The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t first aired as an ABC-TV special in October 1979. Kid-friendly and stacked with popular TV stars, the 30-minute comedy special would go on to seemingly perpetual reruns on the Disney Channel through the late nineties.
The story travels familiar terrain. Hartley’s Witch, feeling unappreciated, won’t fly over the Moon, effectively canceling Halloween. A desperate Dracula calls all the great monsters to his castle for a meeting. That’s the plot on which writer Coleman Jacoby, a veteran of the Milton Berle and Phil Silvers shows, would hang a bunch of jokes.
There’s a distinctive look to the show, due to its being shot on location at Lyndhurst, a spectacular Gothic Revival mansion on the Hudson at Tarrytown, New York. Its narrow hallways, arched windows, vaulted ceilings and corkscrew staircases serve alternately as Dracula’s castle and the Witch’s lair.
In 1988, John Schuck would gamely climb into the Frankenstein boots again, succeeding Fred Gwynne as Herman in a re-thread series, The Munsters Today, that somehow managed to run 72 episodes, two more than the original.