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1985

Storybooks

Sam, Jeff, Muffy are all admiring the lovely banner Jodie has put up for her storybook display. It says "Once Upon a Time," Jodie explains, "Because that's how most storybooks start."

"Once upon a time, there was magic in the air," Jodie sings sweetly, "and once upon a time there was music everywhere."

"Once upon a time, far off lands of long ago," the others sing in response, "once upon a time, favorite stories we all know."

Jodie dreamily opens a book and begins to read.

Then, Jeff brings up the tempo, and sings to a rock beat, "Once upon a time, there was a beanstalk to climb!" he jumps up onto the counter.

"A dragon to fight!" sings Sam.

"And a mirror that would rhyme," adds Muffy.

"A house of gingerbread, and a princess spinning thread. A big bad wolf with great big teeth is hiding in the bed!" they sing together. "Storybooks, storybooks, storybooks, storybooks . . . take us to a land of joy and laughter even when the witch is bad, or the hero's feeling sad, even when the queen is mean, or a giant makes a scene, there's one thing we all know, for the stories tell us so, they all live happily ever after!" As they sing, they act out the parts of the different stories they're mentioning, ending with the comforting reassurance, "They all live happily ever after!"

As Jodie and Jeff walk through the stockroom to get some more books, they almost trip over Waldo the Magnificent. He is searching frantically among the storybooks. It seems he has lost a book, but not just any book, a magic book, "The Story of Robin Hood." "The book has terrible powers!"

"Wait a minute, Robin Hood. Muffy's reading Robin Hood right now!" Jeff remembers.

"Thank goodness!" says Waldo. "That is, as long as she doesn't say the magic words: 'I wish that I were Robin Hood, hiding in the forest wood.'"

"Wait a minute, Waldo, what happens if Muffy says those magic words?" asks Jodie.

"Her wish will come true. She'll be whisked away to the Land of Make Believe!" Waldo explains.

Jeff is unalarmed. "Well, don't worry, Muffy won't say the magic words, she only speaks in rhyme!"

Jodie and Waldo say the words together. "I wish that I were Robin Hood, hiding in the forest wood."

"Hood. Wood." Jeff says, "Oh, no . . ."

"It rhymes!" They all cry together.

Meanwhile in the children's department, Muffy is thoroughly enjoying Robin Hood. "I wish that I were Robin Hood, I would be him if I could, I wish that I were Robin Hood, so big and strong and brave and good! In the big trees I would hide. Below, the sheriff's guards would ride, and I'd jump on them without delay, and chase those nasty guards away!"

So far so good. But then, just as Jeff rushes into the children's department to warn her, Muffy says, "Oh! I wish that I were Robin Hood . . ."

"Muffy, Muffy, don't say . . ." Jeff calls out.

". . . hiding in the forest wood!" Muffy finishes.

"That!" Jeff says. Immediately Muffy begins to fade and then poof! She disappears.

"We're too late! Muffy's gone to the Land of Make Believe!" Waldo says.

When Sam hears about it, he's skeptical. "Now let me get this straight. Muffy's gone to the Land of Make Believe? I don't believe it!"

Jodie assures him it's true, and that she'll only come back when the spell wears off.

"Terrible! Terrible!" Waldo laments, "And it's all my fault."

Sam still isn't worried. "Muffy can take care of herself. She's a smart little mouse."

Everyone else shakes their heads.

"Muffy's not a smart little mouse?" Sam says, puzzled.

"Sam, Muffy doesn't even know she's a mouse," Jeff tells him.

"No! The magic spell makes her think that she's Robin Hood!" Jodie adds. They're afraid Muffy will try to do all the dangerous things that Robin Hood does in the book. They show him a picture of Robin Hood swinging through the trees.

"Wow." says Sam, "Muffy could get hurt doing that."

"I know," says Waldo, "and it's all my fault."

"Yeah," Sam says, "And the sheriff is very strong. She won't stand a chance."

"I know . . ." Waldo begins.

"And it's all your fault!" Sam finishes for him.

"That's what I was going to say!"

"Well, let's stop saying things and let's do something! Why don't you use your magic and take us to the Land of Make Believe, and we can protect Muffy until the magic spell wears off! Come on, hurry, our friend's in trouble!"

"That's very brave of you Sam, considering all the terrible danger!" Waldo says.

At the mention of danger, Sam begins to waffle, but Jeff and Jodie are eager to go, that is, if Waldo can really do it.

"I think so," says Waldo, "provided you follow my movements exactly." As he does the movements, he recites a rhyme. "Five times hard I pat my sleeve. Pat our heads to help us leave. To the Land of Make Believe. Magic needs a great big sneeze!"

He, Jodie and Jeff let out great big sneezes and disappear.

"That's just the silliest thing I've ever . . ." mutters Sam. Then, with a start, he realizes he is alone. "Oh, magical marmadukes, I guess I forgot to sneeze! He invites us all to sneeze with him on the count of three. When we do, he and the Robin Hood book disappear and we are transported to the Land of Make Believe.

The first three have arrived in Make Believe in a beautiful green forest. They're all wearing clothing from the time of Robin Hood. Jeff is thrilled as he looks around. "It's all so different! Not like the store at all!"

They're just wondering where Sam is when he (and the book) appear. "Sorry I'm late. Stopped for a tissue." he explains. He begins calling for Muffy, and has to be reminded that Muffy thinks she is Robin Hood, and that they have to pretend to be Robin Hood's friends. That's why they're dressed the way they are.

Jeff opens to a picture in the book to explain that Waldo looks like Little John, he looks like Alan-a-Dale, Jodie looks like Maid Marian, ("Very lovely, too," remarks Sam), and Sam looks like Friar Tuck.

Waldo produces a horn and suggests that they use it to call Robin Hood. Sam eagerly grabs it and holds it up like a phone. "Hello, Robin? Hello? Operator? Hello? Anybody there? I can't even get a dial tone!"

Jeff takes the horn and shows how to use it, blowing into one end. It plays a lovely melodic phrase which echoes through the forest.

Soon they hear an answering sound, and in a tree nearby, Muffy appears. She's still speaking in rhyme, but with an English accent. "Welcome to my neighborhood. Here I come, I'm Robin Hood!"

Before they can stop her she swings from the tree and crashes into a bush. In their concern they keep calling her Muffy.

"You should be more careful, Muffy. I mean - I mean, Robin," says Jeff. "You could get hurt."

"Well, luckily this bush was near, and you, good friends, oh I'm glad you're here!" says Muffy-turned-Robin.

Sam is eager to confirm. "There's Alan-a-Dale there, and Maid Marian, oh, and look here, here's Long John!"

"Little!" Waldo corrects him.

"Here's Long John Little!" Sam says.

"Little John!" Waldo snaps again.

"Little John Long!" says Sam. "Him!" he says finally, pointing at Waldo.

"Good, Friar Tuck," says 'Robin,' "let us rejoice. Sing to us with your golden voice!"

"Ah, yes, well!" says Sam, and then remembers that he's Friar Tuck. "Who me? Don't mind if I do!" He begins singing. "With Robin Hood and his merry band,"

"Singin' hey nonny ho nonny nonny nonny no!" the others sing.

"We'll fight for right all over this land,"

"Singin' hey nonny ho nonny nonny nonny no!"

"There's just one thing that I think is wrong,"

"Singin' hey nonny ho nonny nonny nonny no,"

"There's too many nonny nos in this song!"

"Singin' hey nonny ho nonny nonny nonny no!"

"Yes." Sam insists.

"No," sing the others.

"Yes."

"No."

"Yes!"

"No no no nonny nonny no!"

"Yes!"

"Nooooooooooooo!"

They all break out into heartily exaggerated laughter. "Robin Hood" suggests they go off to their camp to play. Waldo tells Sam to stay behind and watch the path.

"Okay, Little Long John!" Sam says, as Waldo rolls his eyes and follows the others. "I will watch the path! Never fear! Now where's that path? Oh, yeah. There it is. I wonder what I'm watching this path for. After all, it isn't going to go anywhere is it?"

Suddenly a man appears from behind a tree trunk. "Aha!" he cries.

"Who are you?" Sam asks.

"Aha!" says a second man, jumping up menacingly, but then falling over from behind a bush.

"Oh," Sam says, "You must be the 'Aha' brothers!"

They're quick to correct him. The first man is the "evil Sheriff of Nottingham" (played by Richard Binsley) and the second is his nasty friend Sir Sneakamore (played by Stan Lesk). They're looking for Robin Hood.

All at once, she is there, up in another tree. "Look no further! Here I stand! I'll fight for justice in this land!" She swings from the tree and lands at Sam's feet. He picks her up and brushes her off.

"This is the famous Robin Hood?" says the Sheriff. "I always thought he was bigger."

"Well she is!" says Sam, "I mean he is. She is!"

They easily capture Muffy, but leave Sam to tell the others to give up. They tell "Robin Hood" they have an icky dungeon just waiting for her.

Sam's pleas do no good, so he grabs the horn. As he frantically tries to blow into it, Waldo, Jeff and Jodie all come running and run into Sam.

"Sam! Where's is Muffy?" Jodie cries.

"She's in the castle! The sheriff is going to put icky in the Muffy dungeon! I mean Muffy in the icky dungeon!"

"Don't worry Sam," says Jeff, "we'll get her out." he continues, fervently, in an English accent, "There isn't an icky dungeon in the entire Kingdom that can hold the famous Robin Hood!"

"Right!" says Sam. "How do you know that, Jeff?"

"Oh, I read the book!" Jeff explains and opens the book to show him.

Meanwhile, in the "icky dungeon," Muffy is locked into a mouse-sized cell while her captors gloat.

"Why not take Robin Hood's advice and stop being evil and just be nice!" she says.

"Him? Nice?" Sir Sneakamore scoffs. "Never! For he'll always be a horrible, rotten, mean, vicious, foul, awful, terrible, rude and selfish sheriff!" The Sheriff cackles with delight at every word.

"Let's not get carried away, Sneakamore, still, I will admit . . ." he begins to sing, "I'm nasty, I'm not very nice! The heart that's inside me is as cold as ice!"

He and Sneakamore dance around the chamber and extol the Sheriff's wickedness.

"I would never do a favor, giving gifts is not for me!" he sings.

"But if I ever forgot your birthday . . ."

"I'd throw you into jail and throw away the key! . . . There is not a noble deed that I have done to- (Sneakamore: That he has done to-)" day after day after rotten after rotten after glad to be forgotten day!"

They end with Sneakamore on one knee and the sheriff sitting on his other knee briefly before falling to the floor. Sneakamore picks him up quickly and as they brush off his clothing, they inadvertently begin playing a game of pat-a-cake.

Meanwhile Muffy has fallen asleep.

"Perhaps she didn't like our singing, sire!" Sneakamore suggests.

"Come, Sneakamore! Let us find some drink to celebrate the catching of Robin Hood!"

Sneakamore asks if he's worried that Robin Hood's friends will try to rescue her, but he is unworried. He has the key to her cell hanging on his belt and "two very special guards" guarding the chamber. They are in full suits of armor. He goes over to them and gives them low 5's.

So off they go to celebrate. But no sooner are they out of the chamber when
Jeff sneaks in. As he approaches the cell, the two guards follow, stopping whenever he looks back. "Robin! Robin!" he says in a loud whisper as they surround him.

"Hi!" he says, chuckling. "You probably think I'm here to rescue Robin Hood. Oh, boy, is that a silly idea. No, actually - um - actually, I'm the new castle dance teacher." They look at him with disdain.

"No really! Really, I am! Watch this!" He does a little fancy footwork. The armored guards mimic him perfectly.

"Boy are they fast!" he says. So off he goes into a elaborate dance, with the metallic armor making a perfect rhythm to the background music. Finally, he dances them right out of the cell door and then locks it behind them.

He turns to Muffy. "Robin! Robin! Oh, Robin wake up!" he fiddles with the lock. "Wake up! Robin! I can't get this open!"

"The evil sheriff has the key, you'll need that key to rescue me," she tells him.

"Okay, Robin, we'll find a way to get the key," Jeff says. "And - be brave!" he says melodramatically, before leaving.

"Oh I'll be brave, at least I'll try," Muffy says. "But even heroes sometimes cry!" She begins to sob quietly.

Jeff rushes back to what appears to be the a pantry, since there are storage barrels and food everywhere and sausages hanging from the ceiling. There, everyone else is waiting. He tells them they have to sneak into the dungeon chamber and get the key. Jodie takes the lead from there and tells Sam to wait for them and come running if he hears the horn. Then Jodie asks for the feather dusters that are nearby and passes them out. Then the rescue team leaves.

A puzzled Sam calls after her, "Jodie! J-J-J - Dusters! You'd think they had better things to do than clean the castle."

Back inside the dungeon chamber, Jeff, Jodie and Waldo are hiding in barrels. When the bad guys return, the sheriff is drinking "freshly squeezed mushroom juice," his favorite. Sneakamore doesn't share his affinity for this vile concoction and as soon as the Sheriff isn't looking, he tosses his drink into one of the barrels, hitting Jeff squarely in the face.

The Sheriff is confident that Robin Hood is in their jail for good. They drink a toast to the capture of Robin Hood as the barrels move stealthily towards them. Sneakamore puts their goblets on top of one.

"Look at her! The famous Robin Hood," the Sheriff says. "What good is spending your life doing good deeds when you end up all alone!"

"She should've been really mean like you, sire!"

"I'll drink to that!"

"Certainly sire!" Sneakamore says. But when he turns around, the barrel he put the goblets on is suddenly right in front of him. He is puzzled, but ignores it. "A toast, sire!" he says.

"To ME!" the sheriff intones.

Sneakamore turns to put the goblets down after the toast but the barrel has moved again.

"Something sneaky is going on here!" he says.

"Nonsense, Sneakamore. We're absolutely alone! Robin's friends know better than to upset me! I wouldn't stand for it!" He begins banging on one of the barrels to emphasize his point. "NOT (bang) FOR (bang) ONE (bang) MOMENT! (bang bang!)."

Waldo emerges briefly from the barrel, punch drunk from the banging.

Sneakamore is heartened by this outburst. "It would be a terrible bore if truth and justice were to triumph over evil. In fact, it would be quite upsetting!" As he speaks, Jodie peaks out of the barrel and replaces his saber with a feather duster.

"Truth and justice always win, thanks to two heroes and one heroine!" says "Robin Hood" fervently.

"QUIET!" barks the Sheriff, "Or you'll get only bread and cheese for dinner!" Jeff opens his barrel and pulls the keys off of his belt.

"Mmmmm!" says Muffy, at the thought of cheese for dinner.

Finished gloating, the Sheriff and Sneakamore go off to "plan something nasty." He reaches for his keys and realizes they're gone. What's more, there's a barrel moving across the floor. "Stop that barrel!" he cries. He tries to get the keys from Jeff who tosses them to Jodie. Jodie loses them to Sneakamore, but Waldo gets them back, with a flurry of feather-duster in the bad guy's face.

Jeff leaps out of his barrel and challenges the Sheriff.

"You are going to challenge the Sheriff of Nottingham with a feather duster?" sneers the sheriff. He cries. He goes for his saber, and winds up whipping out a feather duster. So they begin a duel of tickling. While he and Jodie hold off the two villains, Jodie tells Waldo to rescue Muffy. Unfortunately, Waldo is stuck in the barrel. Time to call for Sam. Waldo pulls out the horn, but blows into the wrong end. Frustrated, he asks Sneakamore for help.

Sneakamore, calling for a break, as he is being tickled by Jodie, takes the horn and blows it for Waldo.

Sam is napping in the hallway when he hears the horn. "Here I am, Friar Tuck!" he says as he walks into the chamber, where the others are dualing with feather dusters. He asks Waldo what the problem is.

"I'm stuck, Tuck!" says Waldo. He gives Sam the keys and tells him to rescue "Robin Hood." Sam threads his way through the tickle fight. "Excuse me, Mr. Sneakamore." he says.

"That's SIR Sneakamore!" declares the villain before breaking once again into spasms of laughter.

"Excuse me, Sir Sneakamore!" says Sam. Sneakamore, like a jolly host, ushers Sam past him. Sam goes over to the cell.

"Duck, Tuck!" cries Muffy as an errant feather duster comes flying his way. It's Jeff's duster and he is now unarmed. The Sheriff swipes at him and knocks his hats off (the magic hat and his Alan-a-Dale hat). Waldo grabs the hat, puts it on Jeff's head and says the magic words just in time for Jeff to duck the Sheriff's blows.

Of course as soon as "Robin Hood" is set free she wants to escape by swinging out of the door from the chandelier, to Sam's dismay. But she makes it safely. When she lands, she says, "Oh-oh! I think I'm gonna to sneeze! Oh. This mouse needs some cheese!"

The spell is broken! But the others don't know it yet. Sam still has to escape the chamber, so he tries swinging from the chandelier. Everyone pauses to watch him. He swings back and forth like a pendulum until the others remind him to let go. Fortunately, he has piled some bags of straw by the entrance (apparently to sleep on), and he also makes a safe landing.

"Sam! Sam! Are you all right? This has been such a difficult night!" Muffy says.

"Hey, guess what!" Sam calls through the door. "Muffy is herself again!"

"Hooray!" Waldo, Jeff and Jodie cry.

"Now we can all go home!" says Waldo. Jeff and Jodie push Waldo, still in the barrel, into the hallway. They repeat the rhyme that got them there. "Five times hard we pat our sleeve, pat our heads to help us leave, from the Land of Make Believe, magic needs a great big sneeze!" They use their feather dusters to induce the sneezes and then poof! They disappear.

The Sheriff is stunned. "Sneakamore! Did you see what I saw!"

"Yes, sire. They're gone!" Sneakamore says, going to the barrel. "There's nothing here but this book, 'The Adventures of Robin Hood.'"

"Quick! Read the last page, see who wins!"

Sneakamore reads, "And Robin Hood lived happily ever after.!"

"Rats!" they say in unison.

Meanwhile, Muffy and her friends are back in the store. "Oh, home at last! The journey's done, and we had quite a bit of fun!" she says.

Jeff realizes he left the book behind, but Waldo says that's good. "It can't get us into any more trouble!"

"But we have these for souvenirs," says Jodie of the feather dusters, "and we learned a new song!"

"Oh, no - that song again," groans Sam.

"Oh, yes!" say Jodie and Jeff, tickling him with their feather dusters.

So they sing the "hey nonny ho nonny nonny nonny no" song again, with Sam ending with "nonny nonny ninny non -, oh, nuts!"


Quizzes:

  • Which of these three storybook characters (The wicked witch, the big bad wolf, or the good fairy) is the good, helpful one? (Once we answer the quiz, the good fairy shows us another character, a giant, on whose thumb they're standing. "Fe fie fo fum, why are you standing on my thumb?")
  • Find as many friends of Robin Hood as you can in this picture. (They're all wearing green and hiding in a forest, so they're hard to spot).

Nursery Rhyme:

  • None

Notes:

  • The "Storybooks" song that begins the program is excellent and complex. In the chorus, each singer sings "Storybooks" on a single note. Jodie sings one note four times, Muffy sings another three times, Sam sings one twice and Jeff once. This creates an escalating harmony that is lovely. The choreography and staging is also interesting, combining the puppets and the humans seamlessly. For example, Jeff jumps up onto the counter in the beginning of the song, and Sam and Muffy sing their parts through the space between his legs.
  • Jeff is the only one we see actually jump out of his barrel on screen. Doubtlessly it was more of a problem to get Jodie, dressed in flowing skirts, out of her barrel, and of course Waldo never left his at all.
  • Where did they get the extra feather dusters to 'arm' the villains, since Jodie only passed out one each for Waldo herself and Jeff?
  • When the sheriff knocks Jeff's hat off, Waldo begins saying the magic words while the hat is off of Jeff's head.  This is the only time this happens.
  • On the same note as the magic words, this is also the only time when the lining inside Jeff's magic hat is not red. In this case, the inside lining is white.
  • The castle guards were played by Scott Smith and Lesley Ballantyne, who were the feet in the "Dancing Shoes" Shoe Story. As in that episode, we never see their faces.
  • The costumes in this episode as just wonderful. Jeff and Nerene look especially attractive in their Robin Hood attire.
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