Name That Trauma :: Reader Andrew D. on a Dirty Deal With the Devil

Have a trauma question.

O.K., love your sight by the way, it has helped me in the past.

O.K., so I think this was a PBS T.V. movie, most likely at least. Anyway, it takes place around the 1800s or so. This guy (possibly a soldier) has a meeting with the Devil while walking down the road. The Devil gives him this coat which is magical; it will never run out of money. The catch is the man must not take a bath, shave, trim his nails, etc. for a year or maybe more.

At first he parties and has the time of his life. But soon as he gets smelly he is forced to go stay in barns, etc. At this one farmhouse he helps out the owner with money in exchange for letting him stay there. The farmer promises him his daughter in marriage. He makes her a ring out of his nail trimmings. In the end he wins the contest, the Devil cleans him and he marries the girl.

Any help? I saw it probably 15 or more years ago.

UNK SEZ: Andrew, my hair stood on end when I read your Name That Trauma because I came across this same production on PBS at roughly the same time. You remembered a lot more concrete details than I did, but the time period and the deal with the devil rang a bell with me. I had too little to go on myself but with your added information, it seems I have solved this mystery for both of us!

It’s called BEARSKIN, OR THE MAN WHO DIDN’T WASH FOR SEVEN YEARS. It’s based on a story by THE BROTHERS GRIMM and it’s a short film (20 min.) that was frequently shown in classrooms and on PBS. Even better, I found a clip that brought the memories flooding back which you can see below.

Thanks Andrew, I would never have found this without you!

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12 years ago

There was also an anime version that was shown on Nickelodeon’s “Special Delivery”…however, that girl he falls in love with…my God, she was SO DULL.

12 years ago

Me too me too!  Wow, I can’t believe it– Likewise, I never had enough of a memory of this one (except for a few choice images) to ask for help on it.  Aside from the ring and the albatross-heavy quietness in the man’s face, I remembered the grisly, up close removal of the bearskin, which had seemingly grown into the man’s own flesh.  In pondering on this recently, I thought it may have been related to the “berserkr” of Norse werewolf mythologies from The Book Of Werewolves, alas, it is from PBS!   O thank you!
(And Special Delivery had its own case of the creeps, eh Jodie?)

12 years ago

PBS also did another around the same time about a witch and a little girl in the American south. All I can remember is the witch  got her head lobbed off and it was put into a bucket and kept in a barn. The next shot was of some men playing cards and drinking and complaining that the rotting head was starting to stink.  What I saw was more the “making of” the short, rather than the short in its entirety. I for the life of me can’t remember the name of it, though. 🙁