Celebrating Weston Woods
    by John Cech

Brief sound clip

That's Mort Schindel, the founder and guiding spirit of Weston Woods Studios, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In 1954, the year after it was founded on a shoestring, in the woods of southern Connecticut, it produced its first film, and within two years its versions of popular children's books were appearing on the "Captain Kangaroo" show. Among the earliest of these films were Wanda Gag's Millions of Cats, Marcia Brown's Stone Soup, and Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings.

Schindel saw, from the beginning, what was and still is needed on television-- quality programming for children. He started with the works that had gotten him, through his own children, inspired by children's books. He also knew that the kinds of films he wished to make were ones that first and foremost sought to honor the books themselves.

Today, Weston Woods is still making movies for children -- gorgeously produced, with stars like Meryl Streep and John Lithgow doing the narrations, and musicians like Cindy Lauper and Randy Travis doing the songs. But something has not changed, there in the woods -- the loving, scrupulous attention that is paid to children's books and the artists who create them. Here's wishing you fifty more years, Weston Woods, and fifty more after that!

Copyright 2003 John Cech

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Thursday, 17-Jul-2003 15:43:51 EDT

"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."