Man Kadokawa doesn't catch a break in the two timelines I've seen them pop up, you think people just like putting them in bad situations.
Well drugs, even marijuana can wreck an actor’s/actress’s career in Japan. In our world there is still that stigma. In future guest posts I may write things being changed but there will be more pressing problems first, stalking, organized crime ties to talent agencies, and other industry problems.

Sorry on the bad luck for Kadokawa but I could not see how to change it. Adachi though she’ll be fine, for now. :evilsmile:
 
Aum Shinrikyo is one of those things I know of but not something I know about. This little recap here is a good way to get the fundamentals across, particularly given that the decade is still a young one and there may be worse to come. Whether or not this will be worse than our timeline is...worryingly uncertain, that much is clear.
 
Well drugs, even marijuana can wreck an actor’s/actress’s career in Japan. In our world there is still that stigma. In future guest posts I may write things being changed but there will be more pressing problems first, stalking, organized crime ties to talent agencies, and other industry problems.

Sorry on the bad luck for Kadokawa but I could not see how to change it. Adachi though she’ll be fine, for now. :evilsmile:
I know that, I'm Half Japanese and know exactly the stigma with drugs, I just want to mention how unlucky Kadokawa is in the timelines I've seen them mentioned.
 
I know that, I'm Half Japanese and know exactly the stigma with drugs, I just want to mention how unlucky Kadokawa is in the timelines I've seen them mentioned.
I did not know that but, I like Kadokawa but bad luck happens. It can be saved by animation and other films and could merge with Daiei like our world or Daiei can merge with another company that has a famous radioactive dinosaur.
 
This honestly is making Aum look like they are getting more dangerous than OTL.

And that's not something I say lightly. If their Sarin is even 1% more pure than the OTL stuff, I shudder to think where this could end.
 
Thanks again @ajm8888, who has more Aum-y Goodness coming up. Definitely heating up in the Land of the Rising Sun.

This honestly is making Aum look like they are getting more dangerous than OTL.

And that's not something I say lightly. If their Sarin is even 1% more pure than the OTL stuff, I shudder to think where this could end.
Looking like it for sure.

Time for Yuri's movie to win an Oscar?
Not the last we'll hear from Yuri, or so ajm tells me. And not just in Japan, I can tell you. Remember that fraying USR, whose post-Soviet economy is struggling like in OTL? Desperate not to alienate its member states, particularly The Ukraine? Well, making weapons as a Jobs Program is one way to help there, but there can be consequences.

Oh, and that opening was absolutely the best part in that otherwise Meh OTL movie. Frankly one of the best openings ever even if the CG doesn't quite hold up in parts. Visual storytelling at its best.
 
Speaking of crime, here's one event that likely happened differently in TTL (if it wasn't butterflied away): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park_jogger_case

My justification is this: by 1989, the butterflies have flapped so much that Trisha Melli likely avoids her OTL fate (maybe she decides to go jogging elsewhere, or is too tired to go jogging after coming home from work)--which also means that the Central Park 5 will have different fates (they did do other assaults that night that were not as severe as the attack on Melli, IIRC, but that doesn't excuse their wrongful convictions in OTL) and, TTL, remain obscure figures (and are likely all the happier for it, IMO) (1)...

Law and Order: SVU, in OTL and TTL, was inspired by the Jennifer Levin-Robert Chambers case in 1986 (which still largely remains the same in TTL, IMO)...

(1) Oh, and a certain famous New York real estate mogul named DT will not become infamous for calling for the execution of the Central Park 5, as a result of the absence of the case in TTL. However, he is still a POS, both in OTL and TTL.

Just my .02.
 
Speaking of crime, here's one event that likely happened differently in TTL (if it wasn't butterflied away): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park_jogger_case

My justification is this: by 1989, the butterflies have flapped so much that Trisha Melli likely avoids her OTL fate (maybe she decides to go jogging elsewhere, or is too tired to go jogging after coming home from work)--which also means that the Central Park 5 will have different fates (they did do other assaults that night that were not as severe as the attack on Melli, IIRC, but that doesn't excuse their wrongful convictions in OTL) and, TTL, remain obscure figures (and are likely all the happier for it, IMO) (1)...

Law and Order: SVU, in OTL and TTL, was inspired by the Jennifer Levin-Robert Chambers case in 1986 (which still largely remains the same in TTL, IMO)...

(1) Oh, and a certain famous New York real estate mogul named DT will not become infamous for calling for the execution of the Central Park 5, as a result of the absence of the case in TTL. However, he is still a POS, both in OTL and TTL.

Just my .02.
That certain POS mogul was a POS thanks to his father and his friendship/mentorship with Joe McCarthy's Attorney and this attorney was also a Mob attorney.

Though does the 1988 Thompkins Square Park Police Riot occur?

 
Something like the Tompkins Square Park riot likely happened in TTL--maybe not the exact way of OTL, but something like it is bound to happen in TTL, especially since New York City was not a good place to live in the late 1980s and early 1990s (with apologies to anyone on this board from NYC) (1)...

(1) The decline started in the late 1960s, IIRC...
 
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Why you should Always Finish your Lasagna, kids
For Lovers of Squeam!
Excerpt from My (not so) Grizzly Life: The Autobiography Jamie Rix

Guest Post by @Igeo654


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Jamie Rix and his work (Image sources Wikimedia, bobbiespargo.com, and Amazon.com)

After the success of both Grizzly and Ghostly Tales back home, I admit I was chuffed. Some of the critics had referred to me as sort of a modern-day Dahl or, more fittingly, Hilaire Belloc. I'll admit, fairly, that I never expected my fame to go beyond that. Imagine my shock, therefore when none other than Haim Saban, the Israeli-Egyptian mogul himself, came into my life by simply ringing the doorbell. At the time, Saban had been on a roll. A supreme one at that. Everyone, naturally, knows him for the Bio-Force series that sprung up in the mid-80s with Bio-Force-Five. A game-changer at the time and one of the most groundbreaking kids’ shows out there by the standards of the time, mixing Japanese footage with American footage, humor and sensibilities, that became one of Disney's greatest co-production with the company. To this day, it’s one of the longest-running franchises of all time and the reason Haim Saban became such a household name. Of course, thanks to what he, DiC and, to a lesser extent, Disney got up to for the rest of the decade, the Americanization of Asian entertainment to appeal to Western audiences is now common practice.

I'd known about the existence of Bio-Force ever since the year prior when my son first got into it after we decided he was old enough and it couldn’t do any harm, what with the protagonists being so “morally sound” despite the obvious violence. His series, as he fondly remembers, was Bio-Force: Mastermind, adapted from the Fiveman sentai, or something like that. Think, if you will, Look and Read meets Bill Nye meets Voltron meets Bruce Lee in spandex for a general idea of it.

So, in the midst of all that Haim Saban shows up at my doorstep. Now, as I would learn all too soon, Saban is the kind of man who, when latched onto an idea, will bombard and intimidate you with pure business energy. Aggressive and overwhelming, sure, but no one can call him a bully or deny his passion for his work. He's more like...an overgrown kid who really wants to share this cool idea he’s come up with and never seems to shut up about it till the idea is made real, but you can't really get mad at him for it because he kinda has a point. It really IS that awesome. Plus, the number of successes he and his company have under their belt cannot be so swiftly ignored. His collaborations with other companies and frequent adaptions of Toei's Japanese cartoons or “Anime”, are proof positive of this.

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Haim Saban (R) with Shuki Levy (Image source last.fm)

In this case, it seemed that, while on a trip around England, Saban had found a second-hand copy of Grizzly Tales in a Charity Shop in London's East End. Upon reading it, the realization of the type of thing us British “kids’ authors” could get away with shocked him...then inspired him. Which is how he had come to me. In the past, horror anthologies had been more geared towards adults (see such well-known cases as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents as examples) but as the 80s and the 90s converged, it was clear that kids could now get in on the nightmare-inducing action.

In America, for example, Warner Brothers had already gotten in on the game early with Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as seen on Nickelodeon and MTV's recent kids' block. NBC, likewise, was doing well with Eerie, Indiana and there were rumblings up in Canada that the Nelvana company had some plans of their own. Disney had done various “Halloween Specials” for Wonderful World, and had spun up Nocturns for older kids and teens. There was even a new author on the scene, my future friend and contemporary R.L. Stein, who had just written the first of what had become the Goosebumps series of books off of the modest success of his Teen Novel series Fear Street and, far from me to throw shade at a mate as good as Stein would become, I can still boast, in all humility, that I got to the kids first. (Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh!)

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(Image sources mentalfloss.com, inews.co.uk, & guim.co.uk)

Saban, of course, was quick to point out the glaringly obvious. Unlike all of those examples that I have just mentioned, the children within my books may have been the protagonists of the stories, but they were, by no means, the heroes. You don’t look at a character like, say, Ebenezer Scrooge and see him as the good guy, at least not untill the final chapter. but unlike Dickens’ lovable miser, the lessons in my work nearly always came too late for the children. That was the other thing that set my work apart. One way or another, save for a couple of stories, the kids never won out in the end. They almost always met a brutal, perhaps unfair, but usually fitting end. There was rarely, if ever, any redemption or sympathy for their bratty, selfish, wicked behavior. Only either a horrible death or hellish eternal punishments.

You’d think, therefore, that something like that would turn off, maybe even revolt someone like Saban who, time and again, has always seen himself as a bit of a progressive. Instead, the opposite occurred. He enjoyed my horrific nightmare inducers immensely. He saw them as both brazen and effective, a world where every made-up bogeyman parents invented to make their children behave, myself among them, was made real and the fates of those who continued down the path of no return used to scare other kids straight. It was, he said, genius. It was also by this unabashed flattery that Saban pitched the concept of what would become the Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids cartoon to me. I can’t quite go into detail about all of his suggestions, but one point he raised was what sold me in the end.

“Look, Jamie,” he said to me, his smooth voice burrowing into my subconscious, “This is a chance to really make it in the kids writing game. There’s pretty much nothing else like this stuff out there! With the right changes here and there, you could make a killing in the North American Market and, to top that, potentially spook an entire country of children into being better citizens! You know how American kids can be, at least compared to the ones in this country or where I'm from.”

I couldn’t fault him for saying that. Even to this day, American children have this rather unfair stigma of being wilder, more disobedient, less polite, lazier and more spoiled than those of other countries in what we affectionately call “the old world.” All the same, my mind was focused entirely on the cartoon and its prospects of it. The idea of possibly giving desperate American parents a bit of aid and hope was fine enough, but my mind was also on my career, selfish as that may sound. If Saban’s adaption of my work, Americanized as it may be, could actually be pulled off, I then had the potential to use it as a vehicle to sell my books to an overseas market. One of the largest in the world. And not just Grizzly Tales either. I’d had no plans for a new book since Ghostly Tales, but thanks to Saban, I had the chance to be inspired again.

And this was how I and my family, going First Class no less, ended up taking our first American Christmas in California in the final month of 1992. Or, should I say, My wife and my son did. I, on the other hand, was on a business trip. Before long, Saban, a couple representatives of his company and I, came to be sitting in a boardroom with ABC head Michael Eisner, head of Hollywood/DiC Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, and ABC Television chief Bob Iger. Eisner and Katzenberg were still having their power struggle at the time (which became uncomfortably apparent for Saban and I as they took passive-aggressive snipes at each other’s ideas), but they managed to put that aside to hear our pitch. Saban had done a few collabs with their lot beforehand and, being an indie agent, was constantly switching back and forth between them and Disney. Moreover, part of him believed that Jim Henson or Disney would never take Grizzly Tales as it was. It was too “merciless and mean-spirited” for a forgiving and peaceful fellow such as he, Saban insisted, which is why we were here and not Disneyland.

After skimming through the two copies of Grizzly Tales and Ghostly Tales that I’d brought with me to showcase to the board, I wasn’t too sure that any of these entertainment big shots would be down with Haim’s vision either. By the time they were done, Eisner and Iger were exchanging looks. I was certain at this point that Haim’s grand plans were about to go straight down the loo. Eisner was the first to speak up.

“It has a ton of potential, Mr. Rix,” said Eisner. “But for this country’s target demographic, it’s a little too...British for its own good.”

“I understand that fully,” I said, calmly and understandingly, having fully expected this. “I won't be like PL Travers was with Walt Disney. If there are any changes you think need changing, aside from the overall concept that is...”

“Only a few,” replied Michael. “Simple stuff. A few name changes, replacement of some of the more overtly British references and names. Maybe change up a couple of settings, ethnicities and cultures here and there, just to make it appeal to a wider audience. Tino Sovrano instead of Timothy King, The Crumpdumps being more like a family living in a company town in New York. That giant being the lazy great-grandson of Paul Bunyan, that kinda thing.”

“We're also thinking of formatting,” said Katzenberg. “15 episodes per season, like with the books themselves.”

I nodded and agreed with them at every turn. There’s a misconception among fans of foreign media that American culture is inferior to those of Japan or France and that filling adaptions of those works with references Americans will only contribute to “cultural ignorance.” It’s one of the reasons Dahl took such an offense with Gene Wilder's Wonka Movie, despite its success. Haim made sure I didn't screw up the meeting by talking about “integrity” by talking over me at certain points where I might have raised an objection. Not that I ever intended to. It was then that Iger finally spoke up and gave me some more insight as to the whole “Strike while the Iron is Hot” thing Saban had been talking about.

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(Image source tftc.fandom.com)

As I said before, Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises had been making plans of their own. Plans involving HBO's hit show Tales from the Crypt. According to insiders, Nelvana was starting to make a spin-off of the live-action show for adults, but aimed at children. It was, once again, very hero-kid-centric and almost entirely unlike TfTC in all but a few respects. No gore and only adults could face the brutal karmic justice at the end, if they were the villains at all. Teens and kids were mostly safe and even if they did need a lesson, they usually lived to keep it. Of course, the iconic Cryptkeeper would be there to open and bookend each episode, as well as dish out his usual terrible puns.

The point was that Hollywood and ABC, recognizing the trend, as they rightfully should have, wanted to get in on the action with their own show and had asked Saban to scout around for inspiration, which was how he found that 1990 original edition of my first book. They’d always been planning the collab. I was just the lucky guy who got discovered first. I just had to keep my mouth strategically shut. Anyway, regardless, DiC/Hollywood's animation department and Saban’s would combine forces on this project. I recognized it as a good idea from the start. And, as would be the case, alumni from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Saban's future project, Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic, not to mention a whole range of cartoons from both sides, would come together to make this show.

Joan Case, Michael Maliani and Rudy Cataldi as Directors (Strathford Hamilton for the live-action segments), Shuki Levy and Bob Summers on Music (Their first collaboration together), animators such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Jimmy Cross, J.C. Ponce, Christopher Holt, Trish Burgio, Bari Greenberg, Richard Ziehler-Martin, Max Douglas and Rex Irvine, A writing team consisting of myself (part of the deal), David Ehrman, Steve Cuden and Brooks Wachtel, Voice recording by Kevin Newson, Voice directing by Marsha Goodman, Casting by Kris Zimmerman, Story editing by Cary Bates, Dialogue editing by Ron Fedele. Executive Producer Credits to me and Haim Saban, and a host of others that cannot be named for time, but whose work is deeply appreciated nonetheless. Together, we planned to do three monumental tasks. 1: One up Canada. 2: “Yankify” some Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam and 3: Hopefully, scare the socks off badly behaved kids across North America. However, the real piece de resistance was Haim’s idea to add live-action segments at the start and end of every episode. Of course, all live-action footage would come from him, Thanks to Bio-Force, he had that kind of experience.

The idea for these opening and closing segments came from my second book’s story, “Grandmother's Footsteps”, which, sadly, never got an episode of its own until the series finale in ‘97. In each episode, a neurotic, 7 (Then 8, 9 and 10)-year-Old Kid named Justin, played by Blake Foster, would be read a bedtime story every Saturday night (or afternoon as the case may be) by his “loving”, Granny Grizzelda (my idea), played by the legendary Rosemary Harris. Every episode would end with the traumatized kid screaming into the night, condemned to this pattern for the rest of his childhood, or until the series ended. Whichever came first.

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Foster and Harris (Image sources boyactors.org.uk and tvshowstars.com)

Eventually, the deal was made and afterward, we made a small pilot and pitch promoting the idea. Before we knew it, we soon had a series order. Throughout 1993, we worked hard and around the clock trying to get season 1 of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, all 15 episodes of it, based on the first book's stories, finished and ready for presentation. by the end of the process, we were all tired but triumphant. Shuki and Bob’s soundtrack was one of the best they'd ever made, according to them. They later told me that their inspiration for the opening theme came from the opening of a 1988 mid-budget horror flick called Night of the Demons by some bloke called Dennis Michael Tenney. Of course, with the new standards of the ‘90s and copyright laws being what they are, they couldn’t use the actual theme, but instead, made their own, newer, edgier twist on the idea of it, with shades of the recently famous White Zombie and Cypress Hill bands added in for flavor. How these three elements combined, I cannot tell you. Though, personally, I believe that Bob Summers, with his work on the soundtrack for the dub of CapsuMon, with its situational use of organ music and scary and unnerving qualities, coupled with Levy’s eye for the modern and synthesized that made it work. Even the opening titles were vaguely inspired by that movie.

Something like this, but with LA and Animated parts, shorter and less ‘80s

We all did our best, but as any cartoonist will tell you, animation takes time. By the time we were two-thirds-way through production, Tales From the Cryptkeeper had aired its first season. We all saw the footage at a board meeting sometime before we were fully done. I was intimidated, but the attitude presented by the animation team and Katzenberg was “Yeah, we can outdo this, no problem. It'll be off the air in two seasons.” As it happened, TFtCK lasted 3 seasons from ‘93 to ‘95, plus that spinoff series in 2000. Then, the moment of truth came. The March of 1994. We had our show scheduled to air at different points throughout the year and the world, starting with Bob Iger’s ABC Saturday, then YTV in Canada and CBBC in the UK, where it would eventually lead to the running gag of scaring the living hell out of poor Otis the Aardvark. (Never traumatize a puppet, kids. It won’t be funny when you're stuck with the therapy bill.)

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(Image source bbci.co.uk)

Of course, we all hoped for the best when the day finally came and we were all glued to the tube (A name used for the adaption of “Glued to the Telly”, by the way), but, at the same time, we all feared the worst. Scandal and ruination by parents and moral guardians alike and a slew of angry letters from PTA members across the USA. What happened, instead, came as quite a shock.

Kids adored it! The whole thing! Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids was an instant success…well, not quite instantly. “The New Nanny”, our first episode, was a large success, but not a huge one. the adaption of the “One-Tailed, Two-Footed, Three-Bellied, Four-Headed, Five-Fingered, Six-Chinned, Seven-Winged, Eight-Eyed, Nine-Nosed, Ten-Toothed Monster” story, simply titled “Monster Math”, was considered, for the time anyway, to be quite respectful to Indian culture with the monster having some very Vishnu-esc vibes to it. But it still fell into the trap of child hero that Tales from the Cryptkeeper and Are you Afraid were doing. To make matters worse, so far, in the case of both episodes, no one had been killed nor suffered a horrible, lingering doom.

It wasn’t till the airing of Episode 3, “The Spaghetti Man”, that things really began to pick up for us. In this version of the tale, a formerly Jolly and beloved Venetian pasta merchant/celebrity chef, ruined, bankrupted and driven insane and to witchcraft by the fussiness and unrefined palates of Western Children, takes his revenge in the worst possible way. His latest target: 9 1/2-year-old Tino Sovrano, an inner-city kid from Chicago, who, shall we say, won’t make it to 10, for refusing to eat his Mama's fresh, healthy Italian cooking.

Here's the end portion of that episode’s script, edited by yours truly. I’ll start at the part where Mrs. Sovrano comes home from a walk to find her apartment flooded, after Tino’s refusal to eat his French toast:


Mrs. Sovrano
TINO! Tino, you Monello, get down here! You are SO grounded!​

No answer, she ascends the stairs, enters the bathroom...

Mrs. Sovrano
Tino! Joke's over! Answer me!​

…and turns off the running water before looking around in confusion.

Mrs. Sovrano
Tino?

Granny Grizzelda (V.O)
But there was no reply.​

[fade to black]

Justin (V.O.)
But, where was he?​

[fade to Tino’s blurred POV]

Granny Grizzelda
Where indeed. Hours later, Tino awoke to find himself in a room full of children.​

We see through Tino’s eyes briefly as he groans and stands up, and we cut to a shot of him as he rubs his sore head and sees the room full of kids in annoyed but confused bewilderment. All have different skin colors and character designs, all looking defiant and sour. Half are boys, Half are girls. All are sitting on a bench in a dry, but poorly lit room with a flickering light bulb, various cates and empty flour sacks are scattered around.

Tino
What in the...​

Tino’s eyes briefly fall upon an advertising poster of a Jolly Man holding a plate of Carbonara.

Tino
Where...?

Unknown Voice
Drink it in, Kid. It’ll be one of the last things you ever see.​

Tino looks over in surprise to see a bitter-looking punkish girl with red hair, he walks over to her moodily.

Tino
Look, drop the Freddy Krueger routine already! Where are we anyhow? Some psycho’s basement or sumthin?​

The girl smirks.

Girl
You wish. Trust me, kid. If it was something like that, we’d be trying to break out.​

Tino looks at her, even more confused.

Girl
Look. You ever hear of a guy called.... “The Spaghetti Man?”​

The music starts to swell and Tino’s eyes widen in a close-up shot but he regains composure.

Tino
(swirls finger around side of head in usual motion) Magic Italian nutcase? Turns kids to Boyardee if they don't eat dere food?​

She shoots him a sarcastic thumbs-up.

Girl
Correctamundo! Welcome to the pasta factory, Einstein! Hope ya loved your folks more than I did, ‘cause you’re never seeing them again!​

Tino looks at her in shock, then starts to glare.

Tino
What're you talkin’ about? Is this some kinda sick gag? Besides, The Spaghetti Man’s not even real! (Puts his fists on his hips while she glares at him) What, ya still believe in Santa too?

Girl
(stands up and gets in his face) You’re a real dork, ya know that? If he’s not real, what do ya call this?!

She angrily points to a label on her shirt. on it is the word...

Tino
Rotini? That’s that corkscrew lookin’ pasta my mom Loves!

Girl
Well, she’s gonna love the heck out of me cus...​

She glances at the locked, steel door at the end of the room.

Girl
That’s what He’s turning me into.​

Tino’s face turns pale as he swallows loudly and looks across the bench, looking at the various labels on the shirts of the other kids: Spaghetti, Macaroni, Ravioli, SpaghettiOs! In desperation, he looks at his own shirt, (depicting a parody of Astro the Armadillo called Hyper the Skunk) and label.

Tino
Lasagna? Are you kiddin’ me?! My all-time worst food? Mondo gross! (He glares) A’Right! That tears it!​

He marches to a table in front of everyone and jumps up onto it. Kids watch him, murmuring and whispering to each other in shock and fear. An African-American kid with a ‘90s box-cut, gets off the bench, runs over and tries to pull Tino off.

Kid
Have you lost it? Get down before ya make him come back!

Tino
(nudges him off his leg with his foot) Ey, c’mon, you guys! Lighten up already, before I get down there and tickle ya!​

The kids look at each other shaking their heads as Tino continues sounding cocky and defiant.

Tino
I said, chin up! No way are we getting turned int’a pasta! The Spaghetti Man is just some bogus story our parents cooked up to make us eat what they want! This whole setup’s just one, big prank to scare us into chowin’ on the slop they force onto us every meal!

Girl
(stands up angrily and stomps over to him) Get it through your thick skull, you doofus! We’re done for! Finished! Marinara’d! This is no joke!

Tino
Yeah, if you’re too dumb to see the punchline! I dunno bout the rest of ya, but I’m splittin’! Stick around if you wanna, but I got me a High Score on Hyper the Skunk 2 to beat! (he gets off the table and looks at her with annoyance.) Arrivederci, suckers!​

He turns, waves at them dismissively and heads to the door as he says this last line, but it swings open and a shadow is cast over him. He looks up and gasps in horror as a lightning bolt hits and we pan up to see a disheveled, crazed-looking man with a twitch in his eye, an untidy Dali mustache, sunken cheeks and a lunatic, joker grin with sharp teeth, all dressed up in a ragged, pink stained chef’s outfit with a dented hat. He looks almost like a zombie version of the guy on the poster. Tino starts backing away, pale as a sheet and shaking in fear as the figure looms and sniggers at him.

The Spaghetti Man
Chow.....Supper! (stoops over him, wiggling his fingers)

Tino
(shakes his head as he backs up) N-No. No way! Th-This ain’t happenin’!

The Spaghetti Man
Oh, you bet’sa your Mama’s cooking it is, bambino! And guess who I’m’a having for dinner tonight!​

Lightning crackles from outside as he lets loose a series of demented and evil laughs as the children on the bench huddle together in fear.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
Such a cruel laugh made the children suddenly wish they weren't there!​

The Spaghetti Man lowers raises his hand.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
But, of course...​

He lowers his sharp nailed hand towards the figure of Tino in front of him as the light begins to fizzle out. We see him approaching Tino as we transition between the boy’s terrified face and scenes of the Spaghetti Man raising his hand grinning and chuckling diabolically and reaching towards him.

Tino
No! Please! I’ll eat up! I promise! NOOOOOOO!​

Zoom in on Tino, covering his head with his eyes shut as the shadow covers him and the lightbulb goes dead, plunging the room into darkness.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
...They were.​

We cut to a music-less scene of the factory gate opening as the black truck drives out of the parking lot and onto the main road. A rooster crows and morning birds chirp as the sun rises. Fade to the Sovranos’ apartment building as the soundtrack starts again.

Justin (V.O.)
And then?​

Cut to the inside where Mr. and Mrs. Sovrano are enjoying a nice breakfast together.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
Nothing. After that day, Tino’s friends and family never saw him again. With no evidence of foul play, the case was closed early.​

We see a shot panning up the stairs and into Tino’s now empty room, dissolving to a shot of cop at the front door with Tino’s mother, shrugging sadly and shaking his head while his car with an officer inside sits parked near the steps. Tino’s mother closes the door and turns, at first, hanging her head and walking off-screen as the narration continues.

Fade to a much more relaxed and happy Mrs. Sovrano enjoying her food.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
His mother tried her hardest to be grieved, but she couldn’t help rejoicing in secret. Her son really had been the most obnoxious, ungrateful boy she had ever known and now, she’d been freed from him.​

Brief flashback to Tino’s stuff being sold at a flea market. The salesman shows a family with a young boy Tino’s games console with the Hyper the Skunk 2 game still inside.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
In the end, some other kid got Tino’s PLAYGA Apocalypse and beat that precious high score of his.​

Cut to some kid in his room pumping his fist as he beats a level and puts his initials over Tino’s. Fade back to the breakfast table.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
And since his father never noticed that their son was missing, his wife simply never told him.
His wife pours him a coffee as he reads his paper as she pours her own. He takes a sip.

Mr. Sovrano
Great Espresso today, Miele.

Mrs. Sovrano
Grazie, my sweet zucchero. (she raises her mug in a mock toast. Close up of her contented, smirking expression) Here’s to peace, joy, freedom (she glances over to the photo of Venice on the fridge) and Venice.
Fade to the inside of the book as we zoom out to see Granny and Justin, who now looks shaken.

Granny Grizzelda
After that, their lives went on as normal. Mr. Sovrano would go off to work and Mrs. Sovrano would stay at home and prepare their evening meal. (close up of her face) Do you know what they had last night?

Justin
(shakes his head as if begging her not to tell him) N-no?

Granny Grizzelda
(Leans in towards him menacingly) Lasagna.
Justin gulps.

Granny Grizzelda
(smirks) But you know, they never realized how familiar its flavor was...(she grins, as we see both of them up close) until Mrs Sovrano...kissed it!​

Lightning strikes outside as we zoom in on Justin’s screaming face before quickly cutting to the model exterior of the house, his screams mingled with his Grandma's cackles! Credits roll.


Pretty gruesome, if I do say so myself.

Before the show came to air, Saban and Eisner were promoting the hell out of it. ABC Saturday ran promos for it like trailers for a “Smart-Slasher” flick, but with more humor and “radical” ‘90s awesomeness. It gave the viewers the sense they were watching something mature and forbidden which, in case one was, at least, half-true and, in the second, probably also true for a number of households. But Saban had also managed to get us hooked up with Mattel for promotional toys. Soon, action figures of the Beast Nannies, The Spaghetti Man, The Barber of Civil, The Giant Litter Bug, The Goblins, The Demon TV and The Childhood Snatcher would be flying off the shelves of every Toys R Us. Entertainer, etc.

And in the midst of all of this, a strange morality play was unfolding at ABC/Hollywood. Remember that Eisner/Katzenberg rivalry? Well, that summer Eisner tried to get Katzenberg and Iger fired for plotting against him (something to do with the Retriever animated feature) and they, instead, got him fired. Things turned really grizzly when Eisner had a heart attack while packing his belongings and had to be rushed to the hospital. In the end, the ironic fate for Eisner would be ending up in Atlanta working for Ted Turner, which Iger assured me was a lot like getting taken by the Spaghetti Man.

After the airing of the first season, I got a call from the heads of Simon & Schuster. They agreed to help distribute the original UK versions of Grizzly and Ghostly Tales and gave me some new illustrations to go along with them that tied into the cartoon. But as the royalties rolled in, my wife pointed something out to me. Rather than the TV show promoting the books, the books were promoting the show. It was then I had my big realization. I was no longer an author. Well, not full-time, anyway. I was a television writer. Most people dedicated to getting kids to read instead of staring at a tv screen might have despaired. Not me though, not ol’ Uncle Jamie! I was proud of my baby and what it represented! I had no qualms whatsoever!

Although today, I still harbor no regrets about being part of Haim and Bob’s little project, if I’d known then what would come in two years’ time, I would have called him and everyone at ABC and burned all bridges with them by telling them to, to give the American phrase, “Shove it”. But I didn’t know and so, I made no call. As far as I was concerned back then, for as long as I could write, Grizzly Tales was here to stay!

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(Image source Amazon.com)

Little did we know that, as season 1 was airing, competition was arising from the most unlikely of places. RL Stein had been quite busy since 1992 with his own series and now had a collection of 24 books and growing. Just enough to take them to a place where having “Skeletons” in your closet was a good thing.

In less than 10 months' time, a new frontier in the war between the House of Mouse and God's Gift to Cable would be flung wide open with the introduction of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman's Gothic, B-Movie homaging, Goosebumps cartoon in 1995. Saban, who had been playing both sides of the conflict since giving ABC a huge hit in the form of the source material revived Masked Rider, a contemporary of Sentai and Bio-Force, now had to stay loyal to the network, at least for the time being. And while it seemed, at first, that Disney had declared their V-Day, just like Bogman, rising from his peat tomb, ABC and its library of assets would, through a purchase, rise again, stronger than ever, ready to return to the front lines. I'm sure Granny Grizzelda would agree. There's no tale as old, or as Grizzly, as the story of corporate rivalry.
 
Something like the Tompkins Square Park riot likely happened in TTL--maybe not the exact way of OTL, but something like it is bound to happen in TTL, especially since New York City was not a good place to live in the late 1980s and early 1990s...
Yeah... Agreed...

And things like the corruption at the 75, the mafia cops, the Dirty 30, and some others are likely to still happen.

Not sure if the 1992 police riot happened but it seems like it did not.
 
For Lovers of Squeam!
Excerpt from My (not so) Grizzly Life: The Autobiography Jamie Rix

Guest Post by @Igeo654


(snip)
I'm immensely proud of all of my work here, and I'd like to thank Geekus for letting me make this and for retaining and incorporating a number of concepts I came up with in to this post during his edits such as Bio-Force: Mastermind and KidsMTV. It's kind of a bummer that Fox Kids doesn't exist ITTL, But I'll assume that Disney, Saban and ABC have both filled that hole in their own way, as Saban and Fox did for the UK, making Disney Channel and its spin-offs for British basic cable and transforming PFN Kids into a full-blown channel in Europe, (Same thing with KidsMTV) since it'd be a shame for little me to miss out on whatever the Bio-Force adaption of Gaoranger will be.

For those not in the know, there WAS a homemade adaption of Mr Rix's series here in the UK IOTL, but it was rather cheap by comparison and made use of reusing both animation AND character designs. Nigel Planer, Neil from the Young Ones, was the narrator and did all the voices. This adaption, I think, would probably have been a whole lot better for all the talent behind it and the fact that it would have had a significantly larger reach and you'll, hopefully, be hearing a lot more about it come season 3. For anyone interested in hearing some of these ''Grizzly tales'' for yourselves, Jamie Rix has a YouTube channel where he posts unabridged readings of most of his old stories from the first three books. Here's the Link. And for those wondering, I envision Goosebumps to be either CG or 2D with CG and Stop Motion elements, like with Courage the Cowardly Dog.
 
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For Lovers of Squeam!
Excerpt from My (not so) Grizzly Life: The Autobiography Jamie Rix

Guest Post by @Igeo654


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Jamie Rix and his work (Image sources Wikimedia, bobbiespargo.com, and Amazon.com)

After the success of both Grizzly and Ghostly Tales back home, I admit I was chuffed. Some of the critics had referred to me as sort of a modern-day Dahl or, more fittingly, Hilaire Belloc. I'll admit, fairly, that I never expected my fame to go beyond that. Imagine my shock, therefore when none other than Haim Saban, the Israeli-Egyptian mogul himself, came into my life by simply ringing the doorbell. At the time, Saban had been on a roll. A supreme one at that. Everyone, naturally, knows him for the Bio-Force series that sprung up in the mid-80s with Bio-Force-Five. A game-changer at the time and one of the most groundbreaking kids’ shows out there by the standards of the time, mixing Japanese footage with American footage, humor and sensibilities, that became one of Disney's greatest co-production with the company. To this day, it’s one of the longest-running franchises of all time and the reason Haim Saban became such a household name. Of course, thanks to what he, DiC and, to a lesser extent, Disney got up to for the rest of the decade, the Americanization of Asian entertainment to appeal to Western audiences is now common practice.

I'd known about the existence of Bio-Force ever since the year prior when my son first got into it after we decided he was old enough and it couldn’t do any harm, what with the protagonists being so “morally sound” despite the obvious violence. His series, as he fondly remembers, was Bio-Force: Mastermind, adapted from the Fiveman sentai, or something like that. Think, if you will, Look and Read meets Bill Nye meets Voltron meets Bruce Lee in spandex for a general idea of it.

So, in the midst of all that Haim Saban shows up at my doorstep. Now, as I would learn all too soon, Saban is the kind of man who, when latched onto an idea, will bombard and intimidate you with pure business energy. Aggressive and overwhelming, sure, but no one can call him a bully or deny his passion for his work. He's more like...an overgrown kid who really wants to share this cool idea he’s come up with and never seems to shut up about it till the idea is made real, but you can't really get mad at him for it because he kinda has a point. It really IS that awesome. Plus, the number of successes he and his company have under their belt cannot be so swiftly ignored. His collaborations with other companies and frequent adaptions of Toei's Japanese cartoons or “Anime”, are proof positive of this.

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Haim Saban (R) with Shuki Levy (Image source last.fm)

In this case, it seemed that, while on a trip around England, Saban had found a second-hand copy of Grizzly Tales in a Charity Shop in London's East End. Upon reading it, the realization of the type of thing us British “kids’ authors” could get away with shocked him...then inspired him. Which is how he had come to me. In the past, horror anthologies had been more geared towards adults (see such well-known cases as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents as examples) but as the 80s and the 90s converged, it was clear that kids could now get in on the nightmare-inducing action.

In America, for example, Warner Brothers had already gotten in on the game early with Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as seen on Nickelodeon and MTV's recent kids' block. NBC, likewise, was doing well with Eerie, Indiana and there were rumblings up in Canada that the Nelvana company had some plans of their own. Disney had done various “Halloween Specials” for Wonderful World, and had spun up Nocturns for older kids and teens. There was even a new author on the scene, my future friend and contemporary R.L. Stein, who had just written the first of what had become the Goosebumps series of books off of the modest success of his Teen Novel series Fear Street and, far from me to throw shade at a mate as good as Stein would become, I can still boast, in all humility, that I got to the kids first. (Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh!)

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(Image sources mentalfloss.com, inews.co.uk, & guim.co.uk)

Saban, of course, was quick to point out the glaringly obvious. Unlike all of those examples that I have just mentioned, the children within my books may have been the protagonists of the stories, but they were, by no means, the heroes. You don’t look at a character like, say, Ebenezer Scrooge and see him as the good guy, at least not untill the final chapter. but unlike Dickens’ lovable miser, the lessons in my work nearly always came too late for the children. That was the other thing that set my work apart. One way or another, save for a couple of stories, the kids never won out in the end. They almost always met a brutal, perhaps unfair, but usually fitting end. There was rarely, if ever, any redemption or sympathy for their bratty, selfish, wicked behavior. Only either a horrible death or hellish eternal punishments.

You’d think, therefore, that something like that would turn off, maybe even revolt someone like Saban who, time and again, has always seen himself as a bit of a progressive. Instead, the opposite occurred. He enjoyed my horrific nightmare inducers immensely. He saw them as both brazen and effective, a world where every made-up bogeyman parents invented to make their children behave, myself among them, was made real and the fates of those who continued down the path of no return used to scare other kids straight. It was, he said, genius. It was also by this unabashed flattery that Saban pitched the concept of what would become the Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids cartoon to me. I can’t quite go into detail about all of his suggestions, but one point he raised was what sold me in the end.

“Look, Jamie,” he said to me, his smooth voice burrowing into my subconscious, “This is a chance to really make it in the kids writing game. There’s pretty much nothing else like this stuff out there! With the right changes here and there, you could make a killing in the North American Market and, to top that, potentially spook an entire country of children into being better citizens! You know how American kids can be, at least compared to the ones in this country or where I'm from.”

I couldn’t fault him for saying that. Even to this day, American children have this rather unfair stigma of being wilder, more disobedient, less polite, lazier and more spoiled than those of other countries in what we affectionately call “the old world.” All the same, my mind was focused entirely on the cartoon and its prospects of it. The idea of possibly giving desperate American parents a bit of aid and hope was fine enough, but my mind was also on my career, selfish as that may sound. If Saban’s adaption of my work, Americanized as it may be, could actually be pulled off, I then had the potential to use it as a vehicle to sell my books to an overseas market. One of the largest in the world. And not just Grizzly Tales either. I’d had no plans for a new book since Ghostly Tales, but thanks to Saban, I had the chance to be inspired again.

And this was how I and my family, going First Class no less, ended up taking our first American Christmas in California in the final month of 1992. Or, should I say, My wife and my son did. I, on the other hand, was on a business trip. Before long, Saban, a couple representatives of his company and I, came to be sitting in a boardroom with ABC head Michael Eisner, head of Hollywood/DiC Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, and ABC Television chief Bob Iger. Eisner and Katzenberg were still having their power struggle at the time (which became uncomfortably apparent for Saban and I as they took passive-aggressive snipes at each other’s ideas), but they managed to put that aside to hear our pitch. Saban had done a few collabs with their lot beforehand and, being an indie agent, was constantly switching back and forth between them and Disney. Moreover, part of him believed that Jim Henson or Disney would never take Grizzly Tales as it was. It was too “merciless and mean-spirited” for a forgiving and peaceful fellow such as he, Saban insisted, which is why we were here and not Disneyland.

After skimming through the two copies of Grizzly Tales and Ghostly Tales that I’d brought with me to showcase to the board, I wasn’t too sure that any of these entertainment big shots would be down with Haim’s vision either. By the time they were done, Eisner and Iger were exchanging looks. I was certain at this point that Haim’s grand plans were about to go straight down the loo. Eisner was the first to speak up.

“It has a ton of potential, Mr. Rix,” said Eisner. “But for this country’s target demographic, it’s a little too...British for its own good.”

“I understand that fully,” I said, calmly and understandingly, having fully expected this. “I won't be like PL Travers was with Walt Disney. If there are any changes you think need changing, aside from the overall concept that is...”

“Only a few,” replied Michael. “Simple stuff. A few name changes, replacement of some of the more overtly British references and names. Maybe change up a couple of settings, ethnicities and cultures here and there, just to make it appeal to a wider audience. Tino Sovrano instead of Timothy King, The Crumpdumps being more like a family living in a company town in New York. That giant being the lazy great-grandson of Paul Bunyan, that kinda thing.”

“We're also thinking of formatting,” said Katzenberg. “15 episodes per season, like with the books themselves.”

I nodded and agreed with them at every turn. There’s a misconception among fans of foreign media that American culture is inferior to those of Japan or France and that filling adaptions of those works with references Americans will only contribute to “cultural ignorance.” It’s one of the reasons Dahl took such an offense with Gene Wilder's Wonka Movie, despite its success. Haim made sure I didn't screw up the meeting by talking about “integrity” by talking over me at certain points where I might have raised an objection. Not that I ever intended to. It was then that Iger finally spoke up and gave me some more insight as to the whole “Strike while the Iron is Hot” thing Saban had been talking about.

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(Image source tftc.fandom.com)

As I said before, Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises had been making plans of their own. Plans involving HBO's hit show Tales from the Crypt. According to insiders, Nelvana was starting to make a spin-off of the live-action show for adults, but aimed at children. It was, once again, very hero-kid-centric and almost entirely unlike TfTC in all but a few respects. No gore and only adults could face the brutal karmic justice at the end, if they were the villains at all. Teens and kids were mostly safe and even if they did need a lesson, they usually lived to keep it. Of course, the iconic Cryptkeeper would be there to open and bookend each episode, as well as dish out his usual terrible puns.

The point was that Hollywood and ABC, recognizing the trend, as they rightfully should have, wanted to get in on the action with their own show and had asked Saban to scout around for inspiration, which was how he found that 1990 original edition of my first book. They’d always been planning the collab. I was just the lucky guy who got discovered first. I just had to keep my mouth strategically shut. Anyway, regardless, DiC/Hollywood's animation department and Saban’s would combine forces on this project. I recognized it as a good idea from the start. And, as would be the case, alumni from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Saban's future project, Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic, not to mention a whole range of cartoons from both sides, would come together to make this show.

Joan Case, Michael Maliani and Rudy Cataldi as Directors (Strathford Hamilton for the live-action segments), Shuki Levy and Bob Summers on Music (Their first collaboration together), animators such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Jimmy Cross, J.C. Ponce, Christopher Holt, Trish Burgio, Bari Greenberg, Richard Ziehler-Martin, Max Douglas and Rex Irvine, A writing team consisting of myself (part of the deal), David Ehrman, Steve Cuden and Brooks Wachtel, Voice recording by Kevin Newson, Voice directing by Marsha Goodman, Casting by Kris Zimmerman, Story editing by Cary Bates, Dialogue editing by Ron Fedele. Executive Producer Credits to me and Haim Saban, and a host of others that cannot be named for time, but whose work is deeply appreciated nonetheless. Together, we planned to do three monumental tasks. 1: One up Canada. 2: “Yankify” some Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam and 3: Hopefully, scare the socks off badly behaved kids across North America. However, the real piece de resistance was Haim’s idea to add live-action segments at the start and end of every episode. Of course, all live-action footage would come from him, Thanks to Bio-Force, he had that kind of experience.

The idea for these opening and closing segments came from my second book’s story, “Grandmother's Footsteps”, which, sadly, never got an episode of its own until the series finale in ‘97. In each episode, a neurotic, 7 (Then 8, 9 and 10)-year-Old Kid named Justin, played by Blake Foster, would be read a bedtime story every Saturday night (or afternoon as the case may be) by his “loving”, Granny Grizzelda (my idea), played by the legendary Rosemary Harris. Every episode would end with the traumatized kid screaming into the night, condemned to this pattern for the rest of his childhood, or until the series ended. Whichever came first.

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Foster and Harris (Image sources boyactors.org.uk and tvshowstars.com)

Eventually, the deal was made and afterward, we made a small pilot and pitch promoting the idea. Before we knew it, we soon had a series order. Throughout 1993, we worked hard and around the clock trying to get season 1 of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, all 15 episodes of it, based on the first book's stories, finished and ready for presentation. by the end of the process, we were all tired but triumphant. Shuki and Bob’s soundtrack was one of the best they'd ever made, according to them. They later told me that their inspiration for the opening theme came from the opening of a 1988 mid-budget horror flick called Night of the Demons by some bloke called Dennis Michael Tenney. Of course, with the new standards of the ‘90s and copyright laws being what they are, they couldn’t use the actual theme, but instead, made their own, newer, edgier twist on the idea of it, with shades of the recently famous White Zombie and Cypress Hill bands added in for flavor. How these three elements combined, I cannot tell you. Though, personally, I believe that Bob Summers, with his work on the soundtrack for the dub of CapsuMon, with its situational use of organ music and scary and unnerving qualities, coupled with Levy’s eye for the modern and synthesized that made it work. Even the opening titles were vaguely inspired by that movie.

Something like this, but with LA and Animated parts, shorter and less ‘80s

We all did our best, but as any cartoonist will tell you, animation takes time. By the time we were two-thirds-way through production, Tales From the Cryptkeeper had aired its first season. We all saw the footage at a board meeting sometime before we were fully done. I was intimidated, but the attitude presented by the animation team and Katzenberg was “Yeah, we can outdo this, no problem. It'll be off the air in two seasons.” As it happened, TFtCK lasted 3 seasons from ‘93 to ‘95, plus that spinoff series in 2000. Then, the moment of truth came. The March of 1994. We had our show scheduled to air at different points throughout the year and the world, starting with Bob Iger’s ABC Saturday, then YTV in Canada and CBBC in the UK, where it would eventually lead to the running gag of scaring the living hell out of poor Otis the Aardvark. (Never traumatize a puppet, kids. It won’t be funny when you're stuck with the therapy bill.)

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(Image source bbci.co.uk)

Of course, we all hoped for the best when the day finally came and we were all glued to the tube (A name used for the adaption of “Glued to the Telly”, by the way), but, at the same time, we all feared the worst. Scandal and ruination by parents and moral guardians alike and a slew of angry letters from PTA members across the USA. What happened, instead, came as quite a shock.

Kids adored it! The whole thing! Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids was an instant success…well, not quite instantly. “The New Nanny”, our first episode, was a large success, but not a huge one. the adaption of the “One-Tailed, Two-Footed, Three-Bellied, Four-Headed, Five-Fingered, Six-Chinned, Seven-Winged, Eight-Eyed, Nine-Nosed, Ten-Toothed Monster” story, simply titled “Monster Math”, was considered, for the time anyway, to be quite respectful to Indian culture with the monster having some very Vishnu-esc vibes to it. But it still fell into the trap of child hero that Tales from the Cryptkeeper and Are you Afraid were doing. To make matters worse, so far, in the case of both episodes, no one had been killed nor suffered a horrible, lingering doom.

It wasn’t till the airing of Episode 3, “The Spaghetti Man”, that things really began to pick up for us. In this version of the tale, a formerly Jolly and beloved Venetian pasta merchant/celebrity chef, ruined, bankrupted and driven insane and to witchcraft by the fussiness and unrefined palates of Western Children, takes his revenge in the worst possible way. His latest target: 9 1/2-year-old Tino Sovrano, an inner-city kid from Chicago, who, shall we say, won’t make it to 10, for refusing to eat his Mama's fresh, healthy Italian cooking.

Here's the end portion of that episode’s script, edited by yours truly. I’ll start at the part where Mrs. Sovrano comes home from a walk to find her apartment flooded, after Tino’s refusal to eat his French toast:


Mrs. Sovrano
TINO! Tino, you Monello, get down here! You are SO grounded!​

No answer, she ascends the stairs, enters the bathroom...

Mrs. Sovrano
Tino! Joke's over! Answer me!​

…and turns off the running water before looking around in confusion.

Mrs. Sovrano
Tino?

Granny Grizzelda (V.O)
But there was no reply.​

[fade to black]

Justin (V.O.)
But, where was he?​

[fade to Tino’s blurred POV]

Granny Grizzelda
Where indeed. Hours later, Tino awoke to find himself in a room full of children.​

We see through Tino’s eyes briefly as he groans and stands up, and we cut to a shot of him as he rubs his sore head and sees the room full of kids in annoyed but confused bewilderment. All have different skin colors and character designs, all looking defiant and sour. Half are boys, Half are girls. All are sitting on a bench in a dry, but poorly lit room with a flickering light bulb, various cates and empty flour sacks are scattered around.

Tino
What in the...​

Tino’s eyes briefly fall upon an advertising poster of a Jolly Man holding a plate of Carbonara.

Tino
Where...?

Unknown Voice
Drink it in, Kid. It’ll be one of the last things you ever see.​

Tino looks over in surprise to see a bitter-looking punkish girl with red hair, he walks over to her moodily.

Tino
Look, drop the Freddy Krueger routine already! Where are we anyhow? Some psycho’s basement or sumthin?​

The girl smirks.

Girl
You wish. Trust me, kid. If it was something like that, we’d be trying to break out.​

Tino looks at her, even more confused.

Girl
Look. You ever hear of a guy called.... “The Spaghetti Man?”​

The music starts to swell and Tino’s eyes widen in a close-up shot but he regains composure.

Tino
(swirls finger around side of head in usual motion) Magic Italian nutcase? Turns kids to Boyardee if they don't eat dere food?​

She shoots him a sarcastic thumbs-up.

Girl
Correctamundo! Welcome to the pasta factory, Einstein! Hope ya loved your folks more than I did, ‘cause you’re never seeing them again!​

Tino looks at her in shock, then starts to glare.

Tino
What're you talkin’ about? Is this some kinda sick gag? Besides, The Spaghetti Man’s not even real! (Puts his fists on his hips while she glares at him) What, ya still believe in Santa too?

Girl
(stands up and gets in his face) You’re a real dork, ya know that? If he’s not real, what do ya call this?!

She angrily points to a label on her shirt. on it is the word...

Tino
Rotini? That’s that corkscrew lookin’ pasta my mom Loves!

Girl
Well, she’s gonna love the heck out of me cus...​

She glances at the locked, steel door at the end of the room.

Girl
That’s what He’s turning me into.​

Tino’s face turns pale as he swallows loudly and looks across the bench, looking at the various labels on the shirts of the other kids: Spaghetti, Macaroni, Ravioli, SpaghettiOs! In desperation, he looks at his own shirt, (depicting a parody of Astro the Armadillo called Hyper the Skunk) and label.

Tino
Lasagna? Are you kiddin’ me?! My all-time worst food? Mondo gross! (He glares) A’Right! That tears it!​

He marches to a table in front of everyone and jumps up onto it. Kids watch him, murmuring and whispering to each other in shock and fear. An African-American kid with a ‘90s box-cut, gets off the bench, runs over and tries to pull Tino off.

Kid
Have you lost it? Get down before ya make him come back!

Tino
(nudges him off his leg with his foot) Ey, c’mon, you guys! Lighten up already, before I get down there and tickle ya!​

The kids look at each other shaking their heads as Tino continues sounding cocky and defiant.

Tino
I said, chin up! No way are we getting turned int’a pasta! The Spaghetti Man is just some bogus story our parents cooked up to make us eat what they want! This whole setup’s just one, big prank to scare us into chowin’ on the slop they force onto us every meal!

Girl
(stands up angrily and stomps over to him) Get it through your thick skull, you doofus! We’re done for! Finished! Marinara’d! This is no joke!

Tino
Yeah, if you’re too dumb to see the punchline! I dunno bout the rest of ya, but I’m splittin’! Stick around if you wanna, but I got me a High Score on Hyper the Skunk 2 to beat! (he gets off the table and looks at her with annoyance.) Arrivederci, suckers!​

He turns, waves at them dismissively and heads to the door as he says this last line, but it swings open and a shadow is cast over him. He looks up and gasps in horror as a lightning bolt hits and we pan up to see a disheveled, crazed-looking man with a twitch in his eye, an untidy Dali mustache, sunken cheeks and a lunatic, joker grin with sharp teeth, all dressed up in a ragged, pink stained chef’s outfit with a dented hat. He looks almost like a zombie version of the guy on the poster. Tino starts backing away, pale as a sheet and shaking in fear as the figure looms and sniggers at him.

The Spaghetti Man
Chow.....Supper! (stoops over him, wiggling his fingers)

Tino
(shakes his head as he backs up) N-No. No way! Th-This ain’t happenin’!

The Spaghetti Man
Oh, you bet’sa your Mama’s cooking it is, bambino! And guess who I’m’a having for dinner tonight!​

Lightning crackles from outside as he lets loose a series of demented and evil laughs as the children on the bench huddle together in fear.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
Such a cruel laugh made the children suddenly wish they weren't there!​

The Spaghetti Man lowers raises his hand.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
But, of course...​

He lowers his sharp nailed hand towards the figure of Tino in front of him as the light begins to fizzle out. We see him approaching Tino as we transition between the boy’s terrified face and scenes of the Spaghetti Man raising his hand grinning and chuckling diabolically and reaching towards him.

Tino
No! Please! I’ll eat up! I promise! NOOOOOOO!​

Zoom in on Tino, covering his head with his eyes shut as the shadow covers him and the lightbulb goes dead, plunging the room into darkness.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
...They were.​

We cut to a music-less scene of the factory gate opening as the black truck drives out of the parking lot and onto the main road. A rooster crows and morning birds chirp as the sun rises. Fade to the Sovranos’ apartment building as the soundtrack starts again.

Justin (V.O.)
And then?​

Cut to the inside where Mr. and Mrs. Sovrano are enjoying a nice breakfast together.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
Nothing. After that day, Tino’s friends and family never saw him again. With no evidence of foul play, the case was closed early.​

We see a shot panning up the stairs and into Tino’s now empty room, dissolving to a shot of cop at the front door with Tino’s mother, shrugging sadly and shaking his head while his car with an officer inside sits parked near the steps. Tino’s mother closes the door and turns, at first, hanging her head and walking off-screen as the narration continues.

Fade to a much more relaxed and happy Mrs. Sovrano enjoying her food.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
His mother tried her hardest to be grieved, but she couldn’t help rejoicing in secret. Her son really had been the most obnoxious, ungrateful boy she had ever known and now, she’d been freed from him.​

Brief flashback to Tino’s stuff being sold at a flea market. The salesman shows a family with a young boy Tino’s games console with the Hyper the Skunk 2 game still inside.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
In the end, some other kid got Tino’s PLAYGA Apocalypse and beat that precious high score of his.​

Cut to some kid in his room pumping his fist as he beats a level and puts his initials over Tino’s. Fade back to the breakfast table.

Granny Grizzelda (V.O.)
And since his father never noticed that their son was missing, his wife simply never told him.
His wife pours him a coffee as he reads his paper as she pours her own. He takes a sip.

Mr. Sovrano
Great Espresso today, Miele.

Mrs. Sovrano
Grazie, my sweet zucchero. (she raises her mug in a mock toast. Close up of her contented, smirking expression) Here’s to peace, joy, freedom (she glances over to the photo of Venice on the fridge) and Venice.
Fade to the inside of the book as we zoom out to see Granny and Justin, who now looks shaken.

Granny Grizzelda
After that, their lives went on as normal. Mr. Sovrano would go off to work and Mrs. Sovrano would stay at home and prepare their evening meal. (close up of her face) Do you know what they had last night?

Justin
(shakes his head as if begging her not to tell him) N-no?

Granny Grizzelda
(Leans in towards him menacingly) Lasagna.
Justin gulps.

Granny Grizzelda
(smirks) But you know, they never realized how familiar its flavor was...(she grins, as we see both of them up close) until Mrs Sovrano...kissed it!​

Lightning strikes outside as we zoom in on Justin’s screaming face before quickly cutting to the model exterior of the house, his screams mingled with his Grandma's cackles! Credits roll.


Pretty gruesome, if I do say so myself.

Before the show came to air, Saban and Eisner were promoting the hell out of it. ABC Saturday ran promos for it like trailers for a “Smart-Slasher” flick, but with more humor and “radical” ‘90s awesomeness. It gave the viewers the sense they were watching something mature and forbidden which, in case one was, at least, half-true and, in the second, probably also true for a number of households. But Saban had also managed to get us hooked up with Mattel for promotional toys. Soon, action figures of the Beast Nannies, The Spaghetti Man, The Barber of Civil, The Giant Litter Bug, The Goblins, The Demon TV and The Childhood Snatcher would be flying off the shelves of every Toys R Us. Entertainer, etc.

And in the midst of all of this, a strange morality play was unfolding at ABC/Hollywood. Remember that Eisner/Katzenberg rivalry? Well, that summer Eisner tried to get Katzenberg and Iger fired for plotting against him (something to do with the Retriever animated feature) and they, instead, got him fired. Things turned really grizzly when Eisner had a heart attack while packing his belongings and had to be rushed to the hospital. In the end, the ironic fate for Eisner would be ending up in Atlanta working for Ted Turner, which Iger assured me was a lot like getting taken by the Spaghetti Man.

After the airing of the first season, I got a call from the heads of Simon & Schuster. They agreed to help distribute the original UK versions of Grizzly and Ghostly Tales and gave me some new illustrations to go along with them that tied into the cartoon. But as the royalties rolled in, my wife pointed something out to me. Rather than the TV show promoting the books, the books were promoting the show. It was then I had my big realization. I was no longer an author. Well, not full-time, anyway. I was a television writer. Most people dedicated to getting kids to read instead of staring at a tv screen might have despaired. Not me though, not ol’ Uncle Jamie! I was proud of my baby and what it represented! I had no qualms whatsoever!

Although today, I still harbor no regrets about being part of Haim and Bob’s little project, if I’d known then what would come in two years’ time, I would have called him and everyone at ABC and burned all bridges with them by telling them to, to give the American phrase, “Shove it”. But I didn’t know and so, I made no call. As far as I was concerned back then, for as long as I could write, Grizzly Tales was here to stay!

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(Image source Amazon.com)

Little did we know that, as season 1 was airing, competition was arising from the most unlikely of places. RL Stein had been quite busy since 1992 with his own series and now had a collection of 24 books and growing. Just enough to take them to a place where having “Skeletons” in your closet was a good thing.

In less than 10 months' time, a new frontier in the war between the House of Mouse and God's Gift to Cable would be flung wide open with the introduction of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman's Gothic, B-Movie homaging, Goosebumps cartoon in 1995. Saban, who had been playing both sides of the conflict since giving ABC a huge hit in the form of the source material revived Masked Rider, a contemporary of Sentai and Bio-Force, now had to stay loyal to the network, at least for the time being. And while it seemed, at first, that Disney had declared their V-Day, just like Bogman, rising from his peat tomb, ABC and its library of assets would, through a purchase, rise again, stronger than ever, ready to return to the front lines. I'm sure Granny Grizzelda would agree. There's no tale as old, or as Grizzly, as the story of corporate rivalry.
What will happen to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark?
 
The idea of possibly giving desperate American parents a bit of aid and hope was fine enough, but my mind was also on my career, selfish as that may sound. If Saban’s adaption of my work, Americanized as it may be, could actually be pulled off, I then had the potential to use it as a vehicle to sell my books to an overseas market. One of the largest in the world. And not just Grizzly Tales either. I’d had no plans for a new book since Ghostly Tales, but thanks to Saban, I had the chance to be inspired again.
Man Goosebumps and Grizzly Tales competing directly on the bookshelfs?

I wonder if there's going to be a similar rivalry as between the Goosebumps TV show and AYAOD in OTL. Like kids asking eachother what they prefer.
Saban had done a few collabs with their lot beforehand and, being an indie agent, was constantly switching back and forth between them and Disney.
Sneaky Mr. Saban. Very sneaky.
Tino Sovrano instead of Timothy King, The Crumpdumps being more like a family living in a company town in New York. That giant being the lazy great-grandson of Paul Bunyan, that kinda thing.”
That's actually some great ideas from Mr. Eisner here. I'm impressed.
As I said before, Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises had been making plans of their own. Plans involving HBO's hit show Tales from the Crypt. According to insiders, Nelvana was starting to make a spin-off of the live-action show for adults, but aimed at children. It was, once again, very hero-kid-centric and almost entirely unlike TfTC in all but a few respects. No gore and only adults could face the brutal karmic justice at the end, if they were the villains at all. Teens and kids were mostly safe and even if they did need a lesson, they usually lived to keep it. Of course, the iconic Cryptkeeper would be there to open and bookend each episode, as well as dish out his usual terrible puns.
I know this one, one of my favourite tv shows growing up!
Although confusingly it was called Tales of the Crypt here too.
The idea for these opening and closing segments came from my second book’s story, “Grandmother's Footsteps”, which, sadly, never got an episode of its own until the series finale in ‘97. In each episode, a neurotic, 7 (Then 8, 9 and 10)-year-Old Kid named Justin, played by Blake Foster, would be read a bedtime story every Saturday night (or afternoon as the case may be) by his “loving”, Granny Grizzelda (my idea), played by the legendary Rosemary Harris. Every episode would end with the traumatized kid screaming into the night, condemned to this pattern for the rest of his childhood, or until the series ended. Whichever came first.
I mean I'm not massively knowledgeable on the OTL series, but compared to the stop motion opening there this sounds rather lame. Not bad, but can it top this?
probably also true for a number of households. But Saban had also managed to get us hooked up with Mattel for promotional toys. Soon, action figures of the Beast Nannies, The Spaghetti Man, The Barber of Civil, The Giant Litter Bug, The Goblins, The Demon TV and The Childhood Snatcher would be flying off the shelves of every Toys R Us. Entertainer, etc.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Saban show without lots of merchandise.
introduction of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman's Gothic, B-Movie homaging, Goosebumps cartoon in 1995.
Tim Burton did it again, he can't get enough of b-movie terror.

Wonder if this version of Goosebumps takes inspiration from old anthology horror series like the Elvira stuff?

Like maybe it's presented as a parody of these old horror host centric programs with maybe RL Stein or someone else (Vincent Price maybe) introducing the stories and making ghoulish jokes.

Great chapter @Igeo654 not bad for your first guest post.
 
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