Faerie Tale Theatre
Faerie Tale Theatre (1982-1987) was a live-action children's television show which retold popular fairy tales. The show was presented by actress Shelley Duvall and featured television adaptations of the fairy tales, often with well-known actors and celebrities in cameo roles.
On September 17, 1984, during the third season of the show, Zappa appeared in the episode "The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers", where he played a cameo role as a mute hunchback.
During a tv interview on the Australian TV show "Sounds" on June 17, 1983 Zappa reflected with pleasure on the experience, even though his cameo role would only be seen by the public almost a year later.
"Recently I, just for a laugh, I played the role of a hunchback on a fairy tale that was completed about three days ago, on a show called Faerie Tale Theatre which was produced by Shelley Duvall, and airs on Showtime cable network here in the United States. I don't know if they have distribution outside the US (...). I think that they probably would be trying to export this thing, but . . . It's a whole series of fairy tales. The first one that they did was "The Frog Prince" and it starred Robin Williams as the frog. He was really great. And, things are all done on video, they use a lot of video effects. Mick Jagger did the last one that was on the air, he played the Mandarin in "The Nightingale," and . . . So I got to be a hunchback in a story called "The Boy Who Left Home To Learn About The Shivers." (...) Eventually, yes, he found out about the shivers in one of the more humorous scenes in the thing. (...) Hear my lines, "Huh huh huh . . . " And, "Ooooh . . . heh heh . . . "
It's interesting to note that hunchbacks appeared a few times in Zappa's work:
- Run Home Slow featured a hunchback.
- Igor's Boogie might be a reference to Igor, the hunchbacked assistent of Dr. Frankenstein in the 1931 horror movie, "Frankenstein".
- The Return Of The Hunchback Duke
- Zappa liked the film The Ghost of Frankenstein, which features Bela Lugosi as a hunchbacked assistant.