Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Disney's Halloween Treats

Began a sunny, warm morning with two vintage Disney specials. My family taped these off was an independent local TV station in 1988. Halloween Hall of Fame has the late Johnathan Winters running afoul of a grouchy Jack-O'-Lantern who complains that the holiday has been too watered-down for his taste in recent years. Winters shows him the Donald Duck short "Trick or Treat" and most of "Pluto's Judgement Day" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad to prove otherwise. Scary Tales Halloween, taped the same night, is more of a random compilation of segments from various Disney movies that involve spooky stuff or villains, along with the Mickey/Donald/Goofy vehicle "Lonesome Ghosts" and another Donald tale, "Donald and the Gorilla."

(Incidentally, while I believe Scary Tales is on at least video in one form or another, I've never seen Halloween Hall of Fame anywhere else, including The Disney Channel. Channel 29 would convert to a Fox affiliate a year later and seldom ran anything Disney-related thereafter.)

I had a pleasant walk to the laundromat this morning. It was a gorgeous day for a walk. The trees here are finally starting to turn subdued but not unattractive shades of flame orange, gold, lime green, and russet. While most people here don't go quite as all-out for Halloween as they do for Christmas, there are some very nifty - and ghoulish - displays, including one a block or so down from here that has everything creepy you can imagine, from a headless bride to foam gravestones.

I wanted to get the laundry done a bit earlier this week than I have been. I'm tired of the rushing, and I had towels to do this week along with a slightly larger load than usual (thanks to last week's cold weather). It was pretty busy there when I got in around 10:30, but I did get a washer and a drier. I guess everyone wanted to get their chores done before Halloween kicks in later this week.

When I got home, I put the laundry away, then had lunch as I watched The Black Cauldron. This lesser-known Disney gem is one of their only movies that can be called out-and-out scary. Taran, a young pig-keeper, discovers that his charge Hen Wen is being pursued by the evil Horned King because her oracular ability can reveal where the fabled Black Cauldron is. Taran is supposed to take Hen to safety, but his daydreaming allows her to wander off instead....and into the hands of the Horned King himself. Taran also winds up a prisoner, but while in the castle, he does meet the spirited Princess Ellonwy and Fflewfldor the bard. They break out, and joined by ever-hungry Gurgi, set out to find the legendary cauldron and a way to defeat the freaky skeletal ruler.

Even just the outline could probably tell you that this is one of the few Disney "canon" animated films that isn't for young kids. Those "cauldron born" warriors and the Horned King are genuinely nightmare-inducing. There's a reason I usually watch this around Halloween. That said, if you have older kids who think they've seen every Disney movie and can handle the scares, try this one on them.

Work was busy for most of the night, not helped by my being fairly tired. It was busy right up until I left! We're getting close to the beginning of the month. Thankfully, people weren't quite as bad as they were the other night. I even had a nice chat with a kind customer. It did slow down enough by 9 that I was able to leave without a fuss.

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