The StoryTeller 1.3 – A Story Short

Tonight’s StoryTeller was another little triumph that we all enjoyed very much. This time, he tells a tale about something that had once happened to him. Many years ago, having won a meal from a skeptical cook by way of the old stone soup scam, the storyteller gets brought before the king, who decides his punishment. Our hero must tell the king an entertaining story every night for a year before he will be freed. All is perfectly well for 364 fine evenings, and then he wakes up on the last day without a tale in mind. Richard Vernon plays the king, and Arthur Hewlett, who was in everything in the 1980s, has a tiny role as well.

So this was tremendously good fun, but unfortunately in the US, it was shown to the smallest audience yet. It aired about three months after the previous NBC special, on Friday, January 22, 1988, where it ranked a very distant third to new episodes of Beauty and the Beast and Mr. Belvedere on the other channels. Rival ABC was not yet at the point where they would completely dominate the evening with family-oriented sitcoms – the TGIF umbrella was about 18 months away – but they already had a fairly solid 8 pm hour. NBC probably knew at this stage that they would have to do something about ABC’s growing family audience, but sadly the dismal performance of this StoryTeller special didn’t seem to make them realize that Jim Henson probably wasn’t going to be the answer to this problem. More on that very soon…

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