The atmosphere of a 1950s Halloween...Just wonderful!
'Haunted' is my favorite half-hour of television ever! In the days before DVRs and VCRs, I used to wait anxiously for 'Haunted' to be played in rerun every Halloween. In the first 2 seasons especially, Happy Days had a wonderful atmosphere that captured the way I imagined the 1950s were. 'Haunted' has that atmosphere, plus it manages to add in the actual feeling of Halloween, which is my favorite time of year.
The plot in general: Ralph Malph wants to hold is annual Halloween party at a location where it won't be found - and crashed - by the gang The Demons. So he finds what he says is the ideal place: the Simpson House, which is said to be haunted by the headless ghost of old Magnolia Simpson. He asks Richie to check out the place on his way home. When Richie is hesitant, we see that he believes in - and is scared by - the Simpson legend, yet he agrees to stop by (with Joanie in tow) in order to save face. He stops by the house, but is not comforted by what he finds - in fact he flees the house in terror! What is it that he sees in the closet? With everyone telling him that the story of the ghost of Magnolia Simpson is just a legend, Richie attends the party...but he's still not convinced the legend isn't true. He ruins a couple of gags Potsie and Ralph set up at the party in order to scare the girls, angering them in the process, and they have their revenge, scaring Richie in front of the whole party and embarrassing him in the bargain. But when a headless form begins making its way down the stairs, it becomes obvious it's not Ralph or Potsie's doing... Who will face the figure, and their fears in the process?
Honestly, it's a cool episode all the way around, but the plot is secondary for me. The normal '50s feel of Happy Days is amped up with the wonderful atmosphere of Halloween - costumes, trick-or-treating, pranks. To the wonderful early Arnold's, with its dark green walls and pennants, is added a Halloween party at a "real" haunted house, complete with bobbing for apples, fake spiders and decorations. It's low-lit for effect, and check out the cold cuts table! And the final shot at the party, with a jack-o-lantern superimposed over the costumed dancers, is a really nice touch.
All in all, there are more than a few Happy Days episodes that give me a warm feeling all over, but none of them top 'Haunted'! Check it out if you haven't already...especially if you love Halloween.
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