Retro Ramblings: Tom & Jerry’s Halloween Special

The Big Thing on My Brain This Week

On this past week’s episode of the TRN Podcast, Tony Grate and I discussed some of our favorite Halloween specials from through the years, and one of my favorites was always the Tom & Jerry’s TBS Funhouse Halloween Special.  Back in the late ’80s, Ted Turner and TBS launched Tom & Jerry’s TBS Funhouse.  It was an hour and a half cartoon block every morning and afternoon where they combined Tom & Jerry shorts with Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, shorts from the Droopy library, and Popeye cartoons.  It was a really fun block with great variety.  During the holiday seasons, they kicked it up a notch and put together specials for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

These specials would usually air several times in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and they selected appropriate shorts to fit the theme.  Mixed in with the cartoon shorts were live-action bumpers filmed with Josh Jarboe and Audra Lee of the TBS show, Kid’s Beat.  They would dress up and tell jokes or give history about the holiday featured in the special.

In 1987, we got the first Halloween Special.  I didn’t have cable at the time, but my grandparents did, and rarely did they ever change the dial from TBS.  So when I was there visiting, I was treated to NWA Wrestling, episodes of Andy Griffith, and Tom and Jerry’s Funhouse.  I was lucky enough to be there one time and catch a commercial for the coming Halloween Special.  I got pretty excited about it, and my Mom actually took me back to their house when the special was on so I could watch it.

I remember being ecstatic about it, and really enjoying it, as it was a special filled with just Halloween shorts.  A year later when we had cable at our house, I was super excited when I saw a commercial on TBS advertising the special once again for the 1988 Halloween season!  I couldn’t believe it.  I was going to get to watch it again.  Not only did I watch it again that year, but I watched it every year it was on going forward. Heck, I’d still watch it every year these days if it were still on TBS.

Unfortunately, 1992 was the last year these specials saw the light of day.  And in another unfortunate event, I’ve not been able to find the full special anywhere online to watch.  But, a fantastic user over on YouTube has a video that features the intro, all the live-action bumpers, and commercials from the special.

And if you had any interested in trying to recreate the special, here is the list of shorts that were featured:

  • The Flying Sorceress (Tom & Jerry)
  • Ghost Wanted (Merrie Melodies)
  • Haunted Mouse (Tom & Jerry)
  • Hair-Raising Hare (Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny)
  • Ghosts in the Bunk (Popeye)
  • Fraidy Cat (Tom & Jerry)

I wish kids today had the opportunity to experience the anticipation of events like this.  Something that you just can’t get instantly, and that you have to wait for.  Things that are special for, and unique to the season.  There is just a certain feeling that can only be achieved by waiting for it, and old specials like this are one of those things.

Things I Think I Think This Week

I think… working on this column has an added degree of difficulty this week with my daughter’s cat Choklit wanting to help out.  I’m throwing in this picture of him “helping” because I know cats are popular on the interweb.  Maybe it will drive some traffic.

I think… that since I’m one the subject of a favorite old Halloween special of mine, you should look for your favorite in Tim’s very well done feature, 10 Great Halloween TV Specials You Need to Watch.

I think… everyone needs to take advantage of all that the season has to offer.  For me, I took advantage of some downtime and made the trip to the local pumpkin patch for the first time in years.  It was so much fun just running around and having a good time with the kids.  You should try it if it’s been a while for you.

I think… Cobra Kai Season 2 is not quite on par with season 1.  That’s not to say it’s bad or anything, but the first season really tickled my nostalgia bone more than the current season has.  On the flip side of that though, is I think season 2 feels a little more like the original movie due to Hawk coming across a lot like teenage Johnny Lawrence in his heel role.  Another added benefit of this season is that both of my daughters are interested in it, and we watch it together, which is rare.

I think… that I’m really enjoying having my oldest daughter joining the wife and me for our Sunday night television viewing.  It’s the only night of the week that I watch television, and having her along for the ride is really fun.  We catch up on all of the wife’s favorite shows, and a few of mine too.  We generally watch Cobra Kai, Survivor, Hawaii Five-0, Magnum PI, Riverdale, and an old episode of Jericho.

I think… that Jericho was a criminally underrated show.  It’s a favorite of my oldest daughters and mine, and we usually re-watch it every fall.  The story of the small Kansas town dealing with the aftermath of numerous American cities being destroyed by nuclear weapons is very riveting.

I think… that we are actually getting another special burger from Burger King this Halloween season.  It appears it may be the long-rumored Ghost Whopper.  I’ll keep you posted.

I think… that the Halloween season just doesn’t quite feel the same as it used too without a good Halloween-themed wrestling PPV to get excited about like when we had Halloween Havoc to look forward to every year.  Scott Keith’s review of the first one from 1989 gets me right in the feels.

I think… no, I know I miss my friend Carlos.  He passed away last week, and when I heard the news, a lot of old memories came flooding back.  I was fortunate in the fact that I got to have a lot of great times with Carlos in cities all around this country like Nashville, Orlando, Charlotte, and others.  But my favorite memory of Carlos is when I had the pleasure of taking him to historical Boston Harbor.  He was as real as anyone gets in life, there was no act that he put on.  You always knew where you stood with Carlos, for good or bad.  I was one of the lucky ones, as I had his friendship, and he always had my back.  He loved everything in life.  Things you and I take for granted, he cherished.  He loved sitting down to a tasty meal.  He loved the moments of reflection sitting around after a meal.  He loved singing along with a song in the car, he loved just standing and staring at the sky.  He embraced all that life has to offer and was quick to point out all the little things about it that make it so wonderful.  He was a husband, a father, a son, and to me, he was my friend.  I’m gonna miss him.  Ticonderoga big guy.

I think… that if you haven’t ever had the pleasure of seeing Kolchak: The Night Stalker on television, you should remedy that.  Especially here in the Halloween season.  Most folks automatically associate Darrin McGavin in his role as Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story, but before that, he starred in this always spooky television series.  I leave you today with an episode of it to sample.  If you like it, there are plenty more complete episodes on YouTube you can watch.


About Mickey Yarber 132 Articles
Sometimes referred to as The Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via articles and videos, and occasionally make un-needed appearances on various podcasts. I can also catch quarters off my elbow. Email to book me for your next corporate event.