Welcome to the Retroist Christmas Commercials II Podcast. Christmas is almost here. You know what that means? Time to buy stuff! That’s why this week’s show is all about the Christmas commercials that we love. I tried this format before and people liked it. So be warned, this show has a bit of a different format from the regular podcast. It is dedicated solely to holiday commercials. I hope you enjoy it.
Many books have been written about Halloween. The first of these books was called The Book of Halloween by Ruth Edna Kelley.
Kelley, a librarian, originally published this book in 1919. In it, she first tries to give an account of the origin of Halloween and then a catalog of Halloween practices from the various countries that observe it. I believe her account of the origin of Halloween is somewhat flawed, which is not surprising considering she didn’t have a lot of reference material to work with. What is more surprising and what was for me the big take away of the book was the catalog of practices. You don’t find much about trick or treating here, nor about monsters and costumes and all the things we associate with Halloween today. Instead, you find a bunch of ancient country customs that were mostly designed to tell the future rather than provoke terror. There were things like looking into mirrors and running around a house and pulling cabbages and a bunch of other things I had never heard before. Most of these practices and most of this concept of Halloween have vanished today, but it was interesting reading about them. It also added to my understanding of the holiday.
The Book of Halloween is in the public domain, so you can get it real cheap from Amazon.com. You might even find some free copies there (I did), and you can find the entire book on several websites as well. I can guarantee that it won’t be what you are expecting, but I can still suggest it as a good source of insight into the day.
One of the main ways I celebrate Halloween is the watching of Halloween specials. I’ve seen quite a few, from Disney’s Halloween Treat (one of the earliest I can remember seeing) to Halloween and Halloween 2 (not technically specials, but pretty darn close). I haven’t seen as many as Adam Selzer and the Smart Aleck staff, though. They have apparently seen them all. Not only so, but they review them all in their ebook Smart Aleck’s Guide To Halloween Specials.
I don’t know if the Smart Aleck’s Guide to Halloween covers every Halloween special, but it covers every special I know. Disney’s Halloween Treat is in there, as is Witches Night Out and even Mr. Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy. There were also dozens I’ve never heard of, as you can see in the table of contents below. I was inspired to watch several of these after reading the book, including The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t, and I’m still looking for The Midnight Hour.
Just a partial list.
The Smart Aleck’s Guide to Halloween is a cheap $1.99 at Amazon.com. It is an ebook based on a blog, which is a con to some, but a pro to an ebook writer and lover like me. I encourage you to give it a chance. Not only is it a great way to get a quick taste of these specials and this season, but it might clue you in to some specials you have missed.