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He’s A Nasty Man, Charlie Brown

22 Oct

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.


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.

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 where did he get those goggles and that scarf anyway?

Burt opens the door a crack and peeks out.


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.



Night Terrors 1979

6 Sep

September 6, 2016

I’m into things like ghosts and UFO’s (which is why I’m so hard on George Noory) and I just finished reading The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects from 1956 by Edward J. Ruppelt. He’s one of the original Project Blue Book leaders.

Project Blue Book was one of the Air Force’s attempts to investigate the UFO phenomena. It’s an interesting read, though you won’t learn much other than the Air Force in the 1950’s was as full of red tape as it is now.

But it reminded me that there was a TV show based on this called Project U.F.O. and it scared the heck out of me when I was a kid.

project ufo

From the internet:

Project U.F.O. is an American anthology television series which ran on NBC from 1978 to 1979. Running for two seasons of 13 episodes each, the show was based loosely on the real-life Project Blue Book. The show was created by Jack Webb, who pored through Air Force files looking for episode ideas.

The show features two U.S. Air Force investigators charged with investigating UFO sightings.

In an odd reversal of the Scooby-Doo dynamic, the series eventually settled into a pattern in which the investigators would spend most of the hour uncovering some conventional explanation for a UFO sighting, only for the last five minutes to reveal that UFOs (or some similarly unexplained phenomena) were involved after all.

I went to Youtube and found the specific episode that terrified young me. I saw the thumbnail and like a flash, I suddenly knew that it was the one episode that gripped me back then. It was so clear. This show has not aired in the United States since its original airing so this was the first time I saw it since 1979. I have not thought about this show in literally over 30 years, at least. Not since the last century!

Well, I can’t say it opened up a floodgate of memories, but it did bring back a couple. What scared me so much were scenes of a giant alien ship replaying images of people and events as it hovered over a man in the desert. These were scenes the aliens inside had no earthly way of seeing. (It’s around the 19 minute mark in the video at the end of this post.)

project ufo ship

For years that part stuck in my head, gave me nightmares and kept me up at night. I’d nervously look up into the sky when I was outdoors, and I live in crowded NYC. The other part that spooked me was at the end of the episode, when the house shakes as the giant ship passes overhead.

Nowadays I’m not sure anyone but me would be creeped out by it, and had this not been the stuff of childhood nightmares I, seeing this for the first time now, would be bored. But little 1979 me was spooked badly. For a long time that UFO replay was the cause of that tingle at the back of my neck.

Much like my last post about the audio tapes, I was again brought back to a moment in my childhood when all it took to scare me were cheesy special effects and my imagination.



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