A Sentimental Halloween Trip Down Memory Lane for Generation X
Like many Generation Xers growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I was glued to the television set each October during the airing of these Halloween specials. Some are still shown today, either on the original networks airing them, or in syndication, but some can now be purchased on DVD or VHS (or found on youtube). When I get the chance each October, I turn off the lights, light some candles, pop some corn, grab a blanket and tune in, remembering my days as a kid when getting scared was just as much fun as it is today.
Though many of these Gen X specials are faded and grainy (and let’s face it, more than a little corny), it’s that agedness that adds to the warm sentimental feeling I get when I relive my youth watching these timeless shows.
The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad (1949)
This animation is Disney’s version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” double-billed with their version of “The Wind in the Willows.” The Ichabod character in this version is still my favorite. He is so likable because of his oafishness which makes his demise in the end even sadder. Although I only saw “The Wind in the Willows” piece a couple of times on television, it stood out, and though it was dark and sad, I still count it as a favorite. First produced in 1949, it held up well during the 70’s and 80’s.
It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)
This may be the only one of the Gen X Halloween specials that still airs today. I actually purchased the boxed set of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas specials several years ago, and if I miss seeing this one when it airs, I bring out the DVD and watch it. I always feel sorry for Linus, no matter how many times I’ve seen his disappointed little face when The Great Pumpkin passes him by.
Fat Albert’s Halloween Special (1977)
You know the plot, the gang has grown up hearing the stories about the mean scary old lady Bickwell, so on Halloween they decide to scare her, and other seniors in town, dressed in their crazy campy home made costumes. I enjoy the animation in this offering, and as usual (with most Generation Xer cartoons), the gang learns a lesson.
Witch’s Night Out (1978)
This is one of those great animated specials that I didn’t see every year and I’m not sure if the networks just didn’t run it each year, but I remember it fondly. It stars the late Gilda Radner (her voice as the witch), and the animation and sound was very creepy (though not high quality). I cannot seem to find it on DVD, but it is available on VHS from Amazon.com, but you can download and watch it for free (at the time of this publication) at Megaupload.com (click on the title to go to Megaupload.com). Every Generation Xer should have this on his/her laptop for Halloween this year.
“The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone” (1980)
Not too memorable, but I’ve seen worse so I have to include it as it does have some sentimental value to me. The Bedrock gang wins a trip to, you guessed it, Rocksylvania where they meet Count Rockula and his mad creation, Frankenstone. It has the feel of a typical Flintstone cartoon episode, just a little longer. I couldn’t find this on DVD (or VHS), but youtube has it, broken down in segments.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, as a Generation Xer, these are the Halloween specials that I remember the most and I will be watching again and again, remembering a time just before everything was enhanced by technology and stunning computer graphics, we had great, old-fashioned unpolished animation.