Mister D: Ya’ll know I love Bette Midler. I’m ecstatic that one of her movies is a cultural phenomenon. And I do love Hocus Pocus! But I have articles out the ass of every aspect of this movie. What more can they tell us? OMG! And there are still articles to come! LOL My only wish is that we had this much information and more on all her movies. There are things I’m dying to know about each. Maybe we’ll have to be our own reporters. But everybody’s dying off, to put things bluntly, so I wish I could figure a way out to get some first-hand accounts. Maybe if we all put our heads together we could create a list of people to contact. Think about it. Leave comments, Now enjoy this fine Hocus Pocus article. Thank you!
KATHY NAJIMY SHARES THE SECRETS OF HOCUS POCUS TO CELEBRATE ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Contributed by Kristy Puchko
Jul 23, 2018
I tried to play it cool as my fingers drummed the index cards that contained too many questions about a cult-adored ’90s kids movie. I’d over-prepared as a means of trying to tame the butterflies in my stomach, which were doing an intense FANGRRL flutter. It’d been 25 years since Hocus Pocus hit theaters in the thick of a summer ruled by Jurassic Park and Free Willy. But I’d been in awe of comedienne Kathy Najimy for far longer. The special guest for an anniversary screening at Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Theater, Najimy entered the theater to the delight of star-struck fans and sat down with one of them (me!) to answer questions about the witchiest comedy ever made.
1993’s Hocus Pocus was a live-action Disney movie that starred Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters, the terrors of 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts. Though they’d been hanged for sucking the lives out of the town’s children, this tricky trio vowed to return when a virgin dared to light the Black Flame candle on Halloween. 300 years later, a skeptical virgin named Max (Omri Katz) does just that, bringing Winifred, Mary, and Sarah back to life for one wild night of high-flying thrills and running amok amok amok!
Singing nun by day, feminist comic by night
The year before Hocus Pocus hit theaters, Najimy broke through with her scene-stealing role as the contagiously joyful nun in the Whoopi Goldberg smash-hit Sister Act. She regaled the Alamo audience with her journey from a San Fran stage to mainstream movie stardom. “I did a two-woman feminist comedy called Kathy and Mo Show for many years,” she began.
“We did it in San Francisco. And I heard that they were doing a musical called Sister Act about singing nuns. So I would do Kathy and Mo in San Francisco’s Theater on the Square at night, wake up, and fly to LA and audition (the next day). And I had to audition five times for Sister Act. Then, right as we wrapped Sister Act, I got a call that was crazy.”
A fangrrl’s dream come true
“My whole life, I had been a really sycophantic fan of Bette Midler’s,” Najimy said, continuing her tale. “I had broken in backstage on Broadway, in Los Angeles, into the theater. I had done a singing telegram to her from somebody else that was really from me. I had gotten into the gate in her New York apartment building and left a message for her housekeeper. I had done crazy things. I have a one-woman show, and the first 30 minutes of it is my relationship with Bette before she knew that she had a relationship with me.”
“So then, I get the call from Jeffery Katzenberg, who ran Disney at the time, ” Najimy explained. “And he said, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t know if you’re available, but do you want to star in a movie called Hocus Pocus, playing Bette Midler’s sister?’ So they picked me up off the ground and mailed me to Los Angeles.”
Najimy’s singing telegram stunt may have inspired Midler’s Beaches role.
“Here’s the best part to that story,” Najjimy said, leaning in conspiratorially, “When I was in San Diego, I was a singing telegram person. And I (dressed as) a big furry bunny, because my boyfriend had designed Alice in Wonderland at some college…I had barged in backstage at some theater to get to see Bette, saying, ‘Singing telegram! Live wire singing telegrams. I have a singing telegram for Bette Midler.’ But it was really just from me.”
“So anyway, I had done this singing telegram to her. (Years later), we go to see Beaches,” she said, “And in it, Bette plays an actress who makes a living as this big, white, furry singing telegram bunny. And that was me! She like inadvertently stole that from me. But that was before we really had met. That was really crazy.”
When they met on Hocus Pocus, Midler didn’t recognize Najimy as the eager fan or the singing telegram bunny. “She didn’t know any of that,” Najimy said. “When I arrived, I was just an actress.” But she couldn’t contain her inner fangrrl. (Who among us?) “Slowly on the set, I’d say things like, ‘Oh my god, those boots. You wore those boots in 1979 in Chicago when you did the concert at the something.’ She was like, ‘Oh, OK, great.’ I’d go into her trailer—we’d go back and forth, Sarah and Bette and I, into each other’s trailers—and I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, that’s your little dog Pepe that you had backstage once in Canada in 1942. And slowly she started realizing that her co-star sister was her stalker.” But over the course of the six months it took to make Hocus Pocus, Midler, Najimy, and Parker grew to become friends.
Mary’s crooked mouth and signature hairdo were Najimy’s ideas.
Lovable and loony, Mary Sanderson’s look is a red dress complete with slanted smile and a hairstyle that looks like a witch’s hat, minus the brim. Najimy corrected the latter misconception, telling us, “The costume designer (Mary E. Vogt) was brilliant but then we were talking about wigs and we couldn’t really decide. And I said how about if her wig is the top of a pumpkin? Like the stem.” So, Mary’s style inspiration for her twisted ‘do is a Jack-o-lantern. As for that quirky smirk, that was something Najimy discovered in rehearsals.
“The characters (in my previous films) came kind of easy, and I was struggling with Hocus Pocus. Then one day in rehearsal I just sort of went to the side,” she said demonstrating, “And we decided she was a like bloodhound, so this sort of sniffy thing sort of happened (as she hunts down the children).”
The film’s choreographer helped the Sanderson Sisters to fly their own way.
Najimy noted that director Kenny Ortega had a background as a choreographer, so the physicality of their performance was given a lot of attention. “You usually don’t rehearse much for a film,” Najimy explained. “You just rehearse that day. But we rehearsed for a month because there was flying and dancing and singing.” Hocus Pocus‘s choreographer Peggy Holmes didn’t just deal in the famous “I Put A Spell On You” dance number, she also instructed the witches on how to fly.
“(Peggy went) driving with Bette and Sarah and I, and from our driving she developed how we flew. So Sarah was like very front forward so she would hold it. [She demonstrates miming a broom held closely to her chest] I was like very 10-and-2 while I was driving, so she was like. ‘That’s how you’ll fly.'” From there, stunt coordinator Terry Frazee instructed the stars on how to handle the wire rigs and teeter rig that’d allow to swoop in on Max and his pesky sister Dani (Thora Birch).
Najimy worried the film might harm the reputation of witches.Read More
Hocus Pocus TV Tropes And Trivia
A 1993 Halloween-themedDisney film for “kids”. This was the second film directed by Kenny Ortega, previously known for Newsies (1993). Now considered a cult favorite, the film’s rather campy, but pretty entertaining. It does, after all, contain a memorable rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” by Bette Midler. The song “Come Little Children” from this film went on to become a Halloween classic.
The film opens in the year 1693. Thackery Binx (role shared by Sean Murray and Jason Marsden), a teenager living in Salem, Massachusetts, discovers his little sister Emily (Amanda Shepherd) has gone missing. Emily has been lured away to the farm of the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches—consisting of older sister/leader Winifred “Winnie” (Bette Midler), middle child/tracker Mary (Kathy Najimy) and little sister/siren-like predator Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) — who suck the life-forces of little children to prolong their lives; such is the fate suffered by Emily. Thackery attempts to save her, but the sisters transform him into an immortal black cat. The sisters are soon after captured by the townspeople and hanged. Before her death, Winnie pronounces her death-curse, that “on All Hallows’ Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground.”
The scene shifts to 1993. The Dennisons are a California family who have just moved to Salem, bringing along teenaged son Max (Omri Katz) and 8-year-old daughter Dani (Thora Birch). Max is a virgin. Halloween night, Max takes his sister trick-or-treating and gets to hang with new love interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw). Allison tells him of the legend of the Sanderson sisters and of a supposed way to revive them; Max laughs and tries it out, bringing the Sandersons back to life. Now the three kids and the immortal cat Binx have to face the witches throughout the night, with the lives of every kid in Salem at risk.
In 2015, The Magic Kingdom launched a Hocus Pocus themed musical revue as part of Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party: The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. In it, the Sanderson Sisters use the magic of the Magic Kingdom to return from the grave to throw a wild All Hallow’s Eve bash. While the sisters are Lighter and Softer than their film counterparts by necessity (having infanticidal witches at a Disney Theme Park wouldn’t exactly be ‘not-so scary’), the show is a loving tribute to the film, complete with a show stopping rendition of “I Put A Spell On You” as the finale.
555: Max gives Allison his number at school. The paper only has this on it. Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Max, Dani and Allison have to flee the witches and zombie Billy Butcherson by following Thackery into the sewers, which are filled with spiders and rats,
Mister D: Not sure what they mean by it showing everywhere. Also, Brandon and I saw a cover for a 25th-anniversary Blu-Ray DVD for Hocus Pocus, but I can’t find it listed on Amazon yet. Brandon said he heard that it would be released in September. I’ve seen dates as soon as July 31, 2018, so I don’t know why everything is so disorganized around this. But keep your eye out for it and I will too. As far as extras….think Disney…how kind have they been on extras? Throwing shade, girlfriends!
Celebrate 25 years of Hocus Pocus
By GamesRadar Staff
July 13, 2018
If you thought classic Halloween movie Hocus Pocus was released, well… during Halloween, then prepare for a shock. Despite the obvious All Hallows’ Eve theme of the 1993 film, it actually hit cinemas in July in the US before coming to the UK for a more appropriate October release. That means that this coming Monday is the 25th anniversary of Hocus Pocus and what better way to celebrate the cult classic than with an equally oddly timed mini Halloween movie marathon? (We all wish Halloween was more than once a year anyway!) Shut the blinds, block out the sun, and pretend it’s the time of ghouls and goblins and other things beginning with g, and sit back and rewatch Bette Midler do her thing in Hocus Pocus (“I put a spell on you!”). Then why not watch some other Halloween-themed movies like Trick ‘r’ Treat and, err… Halloween, while stuffing yourself with candy? Horror movies and chocolate? What more of a reason do you need? Lauren O’Callaghan
What: Hocus Pocus 25th anniversary When: July 16 Where: Everywhere
Bette Midler Just Won Halloween With Her Winifred Sanderson Costume From Hocus Pocus
BY KAREN MIZOGUCHI
POSTED ON OCTOBER 28, 2016 AT 11:34PM EDT
Photo: GARY GERSHOFF/WIREIMAGE
The witch is back.
Bette MidlerÂ answered fansâ€™ prayers on Friday when she dressed up as her belovedHocus Pocus character, Winifred Sanderson. The 70-year-old actress and singer scored major Halloween points with this throwback outfit, complete with curly heart-shapedÂ wig,Â buck teeth, long nails, and a lack of eyebrows.
Midler dug theÂ purple dress and embroidered green robe out of the archives for a good cause. She hosted her annualÂ Hulaween Party at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City to celebrate theÂ New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit that brings much-needed public green space to the stateâ€™sÂ five boroughs.
Earlier this month, Midlerâ€™s Hocus Pocuscostar Sarah Jessica Parker expressed her excitement about reuniting with her evil Salem witch sisters someday. â€œI would love that,â€ Parker said on Watch What Happens Liveabout filming a sequel to the 1993 Disney film. â€œI think weâ€™ve all been fairly vocal about being very keen but that hasnâ€™t created any ground swell of movement.â€
Bette Midler as The Rose (with Christy Labonte) – Christy presented Bette with a ‘model” book of BetteÂ illustrations by Scott Clarke which Bette loved! The book will be published soon.
However, Midler debunked the sequel rumorsin November 2015 when she shared, â€œAfter all these years and all the fan demand, I do believe I can stand and firmly say an unequivocal no.â€