or can love prevail?

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