Tuesday, December 25, 2012


While watching the latest TV version of Mary Norton's classic "The Borrowers", it occurred to me that at least as far as the Toobworld Dynamic is concerned, there should be some sort of splainin as to where the Borrower folk come from. And I think we need to turn to another classic to find those origins.

I believe the Borrowers are the descendants of Lilliputians who were transplanted to England in the 17th Century.

After Lemuel Gulliver returned from his sea-faring adventure, he related everything that happened to him in a bid to secure his freedom. (We're talking the TV version starring Ted Danson, of course.) It was a risk that might have landed him in an asylum for the rest of his days, but apparently it worked.

However, someone who learned of his incredible tale not only believed it, but was also desirous of visiting Lilliput to see the Little People for himself - not only see them, but to capture and enslave them as well.

That someone probably funded an expedition to Lilliput, hiring experienced slave traders as his crew, and was able to capture several hundred of the diminutive denizens of that island.

But something must have happened once the ship returned to England - the "cargo" managed to escape. Perhaps they mounted a rebellion - despite their small size, the Lilliputians were able to overpower and elude their captors. From the docks on London's East End, the little people fanned out to make their new homes in the hidden underground of the city's architecture. And some of them moved out to the countryside.  Over time, they diminished in size.

Of course, then it becomes a question as to where did the Lilliputians come from. Fine....

They were the survivors of an alien race that crash-landed on the island which they named Lilliput.

It's not inconceivable that "Homo Sapien Redactus" evolved on some other planet in the Television Galaxy. In an episode of 'The Twilight Zone' ("The Little People") Terran astronauts landed on a planet where the inhabitants were even smaller than the Lilliputians.

That they could be so small and still resemble humans of our size had to be due to genetic tinkering by the race known as the Preservers.

(I suppose this theory could work in the fictional universe known as BookWorld, but that's not my bailiwick.)

Getting back to "The Borrowers":

The version I just saw starred Christopher Eccleston and Stephen Fry. It was quite enjoyable and I hope to find it available on DVD for my nephew.

However, it is not the version of Mary Norton's story that exists in Earth Prime-Time. That honor goes to a charming, low-key TV movie from the early 1970's which starred Eddie Albert, Tammy Grimes, Dame Judith Anderson, Beatrice Straight, and Barnard Hughes.

In between these two versions was another which starred Ian Holm. And then there's the version to be found in the Cineverse in which Jim Broadbent played Pod Clock with John Goodman as the villain of the piece.

Because this latest version of the tale had an overall Christmas theme to it, I've decided to induct "The Borrowers" as the Multiverse entry into the TV Crossovers Hall Of Fame for the Christmas Honors List.

BookWorld, the Cineverse, and three dimensions of the TV Universe - not bad....


1 comment:

William Mercado said...

I saw that version as a kid and was very impressed by it. Thank you for reminding me of it.