Before ALF, there was Bogg. Paul Fusco, most known for being the creator of ALF, bestowed this Halloween special upon the Showtime pay-TV audience in 1981. I call it a Halloween special because a) it happens to take place at the same time Halloween occurs and b) that’s how Showtime pitched it to viewers. Past that, there’s not much Halloween celebration to be had.
The special begins in the underground kingdom of Bogg, where a transfer of power is taking place from current-king Mildew to his son Milo. Milo’s hesitant to accept the responsibility of power. Around that same moment, Mildew’s brother (of a completely different species?) Vandal appears to present his son Vandred’s challenge for the crown.
Three extra-goofy wise-men are called to arbitrate. They decree that whoever can retrieve the Crown of Bogg from the overworld will prove themselves the rightful king. Mildew and Milo set off on their journey with Vandal and Vandred not far behind.
The rest of the special is pretty straightforward. Mildew and Milo make progress while Vandal and Vandred try to set traps or otherwise thwart said progress. The crown is on display in a museum that’s having a Halloween party, which gives the rest of the special a convenient Halloween background. Mildew and Milo meet some children, and eventually find the crown.
A museum employee recognizes Mildew and Milo as the underworld creatures that they are, faints, then comes back to consciousness and helps them understand the curse of the crown. Essentially, the crown can only be touched on Halloween (?), otherwise turning anyone who touches it to stone – as evidenced by the myraid stone ancestors that the Boggs suddenly notice around them. Also Vandal and Vandred are there and all of a sudden everyone has magic and also there’s a battle for the crown. It’s kind of a mess.
Mildred and Milo “cleverly” catapult the crown so that it touches Vandal and Vandred, turning them to stone. They then return to the Kingdom of Bogg victorious.
All in all, a pretty rough special. There’s some charm to be had there and the puppet designs are nice but the sets are bland and listless, the human actors are pretty flat, and the premise is pretty strained. This effort is illustrative of the difference between Showtime and HBO in the early 1980s in a nutshell. People paid a premium to see stuff like this?
Maybe I’m just grumpy. Take a look and let me know what you think.