Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Halloween Tree

One of my favorite stories since childhood is Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree." It's one of the few Halloween things my mother did for me: she bought the book for me and even read it to me. I remember the cover you see at the left, with the dynamic original illustrations by Joseph Mugnaini. Lucky me, I managed to hold on to my original copy through two divorces and countless moves.
"The Halloween Tree," for those who have never read it, is a story that combines the exuberance of a group of boys on the best holiday of all, with a mysterious house on the hill, the history of Halloween, death, and, possibly, a deal with Death Himself, in the guise of Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, (A name that gives you a little shiver down your spine.) to save their frined, Pip's, life. According to Wikipedia, the novel started as a screenplay in 1967, with an eye to having the marvelous Chuck Jones animate it. Sadly, that version wasn't made, but in 1992, Bradbury was successful in getting The Halloween Tree produced, winning an Emmy Award for it. In 2005, he released a longer version of the book, including both his story elements from the screenplay, and the 1967 version.
For those of you with time to spare, I've included as much of the 1992 version as I could find on YouTube. Narrated by Ray Bradbury, himself!

Finally, on October 31, 2007, Disneyland in California invited Bradbury to the unveiling of its very own Halloween Tree, to be part of the park's Halloween decorations every year. About time, I say!

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