Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2nd Annual Spookey Month: Disney's The Great Cat Family

Look familiar? It's a 1956 Disney short illustrating the history of cats, introduced by Uncle Walt himself from the comfortable confines of a studio set made to look like a handsome book-filled study. Like all good Halloween stories, it begins in Ancient Egypt. But the most memorable part takes place in Europe at a somewhat later date. Watch...

You may remember an excerpt from the second video as part of A Disney Halloween, a TV special that aired in the 1980s and 1990s. I used to look forward to it every year in October in no small part because of this mysterious scene.  I had no idea what movie or cartoon it came from and I researched it on and off for years, until some nice person at a message board devoted to obscure Disney animation finally clued me in and ended my torment.

The Disney artists did a knock out job with this one-- it features some gorgeous animation with lots of creepy mood, and a wonderfully melodramatic narration. I'll never forget the dark, hand-like clouds clutching at the full moon on a stormy, wind-swept night, the shadowy traveler making his way through the cobblestone streets of a medieval town in the rain and the look of sheer terror on the old woman's face when her cat freaks out: "For night was the time of evil spirits."

In lieu of Spookey, please accept this offering of more Toy Missile as a musical Halloween treat.  This performance took place just behind Shinjuku Station.  And I was there!  Sadly, their official website seems to have vanished... which leads me to believe they exist now only in my memories.  And a few YouTube videos.

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