A Golden Girl and the guy who played ALF made a totally Eighties Halloween special

The Wickedest Witch aired just once in 1989.


There may have been no better actress to play a wicked witch on television in 1989 than Rue McClanahan. The then-55-year-old star had been stealing scenes throughout the decade as Fran Crowley on Mama's Family and Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls. The former may have been an uptight spinster and the latter a man-hungry widow, but McClanahan played both characters with the same glamorous, self-centered panache. 

Avarissa, the titular conjurer of The Wickedest Witch, oozes a lot of the same personality tics as Fran and Blanche. It's even more impressive, considering she was working largely with puppets.

"Good. Evil. Bingo," NBC teased in its newspaper ads for the October 30th, 1989, special. "A devilishly funny new Halloween special from the producers of ALF." It aired just that one evening, at 8:30PM, before being cast into the cauldron of time. The half-hour family tale has never seen release on VHS or DVD. Not even Laserdisc.

Paul Fusco produced the special. You may not recognize the name, but you certainly know his work. And his voice. He is the creator and puppeteer of ALF. The alien sitcom had just entered its fourth and final season when The Wickedest Witch aired. The puppet mannerisms of ALF are evident in Ersatz, the main gargoyle-like creature dubbed a "Greevil."

NBCALF creator Paul Fusco was the hand behind (er, inside) this Greevil

Avarissa lords over the subterranean realm of the Greevils — which included running the Bingo game played by the green Greevils. She also consults a mystical, wise floating head in a vending machine named "Schtick."

The Golden Girl and ALF handler are not the only television icons involved here. A familiar voice narrates the story, one that sounds remarkably like the Penguin. That's right — it's none other than Burgess Meredith, in one of his final roles. 

"So don't be surprised if some Halloween night a strange glow fills your room and a Greevil comes to take you away," Meredith says with a laugh at the end. "Well, be surprised. I mean, it's not very likely."

About as likely as this special airing again. It remains a relic of the Eighties. Right down to its "air slap-bass" scene.

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Snickers 32 months ago
Don't even remember ever seeing this special.
Chad123 41 months ago
The special won its timeslot and ranked 35th out of 91 shows in the Nielsen Ratings that week, with a 13.9 rating and a 21 share, equivalent to 12.8 million households; each ratings point was 921,000 households during the 1989-90 season.
Mato1970 44 months ago
You can find it on YouTube. https://youtu.be/7RCoRFNsm9I
AlabamaWildman 44 months ago
I have this on a VCR tape and we watch it every few years!!
BustaNutter1 44 months ago
Funny how the networks bannish some shows forever, but haul out the same holiday trite year after year. Still waiting to see The House Without A Christmas Tree again, and Bad Ronald would be a great Halloween movie.
gracie200 44 months ago
I found this program and watched it. It was definitely a bit hokey but no worse than half the other silly stuff that has been televised over the years. If you want to check it out just Google youtube video: the Wickedest Witch and it will take about 22 minutes to watch.....enjoy.
Dario gracie200 44 months ago
Thanks for the heads up, Gracie! 😀
How come your avatar {little picture} didn't download? What country is the flag from, pictured w/U.S. flag? Argentina?
Yes, it's Argentina. That's strange that you couldn't see my avatar at your end, since I can see it quite fine. 😐
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