I remember these Disney short features from when I was a kid, and they would show them on Wonderful World of Disney. I had the opportunity to show this to my own daughter tonight in lieu of a bedtime story (we’re between books at the moment), and was struck by just how wonderful the introduction to the setting was, and how applicable to an RPG setting. Bing Crosby’s absolutely stunning narration definitely helps.
“If we could but journey back to that remote period in American history when Manhattan was but a market town, we could discover in the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the shores of the Hudson, the little village of Tarrytown. And just beyond, nestled deep in the low, rolling hills, a sequestered glen. It’s a quiet, peaceful place, and yet, somehow… foreboding. For it abounds in haunted spots, twilight tales, and local superstitions. The best known story, however, concerns a certain itinerant schoolmaster who once frequented these parts. Indeed, some say his melancholy spirit still haunts the vicinity.”
Tell me that doesn’t sound like the intro text to one hell of an first-level module. A tiny hamlet within traveling distance of, but isolated from, a larger village. “Haunted spots… and local superstitions.” Oh, rumors abounding of… things… out in the woods that fill the rest of the Hollow just beyond the farmland. Enough to fill a hundred rumors to be found at Ye Olde Schnooker and Schnapps Shoppe– doubtless told in the form of tall tales told and retold over flagons of ale (“I once went out to the marsh beyond the brook, and let me tell you what I saw…”). And prominent figures like the Van Tassel family, the Sleepy Hollow Boys, and Brahm Bones.
And incidentally, the whole of Disney’s Bing Crosby version of the Headless Horseman is well worth watching. I dearly love the Johnny Depp film, but this will always hold a spot in my heart. Here’s the rest: