pbs danse macabre

PBS Danse Macabre Cartoon (1980)

This Danse Macabre Cartoon is more illustrated then animated, but the music by Camille Saint-Saëns is undeniably awesome. My exposure to this happened at some point in the eighties when it aired on PBS. I do not remember the details exactly, but according to sources online, it originally had a vampire host attached to it. They would introduce the piece and then discuss it.

They showed this cartoon every Halloween in my school as a kid. It was the perfect amalgam of scary Halloween fun and high culture that a school could get behind. Even though I was jacked up on candy through most of those school viewings, it power was undeniable. The music merged with the scary visuals is perfect. If anything, the fact that it is not really animated is even more uncanny.

To this day, I still enjoy watching it.

Danse macabre, by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, was an art song for voice and piano (first performed in 1872) with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis which is based in an old French superstition. Two years later, the composer expanded and reworked the piece into a tone poem for orchestra, replacing the vocal line with a solo violin.

Watch this scary PBS Danse Macabre Cartoon

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One thought on “PBS Danse Macabre Cartoon (1980)

  1. Ah, from the “We don’t have money to animate it, so let’s color the storyboards and film that” school of film-making.

    Still, you’re right; it’s a stirring performance of Danse Macabre, and the visuals are tightly edited.

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