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This is one of those vague memories that nag at me, but I've lost most of the details over the years. I saw in on TV somewhere in the 1990s in the United States (Ashland, KY if that's relevant). It would have likely been on broadcast TV as my parents were late adopters of cable TV. A new teacher arrives at a school. She's a free spirit, inspiring the children and annoying the administration, and there was a hint that she employed some sort of magic. Near the end, things come to a head with the administration, and the students stand up for the teacher (something involving painting a mural of a mythological creature, maybe a dragon or a griffin). They go to the classroom to tell her about it and she's gone, I think leaving a note for the students in a drawer.

I have this vague memory of the word "witchcraft" being used to describe something she'd done, but I'm not certain. I remember I was rattling off a series of magic types from David Edding's The Belgariad to which my mother reminded me that another name for magic was "deviltry" (my mother was never big on the idea of people claiming magic in the real world, feeling that it was likely the Devil trying to tempt people away from God).

I'm 90% certain it was an actual TV Movie, not a cinematic one shown on TV as a rerun. It had that style associated with broadcast TV (something to do with the type of film and camera used, I'm told).

  • This makes me think of the 2002 "La Mystérieuse Mademoiselle C.", (an English dub?) but I don't clearly remember the ending and the timeline is off. Will investigate further if you think it could be as late as '02 – KernelPanic Jun 1 '17 at 18:02
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    @KernelPanic: Doubtful. I am fairly certain I hadn't gotten into college yet, which was 1998 or so. – FuzzyBoots Jun 1 '17 at 18:09
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Looks like it might be Gryphon (1988) made by PBS. It's quite likely to have been on KET. I grew up in Lexington myself.

You can see the gryphon in the scene below.


Available from Amazon, though that seems to be heavily edited. Summary from there:

When Ricky and his friends put a snake in the desk of the new substitute teacher, to their surprise, she lovingly picks it up and puts it around her neck. Soon her strange stories of the wonders and beauty of the world around them helps them to see there is more to life than he ever imagined.

An LA Times review mentions magical elements:

She teaches them a song in Swahili and somehow two diaphanous angels appear, dressed in formal evening wear. "Angels hide their wings on Earth," she says and tells the class there is no point in ever being afraid because an angel came to her in a dream and kissed her cheek.

  • A very good find. – Valorum Jun 1 '17 at 18:30
  • That looks to be the one. It doesn't quite end the way I remember, but the rest looks to match. Makes me wonder if I'm misremembering the magical bits in the middle. Thank you! – FuzzyBoots Jun 1 '17 at 18:36
  • @FuzzyBoots One of the amazon reviews specifically mentions the "mystery" bits & that they were removed from the DVD. Sounds like if you can find the original cut, it may be more what you recall. – eshier Jun 1 '17 at 18:39

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