The New Misadventures of Ichabod Crane is a Halloween-themed Canadian animated TV special. It was made in 1979 by Titlecraft in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Company. It first aired in the United States in syndication.
The special features the characters Ichabod Crane and the ghostly Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". In spite of the special's title, it is more of a reimagining of the original short story than a sequel to it. In The New Misadventures of Ichabod Crane, the events of Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" do not appear to have taken place.
In The New Misadventures of Ichabod Crane, the people of the village of Sleepy Hollow are being terrorized by the Headless Horseman. The schoolmaster Ichabod Crane, who is known to have an interest in witches, goblins and things that go bump in the night, is sent to investigate.
The special's action takes place in early 19th century America. A stagecoach is traveling through the countryside near the village of Sleepy Hollow on a dark night. The ghostly Headless Horseman suddenly appears. The Horseman is dressed in red and black with a long cape. He is carrying a jack-o-lantern in one hand and a sword in the other. He is riding a black horse which can breathe fire. The Horseman attacks the stagecoach and steals a chest full of gold coins.
The following morning, the schoolteacher Ichabod Crane is walking though the streets of Sleepy Hollow while reading a book. The mayor sees Ichabod and tells him about the robbery which the Horseman carried out the night before. Several citizens of Sleepy Hollow then appear and start to complain about how they are being terrorized by the Headless Horseman. The mayor asks for a volunteer to deal with the Horseman. Nobody steps forward. The mayor then sees that the title of the book which Ichabod is reading is Witches, Goblins and Other Scary Stuff. The mayor declares that Ichabod Crane is the only man in the area who knows all about the supernatural and appoints him as the man to rid the village of the Headless Horseman.
The Headless Horseman is seen riding towards a small cabin on the top of a mountain. The Headless Horseman suddenly transforms into a witch on a broomstick. Talking to herself, the witch reveals that her name is Velma. She congratulates herself on her excellent Headless Horseman spell.
In the early evening, Ichabod Crane sets off in search of the Headless Horseman. He is mounted on a horse called Washington. He is accompanied by a dog named Wolf and by the famous Rip van Winkle who is serving as a guide. Not surprisingly, Rip van Winkle keeps falling asleep. Ichabod and his companions find the abandoned stagecoach. They notice that there is a trail of gold coins which leads away from the stagecoach and goes up a mountain. Rip van Winkle says that the mountain is called Wrung Neck Roost and that nobody who has ever gone up it has ever been seen or heard of again. In spite of the others' protests, Ichabod insists that they go up the mountain.
Skeletons in cages suddenly appear in front of Ichabod and his companions. A ghostly figure also briefly appears. Tombstones with the names of Ichabod Crane, Washington, Wolf and Rip van Winkle on them spring out of the ground. Ichabod and his companions come to a gorge without a bridge across it. A lightning bolt makes the edge of the cliff they are standing on crumble away, forcing them to jump to the other side of the gorge without any any way back. They see the cabin on top of the mountain and go towards it. Ichabod looks inside the window of the cabin. He sees a cat, a cauldron, other magical implements, a book of spells and a skull. He realizes that the cabin is the secret lair of the wicked witch Velma van Dam. Washington the horse says that the Headless Horseman is behind them. Ichabod, Washington and Wolf flee in terror from the Headless Horseman. Rip, who has fallen asleep in front of the cabin, remains.
The following morning, Ichabod tells Washington and Wolf that they have to go back to the cabin to rescue Rip. He says that they need a good plan. He gets an idea when Washington says that they could not just go up to the cabin and knock on the door.
Inside Velma van Dam's cabin, Rip van Winkle is chained up. He tells the witch that his friends will soon come and rescue him. She says that if they do, she will turn herself into the Headless Horseman by saying some words from her book of spells. Rip then falls asleep again. Velma decides that, since Rip likes to sleep so much, she will turn him into a possum.
There is a knock on the door. It is Ichabod Crane pretending to be a traveling salesman who is selling witchcraft supplies. He tempts Velma with an offer of cheap bat's blood. She goes to look at what he has in his wagon. Wolf then goes into the cabin. He laughs when he sees that Rip has been turned into a possum. The dog tries unsuccessfully to free Rip from his chains. Velma hears the noise Wolf makes and goes back inside the cabin. She realizes that she has been tricked. Ichabod and Washington go inside the cabin too. Rip tells Ichabod to get the witch's book of spells. Rip says that Velma uses the book to change herself into the Headless Horseman and that it might contain a spell which will make him human again.
Velma magically transforms herself into a dragon. In an attempt to turn Velma into something harmless, Ichabod reads a spell from the book which makes the dragon grow an extra head. When Ichabod reads the spell backwards, Velma becomes herself again. Ichabod, Rip, Wolf and Washington are then able to escape. Ichabod takes away Velma's book of spells and the chest of gold which she stole from the stagecoach. After trying several different spells from Velma's book, Ichabod eventually stumbles across one which makes the possum Rip van Winkle human again.
Without her spell book, Velma is unable to turn herself into the Headless Horseman. She is, however, able to cast other spells. She uses her magic to make all the scarecrows in the neighboring fields come alive. She orders them to attack Ichabod and his companions and to retrieve her book of spells. Ichabod reads a spell from Velma's book which turns him into the Headless Horseman. He attacks and destroys all of the scarecrows. After he has turned back into himself again, Ichabod says that Velma's book of spells might come in useful in the future. He says that if Velma ever tries to cause any more trouble, he can turn himself into the Headless Horseman and go after her.
Velma says that she will get her book of spells back from Ichabod. As the credits start to roll, the narrator asks if the Headless Horseman will ever return as either Velma the witch or Ichabod Crane.
- Ichabod Crane - Kreskin
- Washington - Pat Buttram
- Wolf - George Lindsey
- Rip van Winkle - Larry D. Mann
- Velma van Dam - Hazel Shermet