Flashback Friday: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

It is that time of the year again, denizens. The most wonderful time of the year. All Hallow’s Eve will soon be upon us. I’ve said it before and I shall say it many, many more times: I love Halloween. I love ghost stories, vampires, the paranormal, werewolves, mummies, monsters…I love being scared.

I suppose you could say that it’s been a life-long obsession. One of my earliest memories? Being introduced to the magical storytelling skills of one Mr. Washington Irving, through his classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (which, by the by, is available from the Amazon Kindle free library…bet you can guess what I just downloaded, right?).

My first encounter with this tale and that peculiar Master Ichabod Crane came to me in the best possible way: the animated way. I was around 7 years old and my parents rented a Disney double feature for me (on Betamax, yo), which included The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Strangely, I don’t remember The Wind in the Willows at all. But, oh, I do remember Ichabod’s encounter with the Headless Horseman. Animated in 1949 and narrated by Bing Crosby, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is classic animation done right…gorgeous and atmospheric and able to get under your skin in the best possible ways. Of course, being voiced by Ba-Ba-Ba-Bing, it’s gotta have a song or two as well…a couple of those inescapably catchy Disney tunes that inevitably become more insidious than the tale accompanying it.

To this day, this is one of my all-time favorite Disney animations. It was also undeniably the inspiration for several aspects of one of my favorite full-length Disney animated movies, Beauty and the Beast. Gaston himself might very well have stumbled right out of Sleepy Hollow and into that charming French village that was home to Belle and her father.

I hadn’t thought about this cartoon in years, and it’s been even longer since I’d seen it. Imagine my surprise, then, to find it in its entirety on YouTube. I imagine it won’t be there for very long. Disney has eyes in the back of its mouse ears, if you know what I mean. While it’s here, though, I encourage you to tuck in for a viewing or two. Just make sure it’s late and the lights are down low…oh, and don’t forget: You can’t reason with a headless man…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhV4HDGJg5Y&w=480&h=360]