Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween: For the Last Time This Year, Halloween Commercials

When did McDonald's start putting out the Halloween pails? '85? '86? I remember getting them (and loving them an embarrassing amount), but these are the first, the ones that were just pumpkin-colored. Later they had variations, including a ghost, which is my second favorite.

(By the way, there are new Halloween pails at McDonald's this year. Just thought I'd mention. Becca picked up the Frankenstein's Monster.)

The stickers are a neat touch, but I kind of miss the more minimal designs of the old ones. Every Halloween I miss you, McBoo...

I know I've never seen this surprisingly loud commercial before, since I wasn't born until five years after it aired. It kind of annoys me that Frankenstein's Monster is being called Igor here, but it's a cute ad. That's Tom Bosley doing the voiceover, right? And is that John Fiedler behind the counter?

And we end the year with... what the heck is Burger Chef?

Me Too

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hallow-meme '11

You know I always like to have a Halloween meme, and I saw this on Tumblr the other night, so it all worked out.

1. Which urban legend ghost scared the bejeesuz out of you when you were a kid?

I'm not sure any really did so much. Not that I remember, anyway. I remember screwing around with a Ouija board, kinda, sleeping at friends' houses and stuff. Me and my friend Shane tried to rig one out of a desk drawer and a glass once, that didn't really work. The "Bloody Mary" idea kind of scared me a bit, but I grew out of the ghost stories. They've just never really gotten me. I was always scared of alien abductions or creatures like Bigfoot, which is equally as silly to me as ghosts, but that was my thing when I was a kid.

This isn't really an urban legend ghost or anything, but for some reason what this reminded me of was a time in kindergarten when I put a stick in my mouth and pretended I was smoking a cigar, and another kid told me that would give me a heart attack. For an afternoon, I was really terrified at the idea that putting a stick in my mouth would give me a heart attack. Kids are so dopey.

2. Which horror movie has the best premise?

Hard to tell anymore. Like I said in my Film Week this week, I feel like I'm a little jaded on horror flicks right now. I think Halloween has a really good premise--the murdering kid returning to his old home. It's simple, but that's why it works.

3. What is the most disappointing “treat” to receive in your bag on Halloween night?

You ever get pencils while you were trick-or-treating? Or toothpaste? Pennies were always pretty lame, too. The candy I didn't like were whatever came in that wax paper--was that taffy or something? I never ate it. I didn't like Sugar Daddies, either, or Bit-O-Honey. Popcorn balls or candied apples we were never allowed to eat.

4. What’s the best non-candy item to receive?

There's a good one?

5. Did a monster live in your closet when you were a child?

No, but I was always worried an alien did. That he was just waiting for me to fall asleep so he could abduct me. I was always afraid I'd see the alien, and then there'd be nothing, and then I'd have one of those unexplained scars I was always reading about. I could never have the closet door open even by a fraction of an inch. Even when Becca and I moved here a decade ago, that fear still lingered a bit. I wasn't afraid, I just remembered the feeling it gave me to have the closet door open at night. Weird.

6. Which supernatural creature sent chills up your spine when you were ten and still does?

I love the traditional Halloween creatures too much to be afraid of them. In this group, I include more recent characters, like Pinhead and the Tall Man and Freddy and Jason, because they're from when I was a kid. None of them frighten me anymore, though.

7. Which supernatural creature makes you yawn?

Vampires are bullshit. Werewolves are just boring.

8. What’s your favorite Halloween decoration?

Jack o'lanterns, of course!

9. If you could be anywhere on Halloween night, where would you be?

Oh, I like being here with Becca and watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

10. What’s the scariest book you’ve read so far this year?

Interesting question. Good books, but nothing scary this year.

11. Haunted houses or haunted hayrides?

I liked the haunted forest walks. Those are cool.

12. Which Stephen King novel/movie would you least like to find yourself trapped in?

Cujo. I was so deathly afraid of dogs as a kid.

13. Which is creepiest: evil dolls, evil pets, evil children?

I don't know, they're all sort of overdone. I think dolls are probably the creepiest. Depends on what it is. If it has a little kid voice, that's sort of creepy. If it's a clown doll... seriously, people, what is scary about a clown?

Halloween: Tumblr Finds IV

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Final Muppets Parody Trailer

Halloween: The Annual Collection of Internet Pumpkins

As I do every year, I went out and found some images of jack o'lanterns. This year's collection isn't as sculptory or artistic as in years past, but they get the job done.

That last one is my personal favorite.

Hopefully, we'll finally be carving our own pumpkins this weekend, so if I can figure out what I want to do with it, I'll have the results up soon. Only a few more days to Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween: My Second Favorite Title Card of All Time

Just the silliness of the the film's title punching through the screen itself; it lets you know that there's a gonzo spirit here, that this film is going to go as over the top as it wants, and it's going to try to have fun with it. It's brilliant.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Some good effects, but having seen the first movie, you know exactly what to expect, so the whole thing is pretty muted. I liked the first movie; this one doesn't have the element of surprise. ** stars.

RED STATE (2011)
A real surprise; this is unlike anything Kevin Smith has ever made, and for the most part, it's impressive (especially because of a riveting performance from Michael Parks as the leader of a religious cult). It's amazingly confident for Smith being so far out of his comfort zone; I think he only loses his nerve at the very end, tacking on a denouement that doesn't quite work, going too far after he's found the perfect ending point (for those who've seen it, the movie really should have ended with Parks yelling "Shoot me" and left the rest to the viewer). It's interesting that there's no real point of view here. We get a sense of everyone's side of what's happening, without really following or judging anyone, but really Smith just wants to make a B action thriller, and he does it well. It reminded me of Assault on Precinct 13, and it's that kind of pulp. John Goodman rocks in this movie. Surprise, Melissa Leo overacts. ***1/2 stars.

Overwrought Lucio Fulci film--my first Fulci, actually--about string of child murders in a small Italian town. Barbara Bouchet is quite lovely, and the score is very good, but the film never really drew me in the way good giallo usually does. **1/2 stars.

High Gothic film combining vampirism, lesbianism, and abstract ideas of power and domination. Very moody and effective for about four-fifths of its length, but the multiple endings threw me off a little. At some point, it seems like the film is trying to say that lesbianism is the real evil, but then it tries to turn the message around and say that a sort of overpowering id disguised as liberated pansexuality is a constant thread... I don't know, I liked it, and there are good performances here, but I think the message gets muddled in the last few minutes. Like I said, abstract. But moody and classy. *** stars on style alone.

Completely ridiculous, but in a surprisingly fun way. George Romero's first studio flick, and not one he's apparently happy with, but I enjoyed it; it's so stupid it becomes fun. It's just a crazy flick, one that is willing to go all the way with this weird psychodrama about a quadriplegic man and his helper monkey. And it inspired one of my favorite Malcolm in the Middle episodes. *** stars for embracing its insanity so thoroughly.

Great-looking Hammer film about a small town that's been quarantined with disease after killing a vampire. A circus shows up to relieve everyone's boredom, and, of course, it's populated by gypsies, little people, shape changers, and vampires. An atmospheric flick, one of Hammer's last gothic horror films. Given the state of Hammer at this point in history, this feels like one of their classier films, more committed to its premise and to what is is than, say, The Satanic Rites of Dracula. *** stars. Also, there a three future Doctor Who actors in here, one of them Lalla Ward.

A miss from Dario Argento; have I seen all the good ones and am doomed to be disappointed now? Good cast in the service of a half-hearted giallo thriller that never really gets off the ground. Great score by Ennio Morricone. ** stars.

21 DAYS (1940)
This film has an odd sense of morality, but Vivien Leigh is quite good in it. I've actually never seen her in a film where she speaks in her natural accent before this. I think this is only the third movie I've seen her in... **1/2 stars.

Godard is so hit or miss for me. Here he's basically masturbating with a film camera, whispering his thoughts on progress and industry and how people are losing their innocence (which I've always considered a naive way to think; people who say that have no grasp of history outside of themselves). Beautiful to look at, and I have no problems with the lack of narrative, I just don't think it has anything to say that isn't precious and pretentious. This is first year film student stuff. **1/2 stars for the lovely cinematography and editing, and the beautiful Marina Vlady. Her eyes are as much an effect as the colors of France.

Epic length for 1903; at about 53 minutes it's roughly five times as long as that year's The Great Train Robbery. This is the life of Christ, presented in the episodes we're all familiar with, from Nativity to Crucifixion. A great deal of it is people cowering in fear--er, worshiping in rapture at visions of angels and the heavenly host that appear in the sky. It's pretty-looking and ornate, like a lot of French films of the time (although the version I saw had, I think, Dutch titles, though they were close enough to German that I could fake my way through them, and the Greatest Hits of the Christ Myth are so familiar that you don't really need them, anyway). Very interesting for me, a lover of silent films, and it's interesting to see how the special effects are accomplished. One thing that did strike me as different from most of the Christ films I've seen: the three kings of the Orient travel in a large train, with servants and pack mules and an entire retinue. That seems more realistic to me, as it were, than three kings striking out in the wilderness on their own. Anyway, an interesting movie, and one that it seems to me DeMille's King of Kings borrows heavily from. **1/2 stars.

This film would be wonderful just for getting to see Vincent Price do scenes from Shakespeare. But it's so much more; this may be the best I've ever seen Vincent, which is really saying something, as I do consider him one of the great actors of cinema. Price stars as Edward Lionheart, an actor thought dead who gets revenge on the critics who ridiculed him through inspiration from Shakespeare. Fantastic supporting cast, especially Diana Rigg, who goes through as many makeup and costume changes as Price. I can't believe it took me so many years to see it, but I'm so delighted getting to watch this for the first time after I've become so jaded; every year, I feel like I've already seen all the good horror movies. This wonderful, wonderful movie shows me how wrong I am. **** stars.

Hammer tries to do Rosemary's Baby, only with less subtlety--a lot less--and worse special effects. Nastassja Kinski is beautiful, and Christopher Lee is excellent (even without too much to do other than appear menacing), but it just doesn't add up. A real shame, as the elements are there, but the creative team just doesn't handle it with any elegance. ** stars.

What the hell did I just watch? I can't even rate this one, I think, as the satirical tone just doesn't work as well as it wants to, and even though I like Oliver Reed in it, it just... what? Has its moments, but what?

Do I?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween: Making Friends

Here's a short (one of a number, it turns out) directed by Michael Dougherty to promote the Fearnet marathon of Trick 'r Treat on Oct. 31st. If you haven't seen Trick 'r Treat, you really should. Future classic.

Happy Birthday, Becca!

My lovely wife is 35 years old today!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween: My Favorite Title Card of All Time

Every time I see this, it brings me back to the first time I ever saw the movie. I was already about 20 years old, and I'd never seen it. Back when it was either out of copyright or thought to be out of copyright, Blockbuster were selling copies they had manufactured for five bucks. So I picked it up and took it home, and sat in the cool dark with my window open and a light breeze, no sound coming from outside, and just experienced this movie.

This was the moment I knew I was in for something good... that a jack o'lantern, the orange letters, and the ominous piano music alone could make me expectant and apprehensive.

Damn, this is a good flick.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season Five

This season seems more back on track than the previous; I'm now reading the fourth as something of a lull caused by studio demands for Klingons (thanks for the info on that, Semaj) and we're tying back into the Dominion in a big way. So far, this is still my favorite Star Trek series ever, something which delights and amazes me.

1. Apocalypse Rising (my rating: 4 out of 5)
Yay, Gowron's not a Changeling! Boo, Martok is! Good stuff, tying the Dominion threat into the previous season's Klingon distraction and, in my opinion, saving the fourth season from derailing the whole series. I dig Klingon Sisko; Sisko's already the biggest badass on this show. Seriously, you get this guy in a room with anything--Jem'Hadar, Klingons, Vorta, Cardassians--and he still seems like the most commanding, capable, and threatening guy in the room. Sisko is awesome.

2. The Ship (4/5)
Suitably tense episode, though the tension might have been even better if the characters had been forced to stay inside the downed Jem'Hadar ship they were trying to salvage. Wow, two episodes in and we've already got two dead Founders. I think the very end is interesting, how Worf talks about the Klingon ritual of protecting the recently dead from predators; lots of Klingons on TNG talked about how the body is a worthless shell immediately upon death. Worf does say it's ancient, though; Worf's always had a thing about ancient Klingon rituals. He's deeply spiritual that way, and I think I see even more in this moment how Worf's biggest schism with the Klingon Empire has been that he expects them to act more like the noble heroes he read about as a child. Also, Sisko yelling at Dax is unexpected and amazing. This guy is one hell of a commander.

3. Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places (4/5)
This is how you do a Worf episode for me on DS9: make it a Quark episode. I didn't expect to see Grilka again, but I like her relationship with Quark, and Worf's jealousy (and his willingness to sort of play Cyrano to Quark's Christian) is a better examination of Worf's continued alienation from his own people than, say, "Sword of Kahless" or the odious "Sons of Mogh." Plus, it's just a fun episode. I love Quark.

4. ...Nor the Battle to the Strong (3/5)
It's nice to have a Jake episode; something rare on this show. I think it's a little overly earnest in its examination of Jake's guilt over a moment of cowardice, but this is fairly new territory for Star Trek. Seeing the perfect Starfleet officers as real people with real fears, willing to desert out of desperation or purposely injure themselves to get taken off the front line. It's very human, and that's the sort of thing that makes this my favorite Trek series: we're seeing a future populated with people, not saints.

5. The Assignment (4/5)
Surprising. I was surprised the episode played its hand so early and told us flat-out that Keiko has been possessed by a Pah-wraith trying to destroy the Prophets. But that actually manages to up the tension even more, because the writers turn it into a hostage situation, with the Pah-wraith willing to kill Keiko (and Molly) unless O'Brien does what it wants. It's chilling (I think Rosalind Chao is having fun playing a villain) and compelling, and O'Brien's final plan is ingenious. I also like the relationship between O'Brien and an admiring Rom, and how Rom can realize his hero is flawed without losing respect for him.

6. Trials and Tribble-ations (5/5)
Very cute. This is the only episode outside of the first season that I saw when it was originally on. I dig this one; seeing the original Enterprise sets re-created is just wonderful, and the special effects trickery going on here is very good. My only real complaint is the music; the brawl in the bar had such jaunty, comic scoring in "The Trouble with Tribbles," and here it's re-scored to sound more like, well, Ds9, and it just takes you out of the nostalgic fun. Sisko meeting Kirk is dorky but cute. Funny stuff, and even if it's in archival footage, I always love to see William Schallert.

7. Let He Who Is Without Sin... (1/5)
Terrible. I love Worf and Jadzia together, but here they have to do an entire episode on Risa just to get across a point we already knew: Worf is incredibly uptight. This episode just beats you over the head with its message of tolerance for all lifestyles, so it doesn't work either as comedy or as a message (or as character exploration). It is cute finding out that Leeta's in love with Rom, though. Good for Rom. I'm just invested in his happiness.

8. Things Past (2/5)
They can dress it up all they want, it's basically another time travel episode. Time traveling is apparently easier than programming a DVR. Gul Dukat is very interesting in this episode--we see in the past version of him that he really wants to be loved by the very people he is oppressing, showing the depth of his delusions. What bothers me here, though, is the end of the episode, where Kira discovers that Odo had, however accidentally, had innocent people executed under Cardassian rule on the station--and that he's not sure if anyone else innocent was killed. It makes Kira, the former terrorist who has been very honest about her past, look like a hypocrite. Hell, when she confronts him it mirrors a scene in the second season episode "Necessary Evil," where Odo discovers that Kira had committed a murder he had never solved, and she admits she never told him because she didn't want to lose his respect or his friendship. Here, she turns on him in the way she was afraid he would turn on her, calling his principles into question after years of defending her own actions as a terrorist and murderer. I know she has Odo up on a pedestal, but it's incredibly unfair for her to hold him up to standards she refuses to be held to herself.

9. The Ascent (4/5)
I like the way this episode combines its odd couple stories; Odo and Quark trying to climb a mountain for a chance of survival, and a newly-spartan Cadet Nog living with a lazy, messy Jake. Both stories are good, and the humor of the Nog and Jake story offsets the dire, Jeremiah Johnson-like Odo and Quark story.

10. Rapture (5/5)
Fascinating. Another step in Sisko's willingness to embrace his role as Emissary of the Prophets. Not even a step, more of a leap. I love Avery Brooks in this episode; he never plays his sudden fervor, brought on by visions of the future, as any sort of craziness. There's no moment where it seems like he's being controlled by something else, or going mad. His commitment to the role is evident, but his commitment to this episode is compelling. Oh, and Kasidy Yates is back, shortly before dropping off the face of the station... must be filming Larry Sanders.

11. The Darkness and the Light (1/5)
Okay, here we go again with the Kira stuff. While there's some suspense with pregnant Kira (carrying the O'Briens' unborn son) being put in peril by a Cardassian who wants revenge against Shakaar's terrorists, here Kira stands up and says she's not sorry for killing any innocent Cardassians who got in the way, because it happens in war and the Cardassians should never have been there. Meanwhile, just a couple of episodes ago, her friendship with Odo was in jeopardy because he was responsible for innocent deaths as well. This kind of moral equivocating is distasteful to me.

12. The Begotten (5/5)
Trying to put Kira in labor is funny, especially the inevitable clash between Shakaar and O'Brien, but the story of Odo trying to raise a Changeling child is so lovely and touching. It's really a story about parenting styles, with Odo finally confronting Dr. Mora Pol, the doctor who first experimented on him and "raised" him, and overcoming some of his past trauma. Beautiful ending, with Odo once again a Changeling.

13. For the Uniform (3/5)
The stuff with the Maquis is becoming less interesting to me; I like the personal anger between Sisko and Michael Eddington, and Eddington can be an interesting villain for Sisko, but I don't feel as invested as I once did in the Maquis. The idea of a holographic communicator is potentially dramatic, but it's not visualized very well beyond Eddington just appearing on the bridge of the Defiant. I understand the idea of it--that it adds more dramatic energy than just watching a guy on a screen--but somehow it doesn't work the way it's supposed to. Avery Brooks really sells this episode with his intense performance.

14. In Purgatory's Shadow (5/5)
15. By Inferno's Light (5/5)
WOW. This is this season's mid-run epic, and it's a good one. The Jem'Hadar prison, the return (briefly) of Enabran Tain, getting to rescue the real Martok (yay, I love Martok!), the revelation that Bashir has been a Changeling spy for the last few episodes... wow, there's a lot going on, and they really pull it off and give us suspense, some excellent personal moments (I knew Garak had to be more than just Tain's protege), and a Great Escape-style prison break. And that's a major step in the Dominion conflict, too, having the Cardassians actually join the Dominion under Gul Dukat's leadership. I like that Sisko is the one to re-establish the alliance with the Klingon Empire. This show has some great implications for the future, and I'm so happy we're finished with the hostilities with the Klingons.

16. Doctor Bashir, I Presume? (5/5)
This is one of my favorite episodes of this show, which shows just how far I've come from my initial dislike of Dr. Bashir. Fantastic science fiction, with a guest appearance by the always-great Robert Picardo (one of the things I'm looking forward to with Voyager), and Rom finally getting the girl. But the personal story about Bashir and his parents, about his genetic engineering and the reasons for it, is just wonderful and riveting. I especially liked Brian George as Bashir's father; I don't think I've ever seen him play a character like this before.

17. A Simple Investigation (3/5)
Not a bad episode, but this kind of mystery noir drama just isn't my thing when it comes to Star Trek. Odo finally loses his virginity, though.

18. Business as Usual (4/5)
Always good to see Lawrence Tierney, who was sadly recovering from a recent stroke. Interesting stuff, with Quark becoming involved in weapons dealing on the station. I'm glad the producers have gotten so comfortable with examining Quark's ethics.

19. Ties of Blood and Water (5/5)
This is a very necessary episode as far as Kira's maturation goes. I like that this episode tests her relationship with Tekeny Ghemor, who has become something of a father figure for her. That she could even have a father figure who is a Cardassian says a lot, but I love the resolution of this episode, that she ultimately doesn't let the violent past Ghemor is trying to atone for destroy their relationship at the end of his life. I found the ending--in which Kira buries Ghemor next to her real father's grave--very touching. Ooh, and they found a way to bring back Weyoun! So glad to see Jeffrey Combs back, anytime, anywhere.

20. Ferengi Love Songs (5/5)
This episode is hilarious. Quark going home and finding the Grand Nagus hiding in his closet--and then, later, Liquidator Brunt. Besides just being a very funny episode, it's also interesting how both stories--Grand Nagus Zek being in a relationship with Quark's mother Ishka, and Rom trying to come to a marriage agreement with Leeta--examine the role of women in Ferengi politics and business. And it has Wallace Shawn and Jeffrey Combs... amazing. Love this episode.

21. Soldiers of the Empire (4/5)
The presence of General Martok makes the examinations of Worf's place in Klingon culture easier to deal with. It's less heavy-handed than I expected, and I just genuinely liked the crew of the IKS Rotarran. It's interesting to see another viewpoint in the fight against the Dominion. I also loved Worf becoming a member of the House of Martok at the end, in a sense becoming Martok's adopted son. So in this episode, it seems like Worf has finally found a place and an identity. That they could do it at the same time as examining the relationship between Worf and Jadzia is really something. I think it just helps immeasurably that Martok is such an understanding individual; he's a better bridge between Worf and the heart of Klingon culture than we've ever had before.

22. Children of Time (4/5)
Interesting. Kira finally finds out that Odo loves her, and it adds another layer to Odo to see what he is willing to sacrifice--namely, the future--to protect her. It's been a while since DS9 has visited the idea that reality may be entirely subjective, and the part that belief and memory play not just in identity, but in our conception of reality itself. That's a heady theme that TNG could never quite get right, but which this show specializes in (and which made "Sons of Mogh" so offensive to me).

23. Blaze of Glory (3/5)
Not entirely successful for me--they play Michael Eddington a little too much like Hannibal Lecter here--but Avery Brooks helps to sell it and the B-story, with Nog trying to get respect from Martok and the Klingons, is charming. Thankfully, this seems to be the end of the Maquis storyline, and it's not a bad ending. I like Sisko's look out the window at the end; this isn't an arbitrary wrap-up, and we see that what happened and the decisions made really affected the character. I'm pleased with that.

24. Empok Nor (4/5)
Some real cat-and-mouse stuff here; Andrew Robinson's performance as Garak is downright scary in this episode. They're sort of doing Alien in this one, but it really works. I guess there's some controversy about a racist slur made by one of the Starfleet officers in this episode, but I've never bought the idea that there's no racism in the Federation. Half the episodes of the original series were about racism against Spock, and it was examined with Data and Worf in TNG. Granted, racism is something science fiction is particularly good at examining, and I have no problem with it at all, but those episodes wouldn't play at all if there wasn't still a human capacity for racist feelings. Look at they way the regard the Ferengi with such distaste.

25. In the Cards (5/5)
Lovely. Just a lovely episode. I love how a simple story about Jake and Nog trying to procure a Willie Mays baseball card to cheer up Captain Sisko becomes bigger and bigger, and more and more complicated, and ends up involving Weyoun and the Jem'Hadar, but also ends up smoothing out a lot of tense feelings and solving everyone's immediate problems. It doesn't feel like filler or a distraction, but like a calm before the storm, a reminder of what's at stake just before the Dominion War finally breaks. Speaking of which...

26. Call to Arms (5/5)
At last, it's open war against the Dominion, with the station on the front line, and the Federation standing only with the Klingons against the Dominion (including the Cardassians). This episode is so confident about how packed it is that it reveals early on that the Dominion has signed a non-aggression pact with the Romulan Star Empire. Later, it does so with the Bajorans, essentially abandoning Deep Space Nine to the Dominion. Rom's minefield is ingenious, and a good plot device to keep the bulk of the Jem'Hadar troops behind the lines. I also like that they can still weave his marriage with Leeta into the plot without any dissonance in the narrative. This is an excellent episode, and the final moments--with Sisko's message to Dukat and the appearance of a combined Federation-Klingon fleet--truly impressive. I'm glad I'm watching this now and don't have to wait months to see what happens next! This is the kind of excitement I've been waiting to see again.

Fantastic. They pulled this show out of an uneven season and, even if this season wasn't a total home run, put us right back into the momentum at the end.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Song of the Week: "Carla/Etude"

A beautiful composition I've always loved from Elton John's 1982 album The Fox. Seems lovely for what could be the last weekend of open-window weather this year.

Halloween: The Great Pumpkin

Obviously, I love old Peanuts comics. I've been especially excited about getting to these during my yearly Halloween celebration, because these strips--from the comic's 9th year, 1959--are the first time the readers ever heard of the Great Pumpkin and Linus' faith in the joyous ideals of Halloween. Some of these gags ended up in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.