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Archive for Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween treats old and new

October 27, 2006

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Good grief! The 1966 animated special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (7 p.m., ABC) turns 40 this year. If you are old enough to remember when it first aired, that makes you closer to collecting Social Security than clutching security blankets. Boo!

Arguably the best of the holiday treats featuring characters created by Charles Schulz, "Great Pumpkin" highlights Linus and his peculiar faith in a giant squash with higher powers.

¢ Other Halloween treats include a special episode of "Mr. Meaty" (7:30 p.m., Nickelodeon), in which two puppet teens decide to play vampire fast-food clerks for the big night, until they find their undead getup just a tad too convincing.

¢ Very much not for the kids, the anthology series "Masters of Horror" (9 p.m., Showtime) enters its second season. "Horror" boasts 13 original one-hour stories directed by masters of the grisly genre, including Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper and John Landis.

Hooper, director of the original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," directs tonight's offering, "The Damned Thing," about a small Texas town possessed by a monstrous force pitting neighbor against neighbor.

In the spirit of "Night of the Living Dead" and other Vietnam-era horror movies, many of these "Masters" do not shy from social and political topics. This season includes shockers titled "Pro-Life," "Right to Die," "Family" and "The Washingtonians." Sometimes subtlety is the first victim when the chainsaws start roaring.

¢ Multitasking mothers from Tulsa, Okla., raise kids by day and patrol the paranormal by night in the Halloween special "Ghost Moms" (9 p.m., WE).

¢ "Biography" (7 p.m., Biography) profiles Carolyn Jones, the actress best known as Morticia on "The Addams Family." She projected a palpable cool on screen.

My favorite Jones performance has to be as Walter Matthau's doomed gangster girlfriend in the 1958 Elvis Presley musical "King Creole."

She was in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" in 1956 and many TV series, from "Dragnet" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" to "Fantasy Island" and "Quincy." Jones died of cancer in 1983 when she was only 53. She was the first wife of TV producer Aaron Spelling.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The boomer-centric series "Our Generation" (History) takes 30-minute glances at the Kent State massacre (6 p.m.) and the change in sexual mores (6:30 p.m.).

¢ On two episodes of "Meerkat Manor" (Animal Planet), a daring raid (7 p.m.), yours, mine and ours (7:30 p.m.).

¢ A covert jury seeks vengeance against alleged collaborators on "Battlestar Galactica" (8 p.m., Sci Fi).

¢ A racetrack murder blows the lid on numerous schemes on "Numb3rs" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ A posh sweet 16 party ends in tragedy on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ Alison Krauss and Vince Gill perform on "Cross Country" (9 p.m., CMT).

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