We’re going to take a slight detour from our regularly scheduled Austen posts to talk about a different kind of Austen adaptation.
“Wishbone” is the name of a children’s television series produced by the US Public Broadcasting System (PBS) which starred a Jack Russell dog named Soccer as “a little dog with a big imagination.” A fan site may be found here.
The series started in 1995, and ran for 51 episodes over 4 seasons. The show entertained children and adults alike. Every episode started the same way — Wishbone or one of his human companions found themselves in a particular situation that would remind Wishbone of something similar that happened in a literary classic, and then he and the human cast would act out scenes from the work. Using this technique, children were introduced to some of the great classics of literature: Don Quixote, The Count of Monte Cristo, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, The Odyssey and Henry IV, Part I, among others.
Two novels by Jane Austen are also featured in the series: Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. Unfortunately, while some Wishbone episodes are available on DVD, these two are not. I own them on VHS (yes, in storage), but someone has posted them on YouTube and PBS has not yet had them removed. So, here for your viewing pleasure are Furst Impressions (P&P) and Pup Fiction (Northanger Abbey). I recommend watching them soon, before YouTube removes them. I have to say that Soccer/Wishbone is quite dashing as both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Tilney. He’s quite a versatile actor. 😉