Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gift of Memories

More musical memories of a tail-end Baby Boomer. Here are the songs:


1 Give Peace A Chance John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band
2 Cinnamon Girl Neil Young with Crazy Horse


3 Without You Badfinger
4 Make Me Smile (single version) Chicago
5 Lucky Man Emerson, Lake & Palmer
6 Let It Rain Eric Clapton
7 Temma Harbour Mary Hopkin
8 Another Day Paul McCartney


9 Free Chicago
10 Vincent Don McLean
11 I Just Want to Celebrate Rare Earth
12 Tongue In Cheek (single version) Sugarloaf


13 From the Beginning Emerson, Lake & Palmer
14 Day by Day Godspell Cast; Robin Lamont
15 You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio Joni Mitchell

16 Young Americans David Bowie 1975
17 Falling Star Karla Bonoff 1977
18 Peek-A-Boo! Devo 1982
19 Hold On Santana 1982
20 Goodbye To You Scandal 1982
21 On the Dark Side John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band 1983

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

See You January Second

Taking a week and a bit off.  See you the first week of January!

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Banana Man!

This is a guy I remember seeing on Captain Kangaroo.  Talk about Dare to Be Silly! Isn’t this a GREAT piece of fun and entertainment?!?!?

This clip is hosted by the 1970s Bob Keeshan.  But The Banana Man was around in the earlier incarnations in the 1960s also.

It turns out that the man I saw on Captain Kangaroo in the 1960s was NOT the original Banana Man.  According to one source, “The Banana Man was an American vaudeville character originally created by Adolph Proper (c. 1886--December 17, 1950), who used A. Robins as his stage name. After Proper's death, Sam Levine adopted the character, and appeared on the television programs Captain Kangaroo and The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1950s and 60s.”

Here is some footage of Adolphe Proper, who became the original Banana Man under the stage name of A Robins, from a 1939 Red Skelton short called Seeing Red.

Interestingly, this 1939 calls the character a “walking music shop.”  No bananas to be seen.  Also, the nestled boxes ascend to a Tower-of-Babel configuration at the end, not set into a train line.

There is also a brief inclusion of The Banana Man in the 1947 Betty Grable film, Mother Wore Tights.

In this short clip, you can hear the “lee-dee-dee” singing and the “WOOWWWWW” that you also hear in the Captain Kangaroo clip.  After showing the CK clip to my kids, they NOW understand why they’ve heard me say that falsetto “WOOWWW” all of THEIR lives.

As a late-blooming Baby Boomer, it is perhaps symptomatic that MY memories of The Banana Man are of a second-generation guy on Captain Kangaroo.  But ANY Banana Man is a wonder.  The softest spot in my heart is for the version exemplified on CK, who may have been played by Sam Levine.

For some more info on THE BANANA MAN, there is at least one website out there that you can scrounge,

See you next week!


Monday, December 05, 2011

MA-42 - Happy Christmas Time

Here is a collection I’ve made of Christmas music from many different sources, from lounge to very traditional, from instrumentals to very important lyrics.

In Track 6, “Happy Birthday Jesus,” my friends Tim and Miranda, that that time known as Sparklepop, present a sadly true and cogent look at some of the same topics raised by Charlie Brown’s “commercial dog.”  They reappear under a more recent name as Seranova, for Track 24, a great version of a song from “Charlie Brown Christmas.”

On Track 17, VM of the Beatles Remixers Group overlays a chant from one of the Beatles Fan Club’s Christmas releases with “Flying” from Magical Mystery Tour, with the result being a fun (though not profound) new Christmas ditty.

Lots of retro, punchy fun comes along in Tracks 7, 13, and 15.

Once based out of Nashville, Fleming and John work their special magic on Track 19, an Elseworlds version of “Winter Wonderland.”

Track 25 is a great piece from Joan Baez’s 1960s album Noel, with instrumentation and arrangements by Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame.  The entire album is a moving assemblage of music.

Track 26, from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” just wouldn’t be the same without that shouted “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”  -- so I inserted that but from the TV special into the song.

I tried to put together a mix of fast and slow, of reverent and joyous.  The collection is bookended by a rousing “Hark the Herald” and a stilling “Silent Night” from an wonderful album by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

As I get ready for the arrival of Jesus’ birthday, I’m always struck by a combination of emotions.  On one side is thankful humility:  God loves me so much that he sent his Son to show that love!  On the other side is sorrow and shame, to realize the sacrifice that my sinful nature requires for expiation.

Join me in being thoughtful and thankful!

Here are the songs:

01. The Philadelphia Orchestra - Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (3:10)
02. The O.C. Supertones - Joy to the World (2:41)
03. Martin Denny - Exotic Night (2:16)
04. Georgia Kelly - Little Drummer Boy (4:22)
05. Chris Willis - Sweet Little Jesus Boy (4:00)
06. Sparklepop - Happy Birthday Jesus (3:37)
07. Capitol Studio Orchestra - Cha-Cha All the Way (2:19)
08. Teja Bell - Carol of the Bells (3:49)
09. Joan Baez - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (2:58)
10. Sarah Masen - Heaven's Got a Baby (4:17)
11. The Philadelphia Orchestra - Away in a Manger (2:26)
12. Erin O'Donnell - I Need Christmas (3:49)
13. Claymation Christmas Celebration - We Three Kings Bop (2:50)
14. Elvis Presley - Here Comes Santa Claus (1:57)
15. Johnny Mercer - Jingle Bells (2:36)
16. Twila Paris - Silent Night (4:25)
17. The Beatles (VM) - Christmas Time Is Here Again (2:03)
18. The Drifters - White Christmas (2:38)
19. Fleming and John - Winter Wonderland (3:40)
20. Billy May - Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo (2:38)
21. Xmas! The Beatmas - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (2:31)
22. Five Iron Frenzy - You Gotta Get Up (2:27)
23. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (1:55)
24. Seranova - Christmastime Is Here (3:16)
25. Joan Baez - I Wonder as I Wander (3:53)
26. The Philadelphia Orchestra - Silent Night, Holy Night (3:16)

Here is the link:  

And Track 22 is ONE OF MY FAVORITES!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time Capsule from 1984

When I was sorting out some books to get rid of, I found this clipping from April 20, 1984, in one of my "Kennedy killer" books.  After a second glance, I thought it was an interesting window on those long-ago times.

"Meese Nomination Assailed" -- Edwin Meese did in fact become Attorney General, but resigned in 1988 during the WedTech scandal, which linked government officials, corporations, and improper payments/use of influence.  Wow, that doesn't happen nowadays, does it, Solyndra?

"Oswald Interrogator Dies at 88" -- This is why I kept this clipping.  Why I thought it important to keep, I don't know.  But, yes, Fritz was a Dallas PD detective who questioned Oswald after the latter's arrest for shooting Patrolman Tippitt.

"Jackson Resting Comfortably" -- That may or may not be true in 2011, considering the limp-wristed treatment of Dr Conrad Murray, his killer.  But in 1984, this referred to the infamous Pepsi "whole new generation" commercial, which featured a big production video based on the Jackson song "Billie Jean."  While strutting down some steps on the production stage, some fireworks went off too close to the singer's Afro and caught his hair on fire.

Believe it or not, in 1984 MJ was widely considered to be both black and male.  In ensuing years, the pop star seemed to be trying to nullify both conditions, until his pathetic death as a drugged-out zombie.  What a sad thing.

The back side of this "clipping" is easily recognized as part of an ad for Romancing the Stone, which blended elements of Indiana Jones and His Girl Friday for a fun, adventurous romp.

By the way, none of the three theatres mentioned in the ad (the complete name of the first is Northpark 4) is in business any more.

See you next week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anybody Remember Teen-Age Book-club?

Also known as TAB, this was a service of Scholastic Book Services, and it got a lot of folks into reading (I hope).  Me, I was already there!

When cleaning out the family household, I came across this artifact.  Why in the world Mom would have kept this flyer from January, 1970, I don't know -- I was thirteen years old at the time.

This was back when paperbacks were cover-priced from 60 to 95 cents, on the average, with plenty of 40-centers, too.

As you can see by the front page, the style has surrendered to an adult's idea of Pop and Psychedelic style.

The cover shows images from Dark Shadows (an old-age Barnabas Collins), Land of the Giants, and a WWII plane.  Why World War II?  Well, DUH!  Our moms and dads lived through it, at almost exactly our age (as we were in 1970).

Here is the center spread.  As you can see, every time you bought a book you got a credit, and occasionally you could "cash in" your credits to get free books.

It's a shame that I don't have the entire flyer, but I used the order form!  As you can see, I marked Life Beyond the Earth, and Barnabas Collins in a Funny Vein, as my free books.

Along with the teen angst of the times (Phyllis Whitney's The Highest Dream) and sports for the guys (Basketball Stars of 1970), there is a heartening emphasis on the classics, like Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Here is the back page (or what was left after coupon removal).

Pardon me for seeming curmudgeonly, but to me it feels like that, with all the possible media and learning resources available to teens nowadays, our cultures's horizons have withered quite a bit.  Sure, John and Yoko nude on Two Virgins might seem equivalent to Lady Gaga's meat suit in shock value -- but John and Yoko only occupied perhaps .05% of media attention (and for a brief few months perhaps), not a whole TV channel's worth of "deviance."

See you next Wendesday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Degrees of "Son of Frankenstein"

While watching the 1940 WC Fields film The Bank Dick on TMC the other day, I was astounded to recognize some of the music.  It’s an active, suspenseful piece that is used twice in The Bank Dick, each time to accompany a bank-robber chase (there are two bank robberies in the movie!).

It was music from 1939’s Son of Frankenstein, by Frank Skinner!  The music is heard at the climax of Son, when the Monster (Karloff) has taken Dr Frankenstein’s little boy.  There are various scenes of pursuit and standoff, as the Monster holds the tyke over the lava pit, until Basil Rathbone does his Tarzan act and saves the day.

I checked with IMDB                        about The Bank Dick,   and it says that Frank Skinner was the “uncredited” composer.  The onscreen credits list the Musical Director for this Universal movie as Charles Previn.

So here we have a clear case of what they call, in TV, “tracking” – that is, using music previously prepared for one situation, in another.  Another classic example from the movies is how Universal reused Franz Waxman’s exotic Bride of Frankenstein music for its Flash Gordon serials.

Now, here’s another interesting movieland cross-pollonization.  Growing up as a twisted sort of soul, I had seen Son of Frankenstein at least ten times before, as an adult, I watched Bambi with my young children.  Once again, I went “hmmmm,” when I heard “young” Bambi speak.  Now, WHERE had I heard that too-cute voice before?

And then it hit me – it was the same voice as Peter von Frankenstein, the infant Son of Frankenstein!

Nowadays, you can see Donnie Dunagan listed as the “uncredited” voice of young Bambi on IMDB.  But twenty years ago, all I could do was go, “hmmmm.”

See you next Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

MA-26 - Break -Ins from Beyond

Along with the rising of mass media and a united pop culture in the twentieth century came a realization that folks might have shared the same experience as you, even if they hadn’t been WITH YOU.  In other words, two people might have seen the same silent movie, even though they lived in far-apart towns.  Hence,  “So’s your old man!” came to mean, “Shut up” or “I disagree with you,” by common reference to the WC Fields 1926 silent movie of the same title.

Similarly, Veronica Lake’s hair-over-one-eye look may have been sultry and attractive, even when emulated by thousands of women in the 1940s, but it also was dangerous when those same women were working in war plants during WWII and got their loose, sultry tresses caught in machinery, leading to injury and death.  Here’s a Youtube video concerning this:

When recorded music reached this same plateau (or valley, take your pick), then folks could start referring to hit records with the assurance that the listener would understand the reference.  That’s the whole idea behind sound-alike “cover” versions of pop tunes.  If the imitation sounded enough like the original, then the cover version could score some sales, riding on the coattails of the original hit record.

Then came along people with twisted senses of humor, like me.  They realized that this same familiarity with hit records meant that various catch-phrases could be cut out from the recording and reassembled, much like a newspaper-ad ransom note.

And thus the “break-in” record was born.  Ordinarily, such an assemblage would have the format of a narrator or an interview giving a leading statement that could then be “replied to” by a one-or-two-second segment from a song that was current enough that the hoped-for listener would recognize the clip, and get the joke – meanwhile marveling at the assembler’s creativeness, and eventually buying the break-in record.

Here’s my own assemblage of a bunch of these, as they relate to outer space and little green men, and the like.  Not all are break-ins, there are some more straight songs.

Here are the tracks:
1 -        Marty on the Planet Mars Part 1         Martty 1954
2 -        Marty on the Planet Mars Part 2         Martty 1954
3 -        Santa and the Satellite Part 1  Buchanan and Goodman        1957
4 -        Santa and the Satellite Part 2  Buchanan and Goodman        1957
5 -        Destination Love        Jan Davis         1958
6 -        The Outer Space Looters Part 1          The Mad Martians       1958
7 -        The Outer Space Looters Part 2          The Mad Martians       1958
8 -        Flying Saucer The 3rd Buchanan and Goodman        1959
9 -        Blast Off!        Jimmie Haskell and His Orchestra      1959
10 -      Comic Strip Rock N Roll        Robert Ashley 1959
11 -      Space Ship      Dickie Goodman         1960
12 -      Santa and the Touchables       Dickie Goodman         1961
13 -      Moon Gas       Dick Hyman and Mary Mayo 1963
14 -      The Flying Saucer       Chickenman      1966
15 -      Luna Trip        Dickie Goodman         1969
16 -      London, London         Ceatano Veloso           1971
17 -      Spaceship        Spontaneous Combustion         1973
18 -      Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft     Klaatu 1976
19 -      Hey ET            Dicklie Goodman        1982
20 -      The Martian Boogie    Brownsville Station    1977
21 -      The Ballad of William Robinson        Bill Mumy       1997
22 -      Return of the Flying Saucer    Jon Goodman  1997
23 -      I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship          David Bowie      2002
24 -      UFO    Darryl Rhoades           2005
25 -      le flying saucer hat      Chairlift           2008
26 -      Flying Saucers Breakfast in Fur          2009

And here is the link:

As John Landis likes to say, SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Farewell to a King-Sized Sweetheart

Here’s what the Daily Oklahoman’s obit read

March 22, 1959 - October 28, 2011 MOORE Mark Lynn Barragar left this life to be with the Lord on Friday, October 28, 2011. He was born March 22, 1959 in Columbus, Kansas. He was the only child of Wallace and Loree Barragar. He graduated with the Capitol Hill High School Class of 1976. He spent most of his working life as a Master Control technician. Mark enjoyed a variety of pastimes, especially entertaining. Many people know Mark best by "Ranger Roger," the name he used when he hosted "Camp Kids Club" on KOKH (Channel 25) from 1991 to 1998. His most recent passion was as an Elvis "tribute artist" known as the "King-sized King." Mark married the love of his life, Yvonne, in 1981 and is the stepfather of Dru West of Chicago, IL; and Yevette O'Leary of Shawnee, OK; and is survived by them and his son-in-law, Michael O'Leary; and grandchildren, Turner, Kathryn, Ashlyn and J. Patrick. He was preceded in death by his parents, Wallace and Loree Barragar. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2011, at John M. Ireland Funeral Home Chapel, Moore, OK, under their direction.

I knew Mark since the 1990s.  He came to a ThunderCon in full Klingon regalia.  Believe me, you pay attention to a 6-foot-4 Klingon!

Mark had played the Frankenstein Monster on Count Gregore’s Sleepwalker’s Matinee on Channel 5.  In the 1990s he was “Ranger Roger” for Channel 25.  Later he became an Elvis tribute artist, “The King Size King.” 

in the 2000s, Joyce and I saw him perform as the King several times, once at Moore’s Yellow Rose Theatre, where we bought this CD.

In between, Mark had talked to me about having his own show as a horror host (probably based on Count Gregore and other hosts).  I wrote him a couple of scripts, and when Mark said his character would be Cyclopean, I suggested we name him Professor Eisingel (“Eye”+”single”, get it?)  Alas, nothing came of that.

You can find a few more tributes here:

As to his CD, here are the tracks:
1) 2001 / That's Alright Mama
2)  Hound Dog
3)  Treat Me Nice
4)  Love Me
5)  Follow That Dream
6)  Viva Las Vegas
7)  In the Ghetto
8)  Wonder of You
9)  American Trilogy
10)  I Can't Stop Loving You

And here is the link:

See you next week!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Under the Halloween Tree

We end this Halloween season with a bit of gentle fun, John Debney's enchanting soundtrack to the 1994 telefilm The Halloween Tree.  It was based of course on Ray Bradbury's fun tour of Halloween origins, the volume of the same name.

Here are the tracks:

01. Main Titles
02. Our Costumes
03. Pip's House
04. The Note / The Ravine
05. The Funeral March / Stairs
06. The Marley Knocker
07. Meeting Moundshroud
08. Pip and the Tree
09. Where is Pip?
10. The Barn Poster Kite
11. Landing in Egypt
12. Feast of the Spirits
13. Through the Streets
14. The Tomb Chase
15. Mummies
16. Pip's Casket
17. Funeral Procession
18. Leaving Egypt
19. Medieval Festival / New Years'
20. Stonehenge
21. Broomsticks
22. Witches Hideout
23. "What's a Witch?"
24. Witches Chant
25. Burnings and Flight
26. The Construction Yard
27. Sanctuary
28. The Cathedral
29. The Whistle / Gargoyles
30. Gargoyle Chase pt. 1
31. Gargoyle Chase pt. 2
32. Next Stop, Mexico!
33. Candle-lit Graves
34. Gargoyles Dissipate
35. Sugar Candy Skulls / PiƱata
36. The Catacombs / Pip Trapped
37. The Trade
38. Coming Back
39. Pip's Alive! / Moundshroud's Pumpkin
40. End Titles

And here is the link:

And, as the butcher said when he sold me the empty frankfurter casing,


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Anybody Remember Mazeppa?

In the early 1970s, late-night Saturday TV, in the Tulsa, OK broadcasting area, didn't get any cooler (or sillier) than Mazeppa Pompazoidi's Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting.  Unlike many monster-show hosts, Gailaird Sartain's skits were actually humorous (sometimes).
Here's a contemporary photo

and here's me in about 1972, wearing my mom's rendition of the outfit:
One can only say, LAWZEE!

About twenty years later, the costume was still intact when I posed with a Franken-friend:
Growing up means being able to be silly.

See you tomorrow for some fun and creepy music to wrap up this year's BLOG-O-WEEN!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Haunted Treehouse

From my copy of the October, 1964 Jack and Jill:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

She Hate Me. Like Others!

The rest of the Bride's tale from the coloring book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

more from Jack and Jill

more of my eight-year-old Halloween reading.
Except for the skin color, the witch on the bottom right kind of resembles a couple of Jr High teachers I remember.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Windmills Are Less Dangerous Than You Think

Not only did Victor Frankenstein survive being tossed from the windmill in Frankenstein, his critter survived in the basment, as told in more pages from the Universal coloring book.

"I was gonna make espresso!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ghouls with Attitude, Volume 2

Here is the second installation of Oddio Overplay’s Halloween record.  As I said last Monday, the comps are sadly no longer available from them!

Here are the tracks:
1)  Billy DeMarcus - Drac's Back
2)  Movie Trailer - Ghost In The Invisible Bikini
3)  Peter Pan Singers  - Theme to Casper the Friendly Ghost
4)  The Creatures - Mostly Ghostly
5)   Tyrone A' Saurus & his Cro-Magnons - The Monster Twist
6)  Mann Drake - Vampire's Ball
7)  Movie Trailer - The Return of Count Yorga
8)  The Hamburger Brothers - Omar The Vampire
9)  The Zanies - The Mad Scientist
10)  The Cool Ghoul - You Can't Ghoul Me
11)  Ted Cassidy - The Lurch
12)  The Detergents - Igor's Cellar
13)  The Milton the Monster Show - Theme Song
14)  Movie Trailer - Graveyard Tramps
15)  Cathy Mills - Monster Hop
16)  Glen Ryle - Wolf Gal
17)  Movie Trailer - Dr. Jeckyl and Sister Hyde
18)  Ralph Marterie and His Marlboro Men -  Alfred Hitchcock Presents
19)  Lois Prante Ellis and Mary Ann Parker - Troll At The General Meeting
20)  Jimmy Cross - I Want My Baby Back
21)  Count Baltes & The Egors - Opening The Coffin
22)  Sounds of Terror! - The Exorcism
23)  Al Zanino - The Vampire Speaks

And here is the link:  

  See you again soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

from October 1964

My copy of this magazine has no cover any more, but I found an image of it somewhere.  Here it is, along with a seasonal song.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trick-or-Treat Twins and a Poem

From the October 1965 Golden Magazine:

Even if she had help from Mom and Dad, that's still a fine effort for a nine-year-old.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frankenstein Is Colorized!

...courtesy of my daughter Melissa, who was about 8 at the time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Universal Monster Stamps

In 1997, the USPS issued these stamps featuring some of our favorite guys.

All original content
© by Mark Alfred