What's the story, Wishbone?
September 16, 2020 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Top Dog: An Oral History of Wishbone. To commemorate the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Texas Monthly spoke with the writers, producers, cast, and crew of the original series for an oral history recounting how our state’s favorite literature-loving terrier got his own story.

It was also announced earlier this summer that a feature length movie (link to Bustle article) is in the works from Oscar winning director Peter Farrelly. (Farrelly won his Oscar for Green Book, granted, but maybe Wishbone will become the movie he should have won the Oscar for?)

Previously in Wishbone-filter
posted by the primroses were over (24 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
To be clear, Farrelly is producing the movie. Not sure if he'll be directing as well. I'm more concerned with what great book will be adapted.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:06 PM on September 16


Oh man, thank you for this! I loved this show so much.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:42 PM on September 16


Oh man, I want an oral history on why Texas Monthly is so cool.
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:46 PM on September 16 [6 favorites]


Oh Wishbone I loved you so. Cool to hear there will be a movie, wonder how that will work.
posted by Wretch729 at 4:47 PM on September 16


Gosh this article makes it sound wonderful to have worked on this show. It's making me want to rewatch it all and I do not have kids to watch it with.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:51 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


My sister and I just rewatched a couple episodes because my husband hadn't watched it as a kid and we were like "oh man you gotta see it" but also "let's see if it's as weird as we remember".

It is SO MUCH weirder than we remembered.
posted by potrzebie at 5:17 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


I have happy memories of getting home from college and sitting down with a glass of cheap wine and watching Wishbone to decompress.
posted by Lexica at 5:23 PM on September 16 [7 favorites]


I can't believe the show was only two seasons??? I loved it so much and it has such an big place in my heart and my brain. It was very helpful to have watched all the Wishbone episodes for all the Big Literature I read in high school.

(Also, no idea that Mo Rocca was a writer for them!)
posted by ChuraChura at 5:27 PM on September 16 [10 favorites]


I got to see Wishbone at a meet and greet in Chicago, and it was the highlight of my year! (I was 29 years old that year.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:34 PM on September 16 [6 favorites]


VISIONARY: My winsome Jack Russell Terrier is no mere peddler of phonics. He is the bard, the scop, the muse. He is the flame that lights the cave.

(The Pitch Meeting for Wishbone from the Toast)
posted by ChuraChura at 5:41 PM on September 16 [10 favorites]


I worked in the Dallas theater scene at the time, and was lucky enough to work with a number of actors who got parts on this. Most notably Amy Acker who went on to have a real actual famous person career. Everybody that I knew who worked with the show enjoyed it.
posted by nushustu at 6:01 PM on September 16 [6 favorites]


I had no idea that Wishbone was so tightly connected to Texas! This was a great article--I used to love that show, despite being one of the kids who was technically too old for it.

And like others, I'm startled to hear it only lasted two seasons. But 49 episodes isn't shabby! I wonder if there are ones I haven't seen yet...
posted by theatro at 6:02 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


His name was nearly"Knuckles"???
posted by emjaybee at 6:24 PM on September 16 [2 favorites]


Yes, I thought the little glimpses of possible alternate Wishbones were interesting - a bulldog in New Orleans?

I also didn't realize the 2 seasons were 40 episodes and then 10 episodes, respectively. Filming 40 episodes in a year must have been nuts!
posted by the primroses were over at 6:30 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


Wishbone was wonderful. I didn't realize it was only two seasons! It left such a big cultural impact, much bigger and much better than Barney.

One of my favorite parts was the little coda at the end of every episode when they'd show you how they made the magic happen. Like how sound effects or music enhances a scene, or what a green screen does. It felt like being let in on a delicious little secret.

My other favorite part was that it incorporated storytelling that wasn't just the Western canon. Native American mythologies, African stories... I did not encounter that diverse of a reading list again until college.

The article is absolutely right; that show was ahead of its time and deeply respected its audience, and I think that's why we all remember it so fondly today.
posted by basalganglia at 6:57 PM on September 16 [12 favorites]


One of my favorite parts was the little coda at the end of every episode when they'd show you how they made the magic happen. Like how sound effects or music enhances a scene, or what a green screen does. It felt like being let in on a delicious little secret.

Yes! I loved this. I remember one where they showed how they created a crowd scene, by filming relatively few extras in different areas and then compositing them all together. And at the time I was like "cool, that makes sense," but from this article, it sounds as if they were actually pioneering techniques like that, at least for TV.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:35 PM on September 16 [1 favorite]


OH BOY

Listen I had a lot of Wishbone merch

I wonder if I still have the plushie

Omg really hope I do
posted by Kitchen Witch at 7:57 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


My kids were quite small when Wishbone was being broadcast on TV. Which goes to highlight one of the really good features of the show: it works pretty well for all ages, unlike so many kid shows. Little kids like it because, duh, cute talking dog. Older audiences get to appreciate the drama of the young adult characters, or the literary/historical interpretations.

The run of the show was mercifully kept to two seasons. I suspect it would have jumped the shark had our rapidly growing up young characters been allowed to get carded for the first time, or worse, been stuck in the frozen youth time machine.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:39 PM on September 16 [2 favorites]


My first computer job, as a teenager, was for an Internet provider and web design company based not far from Plano, where most of Wishbone's interior scenes were filmed. My boss was a friend with someone who worked for Big Feats, so we got the contract to make the first website for the show. Yours truly was sent to the soundstage to take pictures of Soccer as Wishbone, for the site. Best day ever at that job.

Sadly, I can't remember the URL (it's definitely not wishbone dot com) to see if it's on the ol' Internet Archive.
posted by fireoyster at 11:18 PM on September 16 [9 favorites]


fireoyster, could it have been the slightly redundantly-named www.wwwishbone.com?
posted by teraflop at 12:22 AM on September 17


My kids loved Wishbone, my wife and I loved Wishbone, everyone loved Wishbone. It's the only kids show from that era that had appeal for adults without the *nudge* *nudge* of something like Shrek. And it did that while taking its young audience seriously.
posted by tommasz at 8:14 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


“Soccer’s little brain can only take so much.”

I get you, Soccer.
posted by PussKillian at 8:26 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


This was such an amazing series, and I still believe that Wishbone's Mr. Darcy comes second only to Colin Firth's. I tried to get my son to watch these when he was around 5 or 6, and he couldn't get into it. But now I'm thinking maybe he was too young. I wonder if I should try again, or if (at 12) he's now too old.
posted by Mchelly at 10:56 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


We've been slowly watching Wishbone over the past year. Or rewatching, in my case. (My spouse had never seen an episode.) It's such a mix of weird and wholesome, and it's great to read the production was just as earnest and close knit as the show seems to be.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:30 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


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