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.
3. 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.
7. 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?