By David Flynn
As long as television has had a presence in the USA, there have been Hallowe’en episodes of popular television series. Almost every series in every television season has celebrated Hallowe’en.
The long-running western tv series, Gunsmoke was only on its sixth episode in October 1955, when it had an eerie Hallowe’en story involving Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) trying to console the mother of a boy who was bullied by his peers. The boy claimed to have seen two people in the town, and that one of them had dropped out of the sky, which led to lives being lost.
Raymond Burr starred as America’s favourite defence lawyer on Perry Mason and in 1962 the legal series featured a Hallowe’en episode which guest-starred a future Oscar winning actress, Ellen Burstyn.
The episode involved the murder during Hallowe’en of a songwriter and blackmailer. Another songwriter, Damion played by David Hedison is accused of the murder, and his wife is played by Ellen Burstyn. Perry defends Damion and the fact that the murder was committed at Hallowe’en is a clue to the killer’s identity.
The father and son western drama series, The Rifleman, had a Hallowe’en episode in 1963.
Young Mark McCain (Johnny Crawford) and his friends were riding throughout the ranches in the territory doing Hallowe’en pranks. Unfortunately a group of cattle rustlers come up with the same idea, making sure the boys are blamed.
It puts Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) in an awkward position when he wonders if his son was caught up in the rustling.
The animated series, The Flintstones, was well into its fifth season in 1964 when it featured a Hallowe’en episode.
Fred Flintstone is left money and a mansion from his eccentric Uncle Giggles Flintstone, and to claim his inheritance he has to spend a night at the mansion. The uncle’s house staff will gain the inheritance if Fred dies in the process. A scary night ensued.
Also in 1964, two criminals didn’t know what hit them when they decided to hide out in another creepy mansion, which was owned by a family as creepy as their house. They were the spooky family that was featured on The Addams Family sitcom.
The criminals were believed to be Hallowe’en party people by the family, who were also celebrating Hallowe’en. However when they tried to take financial advantage of the Addams family, they were thwarted in their efforts.