- ''Dead, from Television Centre in Transylvania, It's BOO!"
Boo! is a hour-long Halloween Special created by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1980. It starred Peter Cullen note Jack Duffy, Ben Gordon, Barbara Mahernote , Ted Zigler, and boasted the "special guest stars" Dionne Warwick and Rip Taylor.
It's a last gasp of the comedy-musical "extravaganza" specials inflicted upon television audiences across North America in the '70s and very early '80s. It's a sketch-comedy special much in the vein of The Star Wars Holiday Special, which should give you some idea of the caliber of the whole affair. Essentially, The Wolfman (Cullen), Dracula (Gordon), The Contessa (Maher), Doctor Frankenstein (Duffy) and his monster (Zigler) are thrown into a number of unrelated comedy (for the loosest definition of comedy available) sketches replete with puns and gags that were old when the hills were new. In the only portion of the special that has anything even resembling a plot, Dionne Warwick's car breaks down outside Dracula's Castle, and there's a story thread running across a couple of sketches where The Monster has a crush on her.
Meanwhile, Rip Taylor is just there for no discernable reason in quite a few of the sketches to add schtick. Even poor old Art Carney at least had some reason to be part of the proceedings.
As far as factual information on the show goes, that's all there really seems to be. IMDB doesn't list it, it's not on IMDB's credits pages for any of the stars, and there's very little info on the web about it. The only concrete evidence that it actually existed at all comes from the Museum of Classic Chicago Television posting a videotape copy of a Halloween, 1982 rebroadcast on WGN to YouTube (watch it here. Also look for a pre-Back to the Future Lea Thompson appearing in a commercial for the broadcast's sponsor.).
Boo! has examples of:
- The '70s: This "special" was filmed in 1980, so it still counts, if just barely note . Disco is still the order of the day.
- Bar Full of Aliens: The "Spook-Easy", which is essentially the skeevy, low-budget cousin of the Star Wars cantina in a Dracula-themed special because... bandwagon?.
- The Baroness: The Contessa fits the bill nicely as one, just without the villainy.
- Camp: For heaven's sake, the camp in this one. The special is nothing BUT camp, and none of it good. Especially Rip Taylor's scenes.
- Disco: The opening musical number and the first "Spook-Easy" segment both feature disco numbers.
- Epic Fail: The psychaitrist's attempts to stop The Wolfman from going berserk at the mention of the word "moon." It works, but now The Wolfman goes berserk at the word "flower".
- Even Evil Has Standards: For varying values of "evil", but Dr. Frankenstein did NOT create Howard Cosell. And wishes people would stop blaming him for it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Arguably, the "Ara-fat" joke. Also the "Oh no, is SHE in town?" gag preceding it.
- Harmless Villain: It's debatable whether any of the monsters are supposed to be villains, but they seem so nice and harmless that if that were their intent, this is where they'd squarely fall.
- Hurricane of Puns: And incredibly lame ones, at that, especially in the second "Spook-Easy" segment. Let's see, it starts with "Holey Mackerel" — Rip Taylor holds up a rubber fish with holes cut in it; "Anyone for Doubles?" — two tennis rackets duct-taped together; "Backgammon — Frontgammon!" — a Backgammon board with the playing field printed on both sides; "Palm Springs!" — Guess. Just guess. No, we'll wait... note
- Large Ham: Let's just say that there is no way the show could have been made under strict Rabbinical supervision with all the ham on offer. The only star who isn't chewing the scenery like it was about to disappear is Dionne Warwick.
- Lighter and Softer: Take horror icons like Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein and his Monster, make them the largest of large hams and essentially drop them into a pale imitation of The Carol Burnett Show. There's no way that Lighter and Softer wouldn't result.
- Notable Original Music: Dionne Warwick gets two songs, though one of them is a cover of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are".
- Recycled INSPACE: Inverted. The two "Spook-Easy" segments are Star Wars with a slight Universal Monsters overlay.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Given that the "Spook-Easy" is a ripoff of the Mos Eisley Cantina, it's to be expected. But even then, it goes overboard with two robotic creatures whose heads are blatantly Darth Vader masks.
- Running Gag: Peter Cullen's wolfman goes nuts whenever he hears the word "moon".
- Saloon Owner: A guy who is doing, for reasons of who gives a crap, a bad Peter Falk impersonation, is the bartender of the "Spook-Easy." He's only in a short gag(?) where he gives an alien a telephone to eat, but still ends up making the animated title screen and commercial bumpers.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: This (or Money, Dear Boy) can only be the reasoning behind Dionne Warwick's appearance. And maybe Rip Taylor's, though he had guest-starred on a couple of episodes of The Monkees in the late '60s.
- Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: Drac and the Contessa are the absolute highest they can be on the scale and still be vampires.
- Space Clothes: Oh, dear heavens, what they put Rip Taylor in (or worse, he voluntarily CHOSE) in the second "Spook-Easy" segment. It looks like Buck Rogers as interpreted by Liberace. Imagine this, if you can. It starts out with a tinsel cape (as in a cape made of Christmas tree tinsel), but it is covering up a black marching band suit, where all the piping, epaulettes and aguilettes are made completely of rhinestones. It is as eye-gougingly bad as it sounds.
- Stalker with a Crush: Frankenstein's Monster crushes pretty hard on Dionne Warwick, but is too shy to say anything, coming off like this until a musical sequence.
- There Was a Door: Happens so frequently in Castle Dracula (thanks to Frankie crashing through walls) that Doctor Frankenstein has retained a carpenter to install doors wherever Frankie walks through.
- Vampire Vords: Ben Gordon's Dracula performance has a heavy Bela Lugosi tinge to it, at least in the accent.
- Vampires Hate Garlic: Discussed in a skit with Drac and the Contessa. She's made dinner for Drac, and made sure to avoid garlic. Instead, she uses lots of onions, which leads to a different problem...
- Vampires Sleep in Coffins: and also let themselves and their coffins be crane-lifted into and out of television specials.
- Villainous Cheekbones: Barbara Maher has some pretty high cheekbones that she shows off as The Contessa, and Ben Gordon's makeup as Dracula includes fake ones.
- Wooden Stake: A couple of villagers use this to try and put an end to Dracula, but instead just inconvenience him. In one of the few bits to have actual continuity, he's later seen calling Dr. Frankenstein to get it removed, but the doctor tells him "he doesn't make coffin calls".