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Storytime (film)

Directed by Terry Gilliam
Narrated by Terry Gilliam
Running time 9 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Storytime is a short animated comedy film written, directed and animated by Terry Gilliam. It is Gilliam's first film, and stylistically anticipates the distinctive animations which Gilliam went on to produce for Monty Python's Flying Circus.[1]

Storytime is composed of three loosely connected animated segments.[2] The first two, "Don the Cockroach" and "The Albert Einstein Story", were originally broadcast in the 1971–1972 TV series The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, while the third, "The Christmas Card", was created for the 1968 Christmas Special of Do Not Adjust Your Set.[3][4] It is not clear when the three segments were first compiled to create Storytime, but the film was eventually included on the Jabberwocky DVD as a bonus feature.[5] It was also shown as an accompaniment to some British theatrical releases of Monty Python's Life of Brian.


The film begins with an animated version of director Terry Gilliam reading from a children's storybook. The story, "Don the Cockroach", opens with a palace high atop a mountain. Inside the wall of one of its rooms lives a cheerful cockroach named Don, who is shown frolicking and generally enjoying his life as a cockroach. One day, as Don scurries across a kitchen floor, he is suddenly crushed by a foot. The narrator Gilliam remarks that this does not matter, as cockroaches are not very interesting. The story then shifts to the man who crushed Don, then to his brother, then to the brother's friend, then to the friend's employer, and so forth. Eventually the chain of interconnected people reaches a cleaning lady who is involved in a search-and-destroy mission against a colony of cockroaches, one of whom is named Don. The film then loops back to Don, replaying some of the earlier events until a gruff voice interrupts the narrator with "You already said that!" and the sound of a punch. An intertitle appears, announcing that the animator responsible for the previous cartoon has been sacked, and promising that the next one will be better.

The next segment, entitled "The Albert Einstein Story", revolves around an English man who happens to share the name of the famous physicist, and is "quite interesting in his own right". The new narrator says that Einstein is very good with his hands, and that his hands are very good to him. However, they once stayed out late at night, carousing, misbehaving, and even cheating on their owner by shaking other hands. One of the hands was once seen out with a foot, causing a scandal in the upper-class society of hands, who were prejudiced against feet. The film then cuts to a musical extravaganza starring "Fred & Frank Feet & Their Dancing Body". The curtains draw to a close with the sound of a jeering audience, and the words "The End – Yours truly, Terry Gilliam" appear.

Next the film cuts to a segment entitled "The Christmas Card", set on Christmas Day in 1968 London. A lonely old man receives a Christmas card in the post. A series of Christmas cards are then shown coming to life in bizarre ways, connected only by the Three Wise Men, who follow the Star of Bethlehem from one card to another. Suddenly the postman returns and takes the card back, apologising for delivering it to the wrong address.

External links

  • on YouTubeStorytime


  1. ^ Harlib, Amy (17 November 2001). "Jabberwocky". Rambles. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Zon (30 January 2012). "The theatrical shorts of Terry Gilliam". Smarter Than The Average!. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Terry Gilliam's first animated film, Storytime". Ikonotv. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Springer, Mike (24 March 2012). "Terry Gilliam's Debut Animation Film, Storytime". Mutantspace. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Dammet, D (29 September 2001). "Indierag: Reviews: Jabberwocky". Indierag. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
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