Wishbone Q&A with Denise Noe

denise noe wishbone

Q&A on Wishbone Behind the Scenes

What led you to want to write a book about Wishbone?

I always loved this show. I was a middle-aged adult when it came out but I loved watching it. The idea behind it is so inspired. It was created as a kind of Masterpiece Theater for kids and I thought that was brilliant. Wishbone episodes are divided into segments that take place in the contemporary era of its making. There is always a parallel between the modern events and a classic novel, historical event, myth, legend, or fairy tale. The resemblance leads into a “classic” segment in which the dog, Wishbone, plays a major role and is seen as human by the characters around him. He is usually the hero or, if not the hero, a character close to the hero. The way events and issues in a contemporary family segue into classics shows children that the classics are perennially relevant — indeed, that’s why they are classics!

You previously wrote Teletubbies On the Screen and Behind the Scenes, making Wishbone Behind the Scenes the second book you’ve written about a children’s TV show. Are you especially attracted to writing about shows oriented toward a child audience?

Actually, I am not especially drawn to children’s shows. I wrote the book on Teletubbies because my elderly mother was a fan of that show. Other than Wishbone, I haven’t as an adult been a fan of any children’s show.

How long did it take you to write Wishbone Behind the Scenes?

It took me a little over a year to write this book. However, I wasn’t working on it non-stop as I had other things going on during the time period.

Tell us how you researched the book.

First thing I had to do was watch every episode I could of Wishbone! I also looked up background information on the Internet. I also interviewed many people who worked on the show in varied capacities.

About how many hours per day did you devote to this project?

During the period of over a year when I worked on Wishbone Behind the Scenes, I probably spent at least three to five hours per day on this project. Researching and writing isn’t quite like a 9-5 job, so I usually worked Saturdays and Sundays and sometimes even on holidays.

What did you learn that was especially significant?

The makers of Wishbone took a cross-cultural approach in what they represented on the show. They showcased classics from all over the world: Europe, pre-Columbian Native America as well as post-Columbian America, Africa, and Asia.

What did you learn is special about working with dog actors?

For one thing, it is easier to employ a double than with human actors! The main actor was a dog named Soccer who usually played Wishbone and especially in close ups. They also employed other dog actors named Bear, Shiner, Slugger, and Phoebe. They were all Jack Russell Terriers so they all looked like our hero, Wishbone.

Is there any significance to the word “Wishbone”?

I devote a chapter in my book to a digression about the history of how a bone in a bird technically called a “frugal” became linked to good luck.

Do you have a personal favorite among Wishbone episodes? “Bark that Bark” was about African folktales. Seeing a dog dressed as the trickster spider Anansi was a case of cuteness overload! I also really enjoyed “First Impressions” in which the dog danced at a ball as Mr. Darcy.

Why should people read Wishbone Behind the Scenes?

It is fascinating to learn what went into the makings of this fascinating program.

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