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He’s A Nasty Man, Charlie Brown

25 Oct

October 25, 2019

This Halloween, just one post, but it’s my favorite Halloween post. Enjoy my take on a true Halloween classic.

From October 22, 2016

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. For decades, poor Charlie Brown has been getting rocks instead of candy. But did you ever wonder why the adults on his street would give a little boy rocks on Halloween? Read on for one man’s story.

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The Time: Halloween 1966
The Place: The home of Burt and Luann Smith, just down the block from Charlie Brown’s house

BURT: (Looking out window) Hey Luann, it’s getting dark. Those trick-or-treaters are coming down the block.

LUANN: (Calling out from the kitchen) I’ve got a bowl of candy near the door, Honey. Don’t give them too much, just a couple of pieces each.

BURT: (Muttering) I’m keeping the Kit Kats for myself.

From outside, the distant sounds of children trick-or-treating can be heard.

BURT: (Still at the window) Aw Jeez Luann, that kid with the messed up head and the blanket is squatting in the Jackson’s pumpkin patch. What’s wrong with him? (Burt squints, looks closely) I think he’s got that little Sally Brown with him. (Muttering again) I bet the coyotes get her first.

LUANN: (Still in kitchen) What did you say dear?

BURT: Nothing, dear, nothing dear (bell rings) Uh, got to get the door.

Burt opens the front door. A group of kids in homemade costumes yells “trick or treat!” Burt gives them some candy, pocketing the Kit Kats for himself. They leave but before he closes the door, he looks down the block.
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BURT: Luann, I’ll be back in a second. I just have to run out back for a minute. (Burt runs out the back door.)

LUANN: (Enters the living room) What? Where are you?

BURT: (Comes back) OK Hon, I’m back.

Burt puts a pile of rocks on the table near the bowl of candy.

LUANN: What are you doing with those rocks?

BURT: That Brown kid is coming down the street. He’s such a blockhead, his costume has about 50 extra holes in it. Match the ones in his head.

LUANN: Burt! He’s such a sweet little boy!

BURT: Yeah, such a sweet little boy. When’s the last time he cleaned up after his dog? That damn beagle keeps leaving piles in the front yard. And how did a dog get those goggles and that scarf anyway?

Burt opens the door a crack and peeks out.

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BURT: Yeah, yeah, here he comes. You want a trick or treat? I got a trick for ya. (Quickly shuts the door.)

LUANN: Burt, really!

BURT: Shhh shhh here they come! (Bell rings)

Burt opens the door and a group of kids, including Charlie Brown, yell trick or treat.

BURT: Here you are, you cute little goblins! (He gives each in turn a piece of candy, except for Charlie Brown, who gets a rock.)

Burt closes the door, smiling a nasty grin.

LUANN: Burt! That was horrible! He’s just a little boy!

BURT: He’s lucky I gave him a rock and not one of his dog’s turds. I’ve got a dozen of them on the lawn.

Burt goes to the window, sees the kids comparing their candy and opens it a crack, just in time to hear Charlie Brown say “I got a rock.”

BURT: Serves you right, you little bald blockhead.

THE END

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A Pair of Synners

12 Oct

October 12, 2019

 

This is Doctor Syn: A Smuggler Tale of Romney Marsh, written by Russell Thorndyke and published in 1915.

From Wikipedia, which can’t be wrong about a book this old, right?:

Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh is the first in the series of Doctor Syn novels by Russell Thorndike. In this story we are introduced to the complex Christopher Syn, the kindly vicar of the little town of Dymchurch. Syn seems pleasant but we soon learn that he has a sinister past. At one time he was the vicious pirate Captain Clegg and he is also the mysterious “Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”, masked leader of the local smugglers.

This was filmed a few times, first in 1937, then in 1962 as Captain Clegg starring Peter Cushing, and again in 1963 as Dr. Syn, alias The Scarecrow, part of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV series starring Patrick McGoohan. This version is hard to find as it had only a limited home video release and copies go for big bucks.

Luckily, the Disney version had a novel adaptation by prolific Disney author Vic Crume.

 

 

The novel was turned into a movie, and the movie turned back into a novel by a different author.

You have to admit that doesn’t happen too often.

So the plan is to read the original Russell Thorndyke novel and then the Disney novelization of the film, and see what the heck Disney did to it. To be fair, the Disney film is highly regarded. 

It’s a little like the old children’s game of telephone, where a short sentence is whispered to one child, then passed along from ear to ear, then finally getting to the last child in, usually, a phrase unrecognizable from the original. This is essentially a novel to film to novel game of telephone.

I’m very curious to see where this goes.

 

 

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