Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Autumnal Media: TV Shows

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, they say. I’ve spent less time going out and more time at home these days. Part of the time I’m working on projects, but when I’m not, I’m revisiting the comforting and the familiar, the all too-human thing to do when stressed by limitations. If I can’t afford to go out and do new things right now, might as well wander through the mental (and Internet) archives, looking for the old.

I had a post a few days ago about Halloween books. Now I’m thinking about Halloween films. Not movies per se, but television specials and documentaries. I’m not going to re-hash my old lady rant about how they “don’t make ‘em like they used to”, because really—I don’t like the current ones, and the old ones don’t always live up to the reputation of memory. But here are a few that I remember seeing when they came on television. I owe a lot to The Ghosts of Halloween Past blog, where the majority of these have been featured.

First, there’s It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown:



I don’t think there’s a single person who has grown up in 1970s America who hasn’t seen this—and if they haven’t , then their parents kept them in a box under the bed. Not a very spooky story—in fact, something of a religion metaphor (and Santa Claus mix-up), with Linus’s fervent expectation of the Great Pumpkin arriving on Halloween night to bring toys. I did have to wonder—if he waited every year, and the Great Pumpkin never showed, what was the problem? If the Great Pumpkin could only appear in one pumpkin patch (the most sincere one), then what about all the other “children of the world”? I mean, it seems like he should have gotten presents even if he didn’t appear. But I do have a tendency to overanalyze things, so...moving on...

Disney’s Halloween Treat


Link to Part I here


I’m surprised to see this one on YouTube, as Disney is so strict. As long as it lasts before takedown, here is the link to the first part of this special, which originally aired in 1982. I’m not fond of this special overall, though I’ve always liked “Night on Bald Mountain” (which is the first piece after the introduction), and the background music and effects for the autumn storm piece with the windmill. Both should be in the above clip.

The Red Room Riddle



This is another one of those CBS specials that I saw while watching TV in my friend’s basement. It came out in 1983, so that must have been the year. Parts 2 and 3 follow on YouTube. Given when it was made, this one isn’t half bad, though the main characters are kind of annoying.

In Search of—The Amityville Horror




This was the old series with Leonard Nimoy, and this episode was made in 1979. I’ve written enough in the past about the Amityville Horror, so I won’t reiterate the story and my thoughts on it. I can say that the first time I read the book, it scared the heck out of me.

The other series about paranormal and strange stuff in the 1970s was “That’s Incredible”. I remember this episode well, about a ghost in a California Toys R Us:



I thought at some point the Vincent Price special I’d mentioned in another posting, “Once Upon A Midnight Scary”, was now posted somewhere, but all traces of it seem to have vanished on the Internet. I was hoping to include that one, but no dice, unfortunately.

Enjoy the items I’ve posted here. If I think of more, I’ll have a follow-up post.

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