The Quick 10: 10 Halloween Specials From Your Childhood

I've always been slightly nuts about Halloween. I distinctly remember having several VHS tapes packed full of Halloween specials that I would beg to watch year-round. I'm sure those tapes are long gone now, but luckily for me (and you), most of them can be found on YouTube now. Here are a few of my old favorites "“ and a few I wish I had known about!

1. A Disney Halloween. There have been a few Disney Halloween specials over the years (with so many great villains, how could there not be?) but this is the one that holds a special place in my heart. Hosted by the Magic Mirror from Snow White, it featured spooky clips from various Disney movies such as the Heffalumps and Woozles part of Winnie the Pooh. My favorite parts were the oldies, though "“ The Skeleton Dance and an old Mickey cartoon from 1937 called "Lonesome Ghosts." Mickey, Goofy and Donald were Ajax Exterminators, the original Ghostbusters, and were called to a haunted house by four bored ghosts looking to have a little fun. You can see the whole thing here, but the one I want to embed is The Skeleton Dance. It's so good.

2. It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. If you're looking for thrills and chills, obviously this isn't the special you're looking for. But watching Linus doggedly wait for the Great Pumpkin and watching Charlie Brown get a rock - again - has become a must-see over the years. The first time it ever aired, Charles Schulz once said, kids from all over the world sent in some of their Halloween candy to poor Charlie Brown so his Halloween would have more treats than tricks for once.

GARFIELD3. Garfield's Halloween Adventure. I vaguely remembered this one involving a pirate ship, and then thought, "No"¦ that doesn't make any sense." But it did, in fact, involve a ghostly band of buccaneers. While collecting their sugary loot, Garfield and Odie end up at a haunted mansion and wander inside, where they find an old man sitting. The man tells them they arrived on the 100th anniversary of the night a bunch of pirates buried their treasure in the floorboards of the house and that they would be returning for it very shortly. They do, of course, and scary antics ensue.
4. Halloween is Grinch Night. Despite his curmudgeonly demeanor, Dr. Seuss fans were clamoring for more Grinch after How the Grinch Stole Christmas premiered in 1966. So, in 1977, Seuss gave the public what they wanted. We revisit Whoville, this time on "Grinch Night," when a "Sour-Sweet Wind" brings the Grinch and his pooch Max back to terrorize the tiny citizens of town. It's up to a small Who named Euchariah to save the day.

5. Roseanne Halloween specials. I can't say that I'm necessarily a big Roseanne fan, but I did enjoy how all-out she went for All Hallows. I always envied the parties and pranks that went on at the Lobo.

6. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, AKA The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. This is another oldie and can be hard to catch on T.V. these days. Before Johnny Depp's skittish and squeamish Ichabod Crane, there was Bing Crosby's skittish, squeamish and gluttonous version.

rockula7. The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone. The Bedrock clan wins a vacation to Rocksylvania to spend the night in Count Rockula's castle. It turns out that Rockula is more woman-hungry than blood-thirsty, though, and he has his eyes (fangs?) on Wilma. Frankenstone is Rockula's creation.
8. The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror. The Simpsons' Halloween Specials have been a seasonal staple since the series' second season in 1990. That's a lot of specials, so I can't possibly pick one to highlight, but I do really enjoy when they're based on Twilight Zone episodes or at least include a sly reference to them. Do you have a favorite?

9. Bugs Bunny's HOWL-Oween Special. Like the Disney special, this Looney Tunes show compiled a bunch of scary cartoons from years past. I'm partial to Transylvania 6-5000, a cartoon in which Bugs takes a wrong turn headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finds himself in "Pittsburghe, Transylvania." He mistakes a vampire's enormous manor for a hotel and ends up spending the night under the watchful and hungry eye of Count Blood Count. Here it is in its entirety:

10. The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. Paul Lynde is maybe a little before my time, but this sounds pretty interesting. You had Florence Henderson singing a disco rendition of "That Old Black Magic," KISS performing several songs that have nothing to do with Halloween, and special appearances by Witchiepoo, The Wicked Witch of the West (played by the original, Margaret Hamilton), Donny and Marie Osmond and Betty White. Just"¦ wow. Check it out here if you're in the mood for a little camp. OK, a lot of camp.

What did you watch as a kid to gear up for Halloween?

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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