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October 30, 2007


D. McEwan

Halloween has always been my Christmas. (I don't believe in Jesus, but I've seen evil.) My dad knew that it was worth his life to touch any of my candy stash. It's no coincidence that my new book is a Halloween book.My best Halloween ever was 1974. I was writing for the FRIGHT NIGHT WITH SEYMOUR TV show at the time, and I was given the assignment to write his Halloween Show for the John Wayne Theater at Knott's Berry Farm in what was only their second Halloween Haunt. Co-produced by Knott's and Seymour Productions, our producer was busy, and I got to co-produce on behalf of our company.In those days, the Haunt was one weekend, not 4 or 5 months like now. We sold out every night, and never had an empty seat at our show. As it happened, Larry "Seymour" Vincent (To whom my new book is dedicated) was dying of cancer at the time. I picked him up at the hospital and drove him to Knotts myself. The shows and the audiences (he was LOVED by his public) filled him with energy, with life, and with joy, and he had a great time.We would ride out into the park on a golf cart between shows, and Larry would elaborately "Sneak" onto rides, usually by yelling "Look over there!" and then running up to the front of the line (With me in tow) and jumping on the ride, and hollering "So long suckers!" at the laughing crowd as we sailed off into the ride. The last night, Larry paid out of his own pocket for pizzas for everyone who worked on the show. And when I got my check, it was for twice what I was to be paid. Larry had insisted I be paid that bonus for "Doing a great job."They were the last shows he ever did. He died 4 months later. Halloween has never been the same, but I still love it.On another topic, I tuned in at 6 PM this evening to watch what I expected to be a Halloween Simpsons repeat, but it turned out to be an episode called "Dancin' Homer". I recognized the writers's names, and watched. Some funny lines:Marge: "Homer on a t-shirt. Never thought I'd see the day."Homer: "Bite my tongue. Bite my tongue. OW!"I would ask you what it was like writing for Tony Bennett, but I noticed that the song was farmed out to a song writer. (The cheek.) So did you tell Tony "It was an honor writing everything EXCEPT your song, Mr. Bennett."?Trick or treat.


I was born on Halloween, which I suppose explains my love of old horror movies (even though they rarely scare me) and just about any dish made from a pumpkin. When you're a kid, a Halloween birthday party is almost too much of a good thing -- everyone dresses up, goes trick or treating, loads up on candy, then gorges on cake and ice cream, too. Gifts are almost redundant. Nowadays, our office Halloween party is usually a good time, with food, drink and a costume contest. This year, I'm going to try to pull off an old-school "Nutty Professor" transformation from Julius Kelp to Buddy Love, with the assistance of some colored water and an Alka-Seltzer. Should be fun.

Tom Quigley

"I’d be holding the candy bowl for them in one hand and my Emmy in the other..."I sure hope that wasn't a euphemism..


I remember the haloween with the pouring rain. I begged and pleaded until my parents gave in and let me go.


Hey, let's not forget that Halloween is really a religious holiday - All Hallows' Eve - in preparation for today - All Saints' Day.

Tom Quigley

Here's a good one (unfortunately, I heard it on the late local news and couldn't post it yesterday): Here in Rochester, police rounded up all the local registered sex offenders they could find and placed them in a lockdown facility last night during the peak Trick or Treat hours, in order to try and minimize any potential for trouble.... Naturally, I'm assuming that if the place had a computer with Internet acess, there was a long line waiting to use it...

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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