The New Misadventures of Ichabod Crane

Well, heck. I don't know what to do with this. It's a 25 minute cartoon from 1979. It was made before the video market really existed, but was never aired on TV, as far as I can tell (some say it was, but no one seems to have an airdate or anything). It WAS apparently released on 16mm, which I guess makes a "home video pioneer." Did they intend for it to be shown in classrooms as a special treat for students around Halloween, back in the days when we still had filmstrips in classrooms?

For lack of a better idea of how to classify it, I'm going to list it as both a Halloween Special and a Sleepy Hollow variation. It's one of the strangest variations on the the story I've ever seen.

It's not really a sequel, as the title implies, as there's no hint that the events of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow ever happened. I suppose I should call it a "re-imagining." When the Headless Horseman steals a chest full of gold coins at the beginning, the town of Sleepy Hollow elects Ichabod Crane, local supernatural expert, to find the Horsesman and get rid of it. Crane sets off, with Rip Van Winkle in tow (bringing in the protaganist from Washington Irving's other enduring hit, who here looks and acts about like Yosemite Sam). Together, along with Washington, a horse voiced by Pat Buttram (whose voice you will recognize from a hundred cartoons featured a grizzled old westerner - or that scene in Back to the Future 3 where a grizzled old cowboy warns Marty that people will call him a coward for the rest of his days) they find out that the horseman is actually a witch named Velma Van Dam in disguise. Plot-wise, it kinda reminds me of the 1999 Tim Burton version of Sleepy Hollow.

Visually, and sound-wise, this thing reminds me of one of the first couple of Care Bears specials - The Land Without Feelings and The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine. The characters kinda have the look of the humans in "Freeze Machine," and it has that weird organ music that you always hear in late 70s/ early 80s cartoon. The dark backgrounds throughout are a real highlight. The jokes here aren't very funny, with one major exception: when Velma says "I haven't had this much fun since last Halloween, when I turned the trees to stone and watched the woodpeckers beat their brains out!"

The Headless Horseman himself (herself?) looks particularly cool, though, and the cinematic opening sequence is terrific. If you dig Halloween cartoons, pick this up - you can usually find it cheap on VHS - just for the opening sequence. No one will blame you if you skip minutes 3-25, though.

Now on youtube (new links):





6 comments:

Paul B said...

Currently available on YouTube (March 2009):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWTyiwspv0c

Tony said...

I just updated with an HQ version of the video. Got a better VHS rip, trying to get the word out. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZhItD15Kzo

Mike said...

Definitely aired on TV. I have it on VHS with commercials and all. My copy is from November 1, 1987. Not sure at the moment exactly what station it was on, but it was most likely WDCA out of Washington or WBFF out of Baltimore.

Mike said...

Update to my previous post: I dug out the tape and scanned through this show. It was aired on WJZ, channel 13, which is the CBS affiliate in Baltimore. Interesting to see commercials for "Whiz Kids" and "At the Movies" with Gene Siskel reviewing "Rumblefish".

Mike said...

Well, I was obviously wrong about the airdate for this program. Both "Whiz Kids" and "Rumblefish" are from 1983, making commercials for them in 1987 highly unlikely. I'm still pretty sure this aired on a Sunday morning right around Halloween, so the most likely date is October 30, 1983.

C-Man said...

BEWARE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!!!!

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