October 31, 2015

BEETLEJUICE

BEETLEJUICE
(ABC, FOX, September 9, 1989-December 6, 1991)


Nelvana Limited, The Geffen Film Company, Tim Burton, Inc.


MAIN CAST:
Stephen Ouimette – Beetlejuice, Snugglejuice, Posijuice, Negajuice
Alyson Court – Lydia Deetz
Elizabeth Hanna – Delia Deetz
Roger Dunn – Charles Deetz
Charles Kerr – Jacques LaLean
Tabitha St. Germain (as Paulina Gillis) – Ginger, Prudence
Len Carlson – The Monster Across the Street, Judge Mental, Barf Birfman, Mayor Maynot, Mr. Juice, Uncle Clyde
Susan Roman – Poopsie, Miss Shapen, Percy, Poopette, The Monstress Across the Street, Mrs. Juice
Keith Hampshire – Doomie (season 2-4)

Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin) Maitland were living the perfect life in their dream home. That is until the day they drove their car off the bridge and died. Forced to haunt their house as ghosts, the real terror began when it was sold to the Deetz family from New York City. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) was a real estate developer who needed some peace and quiet in his life; his second wife, Delia (Catherine O’Hara), fancied herself an artist and promptly set about turning the house into one of her projects; and Charles’ daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder), was a goth who loathed the move to the countryside.



Unable to get rid of the Deetzes on their own, Barbara and Adam turned to a self-proclaimed “bio-exorcist” that revealed himself to them: Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton). The Maitlands freed Betelgeuse from Adam’s model of the town and he proceeded to nearly kill Charles until Barbara sent him away by saying his name three times. Betelgeuse was freed again by Lydia, who had befriended the Maitlands, and was trying to save them from an exorcism conducted by her family. Betelgeuse agreed to help if Lydia would marry him, and she agreed. The Maitlands, restored, helped to send Betelgeuse away and rescue Lydia. From that moment on, the Maitlands and Deetz families learned to live together, while Betelgeuse was getting into more mischief in the netherworld. 

Beetlejuice is beside himself.

Michael McDowell came up with the original story and script, which took on a much darker tone than the final product. In McDowell’s treatment, the Maitland’s deaths were far more graphic and their attempts to scare the Deetzes were more malicious. The limbo that kept the Maitlands in their house was depicted as a void full of giant clock gears shredding the fabric of space and time. Betelgeuse (named after the star) need only be dug up to be freed rather than summoned and was envisioned as a demon who took the form of a Middle Eastern man with desires to kill the elder Deetzes while raping Lydia. The Deetzes had another daughter that Betelgeuse would mutilate, and the Maitlands and Deetzes teamed-up to exorcise Betelgeuse while the Maitlands would move into the model version of their house. 

Beetlejuice's house

McDowell was joined by Larry Wilson on rewrites to the script, and Wilson presented it to an executive at Universal Studios. Said executive hated it, and they ended up selling the script to The Geffen Company. David Geffen, in turn, presented the script to Tim Burton. Burton had gained notoriety in Hollywood after the success of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and was looking for his next film to direct while he and Sam Hamm worked on a treatment for a Batman movie to present to Warner Bros. Burton loved the script and signed on to direct it. Warren Skaaren was brought in to rewrite the script, toning down many of McDowell’s concepts and bringing it closer to the dark comedy it ended up being. Burton made the film reminiscent of the B-Movies he grew up with, keeping the effects intentionally fake-looking. The music was scored by frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman. The film was released by Warner Bros. on April 1, 1988 with the phonetic title of Beetlejuice and became the 10th highest grossing film of the year while netting several award nominations and wins.

Beetlejuice undergoing some grooming.

With popularity riding high, particularly with a younger demographic, it was decided to bring the concept to television with an animated series executive produced by Burton and Geffen. The transition from film to screen meant a number of changes had to be made to make the concept more kid-friendly. Beetlejuice (Stephen Ouimette) in particular had to be changed from a letch into more of a malicious prankster and con-man who had his own twisted set of morals. However, they kept him as gross as possible by having him deal often in random body odors, frequent references to his poor hygiene, and his indulgence in eating live beetles (usually off-camera represented by a CRUNCH! and the disgusted faces of onlookers). Beetlejuice (B.J. or Beej to his friends) resided in a roadhouse in a twisted alternate dimension called the Neitherworld--which replaced the bureaucratic version of the afterlife featured in the film--and featured buildings and structures that defied all known laws of physics. Beej’s magic seemingly had no limits, except his inability to function when any of his body parts were severed (without blood) and his reflexive instinct to transform himself and his surroundings into a literal representation of a phrase spoken. 

Wardrobe changes made easy.

The Maitlands were eliminated entirely and their roles were instead filled by Beetlejuice, who was now the best friend of Lydia (called either Lyds or babes by him, played by Alyson Court). While he could still be summoned to the real world by saying his name three times, Lydia would recite a chant to bring herself to his home, the Neitherworld: “Though I know I should be wary/Still I venture someplace scary/Ghostly hauntings I turn loose…/Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” That chant would transform Lydia’s room into a Neitherworld version of itself and changed her clothing to include a red spider-web poncho over black tights. Her personality and fashion choices often left her standing out in the small town she lived in, and she was often at odds with bullying classmate Claire Brewster (Tara Strong). At some point, Lydia joined a version of the Girl Scouts called Happy Face Girls and a band named The Bride of Funkenstein (based on The Bride of Frankenstein, an idea that was submitted by a then-teenaged fan for which she was paid $250). Both Lydia and Beej broke the fourth wall, and even knew they were on a show. Beej would also often transport himself to the real world and interact with others besides Lydia in a “human” disguise, such as Mr. Beetleman, Cousin B.J., and Denmother MacCree.

Charles and Lydia.

Lydia’s parents Charles (Roger Dunn) and Delia (Elizabeth Hanna) returned as well. Delia’s eccentricities were toned down and she became oblivious to everything except what she called art and was unaware of any strange goings on around the house. Charles, however, saw everything and could explain none of it. Unlike the film, his nerves were a lot more easily frazzled and he was just a push away from a mental breakdown. Lydia also addressed Delia as “mother” rather than by her name, and their non-biological relationship was never firmly established. They also gained a family cat, Percy (Susan Roman), who was even more high-strung than Charles and the frequent victim of Beej’s pranks (although Percy managed to get in a few licks of his own here and there).

Jacques.

TThe Neitherworld offered a host of new characters to populate the show. Living with Beej in the roadhouse were his roommates, Jacques LaLean (after fitness guru Jack LaLanne, played by Charles Kerr), a French skeleton obsessed with working out, and Ginger (alluding to Ginger Rogers, voiced by Tabitha St. Germain), a tap-dancing spider who was about as good at her craft as Delia was at art. Across the street lived the aptly-named The Monster Across the Street (Len Carlson), a giant, hairy monster with a Texan accent, cowboy boots and hat with a very short temper and very high disdain of Beej. He lived with his wife, The Monstress Across the Street, and his beloved dog, Poopsie (both Roman). The second season saw the introduction of Doomie (Keith Hampshire), the sentient car Beej built with Lydia ala Frankenstein. By using an abnormal carburetor, every time the normally sweet Doomie was in the presence of a dog, angry, or frightened, he would transform into a hairy and savage monster. Sandworms, the creatures seen in the limbo portions of the film, also appeared frequently to cause a little havoc and add extra trouble to a situation.

The Monster Across the Street.

Beetlejuice debuted on ABC on September 9, 1988 and became a huge hit for the network. It ran for three seasons, alternating between single and double stories each episode. Despite drawing the usual parental protests over concerns about harmful content such as violence, the series managed to win the 1990 Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Animated Program,” shared with fellow ABC show The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The series’ theme was taken directly from Elfman’s score of the film, but the rest of the series’ music was handled by Tom Szczesniak. The series also featured one of the earliest uses of CGI combined with puppetry used mostly for Neitherworld television programs. For Neitherworld television segments, as well as the beginning of the series’ second opening, those effects were handled by Calibre Digital Designs.




With the Fox Kids block entering its second year of existence, FOX decided to order an additional 65 episodes of the series from Nelvana. As a result, the series’ third season continued simultaneously on ABC Saturdays alongside its fourth during FOX weekdays, bringing the entire show up to a grand total of 94 episodes. The fourth season changed things up a bit from the rest of the series’ run: Beej was less involved in causing the action in stories so much as reacting to them. Many episodes also dealt heavily with direct parodies to popular movies, such as The Wizard of Oz.



As with the movie, a merchandising blitz followed the success of the series. Dart Flipcards produced a series of trading cards, Panini released a sticker album and activity book, Golden made both puzzles and coloring books, Thermos a lunchbox, Party Creations a centerpiece, and a set of Valentines. Burger King offered a set of six PVC figurines with the Kids’ Meals, which featured the main characters (besides Ginger) and a Sandworm, and had the added bonus of another figure on their backs. Kenner, who had produced figures for the movie, had planned a line for the show that never came to fruition beyond a prototype head for Jacques hitting the internet. 

Doomie chasing Poopsie.

Only two video games were made for the show. In 1990, Riedel Software Productions, Inc. and Hi-Tech Expressions, Inc. released Skeletons in the Closet for DOS which had Beej going up against a legion of skeletons using a variety of weapons. In 1992, Rare, Ltd. and LJN Toys, Ltd. released Horrific Hijinx from the Neitherworld for the Nintendo Game Boy, which this time had Beej evicting all the ghosts he invited to Lydia’s house before having to save Lydia herself. In 1991, Harvey Comics began publishing a series of Beetlejuice comics. They released Beeltejuice and Beetlejuice in the Neitherworld their debut year, followed by Crimebusters on the Haunt and a Holiday Special in 1992.

Beetlejuice on VHS.

Warner Bros. Home Video released most of the first season across six VHS tapes. When the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD for the film was released in 2008, the episodes “Skeletons in the Closet,” Spooky Boo-Tique,” and “A-Ha” were included as bonus features. In 2013, Shout! Factory released the complete series to DVD as an Amazon exclusive, while season one was released to retail stores on the same day. In 2013 Shout! released A Halloween Spooktacular, a compilation of Halloween-themed episodes, and seasons two and three in 2014.

Excitement over a new movie builds.

Talk of a sequel had been ongoing since at least 1990, when Burton hired Jonathan Gems to write Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. However, the project soon became forgotten as Burton went to work on Batman Returns. Both Burton and Keaton had a strong love for the movie, and consistently expressed interest in a sequel whenever it was brought up. By 2015, a sequel was finally in pre-production with Keaton and Ryder set to reprise their roles. In the interim, Beetlejuice was kept alive (sort of) at various Universal Studios theme parks in live-action shows. The show opened in 1992 and underwent several revisions and names, the latest being Beeltejuice’s Graveyard Mash-Up. The last American version of the show closed in August of 2015 in favor of an attraction based on The Fast and the Furious franchise, although it still currently runs in Japan. Beetlejuice was also part of the defunct Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way! and Halloween Horror Nights.

EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Critter Sitters” (9/9/89) – Beej has to contend with a difficult babysitting job and a judge wanting to throw the book at him.

“The Big Face Off / Skeletons in the Closet” (9/16/89) – Beej and Lydia compete on a game show. / The skeletons in Beej’s closet escape and start telling all his truths.

“A Dandy Handy Man / Out of My Mind” (9/23/89) – Beej takes on jobs in order to earn money to buy one of Lydia’s photos. / A fight over a prank causes Lydia to banish Beej to the Netherworld.

“Stage Fright / Spooky Tree” (9/30/89) – Lydia becomes costume designer for the school play to get revenge on Claire for cheating her out of the role she wanted. / Beej brings Lydia’s favorite tree to life so it won’t be cut down.

“Laugh of the Party” (10/7/89) – In order to make Lydia’s Halloween party a success, Beej brings “Party People in a Can.”

“Worm Welcome” (10/14/89) – Lydia accidentally transports a baby Sandworm to Outerworld when she calls Beej.

“Bad Neighbor Beetlejuice / Campfire Ghouls” (10/21/89) – Beej tries to be a good neighbor; unfortunately he doesn’t know the definition. / Beej disguises himself as a girl to join Lydia’s camping trip.

“Pest O’ the West” (10/28/89) – Beej becomes sheriff of a Wild West-like Neitherworld town.

“Bizarre Bazaar / Pat on the Back” (11/4/89) – Claire ruins everything at the haunted house she and Lydia are supposed to run. / Desiring a pat on the back causes a little man to grow on Beej’s back.

“Poopsie / It’s the Pits” (11/11/89) – The Monster has Beej babysit Poopsie. / Beej gets a big head when he finds success as an armpit musician.

“Prince of the Neitherworld” (11/18/89) – Prince Vince asks Beej to help him win Lydia’s heart.

“Quit While You’re a Head” (12/2/89) – Beej’s head is taken by headhunters.

“Cousin B.J. / Beetlejuice’s Parents” (12/9/89) – Lydia’s relatives come for a visit. / Lydia and Beej visit his parents.

Season 2:
“Dragster of Doom” (9/8/90) – Beej and Lydia decide to build their own car, but an abnormal carburetor causes their car, Doomie, to change into a monster.

“Scare and Scare Alike / Spooky Boo-Tique” (9/15/90) – Beej and Lydia attempt to out-scare each other when a Sandworm interrupts. / Beej tries to help promote Lydia’s new fashion line.

“Driven Crazy” (9/22/90) – Beej and Lydia enter Doomie into the Neitherworld Grand Prix.

“Scummer Vacation” (9/29/90) – Beej disguises himself as a tour guide so he can spend the summer with Lydia when her family goes on vacation.

“Bewtiched, Bothered & Beetlejuiced” (10/6/90) – Beej and Lydia must rescue Percy from a witch that took him to the Witches’ Ball.

“Dr. Bettle & Mr. Juice / Running Scared” (10/13/90) – Beej’s new cologne changes Lydia’s personality and makes her wilder than he ever was. / Beej disguises himself as a student to run against Claire for class president.

“The Really Odd Couple / A-Ha!” (10/20/90) – Beej is forced to take The Monster in after destroying his house. / Beej becomes Sherlock Homely to find out what happened to Doomie.

“Uncle B.J.’s Roadhouse / Scarecrow / The Son Dad Never Had” (10/27/90) – Beej hosts a children’s show. / Beej takes a job as a scarecrow at a beetle farm. / Beej becomes Cousin BJ in order to scam Charles into spending time and money on him.

Season 3:
“Mom’s Best Friend” (9/7/91) – Beej gets stuck in a dog form and is adopted by Delia.

“Back to School Ghoul” (9/14/91) – Lydia must help Beej graduate kindergarten in order to get back his license to drive people crazy.

“Doomie’s Romance” (9/21/91) – Doomie falls for the Mayor’s non-sentient car.

“Ghost to Ghost” (9/28/91) – Delia holds a séance and summons Lydia’s favorite actor who wants to take over the Deetzes’ home.

“Spitting Image / Awards to the Wise” (10/5/91) – Beej ends up seeing double—of himself. / Beej decides he wants to join the crowd and win an award.

“The Prince of Rock and Roll” (10/12/91) – Prince Vince decides to become a rock and roll star, but all his music does is depress the entire Neitherworld.

“A Ghoul and His Money / Brides of Funkenstein” (10/19/91) – Beej wins a lot of money under the condition he can’t use his magic against anyone ever again. / Lydia’s band competes against Claire’s for the right to play at the upcoming dance.

“Beetledude / The Farmer in the Smell” (10/26/91) – The Deetzes’ new neighbor’s kid wants to be just like Beej. / Beej tags along when Lydia visits her relatives’ farm.

Season 4:
“You’re History” (9/9/91) – Beej brings famous historical figures onto Neitherworld TV.

“Raging Skull” (9/10/91) – The only thing standing between Jacques and the title of Mr. Neitherworld is Armhold Musclehugger.

“Sore Feet” (9/11/91) – Beej’s feet decide to ditch him and find greener pastures.

“Fast Food” (9/12/91) – Beej and Lydia compete with Scuzzo to see who makes the best burgers.

“Queasy Rider” (9/13/91) – Sick of Doomie’s niceness, Beej decides to make the baddest chopper around: Road Hawg.

“How Green is My Gallery” (9/16/91) – When Delia’s art flops in town, Lydia and Beej put it on display in the Neitherworld.

“Keeping Up with the Boneses” (9/17/91) – Beej runs up a ton of charges in order to keep up with and impress his new rich neighbors.

“Pranks for the Memories” (9/18/91) – Brain swapping runs rampant when Beej ends up with Scuzzo’s and Beej’s tries to conquer the Neitherworld.

“Caddy Shock” (9/19/91) – Beej transports Claire to the Neitherworld where she becomes a golf trophy he and Lydia must compete for.

“Two Heads Are Better Than None” (9/20/91) – Beej accidentally gets his head stuck on The Monster’s body.

“Beauty and the Beetle” (9/23/91) – Thing Thong steals beautiful things, including Lydia, and Beej tries to rescue her as Grimdiana Bones.

“Creepy Cookies” (9/24/91) – When Beej learns how much girl scout cookie sales can rake in, he creates his own troop and bakes haunted cookies to sell in Peaceful Pines.

“Poe Pourri” (9/25/91) – A visit from Edgar Allan Poe puts Beej in a series of nightmares based on his works.

“Ear’s Looking at You” (9/26/91) – Beej has to help two ears cut off from the family fortune.

“Beetlebones” (9/27/91) – Beej’s sophisticated skeleton runs off, leaving his friends and his skin to have to retrieve him before the Skeleton Crew does.

“Smell-a-Thon” (9/30/91) – Beej sets up his own fake telethon to raise money for himself until he begins to believe in the cause—just as the money ends up stolen.

“The Miss Beauty-Juice Pageant” (10/1/91) – Beej begins a campaign to be allowed into the first Neitherworld Beauty Pageant for a chance at the cash prize.

“Sappiest Place on Earth” (10/2/91) – Beej takes the Happy Face Girls to Neitherworld’s newest theme park.

“Brinkadoom” (10/3/91) – Beej, Lydia and Doomie end up in a village that disappears for an eternity when its residents fall asleep.

“Foreign Exchange” (10/4/91) – When Claire is mean to an exchange student, Lydia and Beej send her to become one herself in the Neitherworld.

“Family Scarelooms” (10/7/91) – Beej’s parents need their family’s coat of arms which is somewhere in Beej’s unkempt bedroom.

“Them Bones, Them Bones, Them Funny Bones” (10/8/91) – Beej lends Lydia his funny bone so she’ll kill it as the school’s talent show MC.

“Hotel Hello” (10/9/91) – Charles needs a vacation, so Beej takes him and Delia to Hotel Hello in the Neitherworld.

“Goody Two Shoes” (10/10/91) – When Beej refuses to participate in “Good Neighbor Day,” fairy Goody Two Shoes arrives and uses her magic to rectify the situation.

“Vidiots” (10/11/91) – Lydia and Beej are sucked into a video game.

“Ship of Ghouls” (10/14/91) – Beej “wins” two tickets for a cruise and takes Lydia along.

“Poultrygesit” (10/15/91) – A leftover chicken in Beej’s fridge turns into a poultrygeist and haunts the roadhouse.

“It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” (10/16/91) – When Beej wishes he never met any of his friends, Clarence Sale arrives to show him what the world would be like if he wasn’t around.

“Ghost Writer in the Sky” (10/17/91) – Beej becomes a renowned author when he pens his auto dieography, which is full of lies about his friends.

“Cabin Fever” (10/18/91) – Curing Lydia of her measles gets Beej cabin fever, leaving him quarantined to the roadhouse.

“Highs-Ghoul Confidential” (10/21/91) – Lydia prods Beej into telling her how he became prom king.

“Rotten Sports” (10/22/91) – Beej recruits Lydia to coach their team in the Neitherworld All Ghoul Games.

“Mr. Beetlejuice Goes to Town” (10/23/91) – Beej runs for Mayor to save his home, but when he becomes even more corrupt than the previous one his friends have to get him impeached.

“Time Flies” (10/24/91) – Giving Lydia a watch on their anniversary leads Beej to messing up the flow of time.

“To Beelte or Not to Beetle” (10/25/91) – Beej introduces Lydia to Shakespeare’s characters to help her write her paper, but they abduct her to force her to rewrite their roles.

“A Star is Bored” (10/28/91) – When Beej becomes disillusioned with movie stardom, Lydia must help him regain his commonality.

“Oh, Brother!” (10/29/91) – A visit from his brother Donnyjuice leaves Beej feeling depressed.

“Snugglejuice” (10/30/91) – A prank war leads to Beej being sent to NeitherNeitherLand for rehabilitation, resulting in him becoming the Cutest Being in the Neitherworld.

“In The Schticks” (10/31/91) – A scam leads Lydia sentenced to wash dishes at the Last Resort Resort along the awful joke-laden River Schticks.

“Recipe for Disaster” (11/1/91) – Lydia’s Caesar salad comes to life and attempts to conquer the Neitherworld.

“Substitute Creature” (11/4/91) – Beej makes Lydia’s wish for him to teach her class for a day come true—regrettably.

“Ghoul of My Dreams” (11/5/91) – Beej takes The Monsters’ crumbling marriage and uses it for a highly rated TV program.

“Prairie Strife” (11/6/91) – Inheriting Auntie Em’s milk farm pits Beej and Lydia up against outlaw Jesse Germs.

“Moby Richard” (11/7/91) – A production of Moby Dick turns real when the whale quits the show over creative differences and Beej seeks his revenge.

“The Unnatural” (11/8/91) – A baseball battle against Scuzzo’s team leaves Beej and Lydia to face them alone.

“Forget Me Nuts” (11/11/91) – When Beej loses his memory Lydia takes him to Dr. Zigmund Void, and together with a Beej clone journey inside the ghost’s head.

“The Birdbrain of Alcatraz” (11/12/91) – Lydia has to find the evidence that will free Beej after Scuzzo frames him and has him thrown into jail.

“Generally Hysterical Hospital” (11/13/91) – Beej takes Lydia to a Neitherworld hospital for her sprained ankle where a greedy resident kidnaps her to perform a pay-per-view total body transplant.

“Super Zeroes” (11/14/91) – Looking to cash in on a superhero trend, Beej becomes UltraBeetleMan.

“Beetle Geezer” (11/15/91) – Beej takes Lydia’s grandmother on a wild tour of the Neitherworld.

“A Very Grimm Fairy Tale” (11/18/91) – The Sappy Faced Ghouls threaten Beej into telling them an original fairy tale.

“Wizard of Ooze” (11/19/91) – Beej and Lydia spoof the Wizard of Oz.

“What Makes B.J. Run” (11/20/91) – When their show gets cancelled, Beej and Lydia are stuck in jobs they hate.

“The Chromozone” (11/21/91) – Beej is pulled into the Chromozone where he has to help Tod Sperling defeat his creation Ima Loony.

“It’s a Big, Big, Big, Big Ape” (11/22/91) – The citizens of Neitherworld rush to an island to claim a 90-foot tall singing, dancing ape.

“The Neitherworld’s Least Watned” (11/25/91) – Beej’s enemies band together with a plan to separate all of his body parts long enough for him to be destroyed permanently.

“Don’t Beetlejuice and Drive” (11/26/91) – Beej is sent to traffic school for giving out phony licenses.

“Robbin Juice of Sherweird Forest” (11/27/91) – Beej takes up robbing from the rich until Lydia is kidnapped.

“Midnight Scum” (11/28/91) – Donny ends up with a high price on his head that Beej intends to collect.

“Gold Rush Fever” (11/29/91) – Beej contracts Gold Fever and must find some gold to be cured of it.

“Relatively Pesty” (12/2/91) – Beej accidentally turns some ants into troublemaking Aunts.

“King B.J.” (12/3/91) – Beej pulls the Board from the Bone becoming the new king of the Neitherworld and Merlin’s target in his quest to overthrow the kingdom.

“Catmandu Got Your Tongue” (12/4/91) – Beej chases a cat burglar to Catmandu to retrieve his stolen tongue.

“Journey to the Centre of the Neitherworld” (12/5/91) – Beej regales Lydia with the story of how he and Jacque rescued Vern Jewels from Captain Nemo.

“Not So Peaceful Pines” (12/6/91) – Lydia has Dr. Void help reassemble Beej when his bad side separates and causes havoc around the town when the mayor jilts him of promised money.  

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