Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween Specials That Time Forgot: Witch's Night Out (1978)

Another day, another review of Halloween Specials That Time Forgot!


Meet Small and Tender (literally), two sibs just bursting with energy as they can't wait til Halloween night so scare everyone in town with their cheapo masks (best their parents could buy 'em down at Kmart I take it). The grown-ups however have their own ideas of what Halloween should be, against the ideas the children have all the long. Malicious and Rotten (you can tell their the baddies because of their putrid colors) display their disgust of the holiday, while Goodly (the town jerk, or pansy, take your pick) insist there needs to be something in it for adults to be a part of as well. Nicely (the village idiot/whore) can't help but suggest the pretty/beauty that Halloween isn't really about, but suggests a party with Goodly fails to talk his way out of. Aside from planning the party, a need for a haunted house is thereof in perfect order, and Goodly and Rotten begin on their trek for a house worthy of a party filled with adultery (just kidding).

Meanwhile, in the outskirts of town, a witch in a run-down house crys and moans over how she hasn't gotten any work or fun out of Halloween in a long time since nobody has called for her services. Just then the two bozos come knockin' at their door, letting themselves in anyway to see the joint, and to make plans on where to stage things like a stereo for the party. The witch couldn't be more than happy to help out with her devilish surprises.

That night, Small and Tender tend to their trick or treating, only to come to the realization that nobody was scared of them, and knew who they were all the long. Back at home, Small and Tender go to bed, feeling all sad pissed at how their trick or treating's gone to bust, when suddenly...

Freddy comes through the door!


Just kidding, it's only their babysitter Bazooey (the friendly neighborhood hippie, and he probably needed the job badly so he can go buy himself a brand new comb) who came to tell them a bedtime story. Being fed up with Halloween, Bazooey tells them one of a fairy godmother as the kids listen in. Meanwhile, the grown-up party goes underway in the haunted house, complete with the usual chatter, hors d'Ĺ“uvres and the like. Don't ask me where they put the coats at (hadn't notice where the bedroom was in this home). The Witch comes up with a plan to use her magic wand to living things up at this party of boring gab.

After reading the story, Small and Tender go on wishing they had a fairy godmother to help them on their Halloween scare-a-thon, and because of that, their wishes transmitted telepathically to the witch, who's more than happy to leave her home to heed to the call, breaking through the window of Small and Tender's room. The kids start calling her a fairy godmother, but Bazooey's not buy it. Small asks to be a wolfman, while Tender a ghost, and so it shall be! Baoozey just goes apes--t at the thought of what is happening, and tells the witch these kids were his responsibility. After some convincing, Bazooey is turned into a Frankenstein's Monster. With the classic generic icons of Halloween festivities in place, the witch whisks them off to her house for a night of ghoulish fright at the grown-up borefest.

After scarring the crap out of everyone and everything in the place, the kids get all emo at the thought that nobody knew who they were due to their horrible appearances (gee, didn't they wanted that anyway), and wanted to be turned back to normal, but the witch's wand gets lost in the shuffle of the crowd vacating the door, so now a search through town is therefor in order, admist a mob now crying bloody murder at the loss of Bazooey, Tender and Small (how they find out they're gone I'll never know, it's one of those small towns I guess).

Will the three guys get turned to normal, will the Witch find her magic wand, and will the true spirit/meaning of Halloween be acknowledged, just watch and see!

While I gave you the jist of this special, it's look and design might need to be mentioned as well. As it's a late 70's special, it features a kind of minimalistic approach to the cartoon where the characters are rendered individually in the same color throughout most of their bodies, despite the backgrounds and other details being far more lavished with care. To say this is the work of a bored high school student is an overstatement, I think it works every effectively for the story and characterization (even though the names alone sound like ones you'd give The Smurfs). This was just one of those I saw a long, long time ago, and hardly remembered it at all until today, and it's quite refreshing to see it again after so long (old-school mentality settling in), plus I think it had a pretty funky theme song. It was produced by another Canadian outfit, Leach/Rankin Productions, Ltd. and aired on NBC in 1978, and featuring the voice of SNL's Gilda Radner as the wtich (though renamed "The Godmother" in the end credits), this special is surely a Halloween special time forgotten a tad ago.

Click HERE for some witch's magic!

8 comments:

Tohoscope said...

Man, the VHS cover completely misses the mark. At least that TV newspaper paste up conveys the charm of the designs.

Those screen grabs are much more colourful then I remember, too. For some reason I recall a different colour desgin for this special. Did it get recoloured at some point?

Chris Sobieniak said...

Man, the VHS cover completely misses the mark. At least that TV newspaper paste up conveys the charm of the designs.

Be thankful I did that. The VHS cover I used was from a later reissue, though an earlier one from FHE does the special justice.

Those screen grabs are much more colourful then I remember, too. For some reason I recall a different colour desgin for this special. Did it get recoloured at some point?

I dunno, I hardly remember it besides the theme music and the colorful bunch! The same production company also did a Xmas special I have yet to see with the same look called "The Gift of Winter".

Will Errickson said...

I totally remember this; Gilda's witch freaked me out. Still kinda does. Surprised it hasn't turned up on Youtube.

d. merrill said...

I never saw "Witch's Night Out", but the look of it reminds me of an animated film I saw on HBO sometime in 1983 or 1984 -a science-fiction comedy about the richest boy in the galaxy and his robot butler. I remember at the time thinking it was either European or Canadian.

This ring anybody's bells?

Chris Sobieniak said...

I wish I could help you Dave, but I can't think of such a film myself right now (nor did I had HBO back then).

DVC said...

"Witch's Night Out" was just plain wacky. My inner nine year-old is now getting flashbacks to the sugar buzz of my late childhood...

Chris Sobieniak said...

DVC said...
"Witch's Night Out" was just plain wacky. My inner nine year-old is now getting flashbacks to the sugar buzz of my late childhood...


That's what you need to be doing everyday!

CROSS/ROGERS said...

Time must have remembered it my friend. Fans one and all witchs is back in stores. Walmart and amazon fully restored. Go to www.witchsnightout.com for more news, .
Thanks to all the fans out there for bringing it back.

 
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