Today is Friday the 13th, a day famous for being associated with superstition. Like other cultural aspects, it’s been referenced in cartoons on occasion, both the original day itself (as a source of bad luck) and the various “Friday the 13th” slasher films of the 80s. Thus, I thought I’d take a look at some cartoon references for both…
The Fairly OddParents
In the episode “That Old Black Magic,” Friday the 13th is the day that the evil “Anti-Fairies” can escape to Earth; once there, they run amok causing much bad luck for humans, to whom they’re invisible. Later episodes have the fairy leader Jorgen von Strangle render the Anti-Fairies visible to humans, while the Anti-Fairies (led by the intelligent Anti-Cosmo) become recurring villains in the series.
Produced late in the Famous run, the 1956 Famous Studios short “I Don’t Scare” sees Bluto try to take advantage of Olive’s superstitious nature by tricking her into thinking it’s Friday the 13th (a day early). According to Wikipedia and other online sources, this cartoon’s in the public domain in the United States, and is available on YouTube. It’s also a short where Popeye doesn’t eat spinach, but still beats up Bluto in the end anyway.
An early 80s strip has Garfield refuse to get out of bed on Monday the 13th.
The 1990 short “Box-Office Bunny” has a theater showing a horror film with a Jason-like killer.
This 2000 direct-to-video animated film features the classic movie monsters Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Frankenstein Monster now semi-retired, and forced to prove they’re still “true monsters” in the wake of more modern monsters that try to replace them: the Alien from the “Aliens” movies, a female version of Chucky, and a spaghetti-like monster that’s a mix of Freddy Krueger and Jason. And yes, the famous “Monster Mash” song is played.
The first “Treehouse of Horror” special has this exchange, after Lisa finishes reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” to an unimpressed Bart:
Bart: Lisa, that wasn’t scary. Not even for a poem.
Lisa: Well, it was written in 1845. Maybe people were easier to scare back then.
Bart: Oh, yeah. Like when you look at “Friday the 13th, Part 1.” Pretty tame by today’s standards.
Jason also appears in a few later “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, including the couch gag. Also appearing is fellow 80s horror icon Freddy Krueger.
Tiny Toon Adventures
An escape lunatic killer menaces Plucky, Buster, and Babs through the later half of the film “How I Spent My Vacation.” The killer partially parodies Jason while trying to (unsuccessfully) kill the rabbits and duck.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood/Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
An odd point to end on, given the above, but it still fits. In the classic PBS children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the stern but benevolent King Friday XIII rules over the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. King Friday’s wife is Queen Sarah Saturday, while their son is Prince Tuesday.
The calendar-themed royal family also appear in the spinoff “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” a series that debuted on PBS in 2012. Basically “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: The Next Generation,” the series focuses on the children, nieces, nephews, etc. of the original cast. Along with a teenage/young adult Prince Tuesday, the King and Queen now have another young child, Prince Wednesday. The original series is live-action, with the Make-Believe characters largely puppets. However, the new series uses CGI.