| show_name = Wishbone
| image =
| caption =
| format = Children's television series
| runtime = 30 Minutes
| creator = Rick Duffield
| starring = Soccer
& Larry Brantley
(voice) as Wishbone
| country = United States
| language = English
| network = PBS
| first_aired = March 1 1995
| last_aired = June 1 1998
| num_episodes = 48 (50 if you count the two-part premieres}
| picture_format = 480i
| audio_format = Dolby Surround
| imdb_id = 0112225
| tv_com_id = 3572
Wishbone is a television show featuring a Jack Russell Terrier of the same name. The show originally aired from March 1 1995 to June 1 1998 in the United States on PBS. After cancellation in 1998, PBS continued to air reruns until August 31 2001. Re-runs currently air on select PBS stations at the discretion of the stations. The main character, Wishbone, a talking dog lives with his owner, Joe Talbot, in the fictional modern town of Oakdale, Texas. Wishbone daydreams about being the lead character of stories from classic literature, drawing parallels between the stories and events in the lives of Joe and his friends. He was known as "the little dog with a big imagination". Only the viewers and the characters in his daydreams can hear Wishbone speak (and furthermore, the characters from his daydreams see Wishbone as whatever famous character he is currently portraying and not as a dog). The show has won Daytime Emmies, a Peabody award, and honors from the Television Critics Association. Wishbone's exterior shots were filmed on the backlot of Lyrick Studios in Allen, Texas, and its interior shots were filmed on a sound stage in a 50,000 square foot (4,600 square metres) warehouse in Plano, Texas.
The show garnered particular praise for refusing to sugarcoat many of the sadder or more unpleasant aspects of the source works, which usually enjoyed a fairly faithful retelling in the fantasy sequences.
The television series also inspired several book series. Altogether, there are more than fifty books featuring Wishbone, which were published even after it was taken off of television in 2001.
A standard episode of Wishbone consists of an opening scene introducing Wishbone's family's current situation (for example, Arbor Day planting a tree, or Joe catching a lunch lady trying to donate food to a homeless shelter). When one of the main characters decides to get involved in the noble act, Wishbone flashes to a famous work of literature it reminds him of, usually with him playing the lead role, in costume. Wishbone may not play the lead role if the character is difficult to relate to (he plays Sancho Panza in Don Quixote) or is female (in the show's Joan of Arc episode, he plays Louis de Conte). By the end of both stories, the real-life situation usually follows the work of literature closely (such as the King saving Robin Hood at the last minute, and the Principal saving Joe at the last minute). The last 2 minutes of nearly every episode feature Wishbone narrating some background description of how the episode was made, such as showing how stunts were done, how costumes were made, or how the visual effects were created.
One 90-minute movie was released, Wishbone's Dog Days of the West, based on O. Henry's Heart Of The West.
The series also featured a clip show episode called Picks of the Litter.
- Wishbone: A well-read dog who sees parallels between classic literature and the dilemmas he and his human friends face every day. Wishbone is a white Jack Russell terrier with brown and black spots, who lives with the Talbots at their home on Forest Avenue in Oakdale. In his normal contemporary life, none of the humans can hear Wishbone speak, though the audience can. He seems to be under the impression that humans would hear him if they just paid attention and he often bemoans the fact that they do not do so. In the classic literature stories he imagines himself in, humans can hear him and they apparently perceive him as a human.
- Joe Talbot: Wishbone's teenaged owner, the only child of Steve and Ellen Talbot. Joe has brown hair and a great interest in sports, particularly basketball, as well as a strong moral conscience. He is a player on the Sequoyah Middle School basketball team. His best friends are Samantha Kepler and David Barnes. His father Steve, a basketball coach, died from a rare blood disease when Joe was six years old.
- David Barnes: Joe and Sam's best friend and Joe's neighbor. He has dark, curly hair and brown eyes, and is African American. He lives on Forest Avenue with his parents, Nathan and Ruth Barnes, and his younger sister, Emily. David aspires to be a scientist.
- Samantha "Sam" Kepler: Joe and David's best friend. Her father, Walter Kepler owns and runs the local pizzeria, Pepper Pete's. She has long blonde hair and is the most outgoing and adventurous of the three friends. She is allergic to coconut. Her parents are divorced.
- Ellen Talbot: Joe's widowed mother, who, like him, has dark brown hair. She works as the reference librarian at Henderson Memorial Library in Oakdale.
- Wanda Gilmore: The Talbots' slightly eccentric next-door neighbor. Wanda is the owner of the Oakdale Chronicle newspaper and president of the local historical society. She is a very friendly and cheerful person, but hates it when Wishbone digs up her flower beds. She has a crush on Joe's teacher, Bob Pruitt.
- Damont Jones: The local bully, who is up to no good. He starts making trouble in the neighborhood, usually caused trouble with his friend Curtis. He takes his rivalry with Joe on and off the basketball court.
- Emily Barnes: David's mischievous little sister who is often seen with her friend Tina. Most people find her cute. However, she makes Wishbone nervous sometimes. A running gag seems to involve an adult telling Emily and Tina to be good to which they reply in unison "we will" before giggling insincerely.
- Amanda Hollings: Samantha's academic rival.
- Mr. Bob Pruitt: Joe's English teacher and later a love interest of Wanda.
- Ms. Gretchen Malloy: Joe's history teacher. Joe briefly had a crush on her in the episode "The Pawloined Paper". According to her, "I don't want to waste paper, so I always use both sides."
- Academy of Television Arts & Sciences First Honor Roll of Children's Programming, 1999
- George Foster Peabody Award, 1998
- Emmy Award - Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design, 1997
- Emmy Award - Costume Design/Styling, 1997
- Emmy Award - Graphics and Title Design, 1997
- Emmy Award - Costume Design/Styling, 1996
- Emmy Award Nominations, 1998, "WISHBONE's Dog Days of the West"
- Directing in a Children's Special
- Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design
- Main Title Design
- Costume Design/Styling
- Television Critics Association - Best Children's Show, 1996 and 1997
Only a handful of the Wishbone episodes have been released to VHS and DVD. There were also a few computer
games in 1996
, such as Wishbone Activity Center and Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey
and many paperback mysteries.