...and this post of "Richard Taylor: Nightmare" (Major Records M-36, 1962), you ought to be able to figure out the scoop here; yes it's more of the fantastic world of low-budget monster magazine-ad records from the early 1960's! There are two more in this series ("Horror" & "Fright") that I'll get up before long, both so that the complete set is once again in circulation and so that everyone has more than enough time to plan their "eerie midnight ghoul parties" (for which ads of the day assured the public these LPs were "perfect" for). As always if anyone has alternate rips I'd love to hear them -- I'm sure there are a few more floating around & I'd be more than happy to swap mine out if better versions exist.
...and hey, just for the hell of it, here's one of the original ads for the series again again (again):
Bob McFadden And Dor "Songs Our Mummy Taught Us" (BL 754056, 1959)
An album of spooky-themed Novelty Pop from 1959 (with a hit single that even mentions "Kookie Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb"!), this was a studio collaboration between the late Bob McFadden (a gifted voiceover actor whose list of accomplishments is impressive indeed) & pop-poet phenom Rod McKuen. Many of you have probably heard one or two of the songs here, or are at least familiar with their descendants ("The Mummy" was most excellently covered by The Fall on 1997's "Levitate", and "The Beat Generation" served as partial muse for Richard Hell's "Blank Generation" circa 1974), but for some reason, superfine as it may be, the whole album has never received the full-on deluxe reissue treatment. Well, guess what? This post isn't gonna completely get the job done either -- my rip is missing their version of "Hound Dog" & sadly it was only encoded at 128 kbps. However in the service of archiving that glorious moment in time when it was possible to score a hit single through the simultaneous mocking of monsters and beatniks, it's a damn good start. Like, "help".
Mike Warnke "A Christian Perspective On Halloween" (1979)
Here's a weird LP from the late 70's; a vinyl pressing of a syndicated Christian radio show loaded with complete & utter misinformation about the history of Halloween, as told by comedian & discredited "Ex-Satanist" Mike Warnke. If you can make it through the whole thing (there's a lengthy stretch of lame comedy thrown into the middle section) you'll find some prime material for sound bites, and a bizarre almost alternate-universe vision of American culture as seen through the eyes of the (still-active) Warnke.
If you're actually looking for a more historically accurate history of Halloween (in particular the tracing of its development as a socialized ritual in America), an unlikely source provides some of the better info I've found: Ben Truwe's "Halloween Catalog Collection" from Talky Tina Press. As you might guess it's primarily a compendium of vintage catalog pages from Halloween novelty sellers, but as Mark B. Ledenback notes on the back cover, it also "includes some ground-breaking research on the history of Halloween as observed in the United States", complete with vintage newspaper accounts of mischief & merrymaking from the first half of the 20th century. If you're looking for more detail (the history section in Truwe's book is all within the under 20 page intro), David J. Skal's "Death Makes A Holiday" or Lesley Pratt Bannatyne's "Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History" probably aren't bad places to start.
Kid Stuff Repertory Company "Mostly Ghostly" (Kid Stuff, KS032, 1977)
A really unique Halloween sound effects LP, there's enough non-linear weirdness on here that if you wanted to start a collector scum stampede you could probably make the case for some of it being the work of a moonlighting Chrome ("pre-Visitation! In the tradition of Ultra Soundtrack!"), or a collection of Sun City Girls throw-aways (a comparison I'm stealing from my pal Pee Cat over at Disco: Very). Wherever this stuff actually sprung from, the dada/ proto-industrial noises on here are some of the oddest & crudest you're likely to run across from the 1970's "golden era" (or perhaps that's "sunset years") of supercheapo Halloween records. Hell, if nothing else you can at least rest easy knowing that you'll find no familiar library sound effects here (and once again I'd like to extend my thanks to Cake & Polka Parade for turning me on to this bizarro gem). Enjoy!
Al Zanino "The Vampire Speaks/ In The Vampire's Lair" (Al-Stan, Al-Stan 666, 1957/1997)
An amazing 7" originally released in 1957 & reissued in a limited edition of 500 back in 1997, these tracks are also available on the OOP CD "The Al-Stan Masters: The Best Of Reading's Oldies". Here's an excellent overview I nicked from an ebay description, which looks to be the only source out there for the remaining vinyl singles (and trust me, if you can find a copy it's well worth the money; just a totally cool artifact).
"The original was recorded back in 1957 by Al Zanino and Cliff Juranis of Reading, PA. Only a few copies of the original pressing survive. They have gone for more than $200 at record shows all over the world. This one features a new pic sleeve designed by John Fundyga along with artist Rick Ulrich. The back features a copy of a rejection letter written by Roland/Zacherle on his original 1957 letterhead. Al Zanino sent a copy of the 45 to Roland when he hosted his Chiller Theater show back in 1957 in Philly. His letter was recreated from the original copy on the back of the sleeve. The letter has some funny comments written by Roland himself! The record label was painstakingly made to look like the original. It is a very interesting piece of horror history.
The record is very cool. Al Zanino does a dead on (pun intended) impression of Bela Lugosi complete with scary sound effects and weird piano music. There is a point on the record where the vampire remembers a time when a stake was thrust into his heart. The sound effects on that are chilling to say the least. The A side is called The Vampire Speaks and the B side is called In The Vampires Lair. Al does all the voices, Cliff did the piano work and effects. What a super cool piece of horror memorabelia."
I was a 70's sugar cereal kid, and while my taste buds have progressed somewhat, I continue to unabashedly enjoy the Monster Cereals. Every October when they get stocked in previously un-Monster Cereal friendly outlets I end up picking up a complete set or two, and trust me when I say that those boxes contain nothing but marshmallow dust within a day at most. The whole classic monster angle is a killer hook of course, but I also love super-crazy sweetness, the over the top celebrity impersonations given to the characters, and all the cool product tie-ins over the years (that glow in the dark Fruit Brute light switch sticker I put up at age 7 seemed to stay affixed in my bedroom forever).
All of which brings us to these flexis. Freed from the constraints of their 30 second TV spots (often a high point of 1970's Saturday morning commercial viewing), they coulda been pretty great really. Hey even the titles, while obviously not playing up the whole "scary" angle, seem somewhat promising, right? Right? Well while I still think that in spots these (nearly 5 minute!) stories feel horribly endless, I guess for cheapjack flexi cereal giveaways they're not ALL bad. Still (and this is breaking my heart to type), imagine if instead of going "Disco" they'd managed to go "Punk" instead? So many oportunities! So much potential greatness squandered! Ah well, there's still that catchy "Monster Mania" tune to be thankful for, years down the road I STILL find myself (apropos of nothing at all) singing it in my head.
Oh and hey, if anyone has Count Chocula Goes Hollywood, feel free to pony it on up!UPDATE: Complete the set! The delightful Way Out Junk blog has posted a nicely cleaned up version of the elusive "Count Chocula Goes Hollywood" right here!
While I'm knee-deep in all things Monster Cereal, here's the ad introducing Count Chocula & Frankenberry -- still the most popular flavors! Pity the poor Fruity Yummy Mummy, cursed to spend eternity in his pyramid of solitude & fruity loneliness.
To wit: this 22 minute Fat Albert album that would seem to merely be a vinyl pressing of the soundtrack to a TV show. No extra narration, no real attempts to place the story in a non-visual context (you could argue that the LPs that correspond to the Peanuts TV specials at least gave it a shot for example), just a steady stream of "hair-raising sound effects" for that ol' theatre of the mind.
Heya folks! Well with Halloween creeping up, I figured it was really time to get back into action. I enjoyed my break & got a lot of other things done, so now let's see if I can manage to get back in the swing of squeezing out a steady stream of audio goodies to share. Looks like a lot was going on in my absence (& sadly it looks like a number of great blogs have vanished), but I'll do my best to address the comments I missed as well as toss out the new gems I've picked up and/ or encoded!