Shirley Temple's Storybook (1958)

Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

The second edition of the famous fairy tale anthology Shirley Temple's Storybook (and the second to be telecast live), was this semi-musical version of the Grimm brothers' "Rumpelstiltskin." Because miller Hanz Franz (Kurt Kasznar) has bragged to one and all that his daughter, Elsa (Phyllis Love), can spin straw into gold, the poor girl is spirited away by royal tax collector Lord Karsch (a decidedly pre-Lost in Space Jonathan Harris) and locked in a room in the palace of the king (John Raitt). Here, Elsa is given an ultimatum: spin gold and win the king's hand in marriage, or suffer a terrible fate. Coming to the girl's rescue is an odd little man from the Black Forest named Rumpelstiltskin, who offers his magical assistance -- but his price is Elsa's first-born child. The title character is played by celebrated Israeli pantomimist Shai K. Ophir, an ironic bit of casting in that the Grimms' original Rumpelstiltskin was obviously intended as an anti-Semitic stereotype (though not, of course, in this production). John Raitt sings "A Lonely Heart and a Friendly Face"," specially written for this program by veteran Hollywood tunesmiths Mack David and Jerry Livingston.