SHOWS FOR YOUNGSTERS AND THEIR PARENTS TOO : A behind-the-scenes look at favorite fairy tales and fables on HBO


Ever wonder why Frere Jacques overslept, despite the ringing of the morning bells? And what was fragile Humpty Dumpty doing sitting on that high wall, anyway? HBO offers an answer, via the The Real Story of . . ., a “behind-the-scenes” animated fable of traditional and familiar stories, songs and nursery rhymes.

“We thought it would be a lot of fun to take what children knew and invent a story behind them, just in the form of entertainment,” says Carol Rosen, vice president of Family Programming at HBO. “We put together writers and music people and had a lot of fun with the concept.”

Monday, a clockmaker and his grandson nearly lose their shop due to an ancient curse in “The Real Story of Sur Le Pont D’Avignon,” featuring the voice of Robert Guillaume.

On Saturday, Milton Berle lends his voice to “The Real Story of Au Clair De La Lune.” The Prince of Darkness puts Pierrot in a deep slumber, since Pierrot has turned night into day. Fortunately, a plucky moth comes to the rescue and saves both Pierrot and the night.


Other upcoming fables include tales based on “O’ Christmas Tree,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Here Comes the Bride.”

“The Real Story of . . . " is part of the new weekly “HBO for Kids’ ” schedule which also includes the new, 26-part animated “The Legend of White Fang.”

“The Real Story of . . . " airs Monday and Saturday from 8:30 to 9 a.m. “The Legend of White Fang” airs Monday through Saturday from 8-8:30 a.m. HBO. For ages 2 to 8.

More Family Shows


Reptiles do a lot more than shed their skin as Films for the Family (Sunday 3-4:30 p.m. Discovery) uncovers in “The Secret World of Reptiles.” Unusual facts abound: the Komodo dragon (one such reptile was a co-star of the Marlon Brando/Matthew Broderick movie “The Freshman”), can reach lengths of 10 feet and are known to devour wild boars. Crocodiles, ferocious man-eaters, can grow more than 20 feet long. Then there’s sea turtles and giant Galapagos tortoises, which also reach enormous sizes; toothless, they pose no threats to mammals. Also featured is a look at snakes’ highly specialized methods of debilitating prey, including poison and strangulation. For ages 8 and up.

Bill Cosby hosts the Peabody Award-winning The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney (Tuesday 9-10 p.m. Disney). The special chronicles the 1992 journey of the second African-American to sail around the world solo and the first to circumnavigate the world alone on a route that skirted the southernmost capes. During his 22-month, 27,000-mile journey, the Chicago native and Navy veteran became a hero to thousands of schoolchildren who followed his voyage by radio and computer. Pinkney says he made the trip to make people aware of the contributions of African-Americans to maritime history, to inspire young people to set goals, make commitments, and persevere under adverse conditions. For ages 10 and up.

A salesman (guest star Stuart Pankin) cons the White Rabbit into spending the Red Queen’s money on a seed for a phony money tree on Adventures in Wonderland “The Color of Wobucks” (Thursday 4:30-5 p.m. Disney). The furious Red Queen then plots to bamboozle the bamboozler. For ages 4 to 11.