Heidi 4 Paws: A Furry Tale

Thu, 12/25/2008 - 5:00pm

Heidi (bottom center) and the cast of Heidi 4 Paws

Heidi 4 Paws: A Furry Tale, airing Thursday, December 25 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1), is sure to delight family members of all ages as it re-tells the classic children’s story of Heidi featuring adorable dogs in all the roles! Written originally by Johanna Spyri in 1881, this all-time classic has been translated into over 70 languages. Now, in the tradition of Wishbone, Babe, and Charlotte’s Web, audiences can enjoy a new version of this timeless masterpiece! 

Combining the love of animals with cutting-edge special effects, this entertaining children’s story achieves an emotional depth unprecedented in the “talking animal” genre. Featuring a talented team of sixteen dogs, Heidi 4 Paws: A Furry Tale is filmed in high definition and comes to life as the dogs are “mouth-articulated” with state-of-the-art 3D computer animation. Shot in live-action with panoramic backgrounds, each scene features real dogs in character costumes including wigs, hats, and in many cases eyeglasses and even shoes.

An impressive list of well-known actors lend their voices to characters including Angela Lansbury who portrays Grandmamma Sesehund; Stephen Rea as the kindly Doctor; Julian Sands as Peter the Goat herder; and Steve Guttenberg as Sebastian the butler.

Heidi 4 Paws: A Furry Tale begins as the young orphan, Heidi (in this case, an adorable yellow lab puppy) is taken to the mountains by Detie, the social worker (a feisty beagle) to live with her Grandfather (voiced by Richard Kind, portrayed physically by an elderly sheepdog)who is reluctant to accept her. But with time, Heidi falls in love with her Grandfather, his goats, and Peter the goat herder (voiced by Julian Sands, played by a greyhound mix). When Detie secretly returns and takes Heidi away to the big city, they are all powerless to stop her. Placed in a family with a young invalid named Clara (voiced by Kimberly Beck Clark and portrayed by a poodle-mix), Heidi learns how to read, the true value of deep friendship and the importance of family. After a calamity of sleepwalking puts Heidi and the family in danger, she is allowed to go back home to the mountains.  Joyously reunited with her Grandfather, Heidi asks for Clara to come visit. When Clara’s Grandmother (Angela Lansbury) makes the trip with Clara at her side, a heartwarming reunion brings both families together. The final miracle of the story occurs when Clara regains the ability to walk in a scene which highlights why this unique version of Heidi is destined to be a classic in its own right.

*For a complete schedule of holiday programming visit, wxxi.org/holiday.