How Wishbone Helped Me Win at English Class

Posted by Brian Morell

For years, I had a ritual everyday after coming home from school. Exhausted from the seemingly interminable day, I laid in my bed and watched TV. The WB was a particular favorite of mine because it was one of two stations that had good reception. They had a pretty stellar lineup of after-school programming with Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Batman: The Animated Series being among my favoritesBut out of all those shows, one stood out, a show on the only other station that had reception.

I can sing the theme to Wishbone, no problem (I can, but I won’t, for everyone’s sake). I loved that show more than any of them and I can probably trace my supreme love of dogs over any other animal directly to that bookish Jack Russell Terrier. I knew I was learning, but I didn’t care, because there was an adorable dog in a Sherlock Holmes costume. That is absolute TV gold.

Wishbone has been an integral part of my education, too. On occasion, I’ve remembered a detail from an episode of Wishbone more easily than one from a book that I had just read…because a dog wearing a costume is way more memorable than words on a page. Here are some of my favorite episodes of Wishbone that actually helped me pass English class (even honors classes!).

Frankenbone: I happened to watch this episode before I had read the book, so when the teacher had it on the curriculum, I already knew the basic story. After assigning it to the class that day, she asked who Frankenstein was, I guess to see if we had been tricked by so many Halloweens of a green creature with bolts in its neck. A student foolishly blurted out, “The monster!” to which I quickly responded that Frankenstein was the doctor who made the creature. Take that, other student!

The Pawloined Paper: I remember reading some of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, which we were then going to discuss in class. For the discussion on “The Purloined Letter,” I certainly would not have remembered the chain of events which led C. Auguste Dupin to discover the stolen letter and then stealthily switch it back. Thankfully, I had the image of Wishbone doing all the of the work!

The Slobbery Hound: I’ll always remember this fill-in question on a test for The Hound of the Baskervilles because I absolutely knew the answer thanks to Wishbone. “How was the hound that haunted the Baskervilles made to appear more terrifying?” Phosphorus. Correct!

Shakespaw: Wishbone covered several of Shakespeare’s works, including Henry IV, Part One and Romeo and Juliet, but it was the episode on The Tempest that helped me the most.

This one English teacher in high school only assigned us Shakespeare. It wasn’t as if the class should have been just about Shakespeare, but I guess the teacher particularly admired him. He even claimed to be able to recite several plays from memory, which naturally led to an assignment for us to recite a short section ourselves. I was lucky enough to catch this episode and tape it, rewatching the recording to help memorize a scene!

Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars: I don’t think I used this episode as a point of reference for school, but I do have a very vivid memory of me doing homework on Halloween while watching this episode. This was in college.

Wishbone is great, so whatever! Also, Damont Jones is the worst!

Brian Morell is an awesome librarian from New York City. He writes about his travels and life at That Long Yellow Line and about music for The Ruckus. Follow him on Twitter @goodinthestacks.