October 8, 2015 posted by

Halloween Cartoons Are Always Favorites!

Sending out Willie Whoppers is a full time job this week, along with finishing touches on the Pvt. Snafu blu-ray booklet, so it’s a simple TB Thursday this week, but some favorite cartoons are here, and it’s a good time of year to haul them out again!

While I know it’s not ‘quite’ Halloween yet, it does give me a good excuse to at least start putting up Halloween cartoon posts… maybe we’ll do this all the way through the month, with some oddities and surprises thrown in for good measure. After all, who doesn’t like spooky or ghost cartoons? Halloween seemed to be a favorite subject, especially on the east coast- where they arguably did the best scary cartoons.

A few of my picks are below – now, add yours too, each week!


A few years back, we posted the Columbia/ Iwerks studio cartoon Midnight Frollics (1938). It’s now become an annual tradition here. Not a great cartoon by anyone’s estimation, but it’s one of my favorites. For many years I’ve shown cartoons in 16mm on Halloween night, and this particular cartoon was one that my Mom always made sure I brought. On my way over, she’d always ask “Did you bring the Flora Dora Girls?”.

Everyone has their favorites of course. Here’s Skeleton Frolic also by Columbia/Iwerks- from a really nice Columbia-released print. Of course, the kinship to The Skeleton Dance is clear….

The Ghost Of Stephen Foster (1999), directed by Raymond Persi and Matthew Nastuk, comes closer to getting that spooky Fleischer feel than any other ‘retro’ 30s cartoon I can think of. Some of the folks on this worked on The Twisted Tales of Felix series at Film Roman not long before this.

The band, “The Squirrel Nut Zippers” had a minor hit on the radio a few years earlier, in 1996. “Hell” is a lot of fun – in some ways I wish this was the song that got an animated video… but of course the success of this album led to the above project:

Of course, Halloween isn’t complete without Popeye in one form or another. Shiver me Timbers (’34) and Ghosks is the Bunk (’39)are both favorites of mine…. and maybe yours too. Then again, there’s barely a Fleischer Popeye I don’t like. Shiver is great throughout… I think it’s one of the best Fleischer cartoons honestly. At one point, it has a gag that’s pretty similar to Disney’s later Lonesome Ghosts, though with very different results.

Popeye really beats the heck out of Olive at one point, thinking she’s a ghost. I remember thinking to myself as a kid that Popeye was really mean for not doing as much as apologizing to Olive for such awful treatment, even though it was an accident. Ghosks in the Bunk is as good for Jack Mercer and Margie Hine’s vocal performances as it is for the animatioN- and although Pinto Colvig’s Bluto isn’t my favorite, it’s still lots of fun… even more fun is turning on the close captioning on youtube for this one!

While not a great copy, I really love the Toby the pup cartoon Halloween. It’s as strange as every Halloween cartoon should be:

A follow cartoon friend of mine really loves tracking down original titles on the Charlie Brown specials. His great quest is to find an uncut network print of A Charlie Brown Christmas from the first broadcast. I know they are out there… maybe one of these days we’ll actually be able to transfer one. In the meantime, here’s the 1966 titles from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, with the original sponsor plugs included… nice that someone put this one up! It looks like the Snoopy animation is a bit of a reuse from A Charlie Brown Christmas. I think Bill Littlejohn animated that scene…

While I know we’ve done these list before, I really do love the collective posts with other favorite Halloween cartoons. So… what are your picks this week?

Have a good week everyone!


  • — Donald Duck in “Trick or Treat” — Lavish old-fashioned look for 1952; Donald’s home seems kind of retro for the time as well.
    — “Scaredy Cat” — Best of the Sylvester and Porky toons.
    — “Who Killed Who?” — Technically a murder mystery sendup, but nice Halloween vibe.
    — Any Casper toon with a nighttime setting. Because this is the season when you really think about what Casper IS.

  • “Spooks” with Flip the Frog. Ub Iwerks seems to have had a thing for skeletons,

  • Those three Flip the Frog classics, SPOOKS, CUCKOO MURDER CASE and TECHNO-CRAZY along with the Disney classic SKELETON DANCE were the ones my kids always requested for the annual front yard 16mm Halloween screening. BROOMSTICK BUNNY, MINNIE THE MOOCHER, A CARTOONIST’S NIGHTMARE and BOO MOON were always in the running too.

  • “Broomstick Bunny” is one of those cartoons that’s not only interesting for it’s actually Halloween-themed plot (unlike most of the other witches/ghosts/skeleton-themed story lines, this one has to happen on Halloween for Bugs to have the ugly mask on), but also for watching Jones work just as well with the back-up team (writer Tedd Pierce and layout man Ernie Nordli) as he did in the mid-50s with Michael Maltese and Maurice Noble.

  • Add two Jones classics Bewitched Bunny & Broom-Stick Bunny with voice work by the bewitching June Foray. Woody Woodpecker also has a run in with a witch in Witch Crafty. As a fan of George Pal’s Puppetoons I mention Jasper and the Haunted House, invisible ghosts and gooseberry pie. Mickey Mouse pays a visit to The Haunted House in the 1929 cartoon. Night On Bare Mountain is always appropriate on halloween, either the finale of Fantasia or Alexander Alexeieff’s pinscreen version. And here is an amazing highly rendered Irish animated film called Midnight Dance:

    • And don’t forget The Mad Doctor starring Mickey Mouse and Pluto.

  • Here are my frightfully fantastic five favorite Halloween theme Cartoons:

    1-Trick or Treat starring Donald Duck featuring a Shakespearing speaking Witch Hazel (voiced by June Foray who ironically voice the WB’s version of Witch Hazel a few years later)

    2-Halloween starring Mighty Mouse in a operetta setting where a witch threatens to ruin the citizens of Mouseville’s Halloween celebrations.

    3-Disney’s The Skeleton Dance

    4-Ghost In The Bunk featuring Popeye


    5-Broomstick Bunny starring Bugs Bunny

  • Another Halloween favorite is Halloween is Grinch Night with a outstanding musical score by Joe Rasposo.

  • “A Haunting We Will Go” with Lil’ 8-Ball and the three Slyvester and Porky cartoons such as “Scaredy Cat”

  • Like others have already said, there are so many “spooky” cartoons that aren’t specifically Halloween-related. I’m glad we might get a good collection of spooky shorts here each Thursday this month!

    I’m better versed at recalling the Halloween-themed TV special. And while the Great Pumpkin is my favorite, one that often gets overlooked is Gilda Radner in 1978’s Witch’s Night Out. Unique character design and animation — and a fun theme song that had partially stuck in my head for many years until I could find this gem on DVD.

    • Love ‘Witch’s Night Out’ !! I watch it every Halloween.

  • “Trick or Treat”, “Scaredy Cat”, “Who Killed Who?”, “Jasper and the Haunted House”, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, “Mad Monster Party,” and “Broomstick Bunny.”

    • I forgot to mention “Pink Plasma.”

  • “The Case of the Stuttering Pig” of course!

  • Spooky cartoons aren’t necessarily spooky because of what a character sees. A scary cartoon can be scary just because you’re following, closely, what happens to a character as he or she races through what appears to be a haunted house, even though you know that the characters are actually scaring each other with their own fear. Such a cartoon is “THE OLD HOUSE”, that classic MGM cartoon that, although deemed racially insensitive, can scare a little bit as you watch poor Bosko, Honey and Bruno tumble and fall through dark rooms in an empty and rickety old wooden house with some of the hollowest sound effects I’ve ever heard in a cartoon since the earliest scary attempts by Max and Dave Fleischer into the sound era. This will sound silly, now, but that scene in which Bosko turns a ghostly white at seeing the moving skeleton coming toward him used to scare me as a little kid; it is done so well! Another cartoon that I’d always liked was the PORKY PIG cartoon, “JEEPERS CREEPERS”. I put that up against a sleeper TV favorite of mine whose title I really don’t know, but it is from “THE ALVIN SHOW” and has Dave Seville, Alvin and the Chip Munks visiting an old mansion which is still haunted by a ghost who loves to play evil tricks on those who invade his space, but he is instead spooked when he opens the suitcase left by Dave and the boys and hears “The Witchdoctor’s Song” playing as the lid opens. I also have to add “THE CASE OF THE STUTTERING PIG” to this list, along with the TOM AND JERRY classic, “DR. JEKYL AND MR. MOUSE” with one of the wildest transformation scenes involving Jerry after he takes a sip of the tainted bowl of milk. Hope you even get a chance to include one or two of these in the weeks to come, but clearly, the 1930’s are the scariest years of Halloween menace, because creating a Halloween cartoon seemed to bring out the sadist in the animators. In that case, I’ll add, as an addendum here, the strange and not necessarily Halloween cartoon, “BIMBO’S INITIATION” to the list, as well as “BETTY BOOP’S MUSEUM”!

  • You’d think Steve of all people would bring this one up, but it’s yet to happen, so here’s Scrappy’s Ghost Story (1935):

  • Frankenstein-Stymied and the rarely seen Spookenanny with Woody Woodpecker
    Water, Water Every Hare with Bugs Bunny and Gossamer
    Two Pink Panther cartoons one involving the Pink Panther in a Haunted Castle and another with the Pink Panther staying overnight at a ghost town.
    Transylvania 6-5000 with Bugs Bunny and Count Bloodcount
    Sicque! Sicque! Sicque! With the Inspector and another with The Inspector in a parody of Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde,
    Ghost Wanted,
    Prize Pest with Daffy Duck and Porky Pig
    And from Romania
    Balainel and Meowlenel in The Little Robot where the duo received a little robot as a gift but when Popy takes the little robot, starting abusing the little robot and the little robot goes amok terrorizing Popy.


    • There’s also PANICKY PUP: Van Beuren’s own version of SWING YOU SINNERS

  • Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers with Bugs Bunny

  • “Lonesome Ghosts”- I have a Fisher Price movie viewer that had a cartridge with the classic Disney cartoon. I can’t wait to see this on TCM later this month.

  • From Terrytoons, “Mighty Mouse Meets Jekyll and Hyde Cat,” with some great Bill Tytla animation. The transformation scene (apparently inspired by the one in the silent John Barrymore “Jekyll and Hyde”) is genuinely frightening. .Also note that one of the bottles on the shelf in the laboratory is labeled “Beetle Juice.” Wonder if maybe Tim Burton was traumatized by this one as a kid.

  • “Frankenstein’s Cat” with Mighty Mouse is a fave of mine; when I screen it with an audience, they never fail to laugh when Mighty slaps the cat around (who seems by the way to be half cat and half water heater) and says in a Leo Gorcey-ish voice, “What did youse do wit’ da boid?” Woody Woodpecker’s “Franken-Stymied” may be no classic, but it always seems to get a great reaction. I saw it in a theatre back in the 70’s and it really raised the roof! (And with a mainly adult audience too, not a kiddie matinee crowd.) Then there’s Van Beuren’s trippy “Gypped in Egypt,” Fleischer’s Superman “The Mummy Strikes,” (Lois Lane’s last line is a real groaner,) the neo-Disney “Runaway Brain”…and why hasn’t anyone even mentioned “Bambi Meets Godzilla”?

  • A few fun ghost & monster cartoons from the Sixties –

    PINK PANIC – Pink Panther


    GHOSTLY CONCERT – Felix the Cat

    MONSTER RALLY – Tom Slick (“George of the Jungle”)

  • Walter Lantz – “Boogie Woogie Man”
    MGM – “Fraidy Cat”
    Warner Brothers – “The Haunted Mouse”

  • -Jeepers Creepers (’39) with Porky Ping and the Pinto Colvig voiced ghost
    -Donald Duck and the Gorilla (’44)
    -Betty Boop’s Halloween Party (’33)
    -Transylvania 6-500 (’63) with Bugs Bunny
    -Fraidy Cat (’42) with Tom and Jerry

    • I’m certainly glad you mentioned Betty Boop’s Halloween Party. That is the quintessential Golden Age animated Halloween cartoon for it deals with the common themes often associated with Halloween . And it deals with them in the classic, surrealistic, goofy style that was the Fleischer Studios’ trademark during its salad days.

  • Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile animated by Chuck Jones

Leave a Reply to Frank M. Young Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *