“Anne of Green Gables” returns to PBS for Thanksgiving

November 23, 2016 Susannah Brooks Leave a Comment

How many readers of this blog remember the original Anne of Green Gables series of the 1980s? From childhood through courtship, millions of us tuned in to PBS – and some much-watched VHS tapes, too – to see how the spirited, imaginative heroine made her way past any obstacle.

Now a new adaptation, starring Martin Sheen as the beloved Matthew Cuthbert, premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving night!) for another generation to enjoy with family and friends.

Watch as Anne gets her first glimpse of her new home:

So why is the story of this redheaded Canadian orphan so memorable, decades after its publication? We asked WPT staffers for their thoughts on the matter and got a flurry of responses. (To be specific, the verbatim response from multiple people was “OMG Anne of Green Gables!”)

As you settle in to watch on Thursday night, enjoy reading some of our memories as you make your own.

What are your memories of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have any favorite holiday film traditions? Share them in the comments!

Aimee GrangerAimee Granger 
Planned Giving Manager

We did indeed have a well-worn VHS tape of Anne – recorded from a WHA pledge drive, of course. 

I loved Anne for her tenacity, her spunk, her strength and her enduring dream of having a bosom friend. I often remind those closest to me that we are kindred spirits. I celebrated when Anne won over even her harshest detractors, and the comical moments that ensued.

Other reasons I still love the story:

  • Anne’s sweet relationship with Matthew – the puffed sleeves and the 20 pounds of brown sugar that went along with it!
  • Her slower, but so meaningful connection with Marilla. How she became Marilla’s own “Anne-girl.”
  • Her devotion to Diana, throughout all stages in life.
  • Her ability to overcome obstacles and find the best in everyone – from Aunt Josephine to Jen Pringle.

It was a wonderful guide through childhood, and one I look forward to sharing with my own daughters through the books, the classic films and the new series.

It’s hard to pick a favorite moment or quote, but one that always sticks with me is when Gilbert returns and Anne tells him “I don’t want diamond sunbursts or marble halls…” I’m a romantic at heart, I suppose.

meganMegan Aley
Project manager
Young Performers Initiative

I was predisposed to like Anne of Green Gables, since my mother is a Canadian named Anne. I know she connected with Anne for many reasons – not the least of which was the insistence that her name be spelled with an E on the end. She grew up reading the book series and passed them onto me.

We also took a very memorable family vacation when I was about 8 to Prince Edward Island where we toured the Green Gables farmhouse in Cavendish. 

I’m so excited to watch the new one with my family over Thanksgiving. Anne of Green Gables spurs a lot of memories for me!

martaMarta Bechtol
Deputy director
Educational Communications Board

As a young person, I remember contemplating the interesting blend and distribution of personality traits among the people in the books: that strength, kindness and loyalty were not associated with gender, and that physical beauty was unrelated to character.  

These ideas ran contrary to other books I had read and some of the things I was being taught at home and in school.  Anne’s intelligence, honesty, hard work and compassion always triumphed… and I wanted that to be my story, too.

My daughters wore out a set of the PBS VHS tapes when they were young. They learned quite early that if they asked to watch “Anne,” I would stop whatever I was doing and curl up with them on the couch. 🙂

Twenty years ago, I bonded with a woman who was as passionate about Anne of Green Gables as I. (We led a Girl Scout troop together.) We continue to recommend and exchange books with each other and share our general giddiness about all things Masterpiece to this day.

Programming note: For those purists who wish to compare the new production with the original, or those who simply wish to gaze longingly into Jonathan Crombie’s eyes and weep at his loss, WPT will be running a marathon of the first two series on New Year’s Day, 2017.

Anne of Green Gables (1985) begins at 10 a.m., with four one-hour episodes.

Anne of Avonlea (1987) begins at 2 p.m., with two two-hour episodes. It follows Anne’s story as adapted from the books Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars.


3 thoughts on ““Anne of Green Gables” returns to PBS for Thanksgiving”

  • I’ve loved the story and movie series, over and over. I’m now 84 and as I read the story I can imagine Lucy Maude picturing herself as the character “Anne” as she was writing the story, and supposing to be her in her own pretend mind as we all can dreamily do. I would have loved to live around L.M. back in her time and place. I kind of guess I’m secretly in Love with her.

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