As a child I watched Halloween animated specials and would record every one I found with the VCR. I had a few good holiday collections on VHS. I no longer have them because I was an animal back then and either broke the tape with too many bumps and drops or I watched them to death. However, there were some cool Disney holiday specials that I happened to catch in the 80’s, and one of was called DTV Monster Hits.
DTV was a play on MTV because the show would have music videos. The show featured actual songs recorded by current artists but used clips from a lot of Disney animation to sync with the music. There were three DTV specials that aired on NBC between 1986 through 1987 with Monster Hits airing in October 1987.
The show was hosted by Jeffrey Jones who played a magic mirror. He is also known as the Principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, although it’s hard to tell who he is with all the makeup and no porn mustache. Also, a small clip with a story sets up the music video, but I think the voices are dubbed to make the story fit the song better. I don’t think the witch really needed a bit of Billy Joel’s hair for her boiling cauldron, especially since that cartoon short, “Trick or Treat” was released in 1952. Either that, or Walt Disney was a time traveling warlock.
Even though I remember a good amount of the special, I couldn’t remember everything; I was 10 years old when it was released. However, four songs stuck out from the rest. The first one was Thriller. I remember it probably because Thriller is still so popular. Disney did a clever job matching up clips to the song. Now, others may be wondering why bother when the actual video was a big part of the song’s popularity. I would agree with that, but it’s nice to see something different and creative.
The second song was Ghostbusters. I was always a Ghostbusters fan and would try to get my hands on anything with the paranormal experts printed on it. This song was perfect because it was synced to a cartoon with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy actually fighting ghosts in a haunted house. How cool is that? They don’t have the equipment that the Real Ghostbusters had, but it would’ve been pretty sweet to see Mickey blast a ghost in the face with a double barrel shotgun. It’s also a bonus to hear Donald say, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
The third song is Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I remember this song from watching An American Werewolf in London as a child. The video clips certainly has its share of full moon scenes and some parts do seem kinda creepy. Perfect for a Halloween special.
The last song I’m mentioning here for the sake of space is Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics. It’s the last song of the special and it’s a pretty good send off. Most of the clips shown are characters going to bed, having weird dreams or just sleeping (it’s not as boring as it sounds). It was also a very popular song in the 80’s so it is another reason it stuck with me all these years.
DTV Monster Hits also showed longer scenes from their animated movies. This special introduced me to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Ichabod Crane. The two scenes that were used was the party scene where Abraham Van Brunt scared Ichabod with the tale of the Headless Horseman through song, and the climax where the Headless Horseman chased poor Ichabod through the forest. For a cartoon, I thought it was pretty scary but I enjoyed it. I still don’t know if Ichabod survived, but no one should’ve been hating on him just because he had skills with the ladies. I mean really, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.
I really loved this show and I’ve watched it an uncountable amount of times as a kid. Unfortunately my copy eventually broke and I was unable to view it anymore. I believe that animated special was only aired once ever so I was basically screwed. I really thought I would never see it again, but years later the video starts appearing online. I found it on a torrent website and the uploader was thanked many times in the comments section by others who were in the same situation I was in. In addition, clips and the entire show has been uploaded to YouTube. Watching it now, I realize that I love it for it’s nostalgic value, but it is still good for children. I pray for the day it’s released on DVD so I can have a perfect copy and put it on every October.
Has anyone else viewed this special in 1987? Please leave a comment. If you’ve never seen this show before, watch it and leave your opinion. Thanks for reading!