Duvall finds new niche in kids TV

by Claire Bickley
Toronto Sun
Monday, January 5, 1998

 While most actors worry about wowing the critics, those who work with Shelley Duvall are usually more interested in impressing their kids.
 The actress, whose early career concentrated on adult drama, has now found her niche in children's television.
 She's been the creator and host of five kids series, Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, Nightmare Classics, Tall Tales And Legends, Bedtime Stories and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, with another in the works.
 Tonight, she guest-stars as a librarian who wishes she was a witch on the season premiere of Canada's The Adventures Of Shirley Holmes, airing at 7:30 on YTV.
 "I loved it. I wanted to do it," she says of the episode, which ultimately has a logical explanation for its seemingly spooky events.
 "They pulled it all back to science. That's the key. Everything has an explanation whether we know it or not at the time," says Duvall, a Texas native becoming quite a regular in Winnipeg where Shirley Holmes is shot.
 She met the principals of its production company, Credo Entertainment, when she was honored at that city's aptly-named Blizzard Awards film festival. (Incidentally, she calls Winnipeg "gorgeous," and swears she's been there in all four seasons.)
 She was there again to play an ostrich farmer in the movie romance Twilight Of The Ice Nymphs, Winnipeg director Guy Maddin's contribution to last fall's Toronto film festival. Now she's talking to Credo about making a series there based on Aesop's Fables, continuing her determination to spin classic stories into kids entertainment.
 "I didn't want kids to miss classic fairytales," she says of her motivation, speaking recently from L.A. during a day off from filming Casper & Wendy, the home video sequel to the film about the friendly ghost. Duvall, Teri Garr and Cathy Moriarty play Wendy's aunts.
 Though childless herself, Duvall is a lifelong collector of antique children's books and took a volume of fairytales along when she played Olive Oyl opposite Robin Williams' Popeye in 1980.
 "I was watching Robin one day being a wild and crazy guy and I thought he'd make a great Frog Prince. He said he would do it and two years later, that become Faerie Tale Theatre."