During Pics & the Tales from the Darkside Pilot Episode, “Trick or Treat”

Today I have been doing this site, and exercising regularly and eating “right”, for a month!!! Woohoo!!! There have been wars that have been shorter than this!

I’ll admit, every day is a struggle. Not so much with the food part, but because of the way my work schedule is right now, exercising can sometimes be a real pain. On Thursdays in particular. But like Rambo says, when asked by his commanding officer, “How will you live?” The answer is always, “Day by Day”.

It is impossible for me to fathom getting up at 5am every day for the rest of my life to go exercise at the JFZ, but I’m pretty sure I can do it tomorrow.

It is impossible for me to imagine going the rest of my life without ever bingeing (is that spelled correctly? spellcheck says it is, but I don’t trust them) on buffalo wings again, but I’m almost positive that I can do it tomorrow.

The point is, one month has seemed like a long time, and I feel like I’ve made some significant progress, but the road to health and well-being never truly ends, but it’s days like today that are the giant dinosaurs and Wall Drugs and Ruby Falls along the way. So it’s best to See Ruby Falls while you’re there, enjoy it for what it is (a well-lit water hose) but tomorrow you gotta get on the road early if you’re gonna make it to Gatlinburg.

What am I talking about???

I’m talking about gettin’ a bottle of wine today to celebrate!!!! WOOHOO!!!!

I’m also talking about “during” photos.

So this is me after a month. You can CLICK HERE to analyze my girth from “before” and compare it to this morning. I also have changed masks for the Halloween season. You might notice that, also.

So yeah, there is still some gut there. Plenty of it, in fact. But considering the progress I’ve made in a month, I feel confident that in 300-or-so days I can look fit and feel amazing! Maybe that Conan costume can happen after all!

Tales from the Darkside: the Pilot Episode, Trick of Treat

Occasionally, the Sci-fi Network (I refuse to type the new name) will fuck up and put something good on.

In fact, more than once, I have been lucky enough to catch a “Tales from the Darkside” marathon on there.

“Tales from the Darkside” was a television show that was a direct descendant of the Twilight Zone. It was an anthology, “genre” show (horror, fantasy, and sci-fi) that ran during the mid-1980’s. According to the internet, it was originally going to be a “Creepshow” television series (based on the movie of the same name), but they instead went with this title due to rights issues.

Many of the episodes had famous names attached. I know Stephen King wrote at least one episode, and I think even George “Zombie Godfather” Romero did some production work.

As a matter of fact, after a little research, I found that the pilot episode, the one we will be looking at today, was written by George Romero and directed by Bob Balaban (you know this guy. He played a tv executive on Seinfeld. The guy whose daughter George got a good look at her cleavage. He’s done a ton of great stuff).

This episode aired on Halloween night, during primetime (which was weird because I seem to recall that TFTD came on really late, but I could be wrong), at exactly the right time for my cousin and I to be sitting in front of the television, post-trick or treating, taking inventory of the night’s haul.

I’ve always loved horror stuff. When I was a very little kid, Scooby-Doo was a show that I would not miss. I loved anything that was about ghosts or something scary, but I had an imagination that was a complete psychopathic maniac, so I would get scared very easily. I don’t know how those two things went together. It seems now that they would be in constant mortal kombat over who was dominant over my thoughts and emotions. I was a weird little kid, but who wasn’t?

Even though I was into horror, I had a completely irrational, mind-numbing, deranged fear of witches, which I blame on the Wizard of Oz. Whoever thought the Wizard of Oz was a kids movie needs to be lobotomized. Of course, they are probably dead now. So that’s what they get.

Keep that in mind as we chat about this pilot of episode of one of the greatest programmes ever created…

So there we were, Halloween night, 1983. I was 5 years old, almost 6, when this intro came on…

I don’t see how I made it through just that part. I guess I just thought that scary things should be watched on Halloween and that I should “kid up” and face my fears.

The story, which I am now sure was completely lost on me, involved a stereotypical town miser Scrooge-type man named Mr. Hackles who owned, basically, everything and everyone in town.

Mr. Hackles

Every year, Mr. Hackles got his old gray rocks off by hosting a Haunted House in his home.

But this is no regular Haunted House!

Inside this Haunted House, Mr. Hackles has hidden a stack of papers, mostly IOUs, that document everything that everyone in the town owes to him.

He invites the local children to come into his Haunted House to search for these papers. If they find them, then their family is debt-free!!!

No big deal. Just go in and get the papers, get the papers.

But unfortunately for our unwitting participants, Mr. Hackles doesn’t exactly play fair. Oh sure, the debts are hidden in the home, but nowhere that anyone would ever find them. I think he hides them in the chimney.

He also makes his Haunted House ultra-super-scary, so that when the parents send their kids in (and they all do, we are left to presume) there is no way any kid is going to leave that house not completely scared out of his mind. All you steampunks out there would love Mr. Hackles’ set-up: it’s all gears and whistles and dials and gauges.

Much like in the Disney “Trick or Treat” that we reviewed a few days ago, a good witch flies in to save the day.

It is late, and Mr. Hackles is about to close up shop, when the doorbell rings…

From his control room, he has a tube that he uses to see who is at the front door…

"Trick or treat, Mr. Hackles, Trick or Treat!"

The visage of this witch was nearly enough to send me running out the front door of our house, screaming in terror.

I mean, a green witch face was scary enough, but this white crackly face was like I had just seen the face of Cthulhu and it had driven me quite mad. I’m surprised my hair didn’t turn white.

As far as my 5-year-old brain was concerned, this was enough. The show was a masterpiece of brain scrambling horror. Any remaining notions of “following the plot” were thrown out the window as I sat in front of our big console tv in rapt awe of exactly how terrifying television could be.

I say that because this witch, after watching it as an adult, is the protagonist of the story! There is no fracking way you could have gotten me to believe that as a kid. All witches were like snakes… worthy of wanton destruction, no matter their motivations.

Like Donald, Mr. Hackles is terrorized by this witch. Although unlike Uncle Donald, Mr. Hackles is doomed to eternal damnation…

I honestly don’t remember this happening when I watched the show as a kid (remember that when I saw this when I was five, my brain was a paralyzed jello mold of quivering fear), but apparently this witch is some sort of employee of the big baddy himself: that daggum, bad ol’ debbil!!!!

The witch chases Mr. Hackle through his funhouse, turning the tables on him at every opportunity by using his Haunted House tricks on him, and he eventually turns a corner, opens a door, and finds this:


The witch has somehow opened a portal to hell in his house and lured him into it! Keep in mind that, by this point, I had no clue what was going on. I didn’t even remember the devil being in this show until I rewatched it as an adult. Satan must have had a lot of time on his hands to be in a syndicated tv show. Either that, or TFTD shelled out the big bucks for the Pilot.

The door closes and that’s the last we see of the devil and Mr. Hackles.

The camera then shows the witch flying over the town, dropping the IOUs and other debt-related papers from her broomstick to the outstretched hands of the villagers below. “It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle from Lucifer himself!!!! Hail Lucifer, deliverer of a debt-free lifestyle! Hail!”

I vaguely remember there being a shot of a fake tombstone in Mr. Hackles yard with his name on it at the end. That could have been a hallucination, or perhaps a dream.

This episode is good. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite TFTDs, but I don’t know how much I would like it if I was seeing it today for the first time. For one thing, it does seem like an adultified version of the Donald Duck cartoon, so it might be kind of a rip-off.  But since I saw it as a kid, and it left such a mark on me, I love it now.

There are definitely better episodes of TFTD, though. My absolute favorite we’ll talk about during Christmas.

I thought these episodes were all on youtube, but I guess they got taken down. I know they are available on dvd, and every now and then the Sci-Fi Network will show a marathon of them, bless their hearts.

Happy Halloween! and Happy Kettlebell Day! and Happy One-Month Anniversary to Me and FFDC.com!!!

This entry was posted in About Fitness, About Me, About Media, General dorky shit. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to During Pics & the Tales from the Darkside Pilot Episode, “Trick or Treat”

  1. 1148BucksX2 says:

    Waiting for the holiday season before springing a certain episode of TFTDS on us? You wouldn’t dare to actually speak *his* name, right……..?

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