Sunday, September 20, 2009

scarecrows are creepy

Easily, one of the most treasured memories of my childhood was of the Disney flick The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh -- aka Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow.

was one of those TV memories I held onto tightly-- vivid images of the Scarecrow, his face covered by a very creepy sack-mask, riding atop his horse, chasing through eerie moonlit English countrysides. I'd only watched the program once, but man did it stick with me for a long long time.

In the early 60s, NBCs Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (aka The Wonderful World of Disney) ran The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh for the first time as a 3-part miniseries. Then, over the next several years, released the program again as a theatrical release (as Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow) and as another freshly edited 2-part TV miniseries.

It wasn't until the later 90s that I was able to catch another glimpse of the sinister sack-faced man of my nightmares, when after loads of tooling around on the Internet, I found some other Scarecrow lovers who had copies of the Dr. Syn Disney movie. It wasn't the miniseries, but heck, it was something! And I absolutely appreciated seeing Patrick McGoohan dawn his scarecrow mask, once again.

Then, by all coincidences, I discovered, via a website dedicated to all things Dr. Syn, that the Disney Channel was going to re-air the miniseries in its original 3-part glory!! I was never a fan of Disney (I actually despised them when I was a little tyke), but man, was I pleased with them that day. I ran out and got the digital cable, so we could get the Disney Channel, and hooboy, I was in heaven. Color me Disney!

The nightmarish landscapes and bleak lighting really attracted me. It was programming such as this (along with Dark Shadows, Land of the Giants, The Avengers, etc...) that began to shape my tastes for the macabre and off-beat. I was already a fan of the bizarre and the macabre, having been a fan of Vincent Price and Hammer Horror, and even though there was no supernatural goings-on in Scarecrow, I still enjoyed the hell outa the program for its Halloween-like atmosphere. And those masks! Man o man!! Dr. Syn's scarecrow sack was brilliant, with the Frankenstein stitching and oddly shaped eye sockets, but the mask that really sent the chills up and down my squirmy spine was the owl mask, worn by one of Syn's cohorts. Jeezymaude that thing was creepy. I wanted so bad to have one for Halloween, with all the feathers and the little pointed beak. Something about it really blew me away.

It wasn't until I started looking for copies of the TV program on the Internet that I discovered Dr. Syn, the Scarecrow, was based on a series of books by author Russell Thorndike. And you know what else I found out? That I didn't give a hoot about that!! I wasn't big into swashbuckling stuff (give me a scary pirate like Blackbeard over a Scarlet Pimpernel anyday), so Dr. Cleggs legendary swordplay wasn't lighting me up like the monstrous masks worn by McGoohan and gang.

For a real treat, check out this comicbook over at Beware, There's A Crosseyed Cyclops In My Basement!!!

This little gem below is from the fine folks over at The Give-A-Show Blog. Go give 'em some love!!

Have a groovy day, cats!!
Mr. Miller

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