Tag Archives: Kenny Ortega

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


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! SYFI Wire KATHY NAJIMY SHARES THE SECRETS OF HOCUS POCUS TO CELEBRATE ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY Contributed by Kristy Puchko Jul 23, 2018
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch

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.” 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

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hocus Pocus TV Tropes And Trivia

TV Tropes Hocus Pocus TV Tropes And Trivia The Tropers 7-19-2018 Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Hocus Pocus A 1993 Halloween-themed Disney 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. Midler claimed in a 2014 interview that she, Parker, and Najimy would be interested in playing the roles again if the producers asked. In 2015, she confirmed it was not going to happen. 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. While a 1994 side-scrolling platformer by the same name also exists, they don’t have any connection to each other. Also unrelated is Kurt Vonnegut‘s 1991 novel of the same name.

This film provides examples of:

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, 

which is what Thackery eats as a cat ...  Read More

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Monday, July 16, 2018

HOCUS POCUS Original Writer Wants To Return For The Sequel

Disney Film Facts HOCUS POCUS Original Writer Wants To Return For The Sequel By Skyler Shuler Jul 13, 2018 Bette Midler - Winifred Sanderson Hocus Pocus might not have enjoyed any critical or commercial success when it was first released by Disney in 1993, however the comedy horror fantasy movie by Kenny Ortega gained quite a name of the years, and now the film has a passionate following. Last year, word began circulating online that Disney was going to make a TV movie based on the original Hocus Pocus. Though there haven’t been any updates regarding the project for a while, original Hocus Pocus co-writer Mick Garris hasn’t at all forgotten about the film, telling ComicBook.com that he’d still like to work on a follow-up movie for Disney.

I would love to. It was a thing of the past, but it was not a bad experience,” Garris said during an interview with the publication. “It’s not unusual for studios to go through other writers. They did 11 other writers after me, and the first movie didn’t get made until eight years after I had worked on it. But it ended up, even with all those writers, going back to the basic structure that I had done originally, which is why I’ve got three credits on the movie. But yeah, they are going to do a re-imagining of it with none of the original cast. They’re doing it for Freeform, I believe. They are developing the script now. I’ve talked to David Kirschner, the producer, who I like a lot, about it, and if there’s a way I can be involved I would love to. ...  Read More

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Get Your Hocus Pocus Funko Pops – They’re Finally Here!

Hipster Zombie Joint Hocus Pocus Funko Pops Are Coming! July 13, 2018



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Friday, May 25, 2018

LISTS 10 Best Bette Midler Movies and TV Shows

The Cinemaholic LISTS: 10 Best Bette Midler Movies and TV Shows By Team Cinemaholic 6 May 21, 2018   bette midler, wet Bette Midler is an American songwriter, singer, comedian, film producer and actress. Following a career that revolved around several Off-Off-Broadway shows, she rose to prominence as a singer and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Bette Midler boasts of a career that spans half a century and has won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards. Here’s the list of top Bette Midler movies.  

10. Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Outrageous Fortune is about a man with two women in his life who disappears and they go out looking for him. Directed by Arthur Hiller, it also stars Shelley Long and Robert Prosky.  

9. Down and out in Beverly Hills (1986)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills is about a homeless man who tries to drown himself in the pool of a rich couple who save him and welcome him in their house. The film is directed by Paul Mazursky and also Nick Nolte and Little Richard.

8. For the Boys (1991)

A US entertainer, with the help of a singer and dancer, tours to entertain the soldiers during World War II. For the Boys is directed by Mark Rydell and also casts James Caan and George Segal.   7. The First Wives Club (1996) Reunited due to the death of a friend, three women decide to revenge their husbands who dumped them for younger women. Directed by Hugh Wilson, The First Wives Club also stars Goldie Hawn and Maggie Smith.  

6. Big Business (1988)

Two sets of twins are born in a hospital on the same night to two different families and get mixed up due to a drunk nurse. Big Business is directed by Jim Abrahams and also stars Lily Tomlin and Fred Ward.  

5. The Thorn (1971)

The Thorn is a religious comic satire. It is directed by Peter McWilliams and also stars John Bassberger and John Greenberg.  

4. Beaches (1998)

The strong friendship between two people coming from very different backgrounds. Beaches is directed by Garry Marshall and also stars Barbara Hershey and John Heard.  

3. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat try to put an end to the terror of three witches, who have resurrected after 300 years. Hocus Pocus is directed by Kenny Ortega and also stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.

2. Ruthless People (1986)

A businessman cheats and a couple and the couple takes the revenge by kidnappinghis wife, but they don’t know that he is happy they did so. Also starring Danny DeVito and Judge Reinhold, Ruthless People is directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker.

1. The Rose (1979)

A female rock star, whose manager is ruthless and pressurizes her constantly, destructs her life with drugs and alcohol. Directed by Mark Rydell, The Rose also stars Alan Bates and Frederic Forrest.
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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hocus Pocus star Doug Jones thinks a remake is “so unnecessary”

Digital Spy Hocus Pocus star Doug Jones thinks a remake is “so unnecessary” BY TOM CHAPMAN 6 DECEMBER 2017

While fans of ’90s nostalgia can’t wait for another outing of Hocus Pocus, it seems that one of the original movie’s stars isn’t quite so keen.

After playing shuffling zombie Billy Butcherson in Kenny Ortega’s Halloween classic, actor Doug Jones has jumped on the anti-Hocus Pocus bandwagon.

As for the chances of the 57-year-old reprising his role as Billy, don’t count on it. Speaking to TooFab, Jones has slammed the idea of Disney’s TV remake. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Hocus Pocus ©  DISNEY

“The idea of a reboot is like, I hope that was a misprint and I hope they’re talking about the sequel that we were talking about before,” complained Jones. “I hope someone got that wrong,” ...  Read More

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

BetteBack July 25, 1993: Midler casts spell in movie

Cumberland Sunday Tlmes Midler casts spell in movie By James Pallot July 25, 1993 1538542_1542835392613220_1653645232_n HOCUS POCUS (PG) I suppose it’s appropriate that, in a movie about witches brought back from the dead after 300 years, most of the characters, plot lines and gags feel like they’re also enjoying a second lease on life. Like “Th e Witche s of Eastwick,” “Hocus Pocus” offers us three New England women with a taste for all things devilish. Winifred (Bette Midler) looks and sounds a lot like, well, Bette Midler in a witch’s frock; Mary (Kathy Najimy) is highly reminiscent of the character Najimy played in “Sister Act,” only dressed in a witch’s frock ; and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) is your basic boy-crazy, buxom blonde, clad in a low-cut witch’s frock. These three have a reasonable amount of fun hamming their way through a potluck plot that involves a spellDOok bound in human skin (think “Evil Dead“); a potion that would grant the witches eternal life (think “Death Becomes Her“); and a group of enterprising kids who must save the entire town from the forces of evil (think “TheGoonies”). Apart from the youngest child, Dani, played by the exceptionally precocious Thora Birch, the kids are pretty charmless. But “Hocus Pocus’ remains entertaining thanks to a liberal sprinkling of jokes andthe sheer energy of Ms. Midler and her cohorts. Though it may not put a spell on you, there’s enough in the pot to keep things at a steady comic simmer.
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Friday, December 25, 2015

BetteBack July 16, 1993: Roger Ebert – “Hocus Pocus” is a film desperately in need of self-discipline

Roger EbertHocus Pocus” is a film desperately in need of self-discipline. July 16, 1993 050b1b3f5e56739e0b25e73d1522b594   It’s one of those projects where you imagine everyone laughing and applauding each other after every scene, because they’re so convinced they’re wild and crazy guys. But watching the movie is like attending a party you weren’t invited to, and where you don’t know anybody, and they’re all in on a joke but won’t explain it to you. The plot involves three witches who are hanged in Salem, Mass., 300 years ago, and their bodies are placed under a curse. At the same time, under conditions too bothersome to explain, a young boy is turned into an immortal cat. Flash forward 300 years, as the witches are resurrected at Halloween time in present-day America, and the cat is still hanging around, and modern characters including cute little Dani (Thora Birch) and Max (Omri Katz) become targets of the witches’ wrath. The movie is filled with special effects, lots of them, as the witches fly around on brooms and vacuum cleaners, and the cat develops the ability to speak. But the effects, the characters and the plot are all tossed into a confusing cauldron in which there is great activity but little progress, and a lot of hysterical shrieking. The witches are led by Bette Midler, who knows a good line of dialogue when she hears one, and must have suspected that she wasn’t hearing many from this screenplay, because she goes into her hyper mode and tries to use noise as a substitute for acting. Her sidekicks, played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, are more fortunate, in that they are given less to do. A story like this requires some kind of structure. Some sort of clean-cut goals to be won and fates to be avoided. Watching “Hocus Pocus,” I had no doubt that the filmmakers had talked their way through the plot to their own satisfaction, without stopping to ask if it could be followed by an audience. This is the kind of movie where the characters keep reciting the rules and reminding each other of their supernatural realities, shrieking in alarm while we stare indifferently at the screen. Of the film’s many problems, the greatest may be that all three witches are thoroughly unpleasant. They don’t have personalities; they have behavior patterns and decibel levels. A good movie inspires the audience to subconsciously ask, “Give me more!” The witches in this one inspired my silent cry, “Get me out of here!”
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BetteBack Friday, July 16, 1993: `Hocus Pocus’ Filled With Zany Magic

Seattle Times `Hocus Pocus‘ Filled With Zany Magic Friday, July 16, 1993 – Page updated at 12:00 AM By Jeff Shannon Movie review 12132830_105836559774743_602758886_n “Hocus Pocus,” with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch and Vinessa Shaw. Directed by Kenny Ortega, from a screenplay by Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert. Broadway Market, Kirkland Parkplace, Grand, SeaTac 12. “PG” – Parental guidance suggested because of some mature humor. “It will either work or be a total bomb. I play a weird half-wit, a psychotic Lolita witch. She’s dumb – oh man, is she dumb.” So confesses Sarah Jessica Parker about her role in “Hocus Pocus,” playing Sarah, the youngest of the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches executed in Salem, Mass., in 1693. Sporting beaver teeth and a blazing fright wig, Bette Midler plays lead sister Winifred, who frequently forgets the wording of her incantations, and Kathy Najimy (the plump nun in “Sister Act”) is Mary, who’s got a strong nose for sniffing out little children so she and her sisters can drain the life from them to preserve their fading beauty. Parker assessed the film correctly. “Hocus Pocus” demands your willingness to buy into its rampant lunacy or write it off completely. If you go with its flow, the payoff in laughs can be considerable. It’s a film that begs for director Tim Burton, but on the rebound from the drubbing of “Newsies,” Kenny Ortega has directed the summer’s best no-brainer. Silly without being stupid, and constantly flirting with the giddiness of brilliant improvisation, “Hocus Pocus” is easy to enjoy because everyone onscreen is obviously having a splendid time. I lost all resistance when Midler broke into a campy rendition of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” with Parker and Najimy backing her as singing Witchettes. By that time it’s Halloween night of 1993, and according to legend, if a virgin enters the Sandersons’ haunted house and lights the candle of black flame on Halloween, the witches will rise from the grave and resume harvesting children. The catch is, they’ve only got until dawn to do the job or they’ll turn into dust. Max (Omri Katz) is the reckless virgin who lights the candle, and so with the help of his new girlfriend Allison (Vinessa Shaw) and kid sister Dani (the precociously funny Thora Birch), he grabs the witches’ spell book and sets out to foil their night of fright. Joining them is a talking cat named Binx (played by a real cat with wonderful computer-animated expressions), who is actually a boy from old Salem awaiting his release from Winifred’s 300-year-old spell. But then, the details hardly matter. The fun of “Hocus Pocus” comes not from its carefree plot, but from the way Ortega, Midler & Co. have used it as a springboard for zaniness, without slowing the story. Some will justifiably argue that the film lacks the purity of such similar Disney classics as “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” while co-opting the studio’s finest resources for astounding set design and special effects. And with Midler involved, the one-liners are occasionally less than innocent. But “Hocus Pocus” remains a delightful family comedy, spooky but never scary as it romps its merry way through the graveyard. Here’s hoping it doesn’t bomb.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BetteBack July 16, 1993: Hocus Pocus – Don’t Waste Your Money

Madison Wisconsin State Journal Don’t waste your money July 16, 1993 By Russell Evansen INF-00498781 - © - Archiv Friedrich If someone told you about a movie whose plot is to kill all the children in a small town and featured a public hanging, a backfrom-the-dead zombie who loses several body parts, and a cat who gets squashed by a truck and close to a dozen jokes about a teen-ager’s status as a virgin, you might think it was the latest R-rated Stephen King adaptation. But guess what? All of the above ingredients are on display in “Hocus Pocus” — the newest “family comedy” from Walt Disney. The fact that “Hocus Pocus” is an abysmal, no-laughs comedy is bad enough. But that it was made by people who seemingly have no idea what truly constitutes family entertainment is shocking — given that it comes from the one studio most closely associated with children’s fare. “Hocus Pocus” tells the story of three witches in 17th century Salem who have devised a potion that lets them suck the youth out of children to keep themselves immortal. When the Salem townsfolk catch them in the act of stealing a young girl’s life, the witches are summarily hanged. Flash forward 300 years to present-day Salem, where Max, a teenager newly arrived from California, is having the usual adjustment problems — bullies taunting him, teachers singling him out in school, etc. It’s Halloween, and the whole town is pulling out the stops to celebrate its favorite holiday. Of course, Max doesn’t believe the stories about the Sanderson sisters and how they can be brought back to life if a virgin lights a special “black flame candle.” To impress a local beauty, Max lights the candle and, sure enough, the Sanderson sisters — Mary (Kathy Najimy), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Winnifred (Bette Midler) — return from the dead. The only catch: They have just one night to suck the life out of enough children to keep them alive forever. Directed by Kenny Ortega (“Newsies“) in a broad, loud manner, “Hocus Pocus” is the kind of comedy that tries to generate laughs by forcing its three leads to run around like the Three Stoogettes — rolling their eyes, punching and slapping one another and bumping into each other every time one of them comes to a sudden stop. Parents who take their children to “Hocus Pocus” are likely to be faced with a barrage of questions they’d rather not have to answer. (I heard at least five small voices asking for a definition of virgin.) They would be well advised to skip “Hocus Pocus” and instead head for the nearest theater showing “Snow White.”

  • Hocus Pocus Casts a Spell on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World!
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  • BetteBack July 11, 1993: An Interview With Kathy Najimy (Hocus Pocus)
  •  ...  Read More

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