Which Witch is Which?

Surely the Charlie Brown gang has the most holiday specials in the business, but in the 80s and 90s, a pair called Buttons and Rusty - a cartoon fox and bear - tried to break the record, coming out with a different special every year, each covering a different holiday, starting with Christmas in 1983. They eventually hit most of the big ones, though this is the only one I've ever seen. Honestly, I don't know who these guys are. Were they mascots for some restaurant or something?



Well, I have no idea. When I first looked them up they barely had a wikipedia entry (compared to, say, every other cartoon series from the 80s, most of which get massive entries).


I remember having this on tape as a kid, but I never managed to watch it all the way through. I tried to sit through it so I could review it for this site and came up similarly short. Kids who were into shows about critters who live in the woods around a trailer park might've liked it better, but I kept on expecting that, despite the fact that it was a halloween show, someone was going to give a speech about Jesus. It has that sort of vibe about it. THe Mormons WERE one of the sponsors of the airing the tape I have is from. Their commercial had an upbeat jingle.

Anyway, it's all to do with a park ranger (a regular character in these specials, I guess), throwing a halloween party and explaining the nuances of the holiday to a fascinated Buttons and Rusty, explaining along the way that "city animals are different from forest animals," which is why Buttons and Rusty are supposed to stay away from the trailer park (which is what they call "the city," I guess). I think they might be going for something political here. I'm not really sure.

But as a city person, I get very annoyed by this notion that country people automatically have more "values" than city people. The fact that they pushed this idea in the cartoon bugged me so much that my favorite part of watching this special this year was the fact that the copy I saw had commercials for Panini sticker albums. I loved those things! I had the Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling album, and almost all of the stickers for it. And the He-Man one, I think. Why haven't THOSE made a comeback as an 80s collectable? Every other fad from those days has.

All whining aside, the title song in this special is pretty catchy. Oher than that, though, this didn't do much for me when I was a kid, and doesn't do much for me now, either. I can't even fall back on the "cool, Halloweenish atmosphere," because there's not even much of that here.

Well, you can't win 'em all. Sometimes I have to just say "I'm not the target audience for this, and never was. If you like this kind of thing, you might enjoy it. Or you would, if you were a kid." Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. I'm glad I finally found a copy so I could put up an entry on it for this site, but I'm equally glad that I got it over with and won't have to watch it again.





7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the halloween and easter buttons and rusty movies. I absolutly loved them as a child. I'd like for my kids to be able to see them but I just have vhs copies recorded from the t.v. 20 some odd years ago. my tapes probably don't even work anymore. that's too bad.

coreybedford said...

Hi Anonymous...

Look on Amazon or ebay or Half.com for a DVD set called The Chucklewood Critters. That is the official name for this series. They released all of the Holiday episodes on DVD. it is a two disc set one disc has all of the Holiday specials and the other set has episodes of their short lived animated series from the 90's. It's out of print I think but people often have used copies for sale.

GaryBoz said...

LOL at this one. The Christmas episode is much better. By the way Adam, I had the Hulk Hogan's Rock N' Wrestling sticker album too.

GaryBoz said...

I picked up the dvd's Corey was referring to from Best Buy's website last year. These specials weren't bad at all.

C-Man said...

Happy Halloween!!!!

Mandi said...

I was just googling this for my sons! I was telling them about the Halloween specials we watched when I was a kid growing up in the 80's and how it's just not the same. I was looking for Which Witch is Which and Witch's Night Out, and you have both of them listed here! I bought the kids Garfield's Halloween and The Great Pumpkin, along with a VHS of The Halloween Tree. I wish I could find my old tapes...I know they're somewhere at my mom's house. I have a whole tape of Halloween specials I recorded in 1986 somewhere. Great site here! I'm excited to find the old shows I was looking for!

GaryBoz said...

After watching this special again this year, I'm thinking this one is a little underrated. The Thanksgiving and Christmas specials aren't bad either.

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