#2 in the countdown of my top 5 episodes is one only one that doesn’t come from season 1, instead it comes all the way from…season 2. Your links:
We’ve got a Kiki story tonight, and it’s about hide and seek. Evil hide and seek I presume. She tosses some cumin on the fire and begins. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, she calls this story…
We meet Jack and Kenny Harris, who just moved to a new neighborhood. Being that they have no friends, they spend their time squirting each other with water guns.
This appears to be their lucky day however, as this kid and his biker gang show up and would like to make friends with the boys.
Jack however, is too busy being a tommy toughnuts. First he asks the kid what he wants and then is response to the question of where they moved from, he says “East side! Toughest neighborhood in the city” Badboy for life, big up to Brooklyn. Anyways, the boy who still hasn’t introduced himself invites them to play hide and seek later that night down the road. Jack and Kenny reluctantly accept after the boy suggests they might be too scared. Why might they be to scared? Because they’re playing in a cemetery.
Jack and Kenny enter, but can’t find anyone. This of course sets up for nameless boy to scare them. He announces that they have to restart the game because they were convinced Jack and Kenny wouldn’t show. He hollers “Olly olly oxen free” and kids start popping out from behind tombstones like it’s the Thriller video.
Nameless boy introduces all the kids, by their full names oddly. Sissy Vernon is the only one worth mentioning, as she’s the tough chick of the group. She’s also the keeper of the legend of Old Man Corcoran. Corcoran used to be a groundskeeper in the cemetery. He’d walk around the cemetery at night to make sure no one was trespassing, and if no one was, he’d spend the night in his shack, playing his harmonica. They say he was crazy and one night he caught a kid stealing from his shack and chopped his hand off. He was buried alive one day when the grave he was digging caved in on him. Of course some say he still walks the cemetery, searching for trespassers.
And with that, the game begins. Jack and Kenny head off together and come upon an empty grave. While they’re discussing whether or not to hide in it, they hear the sounds of a harmonica off in the distance.
They decide to go investigate, convinced it’s one of the other kids trying to scare them. They venture through the woods a bit until they stumble upon a shack.
They wait to scare whoever is playing the harmonica, but no one ever appears, so they give up and head back into the cemetery. On their way back to base however, they run into this fine looking fellow.
They run screaming out of the cemetery and presumably all the way home. You went out of bounds boys, you lose. The next day they’re cleaning their garage when the gang of kids shows up again. Once again they invite the play, not believing that they really saw Old Man Corcoran. Jack and Kenny initially don’t want to play, but after some teasing, they cave and agree to join in. Ah, peer pressure.
Jack and Kenny are declared it for leaving the game early last time. They’re allowed to be it together because everyone thinks they’re chicken. These kids are kind of dicks. Jack and Kenny search is futile, as the only person they spot disappears after a strangely thick fog blows through out of nowhere.
The boys hear the harmonica again, and Jack decides that they’re going to go and steal it as proof of his existence. These guys are really, really bad at hide and seek. They sneak up to the shack and hide behind a stump, and somehow Old Man Corcoran doesn’t see them.
Kenny leaves to go and get the others so they can just show them that Corcoran exists. Jack however decides it be a much better idea to break into the shack and steal the harmonica. You can take a boy out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the boy. Jack breaks in and can’t find the harmonica, but he does run into Kenny, who got too scared and came back. Along the way, he found the harmonica. Jack is thrilled and they go to leave, but they can’t forget their flashlight. Problem being, Jack isn’t carrying it, and neither is Kenny. Who is?
They scream and run away once again, but this time along the way, they fall into an open grave. They find Sissy inside of it, and boy she is pissed off that they’ve arrived. She kicks them out and after Kenny says “sorry, didn’t see your name on it” she replies “Look a little closer next time.”
They continue on and this time they run into the nameless boy, also hiding in an open grave. He doesn’t care about the Old Man Corcoran story, and urges Kenny and Jack to hide with him in the grave. Shockingly they decline the offer.
Jack and Kenny’s luck gets worse, as they turn around and run right into Old Man Corcoran again. This time he’s in more of a talking mood, and after he gets his harmonica back, he asks what Jack and Kenny are doing. They explain that they’re playing hide and seek, and name off the kids they’re playing with. Corcoran says that’s not every funny, because all those kids are dead, and he dug the graves himself.
That might be the best ending in AYAOTD history, which is why it’s so high on the list. In case you missed it, the kids they’re playing with are all dead. First of all, that’s surprisingly disturbing for a kid’s tv show and secondly, it’s only subtly hinted at the entire episode so the twist really comes out of nowhere. It’s a nice bait and switch, made even more effective by the fact that Corcoran looks like a corpse every time you see him, so it’s totally believable that he’d be the dead guy. It’s just a nice little ghost story, it’s quick, simple and effective, and one of the series best. Now, if I have one problem with the episode, it’s the Midnight Society meeting in the beginning. Go back and watch it, ask yourself this: Where the hell is Gary? If he’s there and I missed him, feel free to point it out.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the grand finale of my review project, my #1 favorite episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I’d like to send out a big thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to read this stuff so far, but you won’t get a full amount of praise from me until tomorrow.