Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween 2019!

And that's a wrap on the 2019 Countdown to Halloween! I thank every one of you for reading and supporting the blog all month long. I appreciate your comments, tweets, and shares so much! It's been a genuine pleasure to do this, and I already look forward to next year!

I hope your Halloween season has been a great one. Mine certainly has. Highlights include:

--writing the blog, of course!
--featuring my kids in the Mountain Dew VooDew video
--taking my kids to our local pumpkin patch on Columbus Day, where we picked our pumpkins, rode a hayride, walked through a corn maze, and bought apple cider
--creating my mood table
--watching cool Halloween movies and TV specials
--digging some groovy Halloween music
--sharing my season with you!

And with my pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, I made this!

Don't be sad that the season is ending--be glad it happened! It's all good, really. We have great times ahead, Halloween or not.

I'll leave the Halloween theme on the blog for a couple more days, but then Monday I wipe the slate clean and look ahead with enthusiasm. Today I'll leave some last-minute treats to close out the season.

Thank you once again for your support.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"The Monster of Frankenstein," Power Records

One day left! There's no time to waste!

Today I present an audio adaptation of Marvel Comics' origin story for The Monster Frankenstein. The Monster is a real character in the Marvel Comics universe, and his title was one of several successful horror titles for Marvel in the 70s.

At the same time, Power Records, a small kids record label, made an audio adaptation of Marvel's version of the character, with a matching comic to be read while listening to the story. I had other Power Records as a kid and absolutely loved them. These records are always a lot of fun.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Three Stooges, "Spook Louder"

On this next-to-next-to-last day of the Countdown, I present a fun short film starring my favorite numbskills, The Three Stooges. In "Spook Louder," the boys are door-to-door salesmen who wind up in a spooky mansion being scared silly by crooks disguised as monsters. It's the Stooges with a bit of a Scooby Doo vibe.

Enjoy, porcupines!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Best Halloween Commercials Ever!

It's the last week of the 2019 Countdown to Halloween! Let's cap off this great season with a last few fun items!

Today I present yet another set of Halloween TV commercials, but with a difference--these are my all-time favorite Halloween-themed commercials. All of the commercials in this YouTube playlist have been featured on the blog before, so there's nothing new here, but these are my personal favorites to have featured here. I hope you feel the same way. If you feel there are others that are worthy to appear in this set, please let me know and I'll include them.


Friday, October 25, 2019

Once Upon a Midnight Scary (1979)

And so we close out the last full week of the 2019 Countdown to Halloween! No more time to dilly-dally, we need to put our Frankenstein foot to the floor and go into Maximun Overdrive!

It's Friday, which means a long-form program, and this week it means the 1979 TV special Once Upon A Midnight Scary! Debuting on October 21, 1979 on CBS, the special is hosted by blog favorite Vincent Price, who introduces adaptations of three spooky children's classics: "The Ghost Belonged to Me" by Richard Peck, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, and "The House With A Clock In Its Walls," by John Bellairs.

I was only 5 when this first aired, so I somehow missed it, but this is exactly the type of program I looked for at Halloween time, so I can't wait to check this out. We get another dose of Sleepy Hollow goodness with this adaptation (with Rene Auberjonois perfectly cast as Ichabod Crane) as a post-Sleepy Hollow Week treat, and we also get an early adaptation of "The House With A Clock In Its Walls" decades before the theatrical version starring Jack Black. And of course, the late great Price, who has appeared at least once in each of my Countdowns the past few years. I'm happy to continue the tradition!

Enjoy! Have a great last weekend before Halloween! Don't hold back, it's time for the big stuff!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Halloween Tunes!

Halloween Night is exactly one week away! No more pussyfooting around. Time get hardcore Halloweeny!

Today I offer a few Halloween songs to add to your playlist (or "slaylist," as the case may be). These are not the usual Halloween songs you hear over and over; I love "Monster Mash," but you can't put it on a continuous loop, not even for Halloween.


VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED on this last one! A bit of gore and a lot of blood, hence the song title.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

ABC Weekend Special, "The Trouble With Miss Switch"

Most of the material I feature on the Countdown is collected weeks or even months beforehand. But once in awhile, I'll come across something during the season that is like a gift from the heavens.

This is one of those times.

Today I offer the animated special "The Trouble With Miss Switch," airing as an installment of the ABC Weekend Special. Based on the 1971 book of the same name, "Switch" is about a grade school substitute teacher, Miss Switch, who reveals herself as a witch to two precocious students. She enlists them to help her overthrow an evil witch who has taken control of a coven of benevolent witches.

I've looked for this special for years to no avail; out of the blue, without me even trying, the special fell into my lap by showing up on my YouTube front page. Thank you, Halloween blogging gods!


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, "Great Pumpkin"

Tonight is the first of two airings of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on ABC this year (8pm/7pm ET/CT), and in blog tradition, I offer a Peanuts-related post. This year, it's a truncated version of a story from the Saturday morning cartoon series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.

In this episode, Linus once again is committed to spending Halloween night in the pumpkin patch to wait for the Great Pumpkin, with Sally once again in tow (what is she thinking?). Charlie Brown and  Peppermint Pattie, however, forego trick or treating on Halloween night to take part in a kids bowling tournament (what are they thinking?). When the two plotlines intersect, you'll be bowled over with laughter!


Unfortunately, this YouTube video, recorded by pointing a video camera at a TV screen, only contains a few scenes from the cartoon, but you'll get the gist of the story. Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Halloween TV Commercials 2019 Edition Part 2

Welcome to Week 4 of the Countdown to Halloween! I hope your season is going great!

Today I offer another round of Halloween TV commercials. This batch is even better than the last one!

First up, a McDonald's commercial debuting the inaugural edition of the Halloween Happy Pails! I wish I still had mine!

Next, the Frankenstein monster is revived not by lighting, but by a cold Heineken beer!

This is a cute, low budget commercial for Taco Bell, offering glow sticks with food purchases. I don't remember this commercial, but this is right from my era of childhood.

Going without chocolate Pop-Tarts for too long can turn anyone into a monster!

Frankenstein can use that Heineken he got in his last commercial to wash down a pack of Twix.

You should always be on guard when camping. You never know when an unknown creature may steal your Watchamacallit!

But you don't need to go camping to run into Creepy Crawlers--you can make your own!

Finally, Dracula "vants" to bite your finger--even if it's just with red markers like in this classic game!


Friday, October 18, 2019

The Headless Horseman Silent Movie Starring Will Rogers (1922)

Sleepy Hollow Week draws to a close with a longform program (as I do every Friday of the Countdown).

Today I offer what may be the first film adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Headless Horseman starring legendary humorist Will Rogers. Another unique aspect of this film is that it's a silent movie. The YouTube user who uploaded this version added music of his or her choosing to the film, and it works beautifully.

I know a lot of people have difficulty watching silent films since they're quite different from what we're used to, but I think this is interesting to watch for historical purposes if nothing else. I'll understand if you skip ahead here and there.

Enjoy! Have a spooky weekend! The big night is less than two weeks away!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Scooby Doo Show, "The Headless Horseman of Halloween"

Day 4 of Sleepy Hollow Week brings you another animated offering, and a familiar one--Scooby Doo!

In this episode of The Scooby Doo Show, the gang crosses path with the legendary Headless Horseman at a swanky Halloween party. Will the Horseman get away with his crimes--or will he be thwarted by Scooby and the "meddling kids?"

Spoiler alert: they stop him.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sleepy Hollow 1972 Rock Band

Day 3 of Sleepy Hollow Week presents a music album by a band named Sleepy Hollow.

Not to be confused with the current heavy metal band of the same name, Sleepy Hollow was the name of a pop/rock trio from my hometown of Philadelphia. This eponymous album from 1972 was the band's only release. 

I expected a spooky, psychedelic sound from a band named Sleepy Hollow, but they actually sound quite Beatles-esque. I was pleasantly surprised! It's fun without being trite. It's a cool listen on a light, carefree day.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Animated Short Film (1972)

On Day 2 of Sleepy Hollow Week, I present a very unusual animated version from 1972.

Narrated by horror movie legend John Carradine, this cartoon is trippy both in its animation style and use of music. It's very much a product of its time, when independent animation took more chances compared to mainstream movie and TV animation.

It's appropriately creepy, as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow should be.


Monday, October 14, 2019

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Starring Jeff Goldblum (1980)

Welcome to Week 3 of the Countdown to Halloween, which also happens to be--Sleepy Hollow Week! Every day Monday through Friday, I will have an article related to the classic Washington Irving story in some fashion. 

Today, I present a TV-movie version of the story that aired on NBC in October of 1980. It stars Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane, Dick Butkis as Bram Bones, and Meg Foster as Katrina van Tassel. The story is largely played for comedy in this version, but there are still spooky scenes here and there. This is also the earliest movie adaptation of the story I remember besides the classic Disney animated version.

Enjoy! Stay tuned for more Sleepy Hollow goodness all week!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Desire, The Vampire (1982 TV-Movie)

Today is Friday, which means it's time for a longform program for you. This week, I present the 1982 TV-movie Desire, The Vampire.

Desire, The Vampire (aka I, Desire) stars David Naughton (An America Werewolf in London) as a hospital worker who gets in the way of a female vampire making her way through her victims one by one in downtown Los Angeles. He is assisted by a disbelieving police detective and an intense ex-priest (played with scene-stealing glee by Brad Dourif) who has chased the vampire across the country.

The movie is naturally more tame than a theatrical film, but it does a decent job of being suspenseful within the constraints of 1980s network television. Plus, I always find network TV horror a curiosity because of those same constraints.

Enjoy! Have a great weekend! If you are off for the Columbus Day holiday, make it a great day! Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

And come back Monday, October 14th for the start of Sleepy Hollow Week here on the Countdown! Five days of Headless Horseman goodness! See you then!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

My 2019 Halloween Mood Table

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of the Halloween Mood Table, it was started in 2007 by Matt, author of the great Web site Dinosaur Dracula. For that special dose of Halloween spirit when you need it, cover a table (or TV tray, or chair, or what have you) with all the things that make you love Halloween. Add a candy dish for the ability to trick or treat, include a lighting element, debut it all on October 1st, and voila! You have yourself a Halloween mood table!

Check out my mood table for Halloween 2019 in the video below! Included are the cutest ghosts, Frankensteins, Peanuts gang characters, and even Batman (because even though he's not a Halloween character, he so totally is).

Enjoy! And I hope you're inspired to make your own mood table! If so, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Addams Family 1992 Cartoon Series

As you all know, The Addams Family is appearing in their first animated feature film this Friday, October 11th. One thing I didn't know until this week, however, is that they appeared in their own Saturday morning cartoon series in the fall of 1992.

In this version, the Addams lived in the idyllic suburb of Happydale Heights, and as you can imagine, they stuck out like a sore thumb (not that they would care). Judging by the design of the series, I thought it might have been a Fox series, as Fox featured several series with outrageous animation styles. However, this appeared on ABC from September of 1992 to November of 1993.

Notable voice actors on the series include legendary star of the 60s live action sitcom John Astin reprising his role as Gomez, and outlandish comic Rip Taylor as Uncle Fester. We just lost Taylor this week, so rest in peace and confetti, sir!

I had known that there was an Addams Family cartoon series in the early 70s, but this 90s series is brand new to me. Whether it's new to you or not, enjoy!

If you see the new movie this weekend, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments of this article.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Return of the Revenge of the B-Movie Trailers!

Halloween is a great time to enjoy the finest, most well-crafted horror movies ever made.

It's also a great time to enjoy the low budget b-level stuff too.

Here are a select sample of the forgotten b-movies of yore--yore being the past forty years or so.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Gilligan's Island, "The Pigeon" (Or As I Call It, The One With the Giant Spider)

Welcome to Week 2 of the Countdown to Halloween 2019! We're just getting started!

Today I offer an episode of Gilligan's Island titled "The Pigeon." The castaways develop a pen pal relationship with a prisoner back in the States via carrier pigeon.

What does that have to do with Halloween?

Nothing--except that Gilligan and company also get trapped in a cave with a giant poisonous spider. It's a tenuous connection at best, but it's good enough for me!


Friday, October 4, 2019

Ghost Performing at MMRBQ, BB&T Pavilion, Camden, New Jersey, May 19, 2018

To close out Week 1 of the 2019 Countdown to Halloween (already?), I present something a bit more longform for the weekend, as I plan to do most Fridays of the Countdown. Whereas in the past I've usually shown a movie for the weekend, I'm going in a different direction this week--I'm featuring a concert!

In my introduction to the Countdown this past Tuesday, the first video I shared was a music video of the rock band Ghost. They're a band from Sweden that deals in a lot of gothic, supernatural, and dark themes, and they've been catching on here in the States the last few years. On May 19, 2018, they performed in my local area as part of a multi-band concert event called the MMRBQ, sponsored by radio station WMMR in Philadelphia.

Here is their one-hour set the band performed near the end of the event. Enjoy!

Have a great first weekend of October! Do spooky stuff! Go to the pumpkin patch! Eat Addams Family pancakes! Watch b-level horror movies! Wear a sweater!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Mountain Dew VooDew Review

On Day 3 of the Countdown, and in my second-ever blog video, my kids Megan and Brian and I try the new Halloween soda Mountain Dew VooDew. Word of this soda has spread like wildfire across the 'Net for weeks now. What do we think? Check out the video below!

We hope you enjoyed our video. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Halloween TV Commercials 2019 Edition

Welcome to Day 2 of the 2019 Countdown to Halloween. Today I present one of my favorite articles to post, Halloween TV commercials. I have a great collection this year, so let's get to it!

Seeing a horror movie at the theater with your significant other can be a surprisingly romantic experience, as this Reese's Cup commercial attests.

Next, a surprisingly cost-conscious Frankenstein monster is overjoyed about the bargains he got on Nestle chocolate. Not only does he benefit, so do his trick-or-treaters!

This quick one for Kit-Kats simply show how much everyone loves them. Count me in on that group!

This next one, also for Kit-Kats, debuted just last year. A haphazardly carved jack o' lantern demonstrates his understanding of his situation with his carver by offering her some Kit-Kats. That jack is a trooper!

I have to admit, this next one for Taco Bell from 1997 is kinda gross, but hey, that's part of Halloween!

This next one for Pillsbury Halloween-shaped Cookies will cleanse the pallet with its sweetness. If you bake them, however, don't leave them in the oven for too long or they'll burn quickly. I know from personal experience!

Finally, this last one is brand new this year! As you probably know, IHOP is having a promotion for the upcoming Addams Family movie with a special menu. Here is IHOP's commercial to tell you all about it!

I have so much fun creating these articles, I may do another one later this month. Keep an eye out--ew, that reminds me of the Taco Bell commercial!


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Welcome to the 2019 Countdown to Halloween!


Welcome one and all to the 2019 Countdown to Halloween! I'm very happy to have you here for another month of screams, tricks, and treats! Please enjoy everything I have to offer this year, from spooky TV commercials to horror movie trailers to cartoons to...well, who knows WHAT may arise from the grave!

For you newcomers out there, the Countdown isn't just about me, it's about dozens (hundreds?) of bloggers who do their best to blog awesome Halloween content all October long. Please visit as many blogs as you can, and let the bloggers know you appreciate them by leaving a comment, or even better, share their blogs to as many people as you can via social media, email, or whatever! We do appreciate it.

Before going any further, I must acknowledge John Rozum for all his hard work he puts into every Countdown. It's not easy to coordinate all the bloggers and their sites, plus create the badges, so a tip of the hat to you, John!

One thing I will clue you in on as to what you can expect this year: the week of Monday, October 14th through Friday, October 18th will be--Sleepy Hollow Week! Every day that week, I will feature programming related to Washington Irving's literary classic. Why? No reason, I just want to!

Of course, I'll have plenty of other spooky content all month long, so don't lose your head!

Today I offer a few quick warm-ups to get things started. Enjoy, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!