Make horrid scars and gashes.


The Wonderland Singers And Accompaniment "Spooky Halloween" (Wonderland Records, LP-293, 1974)

In 1974 this collection was issued as "Halloween Songs That Tickle Your Funny Bone" through Michael Brent Productions (part of their children's educational aid series), and apparently it was commercially viable enough that Wonderland records decided to license it for general release that same year. The material was written by professional songwriters Ruth Roberts & Bill Katz ("Meet the Mets", the official tune of the New York Mets since 1963, numbers among their many accomplishments) along with Gene Piller, but the reissue's new cover design found the credits changed to highlight the "Wonderland Singers and Accompaniment". In the transition process Wonderland also dropped the "how-to" insert explaining the potential use of the songs in a classroom setting, then gave the album a somewhat altered running order which (due to the intro sound effect sequence being moved from "A Halloween Song" to "There Is A Haunted House In Town") created a few slightly different edits.

Clearly aimed at a very young audience, you'll find no real sense of menace or fright here at all -- but there's still a weird kind of sideways appeal. Personally I can remember that when I got my copy as a kid I was initially excited by the scary sounding intro, only to find myself wincing almost immediately once the friendly and well trained chorus of voices began to sing about the simple joys of Halloween. "I won't be playing this very often", I smirked. But for whatever reason -- The comforting nature of the singers? The CleverSimplicity of the lyrics? The bizarre alternate universe the settings of the songs seemed to inhabit? -- I did end up playing it often, and snippets from puh-LENTY of these numbers still get stuck in my head to this very day.

Well played, Roberts, Katz & Piller. Well played.

By the way, Michael Brent Productions is still going strong today and you can get the original sequencing of these songs on a CD (complete with a lyric book) here, along with lots of other great kids collections. Check it on out!

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Peter Pan Records "Fangface - 4 Exciting New Complete Stories" (Peter Pan, 1107, 1979)

Probably the last gasp of the true Scooby Doo clones, ABC's Fangface at least has the distinction of being created by the same Scooby team of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. Featuring an actual werewolf as the title character and a roving assortment of ghouls & ghosts in the plotlines, the supernatural Fangface (if the cover is to be believed) apparently became "America's #1 TV Show!" somewhere along the way. Here's the introductory synopsis of the series that won the collective hearts and minds of the US citizenship:

"Every four hundred years a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth Family, and so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface, a werewolf. Only the sun can change him back to normal, and so little Fangsworth grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers -- Kim, Biff and Puggsy, and together they find danger, excitement and adventure. Who can save the day, who can wrong the rights and right the wrongs... none other than FANGFACE!"

Now I admit that the four original stories here (credited to Arthur Kolb & Peter Bryant) aren't likely to scare you very much, but hey -- any show with a character riffing on Joe R. Ross probably still deserves a place in your heart, right? C'mon America, you loved it in 1979!

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The Tinkertones with Full Cast and Orchestra Conducted by Warren Vincent "Cricket Toy Tunes Series: Robert The Robot"

A hot robot toy product tie-in & mid 1950's kiddie record rolled into one, this was part of the early wave of boomer cross-marketing that has come to dominate pretty much all forms of consumer media. To shamelessly quote, starting in 1954 Robert the Robot "was manufactured by the Ideal Toy Corporation, of Hollis, New York[...] Robert had good distribution, and was a common fixture in many suburban households during the early days of television. Robert's movement is controlled by a gun-like remote controller, that attaches to his back via a wire. Turning the crank on the controller makes him walk or back up, while squeezing the controller's trigger makes him turn right or left. While moving, his arms swing back and forth and his eyes light up. Robert also features a talking device, controlled by a crank on his back."

Though the "talking device" turned out to be something of a simple miniature record player, this was all pretty futuristic in 1954. Maybe to counter that the record here turns out to be pretty standard kiddie-tune fare; side one is a bit of ad copy regurgitation ("there's a boy I've known for quite a while/ with electric eyes and a neon smile/ personality that warms your soul/ he'll obey what you say by remote control") and side two gives us a little vignette wherein Robert "Saves the Day" by lifting up a fallen tree (thereafter named the "Robert the Robot Oak" due to his efforts). The world domination part obviously came later.

As an added bonus, I've also included an mp3 of Robert saying his little catch phrase ("I am Robert Robot, mechanical man. Ride me and steer me, wherever you can"), and you can currently buy Robert once again if you're so inclined (ebay is lousy with the guy). Might be a smart move if you think any oak trees are likely to collapse in your town square.

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Well since I was recently visited upon by a welcome but unexpected boing boing link (my page loads shot up to about 6,500 a day as result -- hello new friends), it would seem to be as good a time as any to break from posting for a bit so I can work on a few other projects that need my attention. Don't worry much; I've got plenty of fun new stuff waiting in the wings and should be back within a week at the latest (if I can stay away that long).

If you'd like to waste some time 'til then you could always check out this exciting TELL ALL interview I just did for the fine Shuffle blog; this thing oughtta give you far more insight into my muddled brain than you'd ever actually require. Hell, as an added bonus for the folks who have written asking me about my setup, I'll even leave you with a snap of good ol' Casa de Scar Stuff complete with a sleepy blogger & an awesome cat. Hope to talk with you all soon.

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