Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Well, this Hungarian Whooping Grippe or whatever it is really knocked me for a loop. I’ve been out of commission for the last seven days. And for a guy like me, that’s frustrating.

I did manage to catch up on my reading, though. I powered through all 534 pages of Disney War, an account of Michael Eisner’s time as head of Disney. Boy, that was an eye-opener. Eisner’s not quite the guy I imagined him to be; he’s cluelessly drunk with power. He made a lot of excellent decisions, but he apparently couldn’t stand the idea of someone threatening his position. He consistently bad-mouthed each executive who might be a possible replacement (or even right-hand man). He made a lot of enemies. Sad.

I also re-read From the Dust Returned, a recent book by Ray Bradbury that collects and re-spins several of his spooky short stories into the tale of a Twilight Family, an Addams Family. This is quite intentional; he and Charles Addams had plans to collaborate on this book decades ago, with Bradbury providing the stories and Addams the illustrations. Bradbury wrote a few stories in preparation, but it never came together, and now that Addams is gone Bradbury put together the book, at least, and had that published with Addams’ wonderful original concept illustration as the book cover.

Addams wanted it to be “a sort of Christmas Carol idea, Halloween after Halloween people will buy the book, just as the buy the Carol, to read at the fireplace, with lights low. Halloween is the time of year for story-telling.” And it is certainly that. It’s part of my October ritual, where I read and watch a number of moody Halloween works, including:

  • October Dreams, a thick collection of spooky stories centered around Halloween itself. Some are horror, some are more thrillers, while some are true accounts of authors’ childhoods. Wonderful stuff.
  • Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, about a group of boys who descend through Halloweens past in search of their dying friend
  • An animated adaptation of The Halloween Tree, made several years ago by Hanna Barbera. It’s quite good, despite being made by Hanna Barbera.
  • The original Halloween movie
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, an odd little thing. X-Entertainment has a fabulous article.

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