There are multiple versions of this annual Hallowe’en special. Hosted by either a talking pumpkin or a creep-tastic, live-action version of the Evil Queen’s Magic Mirror, this TV special mish-mashes Disney animated shorts and clips from feature films. What year you happen to tune in determines the mix you’ll get, just like a bag of trick-or-treat loot.
But every incarnation includes a few key ingredients.
The first Hallowe’en:
Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia), starring everyone’s favorite Chernabog.
A real, honest-to-goodness witch:
Mad Madam Mim, from The Sword in the Stone, is, arguably, the best Disney villain no one ever remembers. She’s polite, doesn’t play by the rules, and is positively out of her mind.
A good scare:
The short Donald Duck and the Gorilla is a classic of mayhem and slapstick, when a wild, murderous gorilla escapes from the zoo and terrorizes Donald and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Another short, Pluto’s Judgment, probably would not make it on air today. Hassling cats has finally gotten to Mickey’s canine companion and he dreams of standing trial for his crimes. A cat-devil, cat-judge, and cat-jury condemn Pluto with a rousing song, “G-U-I-L-T-Y, guilty, guilty, guilty!”
And a handful of villains to round out the mix:
Cruella de Vil, Snow White’s Evil Queen, and my personal favourites, Si and Am from The Lady and the Tramp, almost always make the guest list.
This is by no means a fear-inducing, blood-curdling Hallowe’en episode. This is a fun romp with a few childhood favourites and maybe some previously unknown cartoon shorts. But it is a lot of fun and just the kind of thing to watch on a rainy afternoon or have playing in the background at a Hallowe’en party. Definitely a perennial favorite.