The Rifleman "Hostages to Fortune": This Season 5 installment opens with Halloween action but doesn't really longer on it. Mark and his friends are out "Halloweenin'" (I like the away Lucas says that) and doing some mild mischief that causes mild ruckus, like cattle getting spooked and going astray. Mark gets a talking-to, but the real story is when he meets an erudite English bookstore owner and his son Percy and befriends them.
The Halloweenin' comes back in the sense that when rustlers actually steal cattle, townsfolk wonder if Mark is involved. However, the heart of the story is the bond Mark has with the new town intellectual, who is starting a ranch of his own. Lucas' jealousy is evident and also called out, though Mark tries to assure his pa that the other guy doesn't know the first thing about ranching. Lucas feels a little down due to his lack of reading (except the Bible), and it's refreshing, really.
The saga plays out in simple, clear, and honest fashion. No, there isn't a lot of Halloweenin' in this half-hour, but there is the good, soloid family Western drama you expect from The Rifleman. And some fights and gunplay, too!
Dennis the Menace "Haunted House." It's Season 3, and already Dennis seems a little too old for a Halloween episode, which is kind of sad. He and Tommy are peripheral characters in this one, roaming the house that Henry and George (I love how Henry always calls him "Mr. Wilson") buy for investment purposes.
The house is supposedly haunted, and shady realtor Harvey Korman (!) is really proud of himself for unloading it on the two "boobs." When the guys have second thoughts, the realtor and his mom (the real brains in the outfit) are not sympathetic. So they keep the place and try to prove it's not haunted by having a sleepover!
They deal with a host of weird noises and happenings, yet even though they know the kids are aware of the situation and actively looking for ghosts and playing all over the joint, it doesn't seem to occur to them they could be causing the anomalies. In fact, they aren't causing all of them! A lively guest spot by Harold Gould adds something to this episode.
More to come this week!