October 25, 2018 posted by Steve Stanchfield

The Annual Halloween Cartoon List – and yours too!

In Thunderbean news:
It’s been a week of surveying what there is to catch up on in the immediate here. I’m behind in brand new ways in nearly everything at the moment, and at some point, I think, you just need to keep trying to move ahead and hope the stacks of things don’t tumble too badly. These few weeks are going to be only about catch up, and making an attempt to get everything back on track. Know that we’re working on it, and will get any of the finished pre-orders sent as soon as humanly possible.

In restoration news: A whole series of scans have been showing up here for various projects, and I’ll be taking some films to get scanned myself in the coming week as well. The coolest thing has been seeing some of the Lou Bunin materials finally getting a first pass (at least *some* of them) and hoping to be able to raise revenue for the other materials.

I’ll be taking a trip to LA when things are caught up to finally look at the remaining Rainbow Parade cartoons, and deciding what materials to pull for the scans of the rest of the last half of the series. The majority of the series only exists in prints, so there are not negs to go back to for the most part. We’re trying to do 4 or 5k scans on most of them to insure preservation in the future while tackling this project. I’ll also be looking at the rest of the Comi-Color negs to determine what to pull, and when to pull back up materials.

Since it’s almost Halloween, I’ll continue the tradition of posting some favorite Halloween films. Here’s the ones that are on my must watch list (again) for this year. Some of these will very likely be projected for the kids on Halloween night. What films are on *your* must see list this year?

I think I’ll star this year off with Woody’s Spook-A-Nanny (1964). This Walter Lantz TV special seemed to have endless 16mm prints on the collector’s market in the 80s, all in IB technicolor. Oddly, the special included the Andy Panda cartoon ‘Playful Pelican (1948). A lot of people cut the cartoon out of the special and sold it separately.

Anyone that has followed this blog knows that I show Midnight Frolics (Columbia/ Iwerks 1938) every year. This scan in from my super beat up IB tech print that I’ve had since I was 14 or 15. When I used to show cartoons at my mom’s house on Halloween, she insisted that I bring ‘The Flora Dora Girls’, her name for this cartoon!

Of course, the Skeleton Dance (1928) is always a must. Disney put up a pretty copy of the short on youtube in 2015, oddly, with the end title ‘Minnie’s Yoo Hoo’ music :

And, of course, Haunted House (1929, Disney) is also a must. I love Mickey is this cartoon; He’s funny in all the right ways. “PPLAYYYY!!!!!” “I c-c-can’t play!” “PLAAAYYYYYY!!!” This feels much more like a Fleischer or Van Beuren cartoon than a Disney short, and of course reuses some animation from The Skeleton Dance.

And, we always need to see the original opening for It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, with the original Coke and Dolly Madison credits, and some re-appropriated Bill Littlejohn Snoopy animation..

I always thought the first of the Casper cartoons was the most charming. I’ve had an absolutely horrible copy for many years. This one ain’t any better, but here is it- and a good Halloween showing:

Here’s a wonderful series of animation tests of Jack Skellington, done for the Tim Burton/Henry Selick movie Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Then, there is the Chuck Jones’ Raggedy Ann and Andy Special, “The Pumpkin that Couldn’t Smile” (1979) with June Foray and Daws Butler doing the rag kids. I was 10 when I saw this special and, since I was such a fan of the feature, I of course watched it as a kid. Are there any animators here who worked on this special that could give us a word or two of insight? 😉

I really do like Iwerks’ Headless Horseman short from 1934. We’ll have a very different copy a year from now:

And, while not technically a Halloween cartoon, I’ve always loved the spooky Cab Calloway Scarecrow in Jack Frost (1934):

Ok, Broomstick Bunny fans: name your favorite Halloween shorts! Happy Halloween everyone!


  • “Spook-a-Nanny” tops my list, too.
    Also “Monster of Ceremonies” (Woody Woodpecker)
    “Franken-Stymied” (Woody Woodpecker)
    Mouse Factory: “Spooks and Magic”
    “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad”
    Disneyland: “All About Magic” (black and white)
    Disney’s DTV Monster Hits
    Good Morning, Mickey: Hallowe’en Episode
    “Disney’s Hallowe’en Treat”
    “The Mad Scientist” (Mickey Mouse)
    “The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone”
    “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
    “The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile”

  • It would be nice to see “The Friendly Ghost” in Technicolor. The best I got is the NTA Home Entertainment “All-Star Cartoon Parade” which is close to the original but doesn’t have original titles.

    Viacom and Universal (Harvey) are fighting for the rights to that film. Oh, if shout factory had the money to get the negs for the pre-50 Casper trilogy instead of using a public domain DVD with the fake Paramount logo tacked onto it.

    • There’s also two more Famous Studios shorts:
      One is a rare Screen Songs short featuring the Ghosts from the Casper The Friendly Ghost Series called, “Boos In The Nite”. And it features the song “Pack Up Your Troubles”.
      Another one is that Popeye cartoon, “Fright To The Finish”.

  • Too many to mention, but here are my ten personal favorite cartoons to watch around Halloween: (in spontaneous order)
    “Lonesome Ghosts” (1937)
    “Play Safe” (1936)
    “Once Upon A Time” (1934)
    “The Snowman” (1932/3)
    “Balloon Land” (1935)
    “A Ride For Cinderella” (1937)
    “Jeepers Creepers” (1939)
    “Hells Fire” (1934)
    “Stratos Fear” (1934)
    “Scrappy’s Ghost Story” (1935)

  • – “Lonesome Ghosts” is a must for Halloween.
    – “Trick Or Treat”. 50s Donald Duck at his best.
    – “Garfield’s Halloween” (or “Garfield in Disguise”). Next to “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, the best of the TV Halloween specials.
    – “A Claymation Halloween”. Produced by the late Wil VInton. No messages, no sentiment, just some hilarious gags beautifully animated.
    – And finally, some choice “Treehouse of Horror” segments from “The Simpsons: “The Raven” from season 2; “Homer3” (the one with a CG Homer) from season 7, and “The Shinning” from season 6.

  • I recall with some affection Lantz’ “Spook-A-Nanny” special from 1964. This was much promoted back in the day (nice KAKE ad!), and aired in prime time in some markets. WJRT in Flint, Michigan ran it with studio inserts featuring “Mr. Magic” (Frank Cady), the channel’s afternoon children’s show host and an audience filled with costumed young trick-or-treaters. The host led the kids in a dance to the show’s catchy (and deeply silly) “Spook-A-Nanny” ditty, which I can still sing to this day! I remain impressed that Lantz managed to feature new animation of so many of his characters in the show, including the fairly obscure Sugarfoot and Lantz comic book regulars Homer Pigeon and Space Mouse; I like the little joke about The Beatles..

    • KTVU in Oakland had Captain Satellite hosting. At one point they had three kids as the Beatle ghosts with wigs and toy guitars; the sheets came off (awkwardly) to reveal Ben Cooper Woody Woodpecker costumes underneath. I remember watching and thinking that Space Mouse’s presence meant that somewhere there were Space Mouse cartoons I’d never seen.

      Faint memory of Captain Satellite and Mister Bob (KTVU’s Three Stooges host) hosting what looked like a pretty big kids’ party during breaks in a Yogi Bear special, which I think was tied to the bear getting his own show. In retrospect a little poignant that local hosts were celebrating the shows that would put them out of business.

  • There’s also the rare Famous Studios Screen Songs short, “Boos In The Nite (1950)” featuring the Ghosts from the Casper The Friendly Ghost Series.

  • Big Game Haunt (1968) Starring Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire and also Starring Spooky.
    Colonel Rimfire Chasing Cool Cat through Haunted House and then Spooky Comes Out the box and scared and surprised Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire when he said, “Hello!”
    Here’s the link:

  • Hi Steve,
    I did a bit of animation on “The Pumpkin That Couldn’t Smile”, for Chuck Jones. I animated some scenes of the little mouse, scribbling rapidly on a piece of paper with a big pen, and a scene of the pumpkin on a skateboard, with the cat caught in the pumpkin’s shell by his claws and struggling to get out. The first take of the scene (shot on 35mm, no video pencil tests in those days), revealed that animating on twos against a pan background on ones just caused a lot of strobe that detracted from the animation. I took it upon myself to inbetween the whole shot on ones, so the action would work. I did this without any extra pay. Mary Roscoe, who was Chuck’s production manager, was rather parsimonious, to say the least. I’ll never forget the rapid fire way that Chuck handed out scenes, not bothering to explain very carefully what he wanted, and providing little to no direction on the exposure sheets. He did provide a lot of rough layout drawings, however, as was his wont. I also animated on “Freezed Frame”, a TV Chuck Jones Road Runner, and committed the cardinal sin of showing the Road Runner’s legs as legs, not as a blur. Mary wouldn’t let me fix my mistake, and fired me. That was the last time I worked for ol’ Unca Chuck.

    • Thank you Mark, I knew you were going to bring up the timing of the special you worked on!

  • A lot of my favorites have been mentioned already, but my absolute favorite Halloween special is “Halloween is Grinch Night” from 1977. I always thought the way the DePatie-Freleng studio handled Dr. Seuss characters was closer to Seuss’s own drawings than the Chuck Jones specials. Someday I will own a 16mm print of “Grinch Night” to project for my fourth graders!

  • I’m surprised no one mentioned “Spooks” by Ub Iwerks (1932), featuring Flip the Frog. “You’re just in time to dine.”

    • The Flipster in a spooky tale?? Day made!

  • How about the reliably spooky “The Old Mill,” and the hilariously dark Jones – Maltese “Chow Hound.” “…this time we DIDN’T forget the gravy!”

  • Hi Steve Stanchfield!

    Since I commented about the Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire Cartoon “Big Game Haunt” yesterday, I want you to find any Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, Bunny and Claude and the One-Shots Cartoon (Including Chimp and Zee, Flying Circus and Quick Brown Fox and Rapid Rabbit Cartoon Called “Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too!”) in 35mm and 16mm prints from the final years of Looney Tunes and Warner Bros Cartoons from the Seven Arts Era From 1967-1969 (and not those Daffy and Speedy Cartoons – because they are some of the Worst Cartoons Ever Made! They’re Terrible!!). Just find Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, Bunny and Claude and the One-Shot cartoons in 35mm or 16mm – and post them someday on Thunderbean Thursday!

    I’ll be waiting!

  • A full length animated feature but worth a mention I think :

    Zeman’s ‘Krabat’ aka ‘The Sorceror’s Apprentice’ ( late 1970s ) is wonderfully dark & sinister ( many crows, shape-shifting, black magic & an evil demonic master/miller ) but also wistful, beautiful, romantic & even in places quite Christmas-y !
    Though definitely also very suitable for Halloween.

  • I don’t especially care for Ub Iwerks’ studio output, (generally too staid and corny), but like the overall design and feeling of The Headless Horseman – could maybe have used a bit of dialogue to explain the goings-on.
    When I was 13, I did a 16mm cartoon version of Sleepy Hollow as a school project. It had Ichabod and Katrina doing the Hully Gully (it was the 60s).

  • Halloween in cartoons for me is a mixed bag
    Some are fun, Some good and most are outright garbage
    Last Year’s “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” for example is downright complete utter rubbish as it’s nothing more than a half-hour commercial for a haphazardly slapped together mixtape and MJ doesn’t show up [apart from pointless visual references and symbolism] until the last few minutes of the damn special
    I don’t have favorites par say but the following i feel need some love for Halloween

    The Devil and Daniel Mouse – The Nelvana-produced Halloween Special that became the basis for the cult classic “Rock & Rule”
    Follow That Goblin! – This cheesy stop motion short had Eric Fogel [of Celebrity Deathmatch fame] as one of it’s animators
    Witch’s Night Out – While campy, It’s loads of fun
    Halloween is Grinch Night – Forget the Quaker Oats guy, THIS will be Baby’s First Nightmare Fuel
    Witches in Stitches – The Perennial Pictures library may not be well renowned or majoritively beloved like the Rankin/Bass catalog but it’s quirky charm has it’s fans (hell, I’m one of them)

  • Well, I do, as usual, have many, but I’ve given these honorable mention so often previously that I’ll just bring the “list” down to two memorable shorts, both from the animated “BEANY AND CECIL SHOW” (or “MATTY MATTEL’S FUNDAY FUNNIES WITH BEANY AND CECIL”, whichever version you are lucky enough to own (never officially released), but they hold a place in my lost boy heart–“BEANY AND THE BOO BIRDS” and “THE PHANTOM OF THE HORSE OPERA”, the latter of which features a direct steal from Tex Avery as cecil, made invisible, battles it out with the invisible phantom, stopping the action for a few seconds to announce “this is the greatest fight ever filmed, folks; too bad ya can’t see it!” The irony is, if I’m remembering correctly, there is enough of each character still visible that you can see what an angry Cecil is doing to subdue the sneaky phantom. Love the picnic scene, and as always, I have to shout out my wish for the entire BEANY AND CECIL phenominon to finally get an official video release, either blu-ray or DVD; I’d cherish it immensely! I guess I could throw into the mix “BOTTLES”, an MGM HAPPY HARMONIES cartoon from Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, twisted business in a chemist’s laboratory…and, okay, I’ll state the obvious and add the two great cartoons that feature Bugs Bunny being chased around by Gossimer–never understood why he got that name, but I’d always loved the character’s design…”And so, having re-redisposed of the monster, exit our hero…” until next Halloween in which my choices probably will not change very much…or I’ll just restate my favorites.

  • In terms of favorite Halloween-oriented cartoon shorts, here’s my list:
    • Warner Bros.:
    1. The Case of the Stuttering Pig (1937)
    2. A Cartoonist’s Nightmare (1935)
    3. Jeepers Creepers (1939)
    4. Ghost Wanted (1940)
    5. The Impatient Patient (1942)
    6. The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946)
    7. Haunted Mouse (1941)
    8. Eatin’ on the Cuff, or The Moth Who Came to Dinner (1942)
    9. Hair-Raising Hare (1946)
    10. Broomstick Bunny (1956)
    11. Transylvannia 6-5000 (1963)
    12. Martian Through Georgia (1963)
    13. Scaredy Cat (1948)

    • MGM:
    1. Fraidy Cat (1942)
    2. Who Killed Who? (1943)
    3. The Cuckoo Clock (1950)
    4. The Tree Surgeon (1944)
    5. The Flying Sorceress (1956)
    6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse (1947)
    7. Bats in the Belfry (1942)
    8. Hell’s Fire (1934)

    • Fleischer/Famous Studios:
    1. Shiver Me Timbers! (1934)
    2. The Cobweb Hotel (1936)
    3. Terror on the Midway (1942)
    4. The Friendly Ghost (1945)

    • Universal Pictures:
    1. Buccaneer Woodpecker (1953)
    2. A Haunting We Will Go (1939)
    3. Boogie Woogie Man (1943)
    4. Spooks (1931)
    5. Wax Works (1935)
    6. Hell’s Heels (1930).

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