Vintage Cartoon Scares: ‘Skeleton Frolic’ (1937)

On Halloween a few years back, I posted an early Disney cartoon with the title The Skeleton Dance (see below). This 1937 short, although not in Disney’s Silly Symphonies canon (it was released as part of Columbia Studios A Color Rhapsody series of cartoons instead), appears to be very close to a remake in colour, with a number of sequences which are almost identical to the earlier cartoon.

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Creepy Vintage: Gas Mask Replica*

A group of children wearing gas masks, accompanied by nursing staff (December 1917)

I found these images whilst rummaging through a huge number of official and public domain archive photos taken during both World Wars, and they immediately stood out in a flash of weirdness. There is something very creepy about old black and white photos of people wearing gas masks, and these examples are distinctly odd…

The picture above was taken in 1917 and shows a group of (probably) Dutch children during a gas mask drill. This is easily the creepiest of the photos I found, mainly because there’s something so alien about these kids in their protective gear.

Below, you’ll see a 1942 shot of a group of ATS women in the Middle East wearing their gas masks and respirators, posed and staring almost dead-eyed at the camera. I don’t know if it’s just me, but they look like they’re about to gatecrash a very tense scene in a vintage episode of Dr Who (or some other very British sci-fi show) and send me scuttling behind the sofa…

Women soldiers with gas masks - World War Two

*Apologies for the mangled Captain Beefheart reference in the title!

For more Halloween reading (and watching), click here…

Vintage Advertising: Halloween Monster Ghost (1973)

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Do you know someone who needs a seasonal scare? Want to terrify your friends and family? In that case, these may be the products for you. And at $1.75 for the two, they’re a bargain worth screaming, groaning and moaning about…

Make Halloween a night your friends, neighbors (and enemies) will never forget. Use the ghost and the record together for parties, psychedelic, & supernatural effects and horrifying Halloween stunts.

This ad is from the September 1973 issue of Co-Ed Magazine, which suggests that the target market was students – and this would further explain a lot (I was a student once…). I am, however, curious to know how they figured out what creatures from outer space sound like since even Hollywood b-movies, those truthful documentaries of multiple alien invasions, can’t agree on that!

For more Halloween reading (and watching), click here…

This is Halloween…

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Well, not quite yet… but Jack Pumpkinhead would like to welcome you to Halloween Week on Another Kind Of Mind anyway… (don’t worry, he’s friendly).

Watch out for lots of spooky goings-on around here in the run-up to the day itself, and remember – never, ever run towards a blood-curdling scream…

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Vintage Cartoon Scares: ‘Felix The Ghostbreaker’ (1923)

Today’s spooky/silly cartoon features one of the most popular (and still recognisable) animated characters of the silent film era – Felix the Cat. First introduced to the big screen in the immediate aftermath of World War One, and possibly based on an earlier animated version of Charlie Chaplin, this cheeky and slightly surreal black and white cat was an immediate success with critics and the cinema-going public alike.

In this 1923 short, Felix encounters a ghost who is up to no good. Following the spook, he sees it scare an unsuspecting householder and the man’s livestock. The householder calls out the reserves to rescue his property from the ghost, but that doesn’t work – so Felix offers to try to lure the ghost away with a bottle of rum! Once the phantom is off the property, Felix pulls a gun on it and, in a reveal worthy of Scooby Doo, we discover it is really a human rival of the householder who is trying to scare him into selling his home…

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Vintage Cartoon Scares: ‘Le Squelette Joyeux’ (1897-8)

This is the first in a slightly belated series of spooky (and slightly silly) seasonal posts. All Hallows Eve may have come and gone, but the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in. The end of the year is not far away, which makes this the perfect time to be telling tales of ghostly apparitions around the fire – indeed, Christmas ghost stories are a genre unto themselves.

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Happy Halloween!

The Skull Twins!

Hope you all have lots of spooky fun tonight – as you can see, the Skull Twins are getting the party started here at Another Kind Of Mind Towers!

I usually have at least one proper Halloween post for you and this year is no different – I may be a little tardy this time round, but I have some seasonal goodies for you which I will post over the next week or so.

Better late than never, I guess…. geddit!? *evil cackles*

I’m here all week.

If you’re a football fan, head over to And Still Ricky Villa (my other project) for ghostly players, cursed clubs, and a fiendishly evil Halloween football quiz – plus a guest appearance on the terraces by Freddy Kruger

‘The Ghost of Greystone Grange’ (1877)

A little bit of bonus Halloween spookiness for you. This overdramatically-posed image of an elderly gentleman being terrified by a ‘White Lady’ is the cover of a late Victorian mystery novel, written by Arthur William A’Beckett (1844-1909). He was a journalist, humourist and writer who contributed to Punch and edited the Sunday Times over the course of his career.

He’s not well-known as a writer today, although a number of his books are available online (many of them are now in the public domain) – including The Ghost of Greystone Grange, which you can even buy for your Kindle! However, it seems that this book’s cover is more exciting and spooky than its contents; I found an Amazon review that described it as “hard going”. Shame really…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Vintage Cartoon Scares: ‘The Skeleton Dance’ (1929)

Are we feeling spooky? If not, here’s a creepy treat for you this Halloween night. This funky little cartoon is an early Disney animation, and the first of their long-running Silly Symphonies series (reputed to have inspired Warners to call their equivalent Loony Tunes). The plot (what there is of one) is simple but effective: four skeletons cheerfully dance round a graveyard in the dead of night, only stopping their leaping, skipping and jumping when dawn begins to break.

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