One of my alltime favorite Halloween treats when I was a kid was when local channel 9 WOR in New York would broadcast MAD MONSTER PARTY? (the question mark is part of the title-who knew?) on their 4:00 MOVIE.This wonderful Rankin/Bass "Animagic" feature was released theatrically in 1969-but really found its legs when it was syndicated to local stations in the 1970s. It's cast boasts a who's who of movie monsters - Count Dracula! The Wolf Man! The Mummy! The Invisible Man! Frankenstein's Monster! Dr. Jekyll! Mr. Hyde! The Creature (from the Black Lagoon)! The Hunchback of Notre Dame! It! (aka King Kong) and Phyllis Diller! The only one missing was John McCain.Boris Karloff voices Baron Von Frankenstein - who assembles these characters (The Worldwide Organization of Monsters) to announce his retirement - and introduce his nerdy nephew Felix and shapely new creation Francesca to the group. Even as a gay kid, I knew Francesca was HOT! I wonder if Francesca was the visual inspiration for MAD MEN's? Hmmm...With character designs by the great Mad Magazine cartoonist Jack Davis, and some of the best stop-motion imagery ever, MAD MONSTER PARTY? is an absolute must-see for animation lovers. While the story may now be a bit slow-moving, and not as clever as I remember it from my childhood - I'd rather sit through this than the more recent "monster mash" called VAN HELSING any day of the year.MAD MONSTER PARTY also features some great musical numbers...and come on, you gotta love Phyllis Diller - here a pic of me and my parter John with Ms. Diller at her lovely Brentwood home last year. She's 91 and still a hoot!
For more info about Rankin/Bass visit Rick Goldschmidt's enchanting blog.