Make horrid scars and gashes.

4.14.2006

Martha Wentworth "Terror Tales by the Old Sea Hag" (Liberty, LST 7025, 1959)

Martha Wentworth had a long and varied acting career 'til her death in 1974, and she created the character of the Old Sea Hag specifically for this album (along with writer Robert P. Hamilton). The liner notes tell the story like this:

"...the Old Sea Hag, Mariah Halkins, [comes] from a combination of two unrelated and different personalities. One, a person of unknown age and origin, was encountered by Miss Wentworth on the Island of Nantucket in Massachusetts many years ago, the other was drawn from a study of William Shakespeare's immortal comedies. Her dedication to the plays and poetry of the incomparable bard prompted her to transpose many of his characters into the simpler terms of modern drama. The Old Sea Hag has now become a composite of all the electrifying eccentrics the world over... an ancient woman of the sea whose beginnings are relegated to the frothy oceans of conjecture."

Falling somewhere between an old radio drama and a one-woman show, the six stories here are heavily loaded with sound effects and are pretty evocative if not always overly terrifying. From "Mariah Halkins's" dedication on the cover:

" 'TERROR TALES!' is dedicated to all who seek a new thrill in entertainment... (And a new thrill in stereo sound). It is for all hosts and hostesses who seek a different pleasure for their guests... (And for themselves). It is dedicated to all persons whose bedrooms are inhabited by friendly ghosts... (And who can't sleep at night anyway). It is dedicated to the entertainment of people -- (To all who savor a frightening story uniquely told). 'TERROR TALES!', friend, is dedicated to you!!!"


Link Removed

27 Comments:

Anonymous Dinosaur said...

This one is terrific. You have such an incredible collection of old Halloween classics.

Do you also collect the old occult albums such as the ones found on http://halloweenvinyl2.cheapwebtricks.net/photo3.html ?

4/14/2006 8:27 PM

 
Blogger Dave said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 9:18 PM

 
Blogger Dr.Terror said...

Love it, Love it, Love it!!!

4/14/2006 11:12 PM

 
Anonymous steve said...

This one is hilariously spooky, it is so over-the-top. It has one of my all-time favorite Halloween album lines: ...soft, squidgy...like little bags of mush! With their sharp teeth and long snoots! Gotta love the mice from outer space. They're coming out of your record players!!! squeak squeak squeak!

4/15/2006 11:54 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one I've been wanting for some time! Thank you Jason!

Are you the same Jason who did the cover art for some re-mix compilations called "Spook Party" and "Ghoul-a-rama"? Those were fun, too.

Your work for "Something Weird" is distinctive.

Max the drunken severed head

4/15/2006 9:57 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had to post again-- just listened to this and I'm wild about it! This is one of the best spooky/Halloween records I've ever heard!

I'm laughing almost as maniacally as the Old Sea Hag herself!

Hers has to be one of the most over-the-top performances in history; her fruity theatrics make SCTV's "Count Floyd" look like "Dragnet"'s Jack Webb! Oh god, I can't stop laughing!

I used to work in a psychiatric ward, and Martha Wentworth as the Sea Hag sure reminds me of some of the more "interesting" patients there! Whatta trip!

Thanks again for sharing this.

Max the drunken severed head

4/15/2006 11:11 PM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Max: Yeah that was me; I made those two comps (both the art & all of the "audio design") based on the annual Halloween installments of my old radio show some years back, and they came out cool enough that I decided to send them around for free to people I thought would like them. Though they're bother at least 5 years old now (& I could currently do a lot better on some of the edits/ audio source quality) I'll probably post 'em here eventually, and maybe someday even finish the other two volumes that have all the songs planned out but not all of the samples & sound effects (that was the really time consuming part, getting all of those sound bites & junk to stitch together the whole thing into one big continuous stream of spookiness).

Heh. They were another example of my poor business sense though; I gave them away for free by the hundreds, and later found some guy had changed the credits on the back to make it look like he'd created them & was selling them on ebay for up to $50 each! Wotta creep. Oh, AND after I sent a pair of copies his way Rob Zombie (or more likely someone who does design for him) totally swiped the cover art to the "Ghoul-Arama" one & then used it for a big tour print/ flash ad campaign -- along with a whole bunch of the "sensational" ad copy I wrote! Though I've gotta be fair, much of that art was either partially lifted or heavily based on some old Spook Show stuff I have (just re-designed & all that crap) so I was more flattered than anything really. Mostly I just would've liked to get the gig myself 'cause having the source files I could have done a much cooler job. Ah well. (If I were telling you this stuff in person, this is where I usually segue into my story of being one of only like 15 people at a White Zombie show in Columbus OH back around '87 (it was the "Psycho-Head Blowout" era; they were great!), and how everyone kinda stopped paying attention to them while some gal took her clothes off in the back).

So uh, yeah -- that's me!

And glad you liked the Martha Wentworth record; it IS totally over-the-top. And hey, I'm a big fan of both SCTV AND Jack Webb (hell, even Webb's spoken-word Jazz poetry stuff!) so I can relate.

4/16/2006 6:08 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Dinosaur: Yeah, I have a few records along those lines On that page I think I've got Louise Huebner's "Seduction Through Witchcraft" (SO great), the UFO "encounters" album, Vincent Price's "Withchcraft" & only the cover for the "Rite of Exorcism" lp (the album inside was different!). In general though I guess they haven't fallen my way as often as the other more kiddie stuff has. Now when I was a kid myself I had a number of witchcraft, magic & UFO books though. For some reason I liked junk like Sybil Leek when I was 9 or 10 (but then again I DID grow up in the 70's.)

I love those Halloween vinyl pages though; that fellow has some great, great stuff.

4/16/2006 6:44 AM

 
Blogger Hellsbane said...

This is incredible! I'd never heard it before, but it's truly great -- and I don't know exactly why I think so! Maybe it's the character of the Old Sea Hag herself, 'cause the stories aren't really even stories -- they're more like an extended rant, interspersed with maniacal laughter.

Have you ever heard the old radio show, The Witch's Tale? The narrator is "old Nancy, witch of Salem, and Satan, her wise black cat". Poor Nancy had a birthday every time her show came on, and could never keep straight how old she was; for instance, there was a two-part story, The Flying Dutchman, and from one week to the next she aged six years!

4/16/2006 11:36 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Yeah, I really love old radio shows & The Witch's Tale is extra good, especially seeing as how that show in particular (more than Suspense, Inner Sanctum, etc) was the direct inspiration for the horror hosts of the EC comic line. I've never picked up that book of Witch's Tale scripts that's out there though, but it sounds cool.

By the way, some other (non-horror) OTR shows I listen to frequently are Vic & Sade, Lum & Abner, Dragnet but there are many, many more. I love that stuff.

4/16/2006 12:19 PM

 
Blogger MonsterWax said...

Thanks for posting this one, Jason.

Remember listening to stuff like this on your portable turntable? I remember some of the newer ones had the automatic replay feature, but the more broken in they got, you never knew whether it would replay or just shut itself off after the record was finished.

I can remember lying in bed listening to the one of the giveaways from the back of the Honeycomb boxes, saying to myself: "Please just shut off... please shut off... please don't play that again", 'cause I'm cared crapless to get out of bed.

We can laugh about it now, but why in the hell did we love to scare ourselves to death as kids?

This is definitely one of those type of records. One of the best I've heard on the blog. Thanks.

MonsterWax

4/16/2006 12:36 PM

 
Blogger Dave said...

I love that OTR stuff. I have a lot of Lights Out and Basil Rathbone Sherlcok Holmes episodes on disks that I got from one of the OTR sellers. I also just got 3 sets of cassette tapes off ebay called Superstars Of Radio. One set is horror, comedy and suspense. They come in a plastic case shaped like an 1930's style Radio. Here's a link of some OTR freebies:
Old Time Radio Shares

and here's another:

Old Time Horror radio

4/16/2006 12:38 PM

 
Blogger Stephen said...

Man, I love this album. Thanks for posting it, Jason (and please do post those comps you were talking about sometime)!

4/16/2006 7:59 PM

 
Blogger MoogPower said...

WoW, what a great concept site you've put together here. This is my first visit & I just wanted to let you know I'm very impressed with your efforts.

Seeing is believing!!!

4/17/2006 3:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of the stories here is used in a mash-up here-

http://www.m-1.us/horrorgasm.html

4/17/2006 6:48 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again!
I have a version of this album at a lower bitrate, which is typical of old time radio shows available these days. When OTR people rip vinyl they tend to rip at the same bitrates...
I'm glad to have this, superior, rip of this spiffy bit of horror vinyl.

4/17/2006 7:00 AM

 
Blogger Dave said...

Quopte Monsterwax: "Remember listening to stuff like this on your portable turntable?"

My Dad still has mine and a bigger one that was his at his house somewhere.

He's got so much stuff from the 60's and 70's in his house I could have a field day on ebay with it all. Unfortunately he's one of those older folks who don't trust the internet still. Go figure. He's had a PC for about 15 years now, and has an internet connection that came with his newest one, but he won't use it. Oh well...to each his own.

My little portable turntable got well used between us 3 kids for sure.

4/17/2006 10:32 AM

 
Blogger Dr.Terror said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/17/2006 11:54 AM

 
Blogger Hellsbane said...

I kinda feel sorry for anyone who's never gone the old time radio route....

In my first apartment, all I had for entertainment was a cassette recorder and reading material. (Fortunately, the library was just down the street.) I listened to a ton of old time radio shows -- The Shadow, The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger, Lights Out!, Suspense!, Inner Sanctum, The Witch's Tale, The Hermit's Cave, -- and I learned to "see" without using my eyes. (No psychosis here!)

People nowadays don't seem to understand that it's what you don't see that's the scariest -- at least, if it's done right.

4/17/2006 7:20 PM

 
Anonymous DrDespicable said...

I picked this up from Zombie Astronaut, and MAN! Some of the tracks are admittedly corny, but for some reason, they still stand my hair on end - great stuff, full marks!

4/27/2006 7:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For you Oldtime radio show fans...
http://zootradio.com/showlist.html

tons of free downloads, with links to others...

7/21/2006 8:47 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I have been waiting for over 30 years for this recording to enter my ears again! (I was born in 1960, this recording was released in 1959)
My parents had this record in their collection and my sister, brother and I used to dig it out on many an occasion to listen to the old hag and be scared to death!
I started looking on Ebay about two months ago and have seen it many times but at $100 it was too steep for my tastes, especially since I owned it once, wish I knew where it went!
I owe you a drink pal, your high bit-rate MP3 was a god-send! You made my day!!!
I am a sound engineer and plan on cleaning these up a bit and dressing up the heads and tails, when I get it all done I will try to contact you and send it to you all beautified and digitally restored.
Rob

8/01/2006 2:43 PM

 
Anonymous Steve said...

This is my all time favourite album! - when I was working full time, I would put it on at night to unwind - the sound of the fog horn at the beginning is strangely comforting... and the laugh she does immediately after "leaving nowt but a path of slimy poison where he'd been" in the "Devil Octopus" story is my favourite - it also fits over a 3/4 rhythm quite nicely too.
I've heard this album so many times, I even had a dream once that I was the engineer on the sea hag recording session! that would have been an incredible job to have done! I wonder if Martha Wentworth dressed up for the part? Anyway, love the site - I've just had to link to you! Steve

9/19/2006 4:49 AM

 
Blogger devilsfan1986 said...

You have an awesome collection! I remember buying these records through a book/album order form my school used to give out every few months. I am trying to find one song I don't think you have. I thought it was on "sounds of terror" record but I guess I am wrong. It was a Halloween song that spelled out Halloween H-A-DOULBE L-O-DOUBLE U-DOUBLE E-N SPELLS HALOWEEN.

10/21/2007 7:31 AM

 
Blogger devilsfan1986 said...

You have an awesome collection! I remember buying these records through a book/album order form my school used to give out every few months. I am trying to find one song I don't think you have. I thought it was on "sounds of terror" record but I guess I am wrong. It was a Halloween song that spelled out Halloween H-A-DOULBE L-O-DOUBLE U-DOUBLE E-N SPELLS HALOWEEN.

10/21/2007 7:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Un Blog como nunca antes he visto, genial, he aprendido bastante y recordado tambien.

10/29/2007 12:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish there were Terror Tales recordings in the 1930s. I wish that there was a Lucille Laverne (SNOW WHITE'S evil queen / hag) version of these stories to hear. Her witchy voice is far more terrifying than Martha Wentworth (THE SWORD IN THE STONE's Madam Mim). It would make the stories the best and all frightening to the listeners.

1/18/2012 9:54 PM

 

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