Thursday, 31 October 2013

5 Halloween Cartoon Specials

 **Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

When I was a kid, I loved the week before Halloween because they would play all the Halloween specials.  Unlike today, where you can go to youtube or order them from amazon, when I was a kid,  these shows would only show up once a year, if we were lucky, and if you missed them, then you'd have to wait another year to see them.  So I thought for Halloween, I'd make a list of some of my favourites and you can probably find on the interweb, somewhere if your so inclined. 

Here are 5 Halloween Cartoon Specials 

5. Halloween is Grinch Night (1977) - Eleven years after he tried to destroy Christmas, the Grinch has returned in a bad mood and he has created his own holiday, Grinch Night.  No one explains how Grinch Night works, with the exception that the Grinch dances alone in a bar like your Uncle Tim but the Grinch harness old Max with a trail of horrors and heads down to Whoville to cause a ruckus.  Luckily, there is one little boy, who wants to stand up to the Grinch and he heads out to stop him, while the other Whos quake in their pants.
  This is a strange one for sure and although it has a lot of the same elements as the Christmas special, it seems to have a darker tone to it.  The songs aren't as up beat and some scenes make the Grinch seem cruel, instead of cartoonishly evil.  Also, Boris Karloff is not in this and replaced by Hans Conried, whose voice you'll recognize as Captian Hook, from Disney's Peter Pan.  Still it's a fun treat from the mind of Dr. Suess and if you can get past that there really a reason why the Grinch is pissed, then you should be able to enjoy the campyness of show.

4. The Devil and Daniel Mouse (1978) - After clearing the bar with there hippie folk music, Jan and Daniel Mouse are fired from their gig and thrown into the cold streets.  The pair wander into the forest(?) and contemplate how they're going to get money for food.  Daniel decides to sell his guitar and walks back to the city, while Jan waits in the forest and cries because she isn't a rock star.  The Devil hears her moans and offers her a music contract in return for her soul.  She signs the contract, ditches Daniel and becomes the biggest music star in 1978!  However, when the devil comes to collects, she scurries back to Daniel and together, they try to stop the Devil from taking Jan's soul.
  They only aired this a few times, from what I remember but I really loved this show.  I didn't realize back then that it was a was a Canadian production and that inspired a later film from Nelvana, Rock & Rule.  This is your basic Devil and Daniel Webster story, but with animated mice and rock.  John Sebastian and Laurel Runn perform the songs, which there are plenty and for a kids cartoon, they're pretty catchy.  It's a fun cartoon totally worth checking out, if you like rock n roll or cartoon devils. 

3. Gary Larson's Tales from the Far Side (1994) - This is hard to explain, it's basically a collection of Far Side cartoon but animated.  There are some seriously disturbing but fun clips in this and Larson likes to tie some portions of the vingettes to others.  It's really masterful and there are some good laughs.  There is even a second one, which I didn't know about.

2. Garfield's Halloween Adventure (1985) - America's favourite feline, Garfield and his friend Odie dress up as pirates and head out to go trick or treating.  Garfield, trying to collect the most candy he can steals a rowboat to hit more houses on the other side of the lake.  Unfortunately, they end up stranded on an mysterious island surrounded by pirate ghosts.
  That's pretty much it and this is one of my favourite Halloween specials of all time.  In the 80's, 'merica had a huge love for Garfield and they were spitting out specials left, right and center.  I think Peanuts, were the only cartoon that may have had more cartoon specials than Garfield.  Anyway, this was great because they Garfield and Odie do run into a few terrifying spooks and there are some catchy song on this that you don't want to miss.  If you like lasagna, hate Mondays and really like candy than you should watch this.   

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949) - School master Ichabod Crane moves to the small town of Sleepy Hollow and although he is a bit awkward, in the way he looks and walks, he is taken in lovingly by the town, especially the single women.  However, Ichabod falls in love with Katrina van Tassel and he has to square off against town bully, Brom Bones to win her affection.
  That fall, Ichabod is invited by Katrina to her father harvest party and when he arrives he charms Miss van Tassel with his wit and his excellent dancing skills.  This infuriates, Brom and after dinner, knowing that Ichabod is very superstitious, he tells a terrifying tale of a headless horseman in the area, who collects heads during the witching hour!  When Ichabod leaves, he encounters the horseman and tries to escape with his head!
  This has to be the original slow burner for horror films and I love it!  Most of the story revolves around the love triangle and then at the end they throw in this supernatural horror, which I still terrifying to watch.  This originally came out as a double feature for Disney with The Wind and the Willows but has become a Halloween staple for Disney and it usually ties up any spooky special they've put together.  Bing Crosby (White Christmas, Holiday Inn) narrates brilliantly and does the voices for both Crane and Bones and they're are a number of memorable tunes on this that you can hum too while you trick or treat.  If you like classic Disney animation and headless horrors, than this is for you!

BOOOOO! Blogger won't let me put the clip on the site, so click here to see a clip

It's nice to see these shows again and nowadays you can watch them anytime.  So be safe this Halloween and check your candy because you never know what kind of horror lurks behind those closed doors.


  1. Great post, thanks! How about the Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids Halloween special? Watched this one last year on Halloween, for the first time since it was new:

  2. Great post. I am very much interested in seeing The Devil and Daniel Mouse based on that it inspired Rock and Rule.

  3. Excellent post, I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that. see this

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