Literature / A Wish for Wings That Work
A children's book printed in 1991 by Berke Breathed, the creator of Bloom County
. In it, the strip's central character, Opus the Penguin, is disappointed because he can't fly. After some failed attempts at using a flying machine bought off TV, he writes a letter to Santa Claus and asks for wings that work. Near the end, Santa's sleigh crashes in the lake and it's up to Opus to save him from the icy lake.
Also in 1991, Steven Spielberg
's Amblin Television arm (together with Universal
Cartoon Studios, the guys who brought you Exosquad
a couple of years later) adapted A Wish for Wings that Work
into an animated special that first aired on CBS
on December 18, 1991. Although the special was fairly well-received by critics, Berke considers it an Old Shame
. It is the only Animated Adaptation
of the Breathedverse to date.
This book and special provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The ducks, bursting into Opus's house with the news that Santa has crashed into the lake.
Duck 1: Calamity!
Duck 2: Catastrophe!
Duck 3: Cataclysm!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
: I might as well be a dung beetle, or a fly-infested, worm-infused, molded, mildewed scrap of rotten banana! (Beat
) Or a network executive.
- Art Shift / Roger Rabbit Effect: A variant. In one scene, Opus has a dream sequence that lifts footage from the 1937 film Lost Horizon.
- Bowties Are Cool: Opus, of course. But after he saves Santa all the other birds start sporting the look too.
- Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: Opus really wants to fly - that's his Christmas wish - and dreams about it; albeit in his dream he's a pilot aboard the crashing airplane from Lost Horizon.
- Christmas Carolers: In the animated version, a group of carolers appear frequently, one of which looks suspiciously like a certain rock and roll singer.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "So what if they're small? Some women prefer small wings!"
- Eye Pop: Lampshaded; this happens to Opus twice, and after it does, he rubs his eyes and says "ow!"
- Jaw Drop: All three of the ducks and Bill after Santa gives Opus a Santa hat.
- Large Ham: The kiwi bird voiced by Robin Williams.
- Oh Crap!: In the animated version, when Santa's sleigh unhooks, Santa lets out a "Ho, ho, ho-oh, nooooooo!" as he falls.
- Rhymes on a Dime: How Santa Claus talks.
- Running Gag: Opus's removable hindquarters.
Duck: It's replaceable! Like a tire!
- Shout-Out: Quite a few, after all, this is Bloom County.
- The Pig Pen: Bill the Cat, seen rifling through a garbage can early on.
Opus: (sniffs) Phew! You smell like last week's Brussels sprouts. I suggested that you move into the recyclables can, didn't I?
- The Stinger: After the Amblin Television and Universal Animation logos, there is one more scene of the pig pretending to be a rhino, who says "DON'T GET COCKY!" Then Opus's buttocks fall out of the sky and plop in the snow.
- Santa Claus: Of course.
- Title Drop: "ůsome penguin wings that work."
- Tropaholics Anonymous: The Earthbound Birds Anonymous support group Opus visits, also attended by a delusional chicken and a jilted kiwi.
- Ronald-Ann appears to run several of these:
Milquetoast (in drag): "Excuse me, is this Cockroach Cross-Dressers in Crisis?"