Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring In The New Year With Star Wars!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! I hope you are all welcoming 2010 in the best way possible! Here at the World of Wonder, we are bringing in the new year by celebrating Life Day! Here is the soundtrack to the classic (?) Star Wars Holiday Special complete with all of the songs including the great Bea Arthur number and, of course, Carrie Fisher's classic song! Enjoy! We'll see you in 2010 for the start of a new decade and the fifth (can you believe it) year of Dartman's World of Wonder! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Star Wars Holiday Special OST

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Mickey Rooney

In 1979, Mickey Rooney stepped into a recording studio to cut a Christmas album. The album was home produced, available by mail order only, and even included a letter with each copy on Mickey's own stationery (home address included on the letterhead). In addition to classic Christmas fare, it also included a few of Rooney's own compositions such as "Mr. Wha-Da-Ya-Want", "Mickey's New Year", and "The Gift". Throughout the entire album, Mickey alternates between singing, screaming, and some deeply creepy weird kiddie like voices. It's also interesting to note that the songs are extremely short with an average of two minutes per song. Originally released with a cover with vintage Christmas tree ornaments on it, it was re released a few years later with a picture of Mickey in long underwear. For what reason this was done I have no idea. But I do know it is quite entertaining. Here is "Merry Merry Micklemas". Enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Mickey Rooney-Merry Merry Micklemas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas:Which Frosty Is In Front?

One of my favorite Christmas records from my childhood is an album that I could never figure out what the front cover was. It was a Caroleers album by the name of Frosty The Snowman. On one side of the cover was a full sized picture of two children and Frosty. On the other was the title of the album, a song list and a series of pictures showing the adventures of Frosty. I always assumed that the full size picture was the front cover. Since then, I have had various debates with people who have told me otherwise. No matter what the front cover was, the album is still very special to me. Not only does it feature the great Christmas classic tale of the magic hat wearing snowman, but it also has such great songs as "Wait For The Wagon", "Sing A Kris Kringle Jingle", Christmas In Mother Goose Land" and more! Hear for yourself as you ponder which image is the front as you listen to "Frosty The Snowman"

Frosty The Snowman-The Caroleers Singers

Monday, December 21, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Jeannie

I don't remember where I found this album but it gave me quite the exciting time when I digitized it. I set it up, let it go and then came back to edit and clean it up only to think that I had screwed up and had it on the wrong speed. Needless to say, I used a program to slow it down and thought to myself, there's no way that this is the right speed. I had had it right the first time. I guess you can tell that Jeannie sings high. This is a soundtrack to a Christmas special of the same name. I have never seen the special nor could I find any info on it but the music is pretty nice to listen to. The album looks like a home-made job which makes it even more appealing. I share it with you now. Here is "Jeannie Sings Christmas". Enjoy!

Jeannie Conroy Sings Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: The Swinging-est Nutcracker Ever

In 1960, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn arranged their own adaptation of the classic Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. Changing the names of some of the movements to such titles as Toot Toot Tootsie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Flutes), Peanut Brittle Brigade (March), Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), The Volga Vouty (Russian Trepak), Chinoiserie (Chinese Tea), Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers), and Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Coffee). The suite is was arranged for Ellington's Big Band at the time and since has gone on to be performed by countless others. I was first introduced to this amazing take on the ballet in college. It has since become a staple of holiday listening. If you have never heard it you are in for a treat. I guarantee that! Even if you dislike the original piece, you will find a whole new appreciation for it when you hear Duke's classic take on it. Here it is for you now. Here is Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite. Enjoy!

Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Ernest Tubb

I love Ernest Tubb. He is a legend! Everything he sang sounded amazing. He could have sang anything and made it sound great. Which is why his Christmas album is pure awesomeness at it's best. Tubb not only cranks out the classics such as White Christmas, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Blue Christmas but he also rearranges one of his classic hits into a Christmas song with "I'll Be Walking The Floor This Christmas". Here's the mighty Ernest Tubb with his classic 1964 Decca release, "Blue Christmas". Enjoy!

Ernest Tubb-Blue Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Lorne Greene

Back in the early 80s, there was a syndicated radio series entitled, The Spirit of Christmas. It was a bunch of short stories narrated by the late, great, Lorne Greene. It only aired once and was then shelved. The master tapes are long presumed lost but a copy of them was ressurected by a radio jock named Scott Snailham. Thanks to him, we can all share the in the glory of these 30 short episodes. Since he was so kind as to share these items with me, I am paying it forward and sharing them with you. These are truly great. Here is "The Spirit of Christmas with Lorne Greene". Enjoy!

The Spirit of Christmas with Lorne Greene

Here's Lorne's great 1966 Christmas single featuring "Must Be Santa" and "One Solitary Life". I hadn't planned on posting this but when I first posted this, I accidentally put up the wrong link. ANyway, here it is! Enjoy!

Lorne Greene Christmas Single

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Holiday Ballads and Sleigh Ride Songs

Another classic album from "the pile" of records that my dad brought up every year is the Marty Robbins Christmas Album. The cover of this album is what I remember the most. It had a profile of Marty superimposed over a night shot of a city from the air. I don't know why but I always found the cover to be fascinating. I look at it today and wonder what the heck it has to do with Christmas at all. The opening song on the album is "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and to me, this is the ultimate version of this song. See if you think that as well as you take a listen to "Christmas With Marty Robbins". Enjoy!

Christmas With Marty Robbins

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Larry & Mo

One of the coolest theaters that I have ever played is the Fox Theater in Atlanta, GA. Over the course of the past few years, I have played all but one of the Fox Theaters in the United States and each one is an amazing work of art. There was a special added treat to the one in Atlanta in that I befriended the amazingly talented organist, Larry Embury. Larry is The Fox Theatre's Organist in Residence and he presides over the thunder-and-whisper majesty of "Mighty Mo." Mighty Mo is the Fox Theatre's crown jewel. This irreplaceable relic of movie theater lore is a masterpiece of organ design, capable of producing sound as delicate as a dainty piccolo to wall-shuddering accompaniment for a battle scene. The organ was custom-made for the Fox Theatre in 1929 for the then astronomical price of $42,000.00 by M. P. Möller Inc. of Hagerstown, Maryland. It's the second
largest theater organ in the world with 42 ranks, four manuals and 376 stop tabs and 3,622 pipes, spread out over
five chambers, ranging in size from a ball point pen to 32 feet tall and big enough around for a man to stand in. In 1963,
Joe Patten, The Fox Theatre's retired technical director collaborated with organist Bob Van Camp and a few members of the American Theatre Organ Society to restore the organ. With financial support from the Fox, over the course of nearly 9 months, Patten spent hundreds of hours painstakingly rewiring the organ with 36,000 feet (nearly seven miles) of new wire, rebuilding the entire organ from the inside out. For all of this work, Joe Patten received no payment. His only request was that he be allowed to take care of the organ until the day he dies. His is currently in his 90s and still takes care of Mighty Mo. As a thank you to Patten, the Fox Theater renovated a back section of the building and turned it into an apartment where Joe resides rent free. He is known as "The Phantom of The Fox". When I was there, I was given the rarest of all opportunities to tour not only Joe's apartment but to actually go inside the organ and see the 100 + instruments and pipes. It was pretty amazing! The reason I tell you all of this is that Larry Embury gave me a CD of him playing Christmas Carols on Mighty Mo as a present. It is entitled, "Christmas At The Fox: Holiday Fun With Larry, Carols and Mo". If you are ever in Atlanta, be sure to stop by the Fox and try to make it to a performance with the organ. Tell Larry the Dartman says Hello! Here is "Christmas At The Fox". Enjoy!

Larry Embury-Christmas At The Fox

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: More Wishbook Memories

One year my grandfather decided to get all of the cousins a tape recorder for Christmas. They were the classic ones pictured here that had the top loading feature and the microphone right next to the buttons. In addition, we each got a cassette tape to play on it as well as blank tapes to make our own recordings. My tape was a Christmas compilation called, "I Like Christmas" that featured classics from Skeeter Davis, Spike Jones and a few others. The blank tapes got quite a lot of use as well. I used to record all of my favorite TV shows by placing the tape recorder right next to the speaker of the TV. This was way before the idea of VCRs even existed so that was the best way to record your shows! I used to make fake variety shows and tape them with me doing my best impressions of the hit stars of the day. The one I remember the most was Paul Lynde. I wish I could find some of those tapes. We also used them to record the birthday parade on the mornings of our birthdays. The local radio station would have this feature every morning and my mother would send in our names for our birthdays. They would play a Sousa march and the DJ would announce the names of the kids celebrating their birthdays. One year, I took a tape of my sister's birthday parade announcement from that particular year and recorded over it with my impression of Ralph Malph from Happy Days. My sister freaked out and I got into some serious trouble for that. I still have no idea how she found out. I mean, who listened to the birthday parade announcements? Obviously she did.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Little Gives Us The Dickens

In 1978, my family had yet to have cable. However, my grandparents had it and with it came the holiest of these new cable channels, HBO. Before MTV, HBO was the best reason to watch TV at my Grandparent's house. Around Christmas of that year, HBO aired a special featuring the impressionist, Rich Little. At the time, Rich Little was huge. Though looked at today as tacky, back then he was a bona-fide star! The special that aired on HBO was Little's version of the Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol". In true fashion, the cast was an ensemble made up of Little doing celebrity impressions. Scrooge was W.C. Fields, Cracthit was Paul Lynde and the Ghosts ranged from Richard Nixon to Humphrey Bogart to Peter Falk to Peter Sellers. Add Jean Stapleton, Groucho Marx, Johnny Carson, Jack Benny, John Wayne, Laurel and Hardy, James Mason, Jimmy Stewart and Truman Capote, and you have, in my humble opinion, a classic! For the next few years, HBO reran the special and it became a staple in my family's holiday viewing. Then it disappeared. I have always remembered it fondly and when I walked into that record store in Santa Monica (see earlier post) and saw the soundtrack from the album, it didn't take me long to spend my money on it. The album is pretty much the audio track from the special. Much like the story records of Star Wars and the like, this features all of the dialogue as well as the music from that HBO classic. It is a Canadian pressing and the cover states that it is the soundtrack from the 1979 CBC special. Obviously, HBO lent the special to Canadian Television a year later. Here is that album. BTW, the original special is finally on DVD. I purchased mine from Amazon and am patiently awaiting it's arrival to relive all of the glory! Here is the soundtrack album to "Rich Little's A Christmas Carol". Enjoy!

Rich Little's A Christmas Carol OST

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas At News Radio

Here's an episode of the great 90s hit, "News Radio." It's rather new in the TV history but to me it is a modern day classic and this particular Christmas episode is one of my favorites! Enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: A Byrd In The Hand

One of my utmost favorite albums that were in the stack of Christmas records that my dad brought out every year was an album of Christmas Carols played on solo acoustic guitar. The guitar player was Charlie Byrd. Charlie was most famous for the collaboration he did with Stan Getz on the famous 1962 album Jazz Samba. The recording pushed bossa nova into the mainstream of popular music. In 1967, he released his now infamous Christmas record. The production on the album is amazing and the guitar actually sounds like it is right next to you. The album was released on CD a few years back but I am sharing the original vinyl version with you today. A word of warning: this album has not aged well. While most of the records I inherited from my father are in good to excellent condition, this one is not. However, the pops and crackles add a bit of ambiance to the feel of the record. If you are looking for a pristine sounding version of this album, I suggest you head to Amazon and purchase the CD release. Otherwise, please enjoy this well loved copy of Charlie Byrd's "Christmas Carols For Solo Guitar".

Charlie Byrd-Christmas Carols For Solo Guitar

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With The Man of 1000 Voices

Following yesterday's Jack Benny episode, I thought it only fitting to feature the great Mel Blanc in a post of his own. Here is an episode of Mel's classic radio show from this day in 1946! It's entitled, "Betty's Christmas Present". Enjoy!

Mel Blanc-Betty's Christmas Present

Here are the episodes that followed "Betty's Christmas Present". "Exchanging Gifts", broadcast a week later on December 17, 1946, and "Mel Plays Santa Claus", broadcast on Christmas Eve of 1946. Enjoy!

Mel Blanc-Exchanging Gifts

Mel Blanc-Mel Plays Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Christmas With Jack Benny

Here is a classic episode of The Jack Benny Show in which Jack goes Christmas shopping. It features a running gag that occurred on every Christmas episode of the show between Jack and Mel Blanc. In this particular episode, Mel pulls out all of the stops and breaks up Jack. Watch for it, it's hilarious! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: The Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of Christmas

Back in October, we talked a little bit about Disney's "Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House" LP. It had a story on one side complete with sound effects and on the other side was just the sound effects so that you could make your own story! Disney did the same with a Christmas themed record entitled, "The Sounds of Christmas". It's a pretty cool concept and I don't think any other company has ever released a Christmas record in this vein. Here is that album for you to make wonderful Christmas stories with. If you were to be really creative, you could combine the sound effects of "The Sounds of Christmas" with the ones on "Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of The Haunted House" to create an over-the-top holiday story. If anyone out there takes up the challenge, feel free to send your creations this way and I will gladly share them here on the World of Wonder! Here is "The Sounds of Christmas". Enjoy!

Disney's The Sounds of Christmas

Monday, December 07, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Wishbook Memories

As a child, gearing up for Christmas meant breaking out the latest Sears Wishbook and writing out a 3+ page list of all of the goodies inside that I wanted for Christmas. I then gave it to my Mom who of course sent it to Santa who we all knew used the Sears Wishbook for all of his shopping! Those of you who have been following the blog for a few years know that every Christmas I share some of those great items that made the list and eventually made it under the tree. Today we have the Fisher Price Adventure People! Over the years I received several different playsets with the FPAP. I had the Rescue Truck with the super cool extending ladder for saving people from burning buildings and such. It also came with a cool fold out side that you could load the patients into after having them carried by the EMTs on a stretcher. The best part was the siren button that you could push down over and over and really annoy anyone within earshot with! The Super-Speed Racer was also great. In fact, many a day I would incorporate both the Racer and the Rescue Truck together in one viciously gruesome car crash and rescue scenario. The coolest playset from FPAP was the Sea Explorer Set. It came with a boat, wave rider with water ski tow and water skis and, the best part, a dolphin that squeaked and squirted water! These toys actually floated on water so bath time soon became sea exploration time! The figures floated on water if you bent them a certain way to make them look like they were swimming. It was pretty ingenious if you think about it. I have yet to see a toy come close to that in a while! All of this talk makes me want to go on e-bay and find a sea explorer set for my son!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Spike Wants Leia's Dad

Today's post is a cute little ditty from the great Spike Jones. Though not as popular as his "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth", this holiday single is still a classic to me. Here is Spike and The City Slickers with their ode to the real father father of Princess Leia. Here's "I Want Eddie Fisher For Christmas". Enjoy!

Spike Jones-I Want Eddie Fisher For Christmas

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: In Any Other Language It's Still Christmas

Following yesterday's Steve and Eydie post is today's Eydie without Steve post! Today we feature Eydie's amazing holiday collaboration with the famed Trio Los Panchos. Eydie gained crossover success in the Latin music market through a series of albums she made in Spanish with them. In 1964, they released a collection of Spanish-language standards called Amor. In 1965, a sequel appeared called More Amor. Her last album with Los Panchos was the 1966 Christmas collection, "Navidad Means Christmas". The album was a giant smash and even made it into the top ten on the Christmas Chart that year (I didn't even know there was a Christmas Chart!) This album is one of the ones from the legendary "pile" that my father would bring out every year. I share it with you now. Here is Eydie Gorme with Trio Los Panchos with "Navidad Means Christmas". Enjoy!

Eydie Gorme & Trios Los Panchos-Navidad Means Christmas

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: There's A Feeling In The Air

If you've followed my Christmas posts from the past, you know that I always talk about the infamous "Christmas Pile" that my dad would bring upstairs every year. It wasn't a very big pile but the records contained in it were what I consider the primo Christmas albums. My dad was a big fan of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Their Christmas album was part of "the pile"and it still sounds great! The arrangements are out of this world and the performances of the classics blasts through the speakers like you are at the Copa. Here is that album. Here is Steve And Eydie with "That Holiday Feeling". Enjoy!

Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme-That Holiday Feeling

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Have A Hip Christmas

A little over two years ago, I was hanging out in Santa Monica and happened into a little hole in the wall record store. They carried the usual small record store fare so I wasn't that impressed. However, when I took a look at their Christmas section, my eyes bugged out of my head. I spent more money than I had originally intended and went home with a great stack of cool Christmas records. One of those records sported a cartoon drawing of a bearded man and was titled, "Harry The Hipster Digs Christmas". When I turned the cover over and read the back, it sealed the deal. The Harry The Hipster in question was none other than Harry Gibson, the original rock and roller. Harry the Hipster was known for his unique, wild singing style, his energetic and unorthodox piano styles, and for his intricate mixture of a hardcore, gutbucket boogie rhythms with ragtime, stride and jazz piano styles. He had several hits in the forties that featured impressive piano playing that would rival the soon-to-be-pioneers of rock such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. His career went into a tailspin in 1947, when his song "Who Put the Benzedrine in Mrs. Murphy's Ovaltine" put him on the music industry blacklist. His own drug use led to his decline but in the early 1970s, Harry's songs were revived by Dr. Demento, particularly "Benzadrine" which was included in his 1975 compilation album Dr. Demento's Delights. It gave Harry the boost he needed to start recording again. His first "comeback" album was none other than Harry The Hipster Digs Christmas. It is obviously something Harry recorded at home on the fly. The lyrics go off on tangents and the drummer (when there is a real drummer as opposed to the drum machine) is chasing the rabbit the whole time. There are the traditional Christmas songs done in a complete non traditional form and there's even an original tune, "I Wish My Mother-in-law Don't Visit Us This Christmas". This is a great treasure that I'm sure you will love just as much as I do! Here is "Harry The Hipster Digs Christmas". Enjoy!

Harry The Hipster Digs Christmas

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The 25 Posts of Christmas: Wishing You A Happy Christmas, Boo Boo

Today is December 1, 2009 and the beginning of the annual "25 Posts of Christmas" here at the World of Wonder. We start the festivities off with a Little Golden Record from 1961 featuring none other than that lovable cartoon character, Yogi Bear. This single was put out by Hanna-Barbera on the Little Golden Record label and features the song A Hap-Hap Happy Christmas From Yogi Bear" backed with "Give A Goody For Christmas". Both songs were written by Paul Parnes. The single was released on both 78 and 45. Today's sharity is the original 78. Enjoy!

A Hap-Hap Happy Christmas From Yogi Bear/Give A Goody For Christmas

Here's the complete Golden Book "Yogi Bear: A Christmas Visit" written by S. Quentin Hyatt! Enjoy!

Yogi Bear: A Christmas Visit (Golden Book)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best of The World of Wonder: Tiny For The Tots

"For All My Little Friends" was Tiny Tim's third and last album for Reprise. This was Tiny's children's album which includes classic versions of "On The Good Ship Lollipop", "Sunshine Cake", and "I'm A Lonesome Little Raindrop" among others. It was released in the summer of 1969 and was actually nominated for a Grammy but lost out to a Peter, Paul & Mary album. If you have children, make sure you expose them to this. You'll be glad you did!

For All My Little Friends

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Best of The World of Wonder: Is That Polish?

When I was a kid and I played the single of They're Coming To Take Me Away by Napolean XIV (yes, I had the single as a kid - still have it today, BTW) I thought that the flip side was something sung in Polish. In actuality, it was just the song backwards. Everything was backwards. The writing on the label, the Warner Brothers logo - the entire side was backwards! I don't know when I came to the realization that it was not polish, but at some point in my post-childhood I figured it out.

  • They're Coming To Take Me Away - Backwards
  • Sunday, November 22, 2009

    The Mystery of The Thanksgiving Nursery Ryhmes

    While going through some boxes of things that we have yet to unpack since we moved to our new house a year and a half ago (yes, we are still not unpacked!), I was pleasantly surprised to find a few CDs labeled "Thanksgiving Stuff". I put those aside in order to upload them and possibly post them here. The problem with these CDs was that the tracks were not labeled in any shape or form. When I popped them into the computer all that came up was "Track 1, Track 2, etc . . . ". I listened to them and found numerous radio shows and a few singles and a slew of about 16 nursery rhymes with lyrics that were changed to suit the holiday du Turkey. I thought the nursery rhymes would make a great post so I set out to find out what these songs were and who sang them. After a couple of days of searching, I came to find that they are part of an educational packet that was available to teachers back in the late 70s and early 80s entitled "Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone". It's a nice piece of holiday music to help you prep your turkey and trimmings. BTW, I was interested to find that there are a lot of religious songs associated with Thanksgiving. I never considered it to be a religious holiday. Apparently some people do. Anyway, here is "Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone". Enjoy!

    Thanksgiving Songs To Tickle Your Funny Bone

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    The Best of The World of Wonder: Heavens To Emerald City, Wizards and Witches Even.

    This is quite the treasure! Snagglepuss telling the story of The Wizard of Oz. Very ironic considering that Snagglepuss was based on Bert Lahr's interpretation of The Cowardly Lion. This album was released in 1977 and features not just the story but original songs including the Snagglepuss Theme and songs about The Scarecrow, The Wizard and The Wicked Witch. This is a lot of fun!

    Snagglepuss and The Wizard of Oz

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    A Classified Comic

    I, like most people, favor Sean Connery as James Bond. But Roger Moore holds a strong second in my book. (Daniel Craig was great in Casino Royale but Quantum of Solace knocked him down a few pegs). Moore was my generation's Bond and he held the reigns of what I consider to be the golden era of the Bond franchise. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, a Bond film coming out was more of an event than it is today. Actually, any film's release was more of an event than today. Back then, the opening song was just as important as the film and the onslaught of the 80s color schemes and fast paced action were perfect for Bond. The best of the Moore films is, in my humble opinion, "For Your Eyes Only". Not only did it sport an amazingly seductive theme song from Sheena Easton, but it also featured a full onslaught of movie-tie-in items. One of the cooler ones was a two part comics adaptation put out by Marvel. I was so excited to get the comic book version that I only bought the first one and was deeply saddened by the "To Be Continued" bumper at the end. I didn't get the second half until many years later when I found it at an antique store in New Hampshire for the much loved price of fifty cents. It's a pretty cool, albeit, heavily edited version of the film. I present it to you now. Here is the Marvel Comics adaptation of "For Your Eyes Only". Enjoy!

    For Your Eyes Only-Marvel Comic Adaptation

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Singles Collection Episode 56: Men Without Hats Push For The Pogo

    One of the biggest hits of the 80s was "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. This song brings a smile to any fan of the 80s almost instantly. For years I thought that the band was made up of a Rennasaince Fair hippie, a spastic female and a little person who played the mandolin. This was, of course, thanks to the video. Since realizing just who made up the band, I have become a huge fan of MWH. Still, "The Safety Dance" is my favorite of all of their songs. The song was a protest against bouncers stopping dancers from pogoing in clubs when Disco was dying and New Wave was up and coming. Bouncers didn't like pogoing so they would tell pogoers to stop or be kicked out of the club. Thus, the song is a protest against a particular form of repression, more widely a call for freedom of expression. Lyrics in the song include references to the way pogoing looked to bouncers, especially "And you can act real rude and totally removed/And I can act like an imbecile". Here now is that great protest song of the 80s. Here is "The Safety Dance". Enjoy!

    Men Without Hats-The Safety Dance

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Somewhere. . . Beyond The Fringe . . .

    When I started subbing the drum chair for "Avenue Q" in New York back in 2007, I was always greeted at the stage door to the Golden Theater with various clippings and pictures of all of the acts that had played the Golden Theater at one time or another. The list was amazing: Nichols & May, Shirly Temple, Jackie Mason, Jimmy Stewart, Bert Lahr, Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates and the great comedy duo of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Cook and Moore gave the American premiere of their show, "Beyond The Fringe" at the Golden and knowing that was enough to make me feel as though I was walking into the Buckingham Palace of theater. Q is no longer at that theater, having moved Off Broadway to the New World Stages but I still enjoy the fact that I played the same theater as "Beyond The Fringe". Here is the original cast album from the original London show featuring the amazing comedy of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Enjoy!

    Beyond The Fringe Original Cast Album

    Saturday, November 07, 2009

    Bolan Boogies Long After Death

    Back in high school I had a friend who was convinced that Marc Bolan was going to return to the land of the living somehow, someway. Not like the whole "Elvis is alive" movement but more like a reincarnation. It was at this time that I came across a single by Marc Bolan entitled, "You Scare Me To Death". It had been released posthumously and was featured in an ad campaign for mouthwash in the UK. My friend had never heard this song so I put it onto a cassette and brought it over to her house. When I played it for her, I told her it was a new, up and coming artist who had just released this single. As soon as she put it on her face turned white and she uttered these words: "Holy Shit. He's back. I knew it!" By the time I finished laughing, she knew she had been had. Evil, yes but fun none-the-less. It wasn't long afterwards that I came across a full length album of "new" Bolan recordings entitled, "Love and Death". The recordings were actually made by Marc long before the T. Rex days. The original recordings were simply Marc and an acoustic guitar. For "Love and Death", they took these recordings and added new backing tracks with musicians from the 80s. This was long before the whole "dead people on record with alive people" fad took off. Back then, it was a lot harder to do that type of thing. Especially since they were doing it with low quality tapes of a guy who had some trouble playing in time. The "new" backing band takes that into account and you can actually hear the tempo shift on a few songs. However, it sounds like they are all doing it as one. (in the music business, we call that "chasing the rabbit") The end result is amazing! The production is unreal and the arrangements sound like they were originally intended to sound that way from the start. See for yourself when you take a listen to "Marc Bolan-Love and Death." Enjoy!

    Marc Bolan-Love And Death

    The original versions of the songs featured on "Love And Death" were actually released in 1972 on an unauthorized album entitled, "Hard on Love". It was quickly pulled from the market. Two years later, Track Record released the proceedings as "Beginning of Doves". Though still unauthorized, it wasn't pulled and has remained a prominent bootleg in the Bolan catalogue. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

    Marc Bolan-Beginning of Doves

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    One Last Pie

    After posting the Soupy Sales album a few days ago, I was reminded of the fact that I own one other Soupy record. This time around it's a Children's story record entitled, "Spy With A Pie". This was released on ABC-Paramount back in the early 60s, before the contract with Reprise. Believe it or not, this album was a huge success and it topped the charts at the time. The story follows Soupy on his mission to foil the villainous Squid's destruction of American moon rockets by joining the circus and hurling a well-aimed pie at the crucial moment. Soupy's puppet characters are all here with him. Although the album is clearly intended for the kids who watched Sales' television show, there are countless jokes that few children would understand, including digs at ABC-TV, the ratings board, and mildly risqué puns. So, here is one last tribute to the pie throwing madman. Here is "Spy With A Pie". Enjoy!

    Soupy Sales-Spy With A Pie

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    A Tribute To The Man Who Did The Mouse

    In case you didn't hear about it. the legendary Soupy Sales passed on last month. I didn't really get a chance to give him his just due as I was in the middle of the Halloween countdown and a Soupy post just didn't fit. So, today I offer you Soupy's first album. It's a soundtrack of sorts but more of a companion album to his television show. The show originated in 1953 from the studios of WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Beginning in October 1959, it was picked up by the ABC television network and broadcast nation wide. Back then it was known as "Lunch With Soupy Sales". What a lot of people don't know is that while the children's show was on during the day, there was a late night show called "Soupy's On" which featured popular jazz musicians from Detroit and elsewhere. Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz were among the artists who appeared on the show. The great Miles Davis made a record six appearances. In 1961, ABC dropped the show from the network but it continued as a local program until January 1962. The show briefly went back on the ABC network as a late night fill-in for the Steve Allen Show in 1962 but was canceled after three months. This did not detour the man who consistently received a pie in the face. In 1964, the show found a new weekday home at WNEW-TV in New York City. This version was seen locally until September 1966, and 260 episodes were syndicated by Screen Gems to local stations outside the New York market during the 1965–1966 season. It was during this run of the show that Soupy ended his live broadcast of New Year's Day, 1965, by encouraging his young viewers to tiptoe into their still-sleeping parents' bedrooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" from their pants and pocketbooks. "Put them in an envelope and mail them to me", Soupy instructed the children. "And I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!" Several days later, a chagrined Soupy announced that money was unexpectedly being received in the mail. He explained that he had been joking and announced that the contributions would be donated to charity.
    In addition to the pie throwing and puppet characters, the show featured guest appearances by stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis, Judy Garland and Sammy Davis, Jr., as well as musical groups like the Shangri-Las and The Supremes.
    It was Sinatra who signed Sales to a recording contract on his Reprise label. Two albums were produced ; "The Soupy Sales Show" in 1961 and "Up In The Air" in 1962. While I am still on the lookout for "Up In The Air", I love "The Soupy Sales Show" and was able to grab an excellent copy a few years back. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

    The Soupy Sales Show

    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Happy Halloween!!!!!

    It's officially Halloween 2009! Here is the complete (and I mean complete - the "TV scenes are added") and still the greatest Horror flick of all time, John Carpenter's Halloween! Enjoy! And Happy Halloween!

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Halloween Corn

    Those of you who have been fans of the blog for many a year know that I am a member of the band, Creamed Corn. For internet junkies in the know, we had a huge hit with a Christmas album we put out about 11 years ago. Last year saw the remaster of that album being released to an overwhelming response! While the Christmas stuff has become the most famous of our albums, we also released a Halloween album the same year we released the Christmas album. It was our first release and we went hog wild with it! First of all, we called it "Satan Loves You". Next, we spent many a night in our studio recording all different sound effects and "sound scapes" that feature everything from chains being dropped into a bucket to all of us chewing gum directly into a microphone. We took a huge mix of material from songs written specifically for the album to songs that had been in our live act from the start. One of the tracks, "Drunken Stupor", goes down in history for being the reason we were asked to never play a club in Madison, CT again! The recording on the album is from that night! Anyway, here it is for you now. Direct from 1998, Creamed Corn and "Satan Loves You". Enjoy!

    Creamed Corn-Satan Loves You

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Snooping At The Shindig

    Back in the 60s, Hanna Barberra released a series of records for children featuring their roster of cartoon characters in all new adventures and telling stories. I have always loved these records and now that I have a child of my own, they are in regular rotation during feeding time. The other day, I happened to put one on that I had long forgotten about featuring the characters Super Snooper and Blabber Mouth. These characters were part of the lesser known crew of HB animation and were featured during segments of Quick Draw McGraw. They are a pair of cat and mouse detectives both voiced by the incomprable, Daws Butler. Snooper is more or less the one in command whenever the pair takes on a case while Blabber Mouse follows whatever orders Snooper gives him. For this album, Super Snooper and Blabbermouth investigate a party is going on at a house occupied by The Gruesome Family (yes, the ones from The Flintstones). Also in attendance are Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. It's a great story and fits perfectly in with our Halloween countdown! Here is "Monster Shindig With Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse". Enjoy!

    Monster Shindig With Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: My Halloween Special!

    In the past, I have made a Halloween mix every year just like loads of other sharity blogs out there. I was torn this year about if I should do yet another one or make a special Halloween podcast. I decided to split the difference. I put together a Halloween mix and then added sound effects in the background so that it all comes out as one big giant podcast-like track. I didn't want to call it an official pod cast nor did I think it qualified as a typical Halloween mix. So, I decided to call it "Dartman's Halloween Special 2009"! Let me know what you think. This is a great item to have blasting out of your stereo at any Halloween party or even as you welcome the kiddies on all Hallows Eve! Enjoy!

    Dartman's Halloween Special 2009

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Fred Allen Rents A Room From The Master of Horror

    Here's an episode of The Fred Allen Show from November 18, 1945. Allen's guest star that night was the one and only Boris Karloff. It was just a few weeks shy from being a Halloween episode but it still maintains the comedic spookiness that makes it a Halloween themed episode in our books! My favorite parts of this show are the barrage of jokes whenever Karloff answers the phone or doorbell. Enjoy!

    The Fred Allen Show - 11/18/45

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Drew's Great Uncle Lionel Gives Us A Treat

    In case you have no clue about the history of the great Barrymore family, Drew Barrymore is not the first member of her family to become a household name. She comes from a long line of theater and film royalty. Her great-grandparents Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore, Maurice Costello and Mae Costello (née Altschuk) and her grandparents John Barrymore and Dolores Costello were all actors. John Barrymore was arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation. She is the grandniece of Ethel Barrymore and Helene Costello, the great-great-granddaughter of John Drew and actress Louisa Lane Drew, and the great grandniece of silent film actor/writer/director Sidney Drew. She is also the god-daughter of director Steven Spielberg and Sophia Loren. For today's post, we're going to focus on her Great Uncle Lionel Barrymore. Back in 1945, Lionel produced a stage show at the Hollywood Bowl to coincide with the holiday of Halloween. He wrote the story as well as the music and titled it, "Hallowe'en: A Musical Fantasy". The story deals with a little girl named Myrtle who has a dream involving a big bear in the woods who steals little children. Two years later, MGM records released the "theater piece" as a children's book and record set which contained 3 78 RPM records and a story book (this was a popular concept at the time and it would eventually evolve into the book and record sets of the 60s, 70s and 80s.) It's a bit on the bizarre side but is worth a listen. I present it for you now. Here is Lionel Barrymore's "Hallowe'en: A Musical Fantasy". Enjoy!

    Lionel Barrymore-Hallowe'en: A Musical Fantasy

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Vic Mizzy RIP

    In case you didn't hear, Vic Mizzy, the genius composer who brought us The Theme From the Addams Family has passed away. He died on Monday. In his honor, I am reposting last year's "Addams Family Megapost" plus I am posting the 1977 Addams Family Renuion Show in it's entirety. Enjoy!

    I love the Addams Family. I own the complete series on DVD and can watch it over and over again and still find it entertaining. Back in college, my girlfriend at the time gave me a giant book of the original Chas Addams comics that the show was based on and I found a whole new appreciation for the Addams Family. I've seen the films from the 90s and I liked them, but don't really put them in the same category as the original series. To me, that is the quintessential Addams Family and it will never be beat.
    Did you know that in 1977, they tried to regroup the Addams Family and put it back on the air in a whole new show? It's true! On Halloween, 1977, a television special named "Halloween With The New Addams Family" premiered as a test to see if it would be as well recieved as the original series running in syndication.The original cast was brought together once again to reprise their roles. The only exception was Blossom Rock (Grandma-ma) who didn't appear due to an illness. The feature was such an abysmal failure that the new series was cancelled before it even started.
    And speaking of Ted Cassidy, did you know that he released a single as Lurch simply titled, "The Lurch"? The producers thought that they would add to the show's success by putting out a record that would start a new dance craze. The problem was that the song didn't tell you how to do the dance. There was never any reference to the dance in the show and the song went unnoticed. Some more interesting tidbits about Ted Cassidy; he played two roles on The Addams Family. Of course, we all know him as Lurch, but he also played "Thing". He also was the voice-over in the opening to "The Incredible Hulk". It would prove to be one of the last things he did before his untimely death in 1979.
    When The New Scooby Doo Movies came out in the seventies, The Addams Family were featured in not one, but two episodes, complete with the actual voices of John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy and Jackie Coogan. The success of these appearances prompted Hanna-Barbera to put out an Addams Family cartoon a year later. However, Astin and Jones would not return. The cartoon appearances are significant in Addams culture because the family was drawn to the specifications of the original cartoons by Charles Addams, rather than how they appeared on their television series.
    The Addams Family continues to pop up all over and even as you read this, there is a musical being put together for the Broadway stage.
    Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth have accepted the offered rolls of Gomez and Mortica Addams in the upcoming musical of the Addams Family that's set for 2009/2010. Here's one musician who hopes that he may end up playing drums for that production. Let's all keep our fingers crossed! In the meantime, here's a batch of Addams goodness for you: The original 1965 soundtrack to the television series by Vic Mizzy; The Ted Cassidy single, "The Lurch", complete with it's flipside, "Wesley" and the original picture sleeve; The bootleg soundtrack from the 1977 Halloween special and the entire first episode in which the Addams' appeared in The New Scooby Doo Movies! Enjoy!

    The Addams Family TV Soundtrack

    Ted Cassidy-The Lurch

    Halloween With The New Addams Family OST

    As promised, here is the complete 1977 reunion show, "Halloween with The New Addams Family". Enjoy!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: The Original Funny Girl Celebrates Halloween

    In 1946, Halloween fell on October 31 just like it does today. But that didn't stop JELLO from producing a Halloween themed episode of Baby Snooks the next night. Here's Fanny Brice celebrating Halloween as it was originally broadcast on November 1, 1946. It is just as much fun today as it was then. Enjoy!

    Baby Snooks Halloween Show

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Rock and Roll's Halloween King

    Alice Cooper is the king of shock and awe in the world of rock and roll. "Welcome To My Nightmare" still stands the test of time and the live show that accompanied it gave inspiration to the later generations of shock rock including GWAR and Marilyn Manson. As I posted here before, one of my all time favorite Alice Cooper records is a concept album called "From The Inside". You can learn more about that album here. When Alice took to the road to support that record in 1979, he had a concert recorded live for both a radio show (the ever popular King Biscuit Flower Hour) and a video release. Today I share with you the radio show that aired back in the day. In addition to Alice Cooper playing his hits and more, it features an introduction and narration from one of the kings of horror, Mr. Vincent Price. Here is "The Strange Case of Alice Cooper" from The King Biscuit Flower Hour. Enjoy!

    The Strange Case of Alice Cooper

    Here's the entire 1979 video release of that concert via you-tube! Enjoy!

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: And Now A Few Ghost Stories . . .

    My father earned a living during his teen years as an usher in a movie theater. Back then it was pretty common to have ushers that showed you to your seat and also passed out promotional items to the customers. He loved to tell the story of the time he had to come in early when the theater was showing the film, "The Tingler". The reason for his coming in early was to help wire the seats with a device similar to a joy buzzer. At a crucial moment in the film, the screen would go black and the announcer would shout, "The Tingler is loose in the theater" at which point the seat buzzers would be activated. If you think about it, gimmicks like that were the precursor to today's "4-D" films that are shown in various theme parks around the world. The king of these gimmicks was a man named William Castle. Some of his other gags included certificates for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London given to each customer in case he/she should die of fright during the film, "Macabre"; an inflatable glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire floating over the audience during the final moments of some showings of "The House on Haunted Hill"; the passing out of a "Magic" (gold colored plastic) coin during the film "Zotz", which, of course, did absolutely nothing. The list goes on and on. In 1972, Peter Pan Records released an album of Ghost Stories entitled, "Ghost Story_ Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of Fright & the Supernatural". This LP was something of a tie-in to the NBC anthology show that Castle produced from '72-'73. The show was called "Ghost Story" but aside from the tracks on Side One being dubbed "The Horrors of Mansfield House" there's no real connection. There's certainly Castle-esque hype slathered all over the cover though; "This record should not be listened to by the very young or tender-hearted", it shouts. "This recording is definitely not recommended for children under eight years of age". It seems that the record was yet another gag aimed at the public to attain their interest in the mighty William Castle's work. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

    Ghost Story_ Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of Fright & the Supernatural

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Voices From Beyond

    "Night falls. The forest holds its breath. Everything is still. The blood red moon stares through the trees. Suddenly, the wind blows! The trees... shiver. A bat quivers in the night... and flies away."
    Thus begins what I consider to be the best of the"spooky sounds" record. Yes, we all have a favorite. Some claim "The Thrilling Chilling Sounds of The Haunted House" while others claim "Sounds To Make You Shiver" as their favorite. There are tons of these records out there. In fact, McDonalds even got in on the game in the mid 90s when they released a "spooky sounds" cassette with their Halloween happy meal. For my money, the all time grand poobah of these records is "Ghostly Sounds" released on Peter Pan Records in 1975. With its narrator ever present to guide us through Halloween territory, Ghostly Sounds begins with marvelous effects of wailing, cackling witches, and their bizarre spell-casting. Howling wolves and keening cats are heard. All the while, the eerie noise of wind purrs in the background. Many of the album's effects, all untitled, were done on a synthesizer, and those awful canned music machines were seldom used to better effect. The piece de resistance of Ghostly Sounds, though, and possibly of the entire spooky sounds genre, is its "goblins" segment. "From out of their hiding places," the narrator announces, "Goblins step... and laugh... and dance." The deranged, bobbing, giggling, merry/creepy effects used to represent the goblins and their little jig has yet to be transcended on any spooky sounds LP. Put this on as the kiddies are coming up to your door and blast it really loud out the windows so that they can properly enjoy the feel that it gives! Here is "Ghostly Sounds". Enjoy!

    Ghostly Sounds

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: A Rockin' Hallow's Eve

    Post-World War II America saw the horror and sci-fi genres reach their apex. The age of Cold War hysteria and nuclear paranoia inspired tales of invading aliens, gigantic mutations and technological terror. Raised on B-movies and comic books—a world inhabited by Martians and vampires—teenagers soon became the main market for a multitude of novelty rock'n'roll records released to exploit the trend. The selections included Round Robin's Bo Diddleyesque "I'm The Wolfman" and The Swanks' electrifying "Ghost Train". Todays sharity brings you the best of these Blood Curdling Rock and Roll classics. Not to mention Bert Convy's "Monster Hop" (yes, that Bert Convy!) Here is "Blood Curdling Rock N' Roll". Enjoy!

    Blood Curdling Rock N' Roll

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Tricks & Treats 09: Star Wars Halloween Fun (repost)

    These masks are originally from Random House Publishing's 1983 book, The Star Wars Book of Masks. Choose a mask, print them out, and party hard on Halloween! (click on the image to get the full size pic)

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