Saturday, June 30, 2012

New-vintage brilliance.

Good evening S&P-brains!

It's been a long stretch of days and nights since I last visited -- I hate when I can't get in here and recharge with some Hallowe'en libation -- but I finally have a moment to sit and relax...

... and tell you about some incredibly spookylicious art being whipped up by an incredibly spookylicious artist.

I know, right?

Oh my good S&Pers, you must go to Halloween Treasure Studio right now, and peruse the All Hallow's eye candy that is the work of artist Cali Lee.

What time is it? 
Time to set sail to retro-Hallowe'en goodness, of course.

Cali's usual medium is 'acrylic on found object' -- she finds old knick-knacks headed for the dump heap, and with her paintbox and the occasional application of papier mache and other materials, turns them into things of beauty any collector would love to own, and many do -- her pieces reside in many collections!

Given her modus operandi and singular vision, each is a one of a kind piece sure to bring smiles of delight to vintage Hallowe'en lovers for many, many years to come.

One I'd love to have here at the ol' S&P:

Talk about a Hallowe'en Radio! Just incredible!

Each of the pieces you see here came from the Gallery on her website, and all have long been sold to lucky Hallowe'en collectors all over Hallowe'endom.

But Cali keeps on keepin' on with the spooky wonderfulness that is Hallowe'en Treasures Studio, and is always on the lookout for new-old treats for all of us.

Pure magic.

I have added her amazing site to our 'Rest of the Neighborhood' over there to the right, because I plan on visiting all the time.

I urge all of you to do the same because HOLY PUMPKINS it is so very, very awesome.

Thank you for your amazing talent and love for Hallowe'en, Cali Lee! 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy THIRD-iversary, you ol' S&P!

That's right, loyal S&P-brains!

Time to get up and dance...

 We've got the band ready...

 Dr. Henry and Fritz are digging up the keg...

... all because the Skull & Pumpkin is celebrating its

It's a bit difficult to believe, but this little homely house of Hallowe'en horrors has had its doors open to you fine, fine Autumn People since June 21st, 2009.

I can't believe I have stuck with it -- I never follow through with anything!

Yet here we all are. Even the zombies are full of life today...

We will be open all day and night, enjoying the S&P goodness.

In honor of a new year of publy pride, I have changed up a few images and links along the sides of the main page. Click them, see where you end up.

I have also added a few special tracks to the S&P Jukebox -- first, Side One of a great Disney/Decca LP from 1949 -- Bing Crosby once again narrating Washington Irving's classic ghost story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

It's a unique version -- not just a recording of the audio bed from the animated film, so it's worth a listen even for those of you who are very familiar with the film.

Then I added a medley of haunting organ music from the greatest dark ride of all time, The Haunted Mansion!

Dancing, carousing, spinning tales, talking Hallowe'en and all things spooky -- these are the heart and soul of the Skull & Pumpkin.

I thank each of you -- now over one hundred thousand unique visits! -- who have helped create this old pub, and helped to keep it alive!

So party on, my little monsters...

And as always, raise them high now, and join me in our traditional toast --


Happy Anniversary, you ol' S&P.

And happy birthday Betsy!

Another year of Hallowe'en love to come...

Friday, June 8, 2012


Hello again, dear S&P-brains.

I hope you're all getting ready for your weekend. I hope whatever you want and need out of this weekend, you get it in the right time and to the right degree.

I also hope you have taken a moment to read a little something by the late Ray Bradbury. Or perhaps you've found one of the numerous TV shows or movies based on his works on DVD, or VHS, or online somewhere.

But whether you have or haven't, I'd like to offer the chance to tribute the dear departed genius and give you the opportunity to hear some of his magic.

Let's go back in time...

Ray in the Time Machine, 1960.
©2001 Ray Bradbury

As a tribute to Ray, our old Hallowe'enith console radio has somehow reprogrammed itself with Bradbury-inspired programs which have all played here at various times.

First up, you can listen to Dark They Were, And Golden-Eyed, a fine production from Mike McDonough's wonderful 1984 radio revival series Bradbury Thirteen. Harry Bittering and his family, having moved to Mars, are stranded there when war devastates the Earth. He fears Mars and its influence on his family and friends, even though he knows there are no Martians anymore... right?

And yes, Haunted Mansion/Disney/Rankin-Bass/Jay Ward fans, that's the master Paul Frees giving us the poetic prologue, as he did for each episode in the series.

Next comes a harrowing little bit of old time radio horror from the October 4, 1953 broadcast of the popular radio series Escape! Are the neighborhood kids just playing a new (if odd) pretending game? Or do moms and dads have something to fear come Zero Hour?

Then, another tale born from Bradbury's lifelong fascination with Mars. The long-running and popular science fiction/fantasy series X Minus One first gave us Mars Is Heaven on May 8, 1955, though Bradbury had first published the tale in 1948. For brave astronauts, landing on Mars leads to the discovery of a nostalgic, home-spun kind of paradise which may be exactly what it seems... Heaven.

And finally, a two-part beauty not originally from radio but from vinyl. 1975's Usher II, voiced by the amazing Leonard Nimoy, tells of a future time when fantasy is not only out-of-vogue but illegal, and the brilliant man who exacts a bit of revenge on those who would take his fantasy life away -- using the horrors of Edgar Allan Poe as his inspiration!

I hope you will all enjoy these tales winding in the dusty corners and hallways of this old place for a while.

I also hope you will enjoy your weekend.

And thanks again, Mr. Bradbury.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Farewell, Ray.

Oh, fellow S&Pers.

Today is a joyously sad, weepingly happy day.

Today, we say our final goodbye to one of the world's most inventive, emotive and evocative wordsmiths.

Today, we say our final goodbye to not only one of Hallowe'en's most ardent champions, but, for fantasy readers of a certain few generations, one of the purest and most inspiring creators of Hallowe'en itself.

Raise your glasses high...

Ray Bradbury
(1920 -- 2012)

He was very fond of telling the story of his meeting an old sideshow magician called Mr. Electrico who, after one especially sparkly performance, tapped his sword on the shoulder of a very young Ray, and commanded the boy to "Live forever!"

He couldn't, of course. Not physically.

But you can be damned sure he will live forever in his marvelous works.

In case -- and I mean 'in case' like 'there can't possibly be a chance' -- there are some of you who haven't read him, or really know what he created over more than seventy years, I can only refer you to his own website.

And maybe this list:



Short stories

An uncomplete listing, since the man wrote over 400 short stories...


Kid's Books
This list does not include untold numbers of television and radio adaptations of his works; nor does it include the numerous audio books narrated by famous actors and by Bradbury himself, or anthologies of others' work Bradbury compiled and edited over the years.

This was a great, great man.

He had his faults and foibles and indiscretions and vices, like we all do. But he wrote his way through, around and out of them all during his long, magical life.

And in his final decades, he was an inspiring and outspoken advocate for taking hold of your life and making it yours, of choosing your future -- of choosing to be happy, damnit!

And oh! fellow Autumn People, the Hallowe'ens, and dusty whispers of Hallowe'ens, he constantly gave us!

Dear Ray.

Beloved Ray.

I want to think he's finally at rest, though something tells me he's bounding and exploring and not sitting still now, as he wanders through the very October Country he loved while alive.

For you now, Ray, Hallowe'en is -- at long last -- forever.

Thank you for everything.

Every single thing.

Every shadow, every grin, every mystery and marvel.

Some of my personal Bradbury treasures...

And my most treasured page...

Signed. Sigh.

From the deepest part of that which makes me who I am, I thank you, Ray Bradbury, for your gifts of fantasy, metaphor and ultimately, pure love.

So, our traditional toast... come on now, everyone, raise 'em high --


And rest well, old friend, knowing that you will indeed live forever.

EDIT: Can't imagine that anyone could possibly guess what this year's Hallowe'en theme is going to be...