Saturday, October 29, 2016

Disney's Scary Tales

Started a blustery late morning with two horror-themed Disney shorts. "The Mad Doctor" is a classic black-and-white Mickey tale. Mickey wants to rescue Pluto from the title character, who is going to turn him into a Franken-pup! But it's Mickey himself who may need saving in the end.

"Runaway Brain" is a rare Mickey short from the mid-90's. "The Mad Doctor" was far from Mickey's only encounter with the darker side of science. He needs money for a vacation with Minnie, so he takes an offer for a "mindless day's work." He ends up having a run-in with another crazed doctor (Kelsey Grammer). This one switches Mickey's brain with his monster's (who looks a lot like Big Pete). Now Mickey has to get his body back and convince Minnie he's who he claims he is.

I had just enough time to rush to the Collingswood Farm Market to pick up what little I could afford. They were packed when I got there at quarter of 11, despite the chilly winds and missing tables. People were stocking up for Halloween parties and after trick-or-treat meals. Several farm stands are on their last week. The Farm Market itself only has a few weeks left. It usually ends the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Eggplants, pears, and cucumbers are gone, but there's still several items on display. I just ended up with small Fuji apples, cranberries, and an onion.

As soon as I got home, I put everything away, packed lunch, and rushed out to work. The Acme wasn't too busy when I got in, but it picked up as the afternoon went on and everyone came out of the yard sales and farm markets. I surprisingly spent most of it bagging and fetching things for cashiers and managers. I don't think the new front end manager knows what to do with me. He fussed over my doubling bags and not using stray bags. (First of all, I told him I prefer to use the stray bags. Second, has he ever actually bagged for an Acme? Our bags are very thin. You have to double the bags, or they break.)

I did get some good out of today. My schedule for next week is not bad. I work early on Halloween, the earliest I've worked that day in years. I'll be able to not only go to Oaklyn's Halloween Parade, but help Dad and Jodie hand out candy at their house. Tuesday and Friday off again, slightly more hours than I have been getting.

A $5 gift card for good customer service allowed me to buy the remaining groceries I couldn't afford yesterday. The Acme's generic cereals are on a big sale. I went with Shredded Wheat. Found whole wheat pasta and molasses on the clearance shelves. Picked up mushrooms, which were much cheaper there than at the Farm Market. Treated myself to two Coconut Nests to fill out the card.

When I made it home, I went on the computer to work on my story. Charles takes Rey, Snap, and Kaydel down the hall to find out who's making the spooky noises. It turns out that the creaks and moans were made by a golden robot with a red arm, C-3PO, to be exact. The cackling laughter was made by the missing Luke Waller. Charles is delighted to see him. The kids are in awe. Rey hands him his parents' scrapbook from the living room.

Broke around 6:30 to have leftovers for dinner. Watched The Black Cauldron as I ate. This unusual 1984 Disney fantasy takes us to the land of Prydain, which is ruled by the frighteningly evil Horned King (John Hurt) and his followers. Taran, an assistant pig-keeper, is determined to become a warrior and defeat this monstrous monarch...but he never expects to go on an adventure that involves him with fairies, witches, an oracular pig, a sassy princess with a magic bauble, and the fabled Black Cauldron, the only object that can end the Horned King's terrible reign.

I fondly remember seeing this at the Beach Theater in Cape May when I was about five years old. I don't know if I'd take a five-year-old to see it today. This high fantasy tale is fairly violent and very spooky. The sequence with the army of the undead in particular is genuinely terrifying. While the characters are kind of bland (especially Taran), the animation is actually quite well-done. If you have older kids or young teens who are fantasy and/or horror fans and think they've seen every Disney movie, try this one on them.

Switched to Disney's Halloween Treat as I turned that Caramel Apple cake mix into Caramel Apple-Oatmeal Cake, thanks to two old and wrinkly apples I had sitting in the wire fruit basket. My family recorded this now-rare Disney Channel special around 1988, and I've watched it every October since. A collection of bits and sequences from Disney shorts and animated films that highlight villains or horror are joined by four shorts in near-full ("The Old Mill," "Donald and the Gorilla," "Lonesome Ghosts," "Trick Or Treat") and two segments from the old Disneyland/Walt Disney Presents anthology show. One details the cat's contribution to horror and the supernatural. The other has Hans Conried as the Magic Mirror introducing bits showcasing Disney's most famous villains. (I like the inclusion of Madame Medusa of The Rescuers, a truly nasty villain whom I don't think gets nearly enough credit from Disney fans.)

If you have this hiding in your family's recordings or can dig it up online and are a Disney fan, it's recommended. In all honesty, other than "Trick or Treat," it doesn't really have much to do with Halloween. The segments are fun, though, especially the villain short.

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