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Counterpunch

Creepy TV: A Few Little Scares Won't Hurt Kids

August 02, 1993|DANNY ELFMAN | Songwriter and record producer Danny Elfman also describes himself as a film "de-composer."

Andrew Diamond was correct when he referred to a Saturday morning television assault being launched on young children, but I'm afraid he had it backward (" 'Cryptkeeper': Bad Choice for a Sitter," Calendar Counterpunch, July 26).

The assault is not from the upcoming "Tales From the Crypt" series, but from the continuing parade of dull, lobotomized repetitions that make up the bulk of the Saturday morning lineup.

I would rather have my kids watching that so-called "rotting corpse" called the Cryptkeeper than a bland, terminally cute Smurf.

Mildly frightening stories have never hurt anyone. It appears that Diamond has forgotten how scary, and even gruesome, many of our classic fairy tales were. Many growing little imaginations were fed and nurtured from these. I wonder how a generation raised on today's "safe," approved pabulum will fare better.

When I was growing up way back in the late '50s and early '60s, before psychologists or "child experts" got hold of children's programming, they used to play movies on the weekends. The movies that we were most fond of were, you guessed it, "horror movies."

We poor unfortunates who, unlike today's kids, had no "experts" to protect us, were provided with an endless parade of ghouls, mutants, gruesome creations and, yes, "rotting corpses" of all shapes and varieties.

Were they scary? Of course! That was the fun of it. That was the joy. Even a little kid knows that a monster is just a monster, and being a little scared can be great.

Some kids didn't like it. Amazing, isn't it?

*

Growing up, I never knew a kid who suffered any kind of harm watching a few little scares. In fact, I believe that it provides some kind of relief or safety valve, perhaps even fueling a little imagination-- something that Saturday morning TV is agonizingly short on.

Not having seen any of the "Crypt" episodes yet, I can't make judgments on their quality or lack thereof, but I really can't see anyone suffering harm from them.

By the way, another "rotting corpse" named Beetlejuice has been a Saturday morning cartoon character for ages now. I sincerely doubt that any kid has suffered psychological harm from him either.

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