This live action special from 1979 was a Disney Channel staple for most of the 80s and a chunk of the 90s, but is mostly forgotten today. I remember seeing it in first grade and loving it so much that I immediately started working on staging a theatrical version in my backyard, starring my friends from the neighborhood. The play never materialized, but what a bunch of roles we had to pick from! This has a Wolf-Man, Zoltar the Zombie, a tap-dancing Frankenstein's Monster, Igor, a Mummy, Dracula, AND a witch.
Seeing Judd Hirsch as Dracula is great - he disappears into the role (and away from his normal persona) so completely that I didn't even realize it was him for years (even seeing his name on the screen didn't help - I didn't recognize him at all).
|The plot revolves around Dracula taking the other monsters to task for being more funny than scary - a worthy enough cause by the late 1970s - but the witch gives him some friction. She's tired of being feared instead of loved, and has a few demands. She has quite a bargaining chip, too: in this little corner of reality, Halloween can only happen if the witch flies over the moon on her broomstick. Poor Dracula never realized that the witch controlled the means of production.|
|After a few failed attempts on the part of the monsters, she's persuaded to take the ride by a couple of kids who've just been given a basic lesson on the history of Halloween (one of the more accurate ones ever put on television, in fact). She agrees to maker her flight, but, since she still has Dracula right where she wants him, she gets him to throw in a percentage of the t-shirt sales and promise to take her disco dancing.|
Yep. Disco dancing.
The special then ends in a disco scene, with the witch turning into a disco queen and Dracula tossing off his vampire gear for a Saturday Night Fever get-up.
Quite a few specials from this era - and for the next few years - ended with a disco. This one features the song "Keep on Thinkin,'" which has exatly zero to do with Halloween, but is pretty catchy, and, since I only heard it around Halloween, always does, in fact, make me think of the season. For a better disco song, though, dig "Witch Magic" from the end of Witch's Night Out.
This was aired under the name "The Halloween That Almost Wasn't," but sold on video as "The Night Dracula Saved the World." The makeup job earned it an emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement - Children's Program," and it was nominated for three more (editing, outstanding program, and outstanding achievement for Mariette Hartley's performance as the witch).