8th-century Italian writer Carlo Gozzi claimed that there were no more than 36 basic plots in storytelling. Our culture of reprocessed narratives turns Shakespeare into 10 Things I Hate About You and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels into a Broadway musical, simply because successful stories keep on selling. Americans discovered this when they discovered their theater.
Modern writers use legal contracts to voluntarily turn their art into diluted adaptations. But back before copyright laws, the theaters did a number on existing novels and plays, stealing material and constantly rewriting it to make their stage stars look good. People don’t know what else to do when a new medium arises except transfer content from old media. When the printing press was invented, the first few years didn’t see a dramatic increase in the number of books penned; people just copied the Bible. So novels made their way to the stage (mostly without permission), and their poor authors had no means of demanding royalties, until 1856. But despite that year’s theatrical copyright law, plagiarism continued to flourish.
Theatrical adaptations of novels gave many American audiences their first taste of literature, since burgeoning America ranked pretty low in world literacy rates at the point. Not only were Americans less literate than the rest of the western world, they were also the biggest prudes. Often a foreign storyline would be "cleaned up" when brought to the States. Even today, Europe is far more lenient with artistic naughtiness. One theater critic in 1853 reported that Miss Jean Davenport’s Camille was "divested of all the immoral, objectionable features" when brought from France to the States. Concern for the integrity of adolescent Broadway was a big factor in removing offensive content from original scripts. We’re swapping guns for walkie-talkies in E.T. nowadays, so things may actually be getting worse.
If Gozzi is right, then it’s perfectly natural to be constantly revising, revamping, and re-releasing the 36 tales. Don’t be surprised if they decide to make a movie version of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.