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The Pagemaster

January 26, 2008

Some of you know that I’m a live-in nanny for my baby (well, toddler now) niece.  She absolutely loves movies, and while The Pagemasterof course I don’t set her in front of the TV all day, I do usually have her watch one before nap time to help her calm down.  Her favourites are Cinderella and Shrek 2, but she’s a big fan of most of the Disney classics.  This is a round about way to explain how I found myself watching The Pagemaster yesterday.  I remember watching it once when I was little, and really liking it, but we never owned it.  So, when I popped it in the other day, it was almost like watching it for the first time, and it was just delightful!

For those who don’t know, The Pagemaster is part live-action (at the beginning and end) and part cartoon.  Macaulay Culkin plays Richard Tyler, a little boy very concerned about all of the dangers in the world.  During a huge storm, he shelters in this gorgeous public library, with a very eager librarian, who tries to guess what genre Richard enjoys the most.  Richard gets a library card, but then he admits that he’s not actually a reader.  The librarian looks disappointed, but directs Richard to a pay phone so he can call his parents.  On the way there, he slips and hits his head…then he finds himself turned into a cartoon, in a new version of the library where books can talk!

Soon, he befriends Adventure, Fantasy, and Horror, three books who agree to try and help Richard get out of the library in return for being checked out.  Together, they go all around literature, getting into various adventures and meeting all sorts of stories.  Through it, Richard becomes braver and realises his true worth and all that.  He also ends up with a deep love for books.

I don’t care that I’m 21-even if I didn’t have a baby niece, I’d watch this movie!  It captures how real books can feel and how, especially when we’re children (but even afterwards), they can really affect who we are-our values, our approach toWishbone life, our heroes…it’s a ton of fun as well as true!

Speaking of books in TV and movies, did anyone else love Wishbone when they were little?  It was absolutely my favourite show, and I can still sing the theme song!  For those who missed out, Wishbone is a dog who loves to read; each episode had him in a different book (he played the hero, everyone else was played by humans), and there were always parallels between the story in the book and what was happening in the lives of his sixth-grade ‘owner’ and the owner’s two friends.  I found out about a lot of classic lit through that show!  “What’s the story, Wishbone?  Do you think it’s worth a look?  Kinda seems familiar, like a story from a book!…”  My mom sent me a Wishbone DVD in a care package my freshman year of college, and a. my sister was incredibly jealous, b. my friends thought I was nuts, I was so excited!

Anyone else have any particularly fond memories of movies or TV shows that loved books?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2008 1:06 am

    I had forgotten all about The Pagemaster. My son (23) and I watched it together. He was crazy about MacCauley Culkin when he was a little guy; Kevin in Home Alone was his hero: “Kevin’s big…he’s eight years old!”
    Thanks for the memory!

  2. January 27, 2008 1:26 am

    Somehow I missed The Pagemaster when I was a kid. It sounds like something I’d have loved. Of course, it’s not too late. I’m going to have to see if I can find it.

  3. January 27, 2008 8:49 am

    I love The Pagemaster, it’s one of my favourites too.

  4. January 27, 2008 9:42 am

    Wow! I remember Pagemaster (because I had a childhood crush on Mac. Culkin….I shudder now). And Wishbone! I watched that show every afternoon after school. I think it’s because of Wishbone that I learned about all the classics; there are times nowadays that I still recall the Wishbone adaptation of Northanger Abbey and Tale of Two Cities.

  5. January 27, 2008 1:48 pm

    I’ve never heard of Wishbone! Was this afterschool special? or Saturday morning? Sounds cool!

  6. January 27, 2008 2:20 pm

    There are some classics that I know the plotline only because of Wishbone. What happened to those kind of shows?

  7. January 27, 2008 3:51 pm

    That Wishbone show sounds awesome. I’ve never heard of it. but I’m going to look for it on dvd or something.

  8. January 27, 2008 4:30 pm

    Pagemaster sounds like fun and Wishbone looks like fun too. I like the little mace he’ holding in his mouth. so cute!

  9. January 27, 2008 8:11 pm

    I watched “The Pagemaster” for the first time last year and loved it. How did I miss it when my kids were growing up? I’ve never heard of the Wishbone series. Sounds really cute.

  10. January 27, 2008 9:49 pm

    You know what?! I have to set aside an hour tomorrow just to comment on your blog entries since the last time I visited!!! I just love to chat with you. Maybe email….
    Hugs, Deb

  11. January 27, 2008 10:53 pm

    Bybee, that’s so adorable!

    Nymeth, good luck trying to find it. :)

    Margo, another fan!

    TY, hehe @ your crush; I never had that one-JTT had no rivals. ;)

    BKClubCare, it was a show on PBS-I think it came on for me somewhere between 4 and 6.

    Kim L, Wishbone’s still on, at least here! Now it’s on on weekend mornings, though.

    Jeane, as I mentioned to Kim, it’s still on in my region. Maybe you can find it on PBS?

    Stefanie, I always loved his little costimes!

    Framed, I wonder if it even had a theatrical release…maybe it was straight to video?

    Deb, aww-thanks. :)

  12. January 11, 2009 6:42 am

    I used to love Wishbone! I posted YouTube videos of him here:

    and here:

    It doesn’t get any better than a talking dog playing Romeo or Ivanhoe or Sherlock Holmes!

    (Found this post through Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?’s top posts list.)

  13. May 9, 2009 10:03 am

    I really liked the both distantly remembered shows from the 1980’s. I know that I may be wrong on the dating. I just wanted to describe how I felt about bot=h of them, well here goes: About Pagemaster, I was a little boy and I could barely understand it, then I had watched it again when it had aried on disney. That was alight, then after that, Wishbone, I can remember those episodes very well. I am glad that that show came out. It was really cool and awesome.

  14. December 23, 2010 3:19 pm

    I completely forgot about Wishbone! I loved that show. I remember watching The Pagemaster as a kid. My brother and sister weren’t (aren’t) readers and so I was the only one who wanted to rent that from the library movie section. Such a great movie.


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