Cryptic Collectibles


on October 31, 2011 | 6 Comments

After a bit of a hiatus, Cryptic Collectibles is up and running again – just in time for Halloween.  While mulling over what to post, I serendipitously came into possession of a few vintage (30-year-old or more) issues of TV Guide – one of which covered Halloween of 1981. So, seeing that many horror fans (particularly if you’re of a certain age) were introduced to the genre through television, I thought it would be nice to celebrate our favourite holiday with a look at some the classic ads featured within the magazine.

Vintage HALLOWEEN TV Guide Ad, Oct. 1981.

Many horror fans know that 1981 was a pretty great year for the genre, for not only did it see the release of such modern cult classics as An American Werewolf in LondonMy Bloody Valentine, The Howling, The Evil Dead, Friday the 13th Part 2, Scanners, Dead and Buried, The Prowler and Happy Birthday to Me. but audiences were able to tune in for the network television premiere of John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic Halloween.
As a then-9-year-old, I remember that night quite vividly as  my family’s TV set had burned out a couple of days earlier and my father went out and bought another – just so we could all watch this and other creepy Halloween programming. As this was still before the days of video stores and VCRs in every household,  it was quite a big deal to catch first-run movies like this on television. Interestingly, the film’s sequel, Halloween II , also opened in theatres the very same night as this premiere aired – October 30th, 1981.
HALLOWEEN Oct. 1981 TV Guide Description.

A bit of trivia for Halloween buffs: additional scenes of Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Sam Loomis explaining to a medical review board how dangerous Michael Myers is, as well as an afternoon meeting between Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis and P.J. Soles were shot by Halloween II‘s cast and crew to pad out the original film’s running time – which was shortened when scenes of violence were removed for the television broadcast.

Another flick making its premiere that week  was the made-for-TV horror classic, Dark Night of the Scarecrow:


Some other amazing old ads for spookily fun television programming for Halloween of 1981:


Vintage Bugs Bunny and Fat Albert Halloween TV Guide Program Ads, Oct. 1981.


Tags: Bugs Bunny Halloween Special, collectibles, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Donald Pleasence, Fat Albert Halloween Special, Halloween, Halloween II, horror movies, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter, memorabilia, Michael Myers, TV Guide, vintage TV ads

Responses to Cryptic Collectibles: VINTAGE HALLOWEEN TV GUIDE ADS!

  1. Gary Pullin says:

    Nice post James! I don’t think I’ve seen that weird art for Dark Night of the Scarecrow before. I dig it!

  2. Paul Counelis says:

    Love it!!

  3. Wendy says:

    Wow, does this bring back memories! I was 7 in 1981 and saw most of these on tv! I remember “Dark Night…” was the one that freaked me out the most. Before cable or “Home Box Office” or Blockbuster video, this is the only way we kids could watch horror flicks. Great post, thanks!

  4. Joe Cole says:

    I remember watching all of those specials!!

  5. Ginger says:

    I’m watching “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” right now, thanks to you! I was born this very same year so it’s nice to go back into the movie genre I have grown to love. It’s a bit nostalgic also since my mom bought and collected TV Guide for a while during my childhood.

    I found the promo on YouTube months ago for the “Halloween” network premiere from that week of the 25th to the 31st, as well as another with the opening of the premiere itself. Pretty awesome!

  6. James Burrell says:

    Hi Ginger,

    Thanks very much for the kind words. “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” is a fantastic film, and I’m happy the post prompted you to want to watch it!

    As your mother collected TV Guide, I’m sure you probably remember some of the great ads that used to be featured. I only have a few vintage issues, but looking through them definitely stirred up a lot of fond memories for me.

    Take care and Happy Holidays!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>