The story of Snow White has been around for centuries. Part of the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, the story’s original title is Kinder-und Hausmärchen. Since then, the timeless tale has been told in literature film and television dozens of times.
Perhaps the most famous is the Disney animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The beautiful hand-painted animation cels are worth a fortune if you have the good fortune to own one. And of course Snow White is a fixture of Walt Disney theme parks!
But did you know that the 1937 classic wasn’t the first American telling of Snow’s tale on film? Three previous Snow White movies preceded the Disney release, one all the way back in 1902.
Adolph Zukor released a version in 1916 with Margeurite Clark playing Snow White and Creighton Hale as Prince Florimond. And in 1933, Betty Boop played her, complete with Cab Calloway singing “St. James Infirmary Blues.”
And if Betty Boop can play her, why not the Three Stooges? Snow White and the Three Stooges presents a unique version of the fairy tale when the dwarves go on vacation and lend their house to Moe, Curly and Larry.
Television adaptations of Snow White have also been a staple of the Grimm tale. Do you remember The Charmings in 1987? In that ABC sitcom, the Prince and his bride were transported to a place even scarier than Storybrooke—suburban Los Angeles. In that series, Snow and the prince do their best to adapt to 20th Century American life. Unlike the characters in Once Upon a Time, those characters remembered from whence they came.
“The fairy tale is over,” says the tagline of the 1997 horror film called Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Starring Sigourney Weaver and Sam Neill, with the dwarves replaced by a team of miners, it received mixed reviews, but received high marks for preserving the dark tone of the classic tale.
Of course Once Upon a Time won’t be the last time the Enchanted Forest is revisited on the screen. Next year two films are due to be released: Snow White and the Huntsman with Charlize Theron and The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, starring Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane.
Once Upon a Time debuts tonight on ABC 8:00 ET.