We've reached the end of our Countdown to Halloween 2021, so to celebrate the big day itself, we needed something special, a tricky sort of treat. This is not a Nightmare Before Christmas post but is about a spooky tale from the wild imagination of Tim Burton. While he was still at Disney creating experimental shorts and featurettes, Tim created one of his least well-known productions, Hansel and Gretel from 1983. Seen only twice (not once, as is usually reported) on Disney Channel (then known as The Disney Channel) on the anthology series Disney Studio Showcase, Hansel and Gretel was first cablecast on October 29, 1983, and then an encore presentation on the very appropriate date of October 31st. This TV special-like show was paired with Burton's stop motion masterpiece Vincent, and was hosted by (who else?) Vincent Price. See some shots from this very stylized production below, some shots of Tim presenting his art, and also being assaulted by the Hansel and Gretel creepy puppet Hansel and Gretel character, Dan Dan the Gingerbread Man. And for the fearsomely awesome finale, here is brand new for October 2021 interpretation of Dan Dan by artist, writer and historian Dean Brinkerhoff. Be sure and follow Dean's Instagram account for more Brinkerhoff art. Happy Halloween!
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Sunday, October 17, 2021
A rarity from the past is this stylish promotional booklet marketing the PBS TV series Mystery!, the famed anthology series, from its first season in 1980. Though there is impressive art throughout promoting the various programs (Rumpole of the Bailey was a stalwart from the start), the main interest here is the macabre art by Edward Gorey, who also created the famous animated main titles for the long-running series. Just another artifact I dug up for our Countdown to Halloween.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
As we continue our Countdown to Halloween, here's some more spooky tuff stuff from the little tuff ghost, this time from his main comic book (his starring title, to put it another way) Spooky #121 (December 1970) in a story that is not only macabre (in the fun Harvey tradition) but meta in a way that seems years ahead of its time. And for all us comic-book collectors/fans, is there anything better than a comic story about a comic-book collector/fan?
Friday, October 15, 2021
On October 15, 1951, I Love Lucy made its debut on CBS. The show starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (Desi being the still under-appreciated creative force behind the show) was an instant hit and its many innovations were adopted for many TV comedy series and are still in use today. To celebrate this gold standard of a show in way that fits in with our Countdown to Halloween 2021, here is a look at Lucy as a wicked witch (and brilliant co-star Vivian Vance as a good fairy) from the Little Ricky's School Pageant episode that was originally broadcast on December 17, 1956.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Harvey Comics can always be counted on for some silly Halloween fun, so here's a gallery of one of the Harvey title Spooky Haunted House. This is one of many titles starring the tuff little ghost who just happens to be Casper's cousin. Spooky was introduced into the Casper comic-book universe in 1953. Though unlike his friendly cousin, Spooky lives to (is dying to??) scare, he often ends up scared himself, all of which we see in these classic covers. It's all part of the 2021 Countdown to Halloween.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
The third part of Walt Disney's Man in Space trilogy, Mars and Beyond was presented on the Disneyland anthology TV series on December 4, 1957. Since there is more speculation involved about Mars (especially in 1957), Ward Kimball's wild imagination is more on display here than in the first two episodes. As proof here's a parade of Halloween-worthy monsters (including an unexpected cameo from a Disney favorite) that Ward and his TV team created as they imagine a comic-book version of what sort of creatures might inhabit the red planet. (Mars and Beyond is one of the few episodes of Walt's anthology series that's on Disney +, so if you subscribe to that streaming service, be sure and watch.) It's all an interplanetary part of our Countdown to Halloween for 2021. PS Be sure and catch the Digging the Details episode in which my fellow Disney historian Dean Brinkerhoff and I discuss Mars and Beyond. You can find it (and a lot of other fun videos, too) on my YouTube channel, Tulgey Wood TV.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Last October I posted a Halloween-themed video or two on Tulgey Wood TV, the YouTube channel companion to this blog. Please click here to see my video wherein I reveal Five of My Favorite Halloween Things. And while you are there, please check out my other videos. There's a brand new video every Tuesday, so be please be sure and Subscribe.
Monday, October 11, 2021
Published since 1925, The New Yorker has run more than its share of artful holiday covers. October 1961 brought this Halloween work by Anatol Kovarsky. A frequent contributor of cartoons as well as covers, this illustrator was celebrated for his use of pattern and color. This example from 1961 demonstrates his mastery of just those elements as the artist uses stylized Halloween symbols to form the face of a jack-o-lantern.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
On this date in 1952, Walt Disney's Trick or Treat spooked theater audiences for the first time. That year also saw the publication of the comic book adaptation (Donald Duck no. 26) of the animated short. Written (from Ralph Wright's storyboards) and drawn by the legendary Carl Barks, the comic is in itself a classic. Decades later, in 1977, Barks painted a richly detailed oil painting based on his Trick or Treat cover. In addition to the inclusion of Pluto (complete with his own costume), Barks included a ghost. a black cat and some spooky looking bats. All devilish details designed to delight for our Countdown to Halloween 2021. (Be sure and check out the other blogs participating on the blog roll on the right). And to discover more about Trick or Treat please click here to read my D23.com article.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Friday, October 8, 2021
Introduced in the famed Mickey Mouse comic strip by Floyd Gottfredson, the Phantom Blot is literally a shadowy character, but that shady status works against him when he shadows Chief O'Hara in this one-page gag drawn by Paul Murry. This shrouded night-stalker is a perfect addition to our Countdown to Halloween 2021. This one-pager is from The Phantom Blot #4. Read more about it here. Also, pictured here: Artist and Disney historian Dean Brinkerhoff's excellent drawing of the Blot, created for his Inktober art project. Please check out Dean's Instagram account to see his Inktober art.
Thursday, October 7, 2021
October 7, 1971, saw the premiere of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. This poster-like ad from the back cover of Disney News announces the arrival of this witchy, wondrous musical fantasy. Countdown to Halloween 2021 can't go on without a celebration of this favorite on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its premiere. Isn't Halloweentime the perfect time to celebrate 50 years of spellbinding special effects, Sherman songs, and the scintillating Angela Lansbury. If you haven't already seen it, click here for the article I wrote for D23 about this witch-crafty classic. And check out my YouTube video about the Sherman Brothers music and more.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
This may be the Countdown to Halloween 2021 but for today, 1et's go back thirty years to October 1991 for a classic issue of Disney Adventures. Neil Patrick Harris is the cover boy... and don't we love that cover with the great cartoon monster. The then-teen actor's status as a magician and Disney fan makes him the perfect subject for an article...and his battling of that awesome cartoon monster makes this fun article perfect for Halloween, no matter what year it is.