October 31, 2019 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Halloween 2019

It’s a bit of a cop out this week with some usual suspects– I promise to be in full form next week. Thanks and let’s talk in the next few days!

It’s late on a Wednesday night as I write this, as has been the case here all semester, with spare time being a rare commodity. Myself and the little Thunderbean staff didn’t get quite everything out, but we’re at in again in the morning for some Halloween packing and film restoration.

It looks like it’s going to be a rainy one out here in Michigan, so our annual showing 16mm cartoon outside may not happen, sadly. Here at Cartoon Research, at least there’s always the advantage of some Halloween cartoons. Here is this years’s list, including some of your suggestions from last year,

Let’s start things off with a more ‘Modern’ cartoon: Big Game Haunt Starring Cool Cat (with Colonel Rimfire and Spooky). Not strictly a Halloween cartoon, but how can you hate a ghost that looks like a thumb?

I always watch Midnight Frollics (Columbia/ Mintz/ Iwerks) around and on Halloween. I really love it, but admit it’s far from a great cartoon. I guess the real reason I liked it was that my Mom insisted it be part of the Halloween show at her house every years for the trick or treaters. She always said “Are you bringing ‘The Flora Dora Girls?’ referring to the song in the picture. Here ya go, Mom:

I do really like the score (and of course the animation) in the classic short “Lonesome Ghosts”. I always feel bad for them though. When I was a kid I wondered why the ghosts were so hell bent on treating the trio so badly. Burt Gillett must have had a hand in designing the ghosts in some capacity; they seem to have a kinship to some of the characters designed for ‘Bold King Cole’ over at Van Beuren a year before:

Jeepers Creepers (1939) is a super fun cartoon, even with the unfortunate stereotype ending. The score is wonderful of this little cartoon. I also always liked that rendered frog close up….

While it’s overplayed, Trick or Treat is still a fun little cartoon:

In addition, I had this record as a kid, with Ginny Tyler as Witch Hazel (and June Foray in the pieces of soundtrack from the film) guiding us through a much longer version of the story than the cartoon originally was!

A little while back, our own Greg Ehrbar put up the original RCA record with June Foray narrating. I heard this for the first time tonight, and it’s pretty wonderful:

And, lastly, a bunch of halloween commercials that someone posted. Some of these are animated, including a Fruity Pebbles one (Mike, did you animate on this one?)

Have a happy Halloween all! A more involved TB Thursday next week!


  • I’ve always loved that Spooky gets a mentioned in the opening credits.

    Happy ‘alloween Steve.

  • I remember seeing ‘Trick Or Treat’ first as the comic book version by Carl Barks. I then saw the original cartoon on The Wonderful World Of Disney’s Halloween special (I think, it was over 40 years ago).. I noticed some differences between both versions. There was a song,of course, but the ghosts in the animated version looked different from the ones in the comic (Barks drew some imaginative ghosts & monsters, the cartoon version had typical white sheet spectres). Witch Hazel had her own comic strip for a while. The one I remember had an appearence by Hazel’s nephew Witchis Witch (get it?).

    • My experience was in the same order–I read the comic book version first, then saw the cartoon. In my case, the comic book was reprinted in Walt Disney Comics Digest #16. I read it and loved it, finding it slightly different from the other Donald Duck adventures drawn by “the good artist” who was nameless for most of us at that time. The reason for the difference is now clear, since it originated as a cartoon short. Then, too, my introduction to the cartoon itself was on “The Wonderful World of Disney” TV show. I think when I saw it the bit with the cartoon ghosts was cut out completely, with the cut going right from HDL mounting Hazel’s broom to the quartet on the broom confronting Donald. It was years before I saw a complete version of the cartoon. I also notice that the bit with the kids getting the billy goat’s whiskers was included in the comic book but not in the cartoon–although there is a brief edit at that exact point so I’m wondering if the sequence was actually story-boarded and possibly included in the test reel but then cut out before being fully animated. Otherwise, what is the point of one of the ducklings saying “Here you are, Hazel” when handing her the goat’s whiskers? The line would make more sense if some effort had gone into the procuring of the whiskers. Of course, since the comic book version supplies the answer, we know that some effort did go into it. But it’s such a good visual bit, it would have been nice to see it in animation.

  • Happy Halloween Steve. I always watch the Midnight Frolics toon every Halloween also because I feel the animation on the ghost is superb. There didn’t seem to be any record aside from Ub Iwerks directing, even the Internet Movie Data Base has very limited information. Just wondered who did the actual animation on this toon as the ghosts are very well animated. Thanks

  • I never heard of “MIDNIGHT FROLICS”, so I enjoyed finally sitting through this one. Always like Mel Blanc in just about anything, and he was terrific here. I guess that MGM entries are probably also used to death (no pun intended) in folks’ Halloween lists, but I think of “DR. JEKYL AND MR. MOUSE”; it is a perfect cartoon, with a score matching just about every move in the cartoon, including Jerry’s transformation into the monster that Tom does not expect, and hey, you can’t beat those shadows-and-light designs as Tom mixes the concoction that he thinks wiill rid himself of that thirsty mouse. The other one that is a scary Halloween treat is “BOTTLES”. These are not specifically Halloween-themed cartoons, but they have their moments. I enjoyed all your choices here, though.

  • The best version of the Donald Duck “Trick or Treat” story will always be the Carl Barks comic book:

    • I fully agree! The comic book version was a classic when first printed. It only improved when Barks’ complete version was later restored and now the restored version appears to be the most regularly reprinted one. I think the amalgam of Barks’ art with its semi-poetic writing and visualizations combined with the slapstick of the cartoon makes for a very satisfying read–light enough in terms of plot and dialogue that it can either be skimmed through quickly or savored at greater length. Certainly in terms of plot and characterization it is much stronger than the animated version. But also reading it first adds some depth to the experience of viewing it–it helps immensely to know the “real” story. Creates a win-win for both versions.

    • I like the comic, but to be honest I found the ending a bit lame compared to the cartoon. Donald instantly reforming at the end doesn’t seem to cut it for me.

  • Thanks all for the interesting info on the cartoon and comic.
    Sometime in the early 1950’s I read a Donald (or Scrooge) comic book where all 5 ducks were trapped in a large Mexican cave system with a toy train running from tunnel to tunnel through small holes in the walls. I believe the ducks used the train to pass notes or to help them escape. This exciting and mysterious story has stayed with me for over 65 years . If anyone have a clue about this comic book story, could you please post the info here? Thank You.

  • Yo Steve, when are you gonna restock Yuletide Flickers?
    Christmas is coming!

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