Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
While most people are
more likely familiar with R.L. Stein’s Goosebumpsseries of children’s
horror books, there was another series running at the same time. Created and
mostly written by Betsy
Chillerswas a horror anthology series published by HarperCollins. The
first book in the series, Beware
the Shopping Mall, was published in 1994 and ran for 27 entries, with
the last book published in 1998.
The cast: Fitz, Sarah, Brian and Sarah.
A year after Goosebumps
own television show, Bone Chillers followed suit. Developed by Adam Rifkin, the series decided
to abandon the anthology format in favor of a continuing cast. The series was
set at the fictional Edgar Allan Poe High School, named after the noted writer,
and focused on four freshmen: Brian (Esteban Powell), Lexi (Saadia Persad),
Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and Fitz (John Patrick White). There, they encountered
monsters brought to life by magic spells and lightning, creatures that invaded
their dreams, homicidal plant life, and even an evil principal (Arthur Burghardt). Aiding them
in dealing with the weirdness of school was the school janitor, Arnie (Charles
Fleischer), who lived in the basement (and considering the school was a
cobwebbed-covered mess, he probably should have focused more on his actual job).
The evil principal.
Bone Chillers debuted
on ABC on September 7, 1996. The series was
written by Rifkin with Michele
Rifkin, Carl V. Dupré, Alex Zamm and Matthew Bates. While a couple
of episodes were adapted directly from the books, the stories were largely
original to the series. A running gag on the episode title screens featured a
callback to old movies, which would proclaim the type of technology used to
film them. The parodies included “Sphinx-o-Round”, “Amphibi-o-Vision”, “Widescream” and “Scare-o-Morphic”,
amongst others. Haynes would appear at the end of episodes to talk to the
audience about using their imaginations and exploring any interest they may
have in being a writer. The series’ music was composed by Randall Crissman and Christopher Hoag.
Frankenturkey the book vs. the VHS.
Despite being one of
ABC’s top-rated Saturday morning programs, the show unfortunately had a case of
bad timing. Disney had purchased ABC in
1996 and proceeded to expel any show from the network that wasn’t produced or
owned by them outright. As a result, Bone Chillers was cancelled after a
single season of 13 episodes. Ironically, Disney’s home-distribution arm, Buena
Vista Home Entertainment, would release three VHS collections of the series
containing two episodes each: Art
Intimidates Life, Frankenturkeyand Back
to School. The VHS episodes
featured a slightly modified opening sequence, with the show’s title giving way
to also include the tape’s subtitle. The episode “Romeo and Ghouliette” was
also adapted as the
last book in the series, utilizing the show’s characters.
“Art Intimidates Life” (9/7/96) – Things that are drawn end up
“Teacher Creature” (9/14/96) – The school’s new teacher is turned into
a frog when he accidentally eats the toxic eggs found by Fritz and Brian in the
“Back to School” (9/21/96) – The school’s food is usually disgusting,
but Fitz realizes something is wrong when his classmates begin fighting for
“Frankenturkey” (9/28/96) – Fritz and Brian create a decoy for the
school turkey meant to feed the students, but it ends up struck by lightning
and comes to life.
“Mummy Dearest” (10/5/96) – A mummy interrupts the school play.
“Charlotte’s Revenge” (10/12/96) – The school finds itself under siege
by a giant spider.
“Romeo and Ghouliette” (10/19/96) – Lexi is determined there is
something wrong with new girl Julie, especially since she’s taken an interest
“Gorilla My Dreams” (10/26/96) – Everyone’s dreams end up invaded by a
“Mr. Fitz and Dr. Hyde” (11/2/96) – Fitz repeatedly transforms into an
“Root of All Evil” (11/9/96) – Plants come to life and attack the students
of the school.
“Edgar Allan Poe-Session” (11/16/96) – When the principal removes Poe’s
bust from the lobby, the writer’s ghost becomes angry.
“Scmendel’s Comet” (11/30/96) – Kirk and his friends find stealing an upcoming
test’s answers a challenge when a passing comet unleashes strange abilities
within the school.
“Full Moon Goon” (12/7/96) – Fitz and Briand discover that Sarah’s new
friend Lobo is a werewolf.