Mad Monsters, Fat Alberts, and General Grinchiness: Classic Halloween Specials I'd Missed
At least I thought it was a glaring omission. Without nostalgia to blind my judgement, I found the animation amazing, the script (penned in part by Mad Magazine's Harvey Kurtzman) was fairly droll, and the voice actors, especially Phyllis Diller and Boris Karloff very entertaining, but as a whole the film was a bloated mess. Clocking in at an hour and half (double the time of Rudolf), Mad Monster Party feels like Rankin/Bass' foray into Ray Harryhausen territory. Ultimately I enjoyed the flick, but felt like a judicious editing hand could have made it a really punchy fun special. (Note: This was released in the spring and technically not a Halloween special, so sue me.)
Next up comes a special I didn't even know about until yesterday. In the intervening years between How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Halloween is Grinch Night, the green grumps heart hasn't shrunk back to original small size, but might only retain half of the size Christmas magic bestowed upon it. Because the Grinch is back again, this time to scare the Whos in Whoville presumably because it's fall.
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This one is a real head scratcher. What exactly was the Grinch's plan? Why do Whos have to use the euphemism so badly? And why can't they just use the bathroom? Why does the special have to have one of the most depressing songs ever in which the Grinch's dog regrets his life of slavery? Why is the Grinch's paraphernalia van full of psychedelia? The last one I suppose answers itself.
Hey Hey Hey. I had one more special I watched, the heartwarming Fat Albert Halloween Special. Bill Cosby manages to push in lessons about judging others, minding one's parents, eating only wrapped candy, and how it's not cool to go around scaring people, all without being preachy. Ok, too preachy.
Both Mad Monster Party and Fat Albert are streaming for Netflix customers, and I'll be back tomorrow with more cinematic thrills and chills.