Fractured Fairy Tales TV Poster Image

Fractured Fairy Tales

Retro series' satire still offers cross-generational laughs.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The show takes creative liberties with classic fairy tales, often with comical or ironic results, and most have some indication of a positive moral. Cultural differences are evident in this 1960s cartoon, and there's some minor stereotyping in the form of heavy accents and mannerisms from some characters.

Positive role models

Every story is different, and the characters are diverse as well. Some are responsible and upstanding, others are grumpy, quarreling, and mean-spirited. For the most part, though, those whose actions are less than ideal get their due in the end, usually with a positive lesson.

Violence & scariness

Occasional punches, bumps, and knocks. Some people carry weapons like guns and swords. Shooting can be heard, and dead (cartoon) animals are shown.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fractured Fairy Tales is a '50s- and '60s-era cartoon whose stories are creative alterations of classic fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, and Sleeping Beauty. Given its retro status, there are some minor discrepancies between its content and that of the shows your kids are used to seeing, mostly in the way of exaggerated ethnic accents and the visibility of weapons like guns and swords, which aren't used. The show's stories are a fun departure from modern-day cartoons and will be most enjoyed by kids (and parents) who are familiar enough with the original fairy tales to pick up on the subtle changes as well as the obvious ones.

Kids say

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What's the story?

FRACTURED FAIRY TALES is a collection of made-over classics that were a featured segment in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in the '50s and '60s. The five-minute stories rewrite familiar fairy tales, inserting modern (at least for the time) plot twists and swapping the characters' traditional roles in hilarious ways. Here Midas' touch is less the work of magic and more the result of a good paint sprayer; Goldilocks' clumsiness wreaks havoc on everything she touches; and it's Little Red Riding Hood who disguises herself to put one over on an unsuspecting wolf.

Is it any good?


Heavy in satire and very worthy of the laughs they've garnered for more than half a decade, Fractured Fairy Tales is timeless in its entertainment value. Just about everyone has heard most of the original stories, enough to appreciate the irony in hyperactive princesses and inept witches with marginal magical talents. The intrinsic comedy in these simple changes transcends the show's age and the stories' brief running time.

Creativity aside, perhaps the best feature of the show is its delightful narrative style. Every story begins with a voice-over lead-in by Edward Everett Horton, who sets up the tale in a natural cadence that gives the impression of a grandfather reading a book to his grandkids. From there the stories come to life, with characters who are lively, comical, and always a little flawed and whose exploits often hold some little nugget of a moral that's easily deciphered by viewers of just about any age.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how these stories deviate from the original fairy tales. In what ways are the characters' actions different? How does that change the course of the story? Was the writer attempting to send a message with these new tales? If so, what was it?

  • How have TV shows and movies changed over the past few decades? Can you see differences between this show and those you watch today? Is there any content in Fractured Fairy Tales that wouldn't be appropriate for cartoons today?

  • This series is a fun way to inspire creative storytelling within your family during screen-free times. Play a narrative game or collaborate to put a new spin on an old favorite. How do our life experiences show up in the stories we tell or write? To what degree do you think that's true of the classics?

TV details

Premiere date:November 19, 1959
Cast:Edward Everett Horton
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Book characters, Fairy tales
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byLowe's man April 20, 2014

great for family viewing

As soon as the kids know the real fairy tales, they'll have fun making note of the changes that are found in these stories. Some are obvious, while others will require a little more thought. There are a lot of plot twists in these cartoons. Viewers will want to keep coming back for more. These versions of classic fairy tales are fun and funny for the whole family. Even adults who know fairy tales by heart will find much to be amused by these alterations done by Jay Ward. Great stories. This series of cartoons should not be missed.