As I mentioned previously, Halloween is Grinch Night is one Halloween special I’m certain I must have seen, yet have no recollection of. The TV special originally aired in 1977 on ABC, and I can’t imagine that was the only time they ever ran it (it won an Emmy, that usually warrants a few repeats over the years.) And I further can’t imagine my parents choosing not to watch it when I was a child; we saw It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Garfield’s Halloween Adventure every year they aired. But I have no memory of the Grinch’s second outing, so either ABC stopped airing it when I was still too young to remember, or my family just never caught it somehow. Naturally, I had to correct this lack of memory, and tracked down a copy to check it out.
While How the Grinch Stole Christmas was produced by Chuck Jones, Halloween is Grinch Night was produced by his Looney Tunes cohort, Friz Freleng, as one of the many Depatie-Freleng productions. Dr. Seuss himself, Ted Geisel, also acted as producer and wrote the teleplay. Because Boris Karloff, the original narrator and voice of the Grinch, had passed away several years earlier, he was replaced in both roles by Hans Conried (whose voice you may recognize as Captain Hook from Disney’s Peter Pan.) It’s pretty obvious it’s not Karloff, but it’s still a pretty good sinister voice. Continue reading →
Starz Kids & Family is currently showing the 2003 live-action version of Peter Pan, directed by P.J. Hogan, and I decided to watch it and see not just how good it was, but how it compared to the 1953 Disney animated feature. Though I’ll grant I haven’t re-watched the cartoon version recently, it was one of many Disney features that were watched multiple times in my childhood, and sticks in the memory fairly well (and I have seen it as an adult at least once). I remember that when Hogan’s film was being advertised, there was a perception among several people that it was going to be a “darker and edgier” take on the story; this is certainly true, but it’s not particularly meaningful. Darker and edgier than Disney’s version still leaves plenty of room to be light and fluffy. Plus, it’s clear that while Hogan was trying to be a bit truer to the book, he also paid homage to the Disney version in some ways, indicating a degree of respect for the earlier film. But while there are inevitable similarities, due to the same source material, these are still two very different films. Continue reading →