Man, that Little Red Riding Hood sure gets around. On television, I mean. In terms of popular entertainment culture, it would be difficult to say that Little Red Riding Hood ranks up there in the pantheon of fairy tale princesses like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty since there was never a Disney animated blockbuster about the very stylish little gal. The best big screen cartoon on Red’s adventures is “Hoodwinked” while “The Company of Wolves” is the feature film standard for the wolfish tale. It has been up to television to keep Little Red Riding Hood in our collective consciousness and TV has done a fine job.
The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood
A prime time animated special featuring Liza Minnelli as the voice of Red Riding Hood. The twist in this 1965 prime time animated special is that the story of Little Red Riding Hood is told from the perspective of the Wolf. (“Hoodwinked” goes even further with its postmodern Rashomon-esque retelling of the story of Little Red Riding from four different perspectives. British actor Cyric Ritchard tries to duplicate his trick of turning Captain Hook into a fey pirate with the Wolf, but if ever there was a fairy tale big bad who needs to be 100% testosterone-based, it would be the Wolf, so with Minnelli and Ritchard acting out the fairy tale in question, one wonders why “The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood” hasn’t become a gay icon. Or maybe it has.
Once Upon a Brothers Grimm
Cleavon Little as the Wolf. Dean Jones as Granny. (Yes, Dean Jones!) And one of the most annoying voices in animation this side of Cree Summer as Red herself take over a segment of this musical on videotape that looks and feels like something a bunch of kids put together for YouTube. Amazingly, it actually won two Emmy Awards. Must’ve been a slow year. Red Riding Hood in “Once Upon a Brothers Grimm” is so exceptionally repulsive you will definitely be hoping the Wolf makes a quick snack of her.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Every year (pretty much) Buffy and her friends would start in a Halloween episode. One of these Halloween episodes revolved around some guys whose dad must have had all the influence of George H.W. Bush to get their pretty stupid sons into college. They unwittingly bring forth a demon and a curse that turns their house into a place where everyone’s darkest fear comes true. Buffy’s Halloween costume that year was Little Red Riding Hood. And her basket contained not food for Granny but weapons for slaying.
Of all the characters on TV shows who have dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, perhaps none fits the part quite so well as Annie on “Community.” Annie’s entire character revolves around the fact that she’s cute on the outside and naive on the inside. Which is exactly what Red Riding Hood is expected to be. Perhaps not an accurate assessment of the original conception of Little Red Riding Hood, but definitely the Red we have been fed from the wolf of pop culture.