My ABC's of Halloween

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Well, folks... we finally made it.  Halloween!  It's been a long month, and for whatever reason, it feels like Halloween was LAST weekend.  It has to be the Hallmark Christmas movies starting last week that push us forward, never letting us live in the moment...  Or maybe the election is heating up... who knows.  

But we'll dive back to the Halloween season for one more day!  One last post for the 2020 Halloween season, I thought, what better way to wrap up the holiday with my ABC's of Halloween.  Leave a comment below with what you think or if you have ones you think are better!  

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Click on for the list!

1984 Gremlins Wax Pack

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gremlins is not really a Halloween movie.  It may fall into that category of "horror-comedy" and some even call it a Christmas movie.  I guess it takes place around Christmas, but to me, the theme must be ABOUT Christmas to qualify... but I digress.  It's just a few days away from Halloween!

As part of Freeform's 31 Days of Halloween (which my wife and I have really been enjoying, I must say) we caught Gremlins for the first time in many, many years, and remembered what a blast this movie is.

Anyway, I dug through my box of old retro stuff and dug up a wax pack from 1984 for you to enjoy.  I even included the 36-year-old piece of gum for you... consider it like knocking on my door while Trick-Or-Treating... sorta.  Enjoy, everyone!

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

Monday, October 26, 2020

We didn't have a Blockbuster in my town until I was in high school, and until then, there were only two other ways to get a movie that you didn't buy at the mall. You could visit the tiny rental store called Dollar Video (which surprisingly survived until 2010) or check out the town's library. 

My mother would walk us (it was just down the road and around the corner) to Dollar Video every Saturday morning and let us each get one movie or video game. I can still smell the bubble gum and plastic video cases that hit you in the face when you walked through the door.  Even though I spent many, many dollars at Dollar Video, they never had the one video I must have watched 100 times as a kid. I'd find that one at the library. 

One day, knowing I was a big Ghostbusters fan, my Mom brought home a movie from the library. When I had to take it back three days later, I immediately checked it out again. And again. And probably again. I must have taken that one home more than any other movie from either place in town. It was "Daffy Duck's Quackbusters."

"Daffy Duck's Quackbusters" is a 1988 Looney Tunes compilation movie starring Daffy Duck and other classic Looney Tunes characters. In the 80s, Warner Bros. was combining newly-animated footage and linking them with classic Warner Bros. cartoon to make one longer movie, such as "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie" and "Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island."  "Daffy Duck's Quackbuster's" was the last in the compilation series and the final theatrical release until "Space Jam" almost a decade later. It was also Mel Blanc's next-to-last performance in a Looney Tunes project before his passing.

Retro Scans: 1994s Monsters of the Grid Iron Trading Cards

Friday, October 23, 2020

For last Halloween, I wrote an article for The Retro Network (that also appears here in the archives) about my experience with Coca-Cola's Monsters of the Grid Iron.  Check out that article HERE.

So, for this year's Halloween, I thought I'd do a "Retro Scans" post and open a 1994 Foil pack of the NFL/Coca-Cola Monsters of the GridIron cards!  Enjoy!

Halloween on Home Improvement

Monday, October 19, 2020

When I think back on my childhood, the sitcoms of the 1990s depict how I feel Halloweens should have been.  Everyone was dressed in cool Halloween costumes and attended parties with elaborately decorated houses full of cobwebs, pumpkins, skeletons, and witches.  They all played Halloween tricks on each other, and it was a laugh-a-minute.  

To be honest, though, we had homemade costumes cobbled together at the last minute with the occasionally storebought rubber mask or items like a sword or clown wig.  We'd collect a small amount of candy and call it a night after hitting the 12 houses in my neighborhood before returning home to watch those Halloween parties on television.  

When I was in the 8th grade, I realized about a year too late that I was too old to be out trick or treating.  I'll never forget the look of disgust on the faces of the adults that answered that first door as we, with no costume whatsoever, held out our pillowcases expecting candy.  That was enough for me, and I returned home and turned on my faithful Halloween sitcoms.  Slightly embarrassed, I'd rather live in TV land for awhile. 

Don't get me wrong, I had many fun Halloweens that I cherish.  Especially that one year my parents got the itch and had a Halloween party with all of the kids from school.  My Dad made this elaborate haunted house in the garage that everyone loved and made me the star at school for a few days.  They never did that again and, in a way, makes it even more special.

In the 90s, most shows celebrated Halloween in some way.  However, two shows went all out every year:  "Roseanne" and "Home Improvement."  I didn't watch Roseanne until much later, but Home Improvement was appointment television for my family each week.  

It was the one show we all watched together, and if we weren't going to be home, my Dad spent the approximately 37 minutes it took to set the VCR to record before leaving the house. My Dad is very handy, well-skilled with power tools, and always watched Bob Villa and This Old House, so naturally, he liked the show.  My parents were pretty strict about television content back then, so "Home Improvement" was wholesome family entertainment in their eyes. 

1994's Fox's Halloween Bash with Elvira and George Carlin

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

One of the great things of Halloween during the 80s and 90s was that television networks put in more effort to celebrate the holiday.  Not only did the big sitcoms feature special Halloween episodes, but, the networks went all in on special branding and promotions.  I was just as excited to go out trick-or-treating and collect candy as I was to come home and dump my candy out on the living room floor and watch all of the Halloween fun as I sorted through my loot.  One of the big ones that always stuck out to me was the Fox Halloween Bash.

The Fox Halloween Bash ran annually from 1991 through 1996 as a week-long programming block on the Fox Network, offering spooky movies and Halloween themed episodes in primetime.  Better than just coming home after Trick-Or-Treating this event lasted a whole week and gave us kids something to talk about in school the next day!  

The Halloween Bash would use celebrity appearances, cross-promotional marketing, and special graphics to create a buzz for their shows and promotional partners.  Using wrap-around segments in between the shows, the celebrity hosts would get a few minutes for light banter and comedy, promote the sponsors, and then introduce the next show.  They'd also use pre-recorded scripted segments of the stars of the network doing Halloween themed things, such as pumpkin carving, haunted houses, and more.  These little segments were enjoyable and most of them memorable.  These segments also served as a bridge connecting the unrelated shows into one major event.

Some of the most memorable Halloween Bash's for me as a kid growing up were from 1993-95.  I would have been in the 3rd to 5th grade during those years, which is the perfect Trick-or-Treating age, if you ask me.  But my all-time favorite, one that I can clearly remember most of the bumpers and ads for, was the 1994 Fox Halloween Bash featuring the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira! 

Retro Scans: 1994's Pepsi Universal "Party" Monsters Trading Cards

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

We're back with some rad 90s Halloween swag, this time courtesy of Pepsi and Universal Studios.  Back in the early 90s, Pepsi teamed up with Universal to use the classic Universal Monsters in their advertising for the Halloween season.  

Who can forget the commercial for Pepsi (and Frito-Lay) products where Dracula says to Frankenstein "What, no dip?"  Everyone in school said "What, no dip?" over and over again and occasionally I drop it at birthday parties or holiday events.  Even though I'm not a big "dip" person.  

You can see that commercial here:

Among the many things Pepsi featured the monsters on, they handed out a 6 pack of trading cards.  Since it's the 90s, of course, the monsters get jazzed up into "Party" Monsters with fun 90s designs and bright colors! 

Each character comes up with a great backstory and 'stats' on the back of the card.  I've scanned the complete set in here for your own viewing pleasure!  Enjoy!