Hansel and Gretel is a 34 minute television special directed by Tim Burton for The Disney Channel in 1982. Brimming with practical effects and long thought to be lost, the film has recently resurfaced via a recording made from its single broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on October 31, 1983. [more inside]
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
"The Turnip Princess" is one of 500 German fairy-tales recently unearthed in an archive. They were collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth about 150 years ago, around the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting fairytales. Some are variations of well known stories such as Cinderella, others are completely new like a Turnip Princess, or the story of a maiden who turns herself into a pond to escape a witch, who then attempts to drink the lake. A translator is working on an English edition.
Verner's Law. Ari Hoptman (his website) explains early Germanic sound laws to his young friend Frankie, who has tossed aside his copy of Braune’s Gothic grammar in disgust. If you want to know what makes historical linguists tick, this is a great way to find out. Warning: links to seven-minute YouTube with two sequels; disclaimer: I myself have a copy of Braune’s Gotische Grammatik within arm’s reach and I have spent time reading the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, so I may be especially susceptible to jokes about William Jones, the Brothers Grimm, and Danish linguists. [more inside]
Rumplestiltskin gets torn in half, Cinderella's stepsisters get their eyes pecked out, and Snow White's stepmother dances in red hot iron shoes until she dies from exhaustion. These are the original endings to the non-sweetened, and sometimes unsavory, fairy tales collected or written by by reclusive librarians Jacob and Wilhelm, better know as The Brothers Grimm. Their first book, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Childrens' and Household Tales) was published in 1812. Several more books, mostly of folk tales collected from willing relatives and friends, followed, some containing bizarre and disturbing stories with less than happy endings. As the National Geographic Grimm site puts it, "Looking for a sweet, soothing tale to waft you toward dreamland? Look somewhere else. The stories collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the early 1800s serve up life as generations of central Europeans knew it—capricious and often cruel." Check out the strange 1960 Mp3s and RealAudio files of some Grimm tales.