Thursday, October 07, 2010

WHAT'S HALLOWEEN WITHOUT A FEW CARTOONS?!? In the spirit of fun (and God knows I could use some) I decided to view a plastic pumpkin full of Halloween cartoons today. I started things off, of course, with the classic IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN (1966). This year is the 60th anniversary of the first appearance of the Peanuts comic strip so what better way to kick off a Halloween cartoon afternoon? As I was watching this classic I couldn't help but think how different it was when those of us of a certain age had to wait every year for the TV channel to play this cartoon. It wasn't officially Halloween season until that happened and we would wait with anticipation and excitement the days leading up to the scheduled airing. Of course, there were only 3 networks channels, 2 PBS stations and 3 UHF stations; this resulted in a common viewing experience as the vast majority of people watched the same shows (since there were so few channels). Now that there are hundreds...nay, thousands...of channels to choose from, it's practically a miracle if you can find two people who actually watched the same show. This means that the fond memories we have of those common TV shows we watched in the past will not be carried on into the future; everyone will have their own separate memories of TV shows which the vast majority of people will never have seen. So there will be no common reminiscences. Sad, really. But we pre-cable, pre-internet, pre-digital people still remember. And of course we remember those Dolly Madison commercials which accompanied GREAT PUMPKIN.
OK enough ranting from the old goat! My next cartoon was "THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY & MANDY: BILLY & MANDY'S JACKED-UP HALLOWEEN" (2003). . . actually from THIS century! I have never seen ANY other episode of this Cartoon Network series but this one. However, I kinda like it. Two kids who have the Grim Reaper as a buddy. This Halloween episode features Mandy in her Hamlet costume and the evil prankster Jack O'Lantern stealing Grim's scythe and causing the end of the world already. A fun one.
My next choice brings me back to the mid-80s with GARFIELD'S HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE (1985). Now, around the late 80s I had this inexplicable fascination with Garfield comic strips; I bought quite a few of the collected strips in paperback for some reason. (Don't worry. . .this obsession subsided in the early 90s only to be replaced by CALVIN AND HOBBES!). And this is one of the 80's holiday Garfield cartoons which aired every year starring the voice of the late Lorenzo Music (earlier famous as Carlton the Doorman on RHODA) as Garfield and songs by the late Lou Rawls. Nostalgic!
Following that we have a Halloweenie cartoon from the Cartoon Network's Johnny Bravo series BRAVO DOOBY DOO (1997) in which our hero encounters the Scooby Doo gang in their mystery machine and go to the haunted house of Johnny's Aunt Jebidisa (the best name for an aunt EVER!). I was never a regular viewer of Johnny Bravo but this one has always tickled me. And I have provided the cartoon for your viewing pleasure below.
We now head way back with a different kind of animation: stop-motion for the short subject JASPER IN A JAM (1946). This is from George (WAR OF THE WORLDS) Pal's Puppetoon series of Jasper shorts and features the big band of Charlie Barnet as well as vocals by Peggy Lee! Peggy sings "Old Man Mose Is Dead" while Barnet's orchestra plays their hits "Cherokee" and "Pompton Turnpike". You can see the cartoon below.
Finally we wrap things up with the Spongebob Squarepants Halloween DVD and "SPONGEBOB SCAREDY PANTS" (1999). Can it really be that long ago?!? This is the one which introduced the ghostly Flying Dutchman. Nicely, the surf-type ghoulish band The Ghastly Ones recorded the song "Spongebob Scaredy Pants" for this cartoon and it was released on cd way back when.
As for cartoons for Halloween, this isn't the last you'll be hearing of them. A Halloween cartoon marathon part two is definitely on the horizon.

No comments: