Life Lessons From ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’

The ThiefIn 1993, Miramax came out with the animated film, The Thief and the Cobbler, with character voices by such notable names as Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Winters. A few years later when my dad found this hidden gem, little did my brothers and I know the controversary surrounding its production.

Sheltered from the criticism of the masses, my brothers and I merely loved this movie not for the animation and the storyline, but solely for the presence of the thief. I was recently reminded of the film a few weeks ago when my brother texted me at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday with this: Finally, something easy. Just walk up the stairs, grab the balls, and go home; I’ll be in bed by 8!

There was no context, but I immediately recognized the origin and voice of this quote. For the next 12 hours, we continued to text back and forth only quotes from the character of the thief. I admit towards the end I had to look some up, but my brother shelled these out straight from memory.

How does a film, most notably recognized for its botched up rendition of one of the most acclaimed animations in history, stay in the minds of a brother and sister? And why?

There could be many reasons for this. Maybe it was the first film my brothers and I thoroughly enjoyed together with our dad? Maybe it was one of those laugh-out-loud moments you never forget? Maybe, but I also think this movie, specifically the character of the thief, taught my brothers and me not only how to laugh at life, but how to get by when it seems like nothing’s going your way.

In honor of my brothers, and as a nod to Jonathan Winters, the voice of the thief, here are some notable life lessons we’ve learned from the thief along the way:

  1. There should be a sign “Beware of Signs.”
  2. Rule #2: It’s always good to wear underwear when you’re this high, otherwise you attract a sizeable crowd.
  3. Oh it’s just a naked lady … a golden backscratcher!
  4. What does that old hag have in her hands? Is it a gold statue, no, it’s…BANANAS?!
  5. I’d be dead if this mountain started to applaud. (This one’s for my dad.)
  6. Sorry this boot was made for walkin’.
  7. It must be hard to always speak in rhyme.
  8. Had my coffee, read the paper, now it’s time to get to work.
  9. If at first you don’t succeed, try another sewer.
  10. Aren’t there supposed to be tracks here?
  11. Now I know why they tell you to keep your hands inside the cart at all times.
  12. I really should question the color of this water.
  13. Everything hurts, why am I even doing this, what’s the point? (sees golden balls) Oh yea, feeling good, feeling fine.
  14. Home again, home again, jiggity jiggity.
  15. Yea hurry, you’re being carried!
  16. (after climbing steeple point of a building) Who’s got the camera?
  17. Duck and cover, duck and cover; out of the way bunny!
  18. Rule #3… what’s rule #3? Oh yeah drop the stick and run like… helllp!
  19. Gotta get the ruby off the fat guy’s head.
  20. Well, here goes nothing. (cue Night on Bald Mountain) I’m flying, I’m flying! Oh my god I’m… oh rats.
  21. For thou art more… oh whatever.

These flies are driving me crazy… (fade out).


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