English 9 Enriched: Prologues a la Shakespeare

Prologues: A Dying Art

An introduction or preface, especially a poem recited to introduce a play.


Oh, those wonderful prologues of days gone by!  Like the opening sonnet from William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet , which introduces the audience to the “two households, both alike in dignity”,  early television programs often began with a theme song or prologue in order to introduce audiences to characters, setting, and the basic conflict/plot of what they were about to see.  The prologues often included an invitation to the viewers to stay tuned (“Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale; a tale of a fateful trip…”).  Today, television shows have nearly obliterated the informative, entertaining prologues of the early T.V. years and replaced them with musical interludes and credit collages.  Your task will be to remedy this oversight by selecting your favorite television show, which presently begins with theme music only, and write a suitable prologue for it.   However, the trick is that, like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, your prologue must be in the form of a sonnet.

Choose one of the T.V. opening numbers below and indicate how that song functions as a prologue.

Who can forget these wonderful prologues of days gone by:

“The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island”

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

So this is the tale of the castaways,
They’re here for a long, long time,
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In the tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights, no motor cars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primitive as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways,
Here on “Gilligan’s Isle.”


“The Brady Bunch”

Here’s the story of a lovely lady
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
All of them had hair of gold, like their mother,
The youngest one in curls.

Here’s the story, of a man named Brady,
Who was busy with three boys of his own,
They were four men, living all together,
Yet they were all alone.

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That this group would somehow form a family.
That’s the way we all became the Brady Bunch.
The Brady Bunch,

That’s the way we all became the Brady Bunch.
The Brady Bunch.


“The Beverly Hillbillies”

Come ‘n listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed

A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed

And then one day, he was shootin’ at some food

And up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude

Oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea   

Well, the first thing you know, old Jed’s a millionaire

Kin folk said, “Jed, move away from there!”

Said, “Californy is the place you oughta be!”

So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly

Hills, that is, swimmin’ pools, movie stars


“The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”

Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down,
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air.

In West Philadelphia, born and raised
On the playground is where I spent most of my days.
Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin all cool,
And all shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school.

When a couple of guys who were up to no good,
Started makin’ trouble in my neighborhood.
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared,
And said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air.”

I begged and pleaded with her the other day,
But she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way.
She gave me a kiss and she gave me my ticket.
I put my walkman on and said, “I might as well kick it.”

First class, yo this is bad,
Drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass
Is this what the people of Bel-Air livin’ like?
Hmm, this might be alright!

I whistled for a cab, and when it came near,
The license plate said “Fresh”, and it had dice in the mirror.
If anything I could say that this cat was rare,
But I thought, “Nah forget it! Yo home to Bel Air!”

I pulled up to the house about seven or eight,
and I yelled to the cabby, “Yo homes, smell ya later.”
Looked at my kingdom, I was finally there,
To sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air


Student Samples:


Prologue to Supernatural  by Liz G.

Sam and Dean and the Impala travel.

Bobby and the Winchester boys hunt ghosts,

Fight demons until their minds unravel.

They investigate evil from coast to coast.

Angels to Wendigos, they’ve seen it all.

Sammy is the sensitive young thinker,

Dean can never turn away from a brawl;

Both boys can get girls- hook line and sinker.

Yellow eyed demon took an interest

In our dear Sam when he was just a kid.

Azazel said Hell was Sammy’s mistress.

From the evil forces, Sam and Dean hid;

Scamming their credit cards and forging checks.

Will they get caught and where will they go next?


Prologue to Hawaii Five-O by Ishitri B.

Come with us for there’s a story to tell

Of the Pacific island Hawaii

You will be shocked! You thought you knew so well…

The crimes that show, you’d never thought you’d see

Steve and Danny, the head of a task force

Known as Hawaii Five-O by the folks

Kono and Chin must be there, but of course

Saving people does not make time for jokes.

But Steve has some problems that he must solve

The death of his father he cannot bare

There is no one he can trust to involve

The truth is something that’s beyond compare

Knowing the difference between wrong and right

May save his life before the end of night.


Prologue to Pretty Little Liars by Haley G.

Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily,

These four girls sound like just a group of friends

But they can’t forget they’re missing Ali.

The wondering how she died just never ends.

And now the girls are getting texts from “A”

She sends them threats and won’t leave them alone.

The girls try to find out who’s “A” each day,

Yet “A”’s identity is still unknown.

These four girls’ stories take place in Rosewood,

And every day they learn something that’s new

About who torments them, that’s understood.

‘Cause “A” gives them hints that are always true

So stay right there and watch what happens now

You wouldn’t want to miss the next big “WOW”!


Prologue for Merlin by Abby R.

Come, friends, to ancient Camelot, a land

Home to a king that years before destroyed

Much magic, almost all, by his command.

His son, meant for a fate he can’t avoid

Will be protected by the warlock boy

Named Merlin who’ll become his closest friend.

To unite the land, to the people’s joy

The prince and warlock fight until the end.

But this end will not so easily come,

A sorceress that for reasons bears a grudge

And a close friend, to evil she’ll succumb.

A dragon has to give a little nudge

Because for them hatred is at first sight,

But apart they can never complete their plight


Prologue for Friends by Sara P.

Here’s the story of the lives of six friends

Manhatten’s where this group is said to dwell

Rachel loves to shop, O the cash she spends;

Monica likes to clean up very well;

Phoebe is quirky, the guitar she plays;

Joey is still a young child at heart;

While Chandler makes sarcastic jokes, always;

And Ross is the brains of the group, so smart.

They converse and hang out at Central Perk

Daily to discuss their jobs and love lives.

While Rachel had claimed that Ross was the jerk,

Monica, to Chandler, her hand, she gives.

So please relax while we entertain you,

And enjoy what you are about to view


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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Enriched

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