Every so often I use Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales & Legends in conversation, and to this day, very few people have ever known what I'm talking about:
Me: Oh man, you know what I'd love to watch right now? One of those Shelley Duvall videos with Calamity Jane or Annie Oakley.
Person I'm Talking To: ...The Shining?
Me: No no, those ones where she'd flop down into a huge easy chair on this saloon soundstage. And she'd tell a story from the Old West.
Me: No, we'd watch these ones on the longer bus rides to field trips back in elementary school. They were on VHS.
Person: Wow, that's really cool of your teachers. They would've never shown us Kubrick.
Me: Clearly, this needs blogging about.
Although there is very little information about this series on the internet, I have managed to dig most of it up. Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales & Legends ran from 1985-1987 on Showtime. She created and produced it, which automatically increases my respect for Shelley freaking Duvall by about 100%. This series was my first introduction to many American tall tales, which then must have fermented into some sort of interest in American Studies, which then must have been why I majored in it. Oops, I majored in Shelley Duvall. Too late now!
Here are the tales covered by the series:
- Annie Oakley
- Casey at the Bat
- Darlin' Clementine
- Davy Crockett
- John Henry
- Johnny Appleseed
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
- Pecos Bill
- Ponce de Leon
- Annie Oakley: Jamie Lee Curtis
- Buffalo Bill Cody: Brian Dennehy
- Casey (at the bat): Elliott Gould
- Casey's girlfriend: Carol Kane
- Clementine: Shelley Duvall, herself
- Clementine's father: Ed Asner
- Misc. Characters: Michael McKean
- John Henry: Danny Glover
- Johnny Appleseed: Martin Short
- Jenny Smith: Molly Ringwald
- Ichabod Crane: Ed Begley, Jr.
- Katrina Van Tassel: Beverly D'Angelo
- Pecos Bill: Steve Guttenberg
- Slew Foot Sue: Rebecca De Mornay
- Side characters: Martin Mull & Megan Mullaly (!!!!!!!1987MeganMullaly???!!!!!!)
- Ponce de Leon: Michael York
Please awaken this part of your memory so we can TALK ALL ABOUT IT!
Additionally, I have just purchased the complete series on dvd from Amazon. Let me know when you're free and we'll watch it.
all photos courtesy TallTalesAndLegends.com