Fixing Rampant Children's Hour Confusion

I can’t believe the hundreds of e-mails I’ve been getting about “The Children’s Hour.”

If I haven’t answered yours personally, my apologies, but I’ve been totally swamped. It seems best to try to clarify the issue once and for all right here in one definitive post. Let the debates and flame wars rage elsewhere… here are my last words on the subject.

The Children’s Hour (1863) is a classic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which describes a “sneak attack” by his three daughters, who wrest the author from his studies and demand his full attention: “A sudden rush from the stairway/ A sudden raid from the hall!/ By three doors left unguarded/ They enter my castle wall!”

The Children’s Hour (1934) is a classic play (and, later, movie) by Lillian Hellman about two women who run a school for girls. They run afoul of a nasty little student who starts spreading rumors that the two women are partners in more than a corporate sense, threatening to ruin their reputations and the school. Now, as if  if two different Children’s Hours weren’t enough – brace yourself – there’s a third.

The Children’s Hour (1946) is a game by Parker Brothers featuring “Peanut The Elephant” that’s aimed at children 5 to 10 years of age. The box contains three separate games – “Porky The Pig Oink Oink,” a card game; “Peanut The Elephant,” a board game; and “ABC Fishing,” a game which tests manual dexterity.

Each of the three Children’s Hours is satisfying in its own way. The current hullabaloo began when confusion between the three entertainments started creating awkward social situations where one Children’s Hour was mistaken for another.

If you’re worried that your planned night at the theater might actually turn out to be a poetry reading or card-table event, have no fear. Here’s the definitive word on how to positively distinguish These Three (1936).

Click on the fact-filled chart at left to enlarge.

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