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Film / The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980)

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a Made-for-TV Movie based on the story of the same name by Washington Irving. Jeff Goldblum plays Ichabod Crane while Meg Foster plays Katrina Van Tassel. The film was originally aired by NBC on Halloween, 1980 as part of the Classics Illustrated series.


This film has the examples of:

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  • Adaptation Expansion: There's a lot more going on than in the original story.
  • Agent Scully: As in the later Tim Burton version, Ichabod starts off as a sensible rationalist rather than being the superstitious dope that he was throughout the original story.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Thelma Dumkey is added as an alternative love interest for Ichabod and/or Brom. Thelma's father, Fritz Vanderhoof, is obviously also a new character.
    • Winthrop Palmer, the deceased previous schoolmaster, who comes back as a ghost. Or does he?
  • Composite Character: In the original story, Brom Bones had a gang of unnamed accomplices. Here, they're pared down to just one sidekick, Frederic Dutcher.
  • Gaslighting: Brom Bones and Frederic Dutcher mess with Ichabod by trashing the schoolhouse and then putting it all back the way it was.
  • Headless Horseman: It is a Sleepy Hollow adaptation, after all.
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  • High Turnover Rate: Sleepy Hollow tends to go through schoolmasters very quickly, reportedly due to Brom Bones, ghosts, or possibly both.
  • I Want Grandkids: Squire Van Tassel is frustrated that he doesn't have grandchildren yet, as Brom Bones has been courting Katrina for three years without marrying her.
  • Indian Burial Ground: It's mentioned that Ichabod's schoolhouse is built on one.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure: When Ichabod says "parting is such sweet sorrow" to Thelma, she and her father compliment him on coming up with such a great line.
  • Real After All: It turns out the Headless Horseman was just Brom Bones pulling a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax... but then, the real Headless Horseman shows up.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fritz Vanderhoof ships Ichabod/Thelma, a pairing that neither Ichabod nor Thelma are particularly excited about.
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  • Take Off Your Clothes: This occurs when Thelma tells Ichabod to take off his clothes. He's taken aback, but she just wants to mend them.
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