I've already talked about the list of Scooby-Doo Halloween episodes on here in a number of different ways, including sharing my marathon schedule one year, and doing a ranking of them all. Besides Scooby, I also watch some Halloween episodes from other Hanna-Barbera shows every year. I know there are a number of Hanna-Barbera fans on here, so I thought it might be interesting to do a completely different type of article this year in celebration of the Halloween season.
As some of you may know, in addition to being a huge Scooby-Doo fan, I'm also a big fan of The Flintstones. Although I don't watch nearly as many Flintstones episodes for Halloween as I do Scooby episodes, there are a few supernatural-themed Flintstones episodes that I always watch because they feel very Scooby-ish in nature. Besides my usual list this year, I've also been watching some of the more obscure Halloween-ish episodes after recently resubscribing to Boomerang.
I've done a couple other Hanna-Barbera and Flintstones articles on here, so I thought it would be fun to go through and review the Scooby-ish feeling episodes of The Flintstones, both for any Hanna-Barbera fans there might be on here, as well as to potentially introduce some of these episodes with Scooby-Doo-like elements to any Scooby fans who might be interested in checking them out. These will be spoiler-free reviews.
A Haunted House Is Not a Home
This is perhaps one of the most classic episodes of the entire Flintstones franchise, and it has a very similar premise to "A Night of Fright Is No Delight." The episode aired in October 1964 and was part of a stretch of three episodes that aired leading up to Halloween that year, which is something The Flintstones had never done before (there were no other "spooky" themed episodes that aired around Halloween in any other season). The plot revolves around Fred inheriting his Uncle Giggles' estate, but he is only able to inherit the estate if he stays a night in the estate. Fred quickly realizes the house is haunted, and Wilma and Betty both return home after seeing how creepy the house is, leaving Fred and Barney to stay the night together.
The setting is an excellent haunted house, and easily as iconic as any of the ones in the Scooby franchise. My favorite thing about the atmosphere is that there is never any tangible ghost that shows up, yet the episode manages to create an extremely unsettling feeling that feels like Fred and Barney are constantly being watched. Towards the middle of the episode, we also find out the butler, gardener and chef are all up to no good and want them out of the house, which adds to the terrifying atmosphere. It's an incredible haunted house mystery that I feel is just as good as "A Night of Fright Is No Delight," and I'd highly recommend checking this one out.
I also have a special appreciation for one of the "spooky" aspects of the house, that being a gigantic, somber-looking bird named Horrors. He only shows up for a single scene, and we find out that his hobby is reading the inscriptions on tombstones at the cemetery. The bird then walks away and we never see it again. It's such a random detail for the writers to include that I can't help but appreciate it lol.
This isn't necessarily a Halloween episode and is probably the least Scooby-ish of any of the ones I'm reviewing, but I still watch it every year. It aired around Halloween, as the second in that three episode stretch of "spooky" episodes mentioned above, and I always thought of it as a Halloween episode when I was a kid, so I've kept up the tradition of viewing this every Halloween.
The episode is a James Bond parody, but it is sort of a spooky twist on that. The episode opens with Fred and Barney watching James Bondrock, and remarking that they never have any exciting adventures like in those films. They then depart to the store, and as foreshadowing would have it, they get mixed up in a spy thriller mystery when an undercover agent named Madame Yes (a parody of Dr. No), gives them a top secret package. Fred and Barney are quickly captured, and are taken to a creepy island of an evil ghoul named Dr. Sinister. It's not super Halloweenish outside of Dr. Sinister being a ghoul, but the episode does a great job creating a really dark atmosphere, especially considering most Flintstones episodes are pretty bright and cheery. Another fun little detail is that Dr. Sinister's "World Destruction Machine" makes a sound effect that was later reused as the beeping noises Charlie the Robot makes in "Foul Play in Funland"!
This is not only my favorite Flintstones episode that I'm reviewing here, but it's my favorite of the entire franchise. It's a direct parody of The Addams Family, but it's so much fun and is really well-written. The episode features a spooky family named The Gruesomes moving next to The Flintstones, and Fred is reluctant to accept them due to their weird ways. Fred and Barney are asked to babysit The Gruesomes' kid, Gobby (short for Goblin), and discover that they are living next to a house of horrors. Perhaps what I love most about the episode is that it feels very similar to those episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies with multiple villains, as Fred and Barney continue to run into all sorts of different monsters in The Gruesomes' house (my favorite of those monsters being Gobby's Uncle, of which the only part you see of him is a gigantic hand). There is the glaring continuity error that there's suddenly a house next to The Flintstones that we've never seen in any of the 122 episodes before, but honestly the plot works well enough that I don't mind at all. The dynamic of this episode is so fun and I would highly recommend checking it out.
While you'd think these would be one off parody characters, they actually were not, and continued to be used all throughout the franchise. They would appear again 10 episodes later in "The Hatrocks and the Gruesomes," which is a fine episode, but the focus is not on them very much, so I don't make a point to watch it. They'd also appear in spin-offs, including The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show, although for some reason the wife, Creepella, has her design and personality completely changed from a nasally-voiced, green-skinned woman, to a regular-looking socialite with a snobby voice. The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show episode was pretty decent, but The Gruesomes are sort of just supporting characters to advance the plot and it doesn't have that same spooky feel as the original, so I don't make a point to rewatch it at Halloween.
This episode and the previous three episodes I reviewed are all from season 5 of the original show, which I have to say is the strongest season in the franchise. This episode is certainly no exception to the strong overall quality of this season. The storyline has Barney taking Fred to various doctors around town, after he accidentally gets hit on the head with a bowling ball. This leads to some fun antics, including them going to a doctor who has no idea what he's doing (a recurring joke in the franchise, but this instance is the funniest to me because it's so over-the-top ridiculous). After having no luck, Barney finds another doctor, Dr. Frankenstone, not realizing that he is a mad doctor. When he takes Fred there, Fred becomes involved in one of his spooky body-switch people. After the plot is resolved, there's even a fun little aside where Fred briefly runs into Dracula, followed by a lovely dad joke about how people running from him drives Dracula "bats" (get it? lol).
The New Fred and Barney Show, which aired in 1979, seems almost like a direct response to the decade of love of Scooby-Doo. Although there's not a full format shift, about 1/3 of the episodes in the show involve Fred and Barney running into some sort of supernatural being, with Fred being the brave, logical one, and Barney being overly scared. I don't usually watch any of the episodes from this series every year, but I decided to revisit them this year after resubscribing to Boomerang.
The New Fred and Barney Show is a very interesting specimen of a series. The writing varies significantly from episode to episode, and I wouldn't call of any of it "great." The writing ranges from terribly uninspired, to weirdly hilarious for how odd it is. "Sand-Witch" is one of those "spooky" episodes that falls into the humorously odd category. The episodes centers around Fred and Barney's car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, so they go seek help at the only house nearby. The house is owned by a kindly old woman, but the audience quickly discovers she's a witch. I am not sure why they call this episode "Sand-Witch," other than I guess to make a pun on "sandwich," since the name doesn't really have anything to do with what's going on in the episode.
Barney is turned into a frog by the witch, but Fred remains oblivious to the supernatural threat, which is common for this series. Although the episode isn't anywhere near the quality of the original show, I find it fun for the quirky and eclectic writing. There's one moment in particular that stands out to me, where Fred is lamenting that Barney is always imagining things. Fred continues to complain about how Barney's not around, and exclaims "in fact, I oughta be helping out around here!", as he begins sweeping the house. I can tell that the writers' intention was to find a way to get from point A to point B, where Fred picks up the witch's broom and realizes it's magical. However, in the context of the episode, the only reason Fred and Barney came to this woman's house is to ask for help with their car. I find it hilariously absurd that Fred randomly picks up a broom and begins doing chores in some random woman's house whom he doesn't even know lol. There are a number of absurd moments like that in this series, where it seems the writers didn't fully think things through, and quite a few of them are amusing.
I mentioned earlier there are five episodes in The New Fred and Barney Show that have a spooky, Scoobyish kind of feeling to them. However, there are two of them I don't really ever care to watch. One of these episodes is actually the Return to Zombie Island of the Flintstones franchise, to a lesser extent.
The episode I'm referring to is "Haunted Inheritance," which is a 15th anniversary remake of "A Haunted House Is Not a Home." I don't know if it was promoted as such when it aired, but it is very clearly a remake. The episode centers around basically the same plot - Fred inherits a fortune from a coworker who suddenly passed away, but must spend the night in a haunted house. What's unfortunate is that "Haunted Inheritance" completely destroys all the magic of the original, by using an uninspired plotline that feels like a pale imitation of the original.
The audience finds out right away that the maid and butler are out to steal the inheritance from Fred. In the original episode, we did know that Fred's uncle's butler, chef and gardener were trying to get rid of them. In that episode, I mentioned there's a very ominous, unsettling atmosphere, where it feels like the ghost is always watching them, and you have no idea what the butler, chef and gardener might do to Fred and Barney. However, in the remake, the maid and butler just stand outside Fred and Barney's window pressing various buttons on a remote control device, saying "let's see if this scares them!" followed by a bunch of cheesy noises that aren't the slightest bit frightening. That's not to mention their "ghost" is just a projected image that somehow manages to be even less scary than the ghost of Redbeard's "spirit crew" in "The Ghostly Creep from the Deep." You can actually see the light from the projector, not to mention they literally stand right next to the projector the whole time for some reason lol. I have no idea what they were thinking here ("they" in this case referring to both the maid/butler and whoever wrote this catastrophe of an episode lol).
Worst of all, the maid and butler literally tell you their whole plan almost at the beginning of the episode, which ruins any potential ominous atmosphere that the episode could have had. I will say the episode could have fallen in the "so bad it's funny" category, but the fact that it was a remake of one of the classic episodes of the franchise ruined it for me.
The other "spooky" episode I skip is "Blood Brothers." The premise is fine, I guess, and involves Fred and Barney accidentally saving Rockula (a parody of Dracula) from a car accident, prompting him to want to be "blood brothers" with them (which, considering the plot, I guess it's just a spooky-sounding word for besties lol). The plot is kinda cheesy, but it's fine at first. Weirdly, Rockula is never confirmed to be a vampire, it's just sort of hinted where Fred and Barney think he might be, but nobody ever says it despite it being obvious. Mid-way through the episode, Rockula's wife shares that Rockula is crazy about eating vegetables and tomatoes, and if he doesn't have them, he does unspeakable things. Naturally, Fred and Barney assume this means drinking blood.
As you'd expect, Rockula runs out of vegetables and the guys fear what he'll do. This next bit is a spoiler, but I guarantee that you won't care because it's such a terrible ending. It's revealed at the end of the episode that the "unspeakable thing" Rockula does without vegetables is break out into song and dance, which he proceeds to do with a werewolf for the remainder of the episode. It's literally one of the worst endings I have ever seen in any piece of media. I've never returned to the episode, because the ending makes it feel like you've just wasted 22 minutes of your life that could have been better spent doing literally anything else. Anyway, rant over, I highly recommend you never waste your time on that atrocious episode lol.
This episode has pretty much the same plot as "Sand-Witch," but I really like the premise of it. Fred and Barney go out fishing, but end up being caught in a pouring rainstorm and seek refuge on a spooky-looking island. They go to the only house on the island, owned by a sweet old man named Mr. Nicely. Because the storm is too strong for them to leave, they spend the night in the house. Barney runs into a werewolf, who is Mr. Nicely, although Fred and Barney aren't aware of it. The atmosphere of the island and the house is much stronger to me than the witch's house in "Sand-Witch," so I enjoy this one a bit more. This is my favorite episode of The New Fred and Barney Show.
Fred and Barney Meet the Frankenstones
When comparing the Scrappy shorts to some of the other Hanna-Barbera content at the time, I'm convinced there was some sort of Hanna-Barbera studio mandate in the late 70s/early 80s for more antics-driven content. The New Fred and Barney Show is so much more antics-driven than the original series. Most of the plots revolve around Fred and Barney getting into weird situations with various antics ensuing, and this episode is an excellent example of that. The plot has Fred and Barney wanting to move into a "condor-stonium" (condominium) after they decide their chore around the house are too overwhelming. The storyline isn't particularly logical because apartments still require cleaning, but it doesn't detract from the episode in any way, so it's fine lol. At the "condor-stonium," they meet a creepy family named The Frankenstones, comprised of Frankenstone, his son Stubby, his wife Hidea, and daughter Atrocia. Fred and Barney become frightened discover it's a community of monsters. The storyline isn't particularly deep and it's heavily antics-based, but I still find this episode to be weird in a fun way.
We also get to see the Gruesomes for their final appearance of the franchise (although they're called The Ghoulstones here for some reason). After this episode, the Gruesomes were phased out and replaced by the Frankenstones. Like the Gruesomes, the Frankenstones also go through a variety of iterations.
As a bit of historical context, The Frankenstones' next appearance would be a remake of "The Gruesomes," in a special titled The Flintstones Meet the Frankenstones. As the title implies, this special retains no continuity from the prior episode, and features the Frankenstones moving right next door to the Flintstones. Fred and Wilma go over to welcome them, but Fred takes a disliking to them for how weird they are.
I enjoyed the special as a kid, but as I've gotten older, I'm admittedly not the biggest fan of it anymore. The special hits a lot of the same touchpoints as the plot of "The Gruesomes" did, but there is an element of mean-spiritedness not present in the original that makes me not want to return to this special. Fred was certainly hesitant to trust The Gruesomes in the original, but in the special, he is downright bigoted. Much of the episode is spent focusing on how much Fred hates the Frankenstones. At one point, Fred even puts a sign outside the Frankenstones house, and paints "this way to the freak show!" on the sign. It feels comparable to "A Mystery Solving Gang Divided," in the sense that Fred is so over-the-top angry that it overtakes the entire special. Considering how nice the Frankenstones are to him, Fred being such a Grade A a-hole to them all throughout this episode is really unenjoyable to watch.
The Frankenstones would later become a larger part of the franchise, and became regulars in The Flintstone Comedy Hour shorts. Unfortunately, they honed in on the Fred and Frank Frankenstone drama and made a whole series of shorts around it, and they also made Frank mean like Fred had been to them in the special. In addition, Stubby was completely removed and was replaced with a normal teenage boy, similar to Marilyn in The Munsters. Another segment of The Flintstone Comedy Hour featured Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm solving monster mysteries, which I posted an article about back in 2020. As highlighted in that article, these were also heavily antics-based with little-to-no actual mystery to speak of, so I didn't really have any desire to return to it.
The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone is my favorite Flintstones special, and is far better written than any of the aforementioned The New Fred and Barney Show episodes. The 50-minute special centers around Fred and Barney going on Let's Make a Deal, featuring Casey Kasem as the game show host. Fred and Barney win tickets to visit Rockula's castle in Rocksylvania (this show sure did love its rock puns lol), and travel there with Wilma and Betty. When they arrive at the castle, a freak bolt of lightning causes Rockula and Frankenstone awaken from a 500-year sleep. Rockula mistakenly believes Wilma is his long-lost bride and chases Fred around the castle, trying to kill Fred so he can be with Wilma. As opposed to their silly-feeling appearances in the rest of the franchise (which aren't referenced), Rockula and Frankenstone both feel extremely menacing here, and the castle has a really creepy atmosphere. This is by far Rockula and Frankenstone's best appearance in the franchise. It's a really fun, interesting plotline that definitely feels very Scooby-like in a lot of ways, and I definitely recommend checking this one out.
Of all these episodes, I typically just watch those from the classic series (the first four I reviewed) and the Rockula and Frankenstone movie. With the others, they are not ones I typically watch, but it was fun to revisit them this year. This was a bit of a different article for this blog considering it wasn't about Scooby, but I hope you enjoyed reading!
Both Velma and Madelyn's voice actresses were huge child TV stars back in the 1980s. Mindy Cohn played Natalie on The Facts of Life and Danica McKellar, who voiced Madelyn, played Winnie, the love interest of the main character on The Wonder Years.
We're back to a much bigger poll again this week! It was a surprisingly close race last week between Cyber Chase and Monsters Unleashed, but the former won by just a couple votes! Here are the full results for our 2000s ghost poll:
Cyber Chase - 13
Monsters Unleashed - 10
Big Scare in the Big Easy - 7
It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine - 7
The Unnatural - 5
Fright House of a Lighthouse - 4
A Scooby-Doo Halloween - 3
The San Franpsycho - 3
3-D Struction - 2
Roller Ghoster Ride - 2
Samurai Sword - 2
Mystery Begins - 2
Riva Ras Regas - 1
Lights, Camera, Mayhem - 0
Wrestle Maniacs - 0
Diamonds Are a Ghoul's Best Friend - 0
For anyone who isn't interested in fanfiction, feel free to skip over this post. I just wanted to do a brief bit of promotion to announce the start of a new fanfic I'm writing!
I recently realized that one of my past fanfics, Hexed, was my favorite piece of fanfiction I've ever written. I really enjoyed developing The Hex Girls' personalities, since the Scooby media other than Witch's Ghost doesn't necessarily develop Luna and Dusk's personalities on a deep level. I was initially hesitant to write a sequel, because (without ruining anything), I really liked how the ending of Hexed was open to interpretation, and I didn't want to make a sequel that narrowed the potential interpretation that people could have for the ending. However, there were also some elements of Hexed that I thought it might be fun to develop a bit more.
After some thought, I decided to write a sequel, titled Dawn & Dusk. Unlike Hexed which was from Thorn's perspective, this story is fully from Dusk's perspective. The sequel centers around Dusk, Thorn and Luna coping with what happened at the end of Hexed, as they prepare to release their second single, "Earth, Wind, Fire and Air." When Dusk joins a group of aspiring songwriters, Dusk struggles to come to terms with the fragility of the band's fame. My past stories have focused quite a bit on a supernatural threat, and while there is a bit of supernatural stuff in this fic, it was fun to try a different style and not have a core supernatural villain that was present throughout the entire fanfic.
The first chapter of the fanfic is out now, and I will be publishing a new chapter every Friday until all 12 are posted. If you're interested in checking it out, you can read it on Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own!
In my post about the Teen Titans Go! WB 100th Anniversary Special being delayed, I made a comparison to the last-minute scheduling changes that happened with Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Ironically, like that series, Cartoon Network pulled the 100th anniversary special from the schedule so last-minute that they didn't give notice to On Demand providers not to post the episode. As a result, Cartoon Network once again accidentally leaked their own special to On Demand providers before it was supposed to air. (It may be worth noting that another Teen Titans Go! episode featuring the group going through classic Hanna-Barbera intros did air in its place last Saturday.) I believe the special has been removed now, but I was able to watch the special before they fixed their mistake. Given it was posted by official means (even if accidentally), I assume it's okay to review the special, but if not, anyone from WB is free to let me know and I'll be happy to take down this review.
I know a lot of Scooby fans were planning to check out the special, so I thought it might be worthwhile to review it on here. I don't have a ton to say about it, hence the title "mini-review," but I do have a few thoughts. This is a spoiler-free review.
The most important thing to point out is that Scooby and the gang just make brief non-speaking cameos during the studio tour. The only HB/WB characters with significant roles are Yogi Bear and Daffy Duck. I thought both of them were well-incorporated into the special.
The special's premise features the Teen Titans giving a studio tour of WB for the 100th anniversary. When WB's official mascot Michigan J. Frog finds out he's not invited, he goes on a rampage and steals the fabled WB Shield. Yogi, Daffy and the Teen Titans have to go on a quest to find the WB Shield to restore the magic of Warner Brothers. The plot is...fine, I guess. It is pretty typical Teen Titans Go! slapstick humor, which I don't necessarily enjoy.
There are some cool references to WB properties such as Friends and The Wizard of Oz, but the references all have a heavy dose of Teen Titans Go!'s humor style. For example, in one scene, they meet the Wizard of Oz. The wizard threatens them, to which they respond by yelling "later loser!!!", then jumping in the Mystery Machine and flooring it. The joke was fine, I guess, it's just not really my cup of tea, and I would say it's a good representation of what the humor is like throughout the episode.
One positive of the episode is that I felt Yogi and Daffy fit the tone really well. I can definitely see why they chose those two characters to be the prominent ones, as the antics-filled humor style of the episode matched up quite well with those two characters IMO.
I will word this in a way that's not a spoiler, but I was not a fan of the ending either. Without ruining how it ended, the message the audience is left with was basically "the magic of Warner Brothers is within us all" which was really cheesy. Also, instead of "that's all, folks," this episode establishes that Warner Brothers' official new slogan is apparently "that's all, yo!" I presume this means Zaslav will now be concluding all his speeches this way lol.
Overall, considering the fact that Scooby and the gang only make brief cameos, I honestly would not bother checking this out unless you are a fan of Teen Titans Go!. Overall, the special was nothing particularly memorable and it's nothing I'd want to revisit. Hopefully this review was helpful to those considering checking this out, and gave you a better idea of if you'd want to check this out or not.
Every year for Halloween, WB puts on a month-long Scoobtober event celebrating the Scooby-Doo franchise. There hasn't ever really been a clear format for the month, as WB seems to switch up what they do each year. The festivities for Scoobtober 2023 have just been announced by Romper.
On Sunday, October 1, Cartoon Network will air a marathon of Scooby-Doo films from 8:00am-2:00pm CST. The marathon will feature Loch Ness Monster at 8:00am, Monster of Mexico at 9:30am, Where's My Mummy at 11:00am and Goblin King at 12:30pm. Cartoon Network will also be airing Scooby-Doo content every day beginning October 1. What's New Scooby-Doo? will be re-added to Cartoon Network's lineup, with one episode airing every weekday at 3:30pm CST. On the weekends, a different Scooby-Doo film will be aired every Saturday at 2:30pm CST and every Sunday morning at 8:00am CST.
Similarly to the old Scooby marathons Cartoon Network used to do around Halloween back in the 90s, WB Kids YouTube channel will be streaming a marathon of Scooby, which they are calling the "Scoobtober Watch Party." For 48 hours straight, WB Kids YouTube will only be broadcasting Scooby-Doo content from Friday, October 27 at 3:00pm CST to Sunday, October 29 at 3:00pm CST. No schedule for the marathon has been announced yet.
Before looking through which episodes would be options, I was expecting this week's poll to have a lot more options than the 1990s poll, but we have another smaller set this week of only 16 episodes/films! I had never deeply thought it about it before, but when making this poll, I was surprised to realize how much What's New, Scooby-Doo? diversified the types of villains as compared to The New Scooby-Doo Movies and The Scooby-Doo Show, which had a ghost practically every other episode lol.
Witch's Ghost completely blew all the other options out of the water and won last week's poll, which I don't think was unexpected to anyone lol. Here are the full results for our '90s poll:
Witch's Ghost - 73
Bravo Dooby Doo - 9
The Ghost of Mrs. Shusham - 6
Dawn of the Spooky Shuttle Scare - 2
Wrestle Maniacs - 1
Fans of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated will remember how the show was plagued with schedule changes, many of which were often so last-second that iTunes and Amazon would still post the episode because even they weren't aware of the sudden change. It seems this has happened again with the Teen Titans Go! WB 100th Anniversary special. The special was set to air at 8:30am this morning. However, at the last moment, the episode was pulled from the schedule, and all official promos for the special were deleted from Cartoon Network's social media last night. No announcement or reason was given for the sudden cancellation. The special will now air next Saturday, September 30 at 9:00am CST instead according to TV Passport.
The Teen Titans Go WB 100th Anniversary Special is airing on Cartoon Network in just a few days! The special airs on CN on Saturday, September 23 at 8:30am CST! The preview clip shows that the gang will have a bigger role than merely just making a cameo. The plot of the special features Robin driving many Hanna-Barbera characters around Warner Brothers-Discovery Studios, including the gang. A one-minute preview of the special is now available on Gizmodo.com.