Halloween Special – Cartoons of the Witch!

One more collection of Halloween-themed episodes before I wrap up for the week and head back to work on Monday. It’s been fun, and I’ll put up a post tomorrow to get requests for stuff to look at the next time I’m off.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure

Doing my research on this because I’m not massively familiar with Garfield, this is the fourth of twelve TV specials and precedes Garfield and Friends by three years. Lorenzo Music installed from the start as the laconic cat. Halloween is Garfield’s favourite holiday based on the amount of candy he can get. He decides upon a pirate costume with his first mate Odie to go out and Trick or Treat.

Not really my kind of show, although I got and enjoyed a lot of the jokes and songs, of which there are a few. A lot of the show is built through imagination until they get to a “haunted house” with an old man telling a scary story about pirates preparing to come back from the dead to regain their buried treasure… in the next few minutes. They avoid the dead and get away with their bags full of treats.

It’s held in high regard, but I just much preferred the Peanuts take on Halloween (below) to this. I’ll give it a TREAT (I know, you’re shocked!), but it’ll be from that bag that’s at the back of the cupboard and close to the Best Before date.

Gargoyles: Eye of the Beholder

David Xanatos gives his fiancee, Fox of the Pack, the Eye of Odin as an engagement present at the start of October. At the end of the month, she’s hairier than he is, courtesy of having become a werewolf. The show itself goes to no effort to hide that it’s Fox, given that she’s got the necklace on and her trademark eye tattoo even in the lupine form. Xanatos and his assistant Owen Burnett activate “Plan A” to deal with it. At the same time, it’s Halloween, the one night of the year the Gargoyles can walk the street without anyone noticing they’re different, but that’s soon to be spoilt with a real werewolf on the loose.

Great animation in this episode, especially on Fox’s transformation. The music is top tier as always, to portray both spookiness and action. Even the sound effects are great as Xanatos hunting down Fox in a meat locker allows you to hear his footsteps and the sound of his gun as he looks through the legs of steak. The writing is fun too as he works through a series of plans, then has it in mind to get Goliath to do his dirty work, which Goliath immediately unpicks in a “Gotcha!” moment. He then lays it on thick, which Elisa sees through too.

We also get the famous scene of Goliath and Elisa, dressed as Belle, dancing openly in the street. Xanatos was generally a noble villain, but he’s a real rat bastard at times in this episode, even with “good” intentions. It’s not a perfect episode, with things like a food court misspelled on a sign as FOOD CORUT, but it’s definitely a memorable TREAT. Why Disney haven’t continued the show on Disney+ or even done a live action version of, which it would be absolutely appropriate for, is beyond me.

Peanuts: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Lucy sends her brother Linus out to get a pumpkin that’s bigger than him for Halloween. I don’t watch a lot of Peanuts and Charlie Brown, but what I do I always enjoy. Artistically, you’ve got the iconic character designs and great painted sky backgrounds, as well as a rich palette of colour with reds and oranges and yellows and browns for the autumnal leave, plus the vibrant tones when Snoopy dresses as a WWI flying ace and battles the Red Baron. Musically, you’ve got the jazzy score. Comedically, you’ve got physical comedy, building to punchlines, powerful/battleaxe females like Lucy, and recurring motifs like Charlie Brown always getting a rock in his trick or treat bag.

You’ve also got the excellent acting instincts of the child actors, with a really dry delivery that I just prefer to Garfield. For instance, Pigpen turns up in a scruffy white sheet to pretend to be a ghost, instantly recognised by his friends, prompting him to exclaim “How did you know it was me?!”.

Linus drags Sally out to join him in awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, which ends up just being Snoopy rising in the field, which sees him faint. “You blockhead!”, she yells. “YOU OWE ME RESTITUTION!”

Just loved it, classic stuff, always makes you appreciate the power of imagination. Total TREAT.

Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin

I’ve been meaning to get round to this show for a while after the enjoyment of the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends earlier this year. Ted Schwartz is the voice of Spidey prior to Dan Gilvezan more notably taking over and just missing that oomph than Gilvezan had, sounding more stoned. On Halloween night, Norman Osborn escapes imprisonment and becomes the Green Goblin again. It’s a much slower pace for the episode as the real Goblin, among other dressed-up Goblins, takes until the end of the first act to actually show up properly after getting Peter’s Spidey Sense tingling. I think it’s an attempt to build up anticipation, but it comes across as a little boring until Osborn actually unmasks Spider-Man.

We then get a flashback via a holographic memory helmet, which you know watching it is going to be used against him later. There’s a bit of tension about Betty Brant possibly finding out that Peter is Spider-Man before the Goblin proceeds with a revenge campaign against J. Jonah Jameson. Too late in the episode, copies of the Daily Bugle dissolve into Goblin dust. If that was something that had happened at the start of the episode, with the dust turning anybody who picked up the paper into a Goblin, it would be far more interesting.

Gotta say, disappointingly, that this would fall under TRICK rather than TREAT. Too much recycled stuff in it and just a boring episode. There are things of promise in it, as it sounds like a good episode from the score, but Schwartz isn’t a very interesting Peter or Spider-Man. We tracked the progress of the show in the subsequent version, and it was far better by the end of it than this is.

The Bottom Line: Two candy apples, a bit of hard toffee, and a rock. A mixed bag, but mostly worth a watch.