MTV Headbanger’s Ball Halloween Special from 1989

In case you’re staying in on this Halloween night like I am, you may want something to keep you entertained between visits from modern kids looking for free candy. And since you’re here at Retro Ramblings, then you must enjoy the finer things in life like stuff from the ’80s and ’90s. Well, I’ve got you covered on both fronts with this Watch & Listen feature.

It’s the 1989 MTV Headbanger’s Halloween special with Alice Cooper hosting! Not only is he presenting some of the spookier music videos and hosting segments in between, but this video also has all of the glorious 1989 commercials still intact as well. So feel free to make this your Halloween night entertainment, and take a little trip back in time while you do it. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

Tom & Jerry’s TBS Funhouse Halloween Special

Looking back through all of my years on this earth, my absolute favorite bit of Halloween viewing was Tom & Jerry’s TBS Funhouse Halloween Special. It debuted in 1987 (before I had access to cable) and was repeated every Halloween season for a few years after.

Back in the late ’80s, Ted Turner and TBS launched Tom & Jerry’s TBS Funhouse.  It was an hour-and-a-half cartoon block every morning and afternoon where they combined Tom & Jerry shorts with Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, shorts from the Droopy library, and Popeye cartoons.  It was a really fun block with great variety.  During the holiday seasons, they kicked it up a notch and put together specials for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

These specials would usually air several times in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and they selected appropriate shorts to fit the theme.  Mixed in with the cartoon shorts were live-action bumpers filmed with Josh Jarboe and Audra Lee of the TBS show, Kid’s Beat.  They would dress up and tell jokes or give history about the holiday featured in the special.

In 1987, we got the first Halloween Special.  I didn’t have cable at the time, but my grandparents did, and rarely did they ever change the dial from TBS.  So when I was there visiting, I was treated to NWA Wrestling, episodes of Andy Griffith, and Tom and Jerry’s Funhouse.  I was lucky enough to be there one time and catch a commercial for the coming Halloween Special.  I got pretty excited about it, and my Mom actually took me back to their house when the special was on so I could watch it.

I remember being ecstatic about it, and really enjoying it, as it was a special filled with just Halloween shorts.  A year later when we had cable at our house, I was super excited when I saw a commercial on TBS advertising the special once again for the 1988 Halloween season!  I couldn’t believe it.  I was going to get to watch it again.  Not only did I watch it again that year, but I watched it every year it was on going forward.

I wish kids today had the opportunity to experience the anticipation of events like this.  Something that you just can’t get instantly, and that you have to wait for.  Things that are special for, and unique to the season.  There is just a certain feeling that can only be achieved by waiting for it, and old specials like this are one of those things.

Unfortunately for most people, 1992 was the last year they were able to view the special.  But all of you reading this aren’t “most” people. You’re part of the select few who can still view the original special in all its glory, as it’s been uploaded in its entirety to Archive.org! So I’m going to quit rambling on about it and post the video for you to watch if you like. I highly suggest you do so during this Halloween season.

Rollergames in HD

I’ve talked about my fandom of Rollergames in the past. I talked about it when I covered the Rollergames Nintendo game comic book ad, and again not that long ago when I posted the Rollergames Yearbooks as a Time Capsule. But for those of you who don’t know, Rollergames was a syndicated “sports” show that debuted in September of 1989. It was a version of roller derby played on a figure-8 track. In addition to the game itself, episodes also featured “live” rock music performances. This version of roller derby also featured a pit that housed alligators that would be used during “sudden death” overtime periods in tied games. This version of roller derby was obviously heavily influenced by the theatrics of the World Wrestling Federation.

Recently, the original episodes of Rollergames have been remasted in HD and released on YouTube. If you never saw the show in its heyday, check out the good-looking video of the very first episode, and see why I was such a big fan of it. Maybe you’ll become a fan too.

The 1993 MTV Rock & Jock BBall Jam

MTV’s Rock & Jock series of sporting events are a big part of my ’90s nostalgia. The softball games, basketball games, and later on the football games, were some of the highlights of MTV’s offerings for me. The basketball games were always my favorite, and the game usually aired on NBA All-Star weekend.

The teams were always made up of a combination of NBA players, actors, musicians, MTV regulars, and other pop culture personalities. This eccentric mix of talent always made for a memorable game, and in this post, we’re looking back at one of the more entertaining games from the series in 1993.

He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special

The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special debuted on television in 1985, and I was there for that original broadcast. While the franchise was on the verge of starting to lose steam as a property, it certainly wasn’t losing steam with me. I was still watching both half-hour cartoons every afternoon after school, and still playing with the toys on a daily basis at this point. So when this special dropped, I was excited for weeks on end leading up to it. For years and years, there really wasn’t any way to see this special again, but thanks to the power of the internet and online videos, we can watch it any time we’d like.

With that said, find some time to relax and give this old special a watch again. I’m sure it will bring all kinds of memories flooding back for you.

Halloween Safety Video from 1985

Before you take the kids out for trick-or-treating or let them go out on their own tonight, be sure to watch this Halloween Safety video from 1985. Sure, the safety information is still relevant, but the real draw to watching it is getting a glimpse of life from 1985! Stuff like this is like catnip for nostalgia nerds like me.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

You’ve probably heard me talk about this Halloween special from 1976, but it’s worth repeating if you’ve still not watched it. The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is such a zany feature, and it’s full of surprise guests, and has such a great Halloween vibe, that I still watch it every year. And if that isn’t enough to get you to give it a try, it features the first TV performance by KISS, which was a huge deal back then, and is so cool to see now. So carve out a little time and watch this classic special. It just may be the best decision you make this Halloween season.

And after you’ve watched it, go listen to the old TRN Podcast episode Jason and I did where we review the whole affair. It’s a fun listen as well.

Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain

Recently in the Watch & Listen category, I shared the episode of the TRN Drive-In Podcast focusing on the movie Ernest Goes to Camp. While listening to the episode myself, I heard either Adam or Wyatt mention a TV special called Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain.

Somehow, this Ernest offering had eluded me throughout my life, as I had never even heard of it before listening to the podcast. So I had to do a little research on this lost gem and see what it was all about. As it turns out, Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain was a special created by, and aired on The Disney Channel on July 7, 1989, as a way to promote their newest Disneyland attraction. It would later air in syndication beginning in August.

In the special, Ernest trains as America’s first “Splashtranaut” destined to become the very first person to conquer the mountain. Ralph Story, a veteran news anchor, and his team are determined to cover the momentous event from every angle possible.

I looked it up on YouTube, and it exists in its entirety, so I am presenting it here to you in case you’re like me and have never seen it before. Enjoy.