Thursday, October 2, 2008

Animated Halloween Specials (part 1)

Am I the only person who gets super excited by this 5-second piece of video?When I was a kid, the sound of the CBS SPECIAL PRESENTATION i.d. was enough to make me drop my action figures and run through the house and plop my ass in front of the closest color TV set. To those too young to understand, there was actually a time before VCRs, dvds, TIVO and the internet when you actually had to watch TV when it was "on". Holiday specials aired once and if you missed 'em, you were out of luck. There was something "special" about "specials" back then. Now, you can watch FROSTY THE SNOWMAN at 3 AM in the middle of the summer. Back in the day, it was an "event" that you waited all year for...and it never disappointed.
Here's two of the less popular animated holiday specials from the CBS library:
THE FAT ALBERT HALLOWEEN special first aired on October 24, 1977. This, of course, is from Filmation Studios, not known for great animation or storytelling. (See my review of HAPPILY EVER AFTER and my friend Danny's skewering of the HE-MAN/SHE-RA: A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.) FAT ALBERT was Filmation's jewel in the crown. Because Bill Cosby was involved, the show was a few notchs above the other shows the studio produced. I watched the Saturday-morning series sometimes, but not on as regular basis. I did love the funky theme song though...
The second cartoon in this double-feature is the awkwardly titled PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING LIES. While not Halloween themed, I guess the brass at CBS figured "dragon=scary=Halloween" and scheduled it to air after FAT ALBERT. Or maybe it was a "obese lead character" theme night? After all the TV Guide ad screams "TWO BIG ONES, BACK TO BACK." I don't think I ever saw this particular show, which is a sequel to 1978's PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON, which in turn was based on the song from folk legends Peter, Paul & Mary. Sung here by Miss Dolly Parton...(insert BIG ONES joke here)
 This cartoon told the story of a little girl dealing with her parent's divorce by telling lies!!! Cartoons in the 1970s were so cool...and relevant. Too bad there isn't a cartoon based on Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" - that would really be great!
Look for more Halloween (and country music?) treats from Dougsploitation in the coming weeks!

6 comments:

Danny in WeHo said...

oh my god!! remember? I LOVE that "Special" intro! Sometimes I wasn't as aware of programming when I was a kid so when this popped up and I wasn't expecting it, I would get so excited!!! What is it going to be?? Charlie brown? The Wizard of Oz? Easter Is...? Fonzie Loves Pinky??? No wonder t.v. isn't as exciting as it used to be...

doug said...

Hey Danny - You're silly ..."Easter Is" was a syndicated animated special produced by the Lutheran church (about a boy named Benji and his sheep dog - Waldo?) - it never aired on CBS prime time and of course HAPPY DAYS was on ABC, but you got the other shows right! :) Yes - TV is so not as exciting as it used to be... :(

Rick Andreoli said...

I absolutely LOVED those specials. I also loved when the networks would do a nighttime special that would promote the new season of Saturday Morning Cartoons and you'd see previews and whatnot.

Kids today are totally missing out on good times.

Thalia Menninger said...

My husband, Ken, and I have always talked about the cherished opening for CBS Specials. It especially reminds us of the Charlie Brown shows.

Wouldn't that be a cool-ass ringtone? I'd pay top dollar.

john w. said...

Believe it or not I too grew up with Puff. I remember always renting the video as my dad was a big fan of Peter, Paul and Mary. And Cher, Elton John, ABBA, Dolly, Queen...yeah...

Tony Z™ said...

Sigh.
I miss the days when Dolly used to sing live. It made her so real when she'd forget the words in the middle of the song. And she never tried to hide it, she'd laugh at herself and everyone would laugh with her.
Now she lipsyncs 95% of her show. Which gives her perfect performances, but takes away a bit of the fun. At least she still does a lot of chit-chat stuff and makes it worth seeing the show.