3/25/12

POPEYE - OYLE ON TROUBLED WATERS (Peter Pan Records, 1976)

Not too long ago, but then again maybe two years ago, I received an unopened copy of this read-along from a collector who was unloading lots of extra stuff from his collection.  I re-discovered this item over the weekend, opened it (remember kids: old shrink-wrap just KEEPS SHRINKING over the years!), scanned the book, and ripped the record.
If you were a child in the 70's, then your experiences often included items from Peter Pan/Power Records.  The very thorough listing in the back of this book only shows 45-sized items.  There were comic-sized read-alongs, and scores of long-playing albums, often using very talented actors. 
There are pros and cons to this Popeye story.  The biggest "pro" is that Popeye is voiced by the late, great Jack Mercer, and thank goodness for that.  And also, I have to give the artist they hired credit for a decent and passable job trying to re-create the feel of the Bud Sagendorf era of Popeye comic strips...in fact, it's unusual for this size of read-along that the entire book is done in comic-strip format, and that is interesting in itself.  There's also a bit of the KFS-era cartoon feel, in that we have "Brutus" rather than "Bluto."  (Still wish it was Jackson Beck, though.)

The "cons" are weird, though.  It's very sparse on sound effects...there's not even a whistle for the pipe-blowing at the end of Popeye's theme song; Mercer has to vocalize it.  The story is rather nonsensical and anti-climactic, and the title, while a decent play on Olive's name, has no meaning to the story itself, as she is just along for the ride, and there's hardly much of a ride.
The worst part to me is the deus ex machina of the whole thing...Popeye eats his spinach, SAYS he's going to do something magical, and does it, without so much as a sound effect to indicate this....and then Olive congratulates him on saving the day...all in one panel.  This could have been executed so much better!
Wha? Did WHAT?! Is he The Flash now or something?
But, at the end of the day, it's a classic Peter Pan read-along, so what are you gonna do.  Plus, it was fresh out of the package (but shouldn't brand-new, unplayed vinyl NOT be crackly? That is suspicious, like it was duped from another record....but I cleaned it up, so worry not). Enjoy!
Dig that poor kid's 70's Game-Show host blazer!


14 comments:

sketch_osbourne@yahoo.com said...

Believe it or not, I was searching for this exact recording.. TODAY. And here it is, posted on the exact same day. FREAKY! I'm currently looking to rip my old "See/Hear/Read" records to MP3 but I've been scouring the internet to see if well-recorded versions already exist. Do you have any other old read-alongs you're willing to post/share?

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

Okay, that is indeed bizarre! I wasn't even going to post it until next Friday....and I had some free time! Wow.
I do have some others, but the collapse of MegaUpload recently took down everything I had posted. If you will search my blog, and find anything you'd like, I'd be glad to re-post it.
Also, I would recommend the website "Read-Along Adventures" at http://www.readalongadventures.com/R_Home.htm where you'll find several treasures, as well as Power Records Plaza at http://powerrecordsplaza.blogspot.com/ and also the Yahoo Group called "powerrecords" is a good resource, as there are lots of book-and-record (and classic kids' LPs) collectors there.
Good luck, and glad to be of service! Let me know if I can do anything else.

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Thank you Mr. Pac-Man!

I recall those Peter Pan read-alongs too well myself, I faintly remember one having Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble doing something together and ending kinda stupid anyway (something about Barney spending the night at Fred's house for who knows why).

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

I don't suppose the successor to the Peter Pan library (whatever name they give themselves) would mind what we're doing anyway.

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

There's a good question....who in the world ended up with these? It's not like they ever re-released them on CD. Not that that would work well anyway. I could see how a website format might work...who am I kidding? Kids today would never sit still for these! And they don't know who half of these characters are (mine do, though)!

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Lord knows the Peter Pan collection could put anyone to sleep. Also a shame for today's tots not being exposed to the right creations to boot (like my folks had pressed them to me).

Still, I loved this record I found years back...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcL9RcPXabk

Of course, Irwin Duck probably needs to be forgotten (those were still pretty kickin' George Peed covers though)!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYZOeHs0flk

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you're open to the idea of reposts, Mr. Quatrain.

If I may be so bold as to request a few here from the Leaping Fox Catalogue Page...

"Hey, Mr. Ultraman 1-3", "Die, Kaiju", "Not The Beatles", "Tom Lehrer Rarities 1-3", then everything from "Just PLEASE Stop Singing" down to "Star Worn Vol.6"

Yes, I know that's quite a few but I'm afraid it's been a while since I visited the site last (since the point last year that I feared the site abandoned for lack of activity/response basically - Pleased to see I was wrong!)

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

That can be done--in the meantime, while I get those reposts together (I will make a new post about reposts as an update), check the comments for the first STAR WORN disc--a kind soul put up all of the later volumes himself, and I re-posted the first disc, and that link is working! That will get you started, and in the meantime I will get busy.
I would love to repost the entire blog content, if only there was a new MegaUpload, and not just random placeholder sites!

KL from NYC said...

For anyone looking for other vintage kiddie records from Synthetic Plastics in NJ (who made this one) and others, check here:
http://littlegoldenrecords.blogspot.com/

The SPC factory was well-known for their budget Spin-O-Rama and Diplomat LPs on low-grade plastic. New records often had a lot of surface noise, including their Peter Pan/Power kiddie division.
Remember, the company was expecting kids to play their records on players like in the back cover photo, not on the family stereo in the living room.

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

Thanks for the link! What an amazing blog!

KL from NYC said...

If you're looking for older children's records, try The Kiddie Record Project @ kiddierecords.com

I was able to get their yearly mp3 collections on CDs. (The mp3s might still be available for free on the site, you'd have to check).

Their collection ranges from old breakable 78s on major and independent labels to Capitol Records' "Bozo Approved" 45 series and the early budget plastic records.

There are lots of early cartoon characters, and celebrities narrating children's stories and singing songs.

A lot of the vintage color covers are really worth saving to the hard drive.

KL from NYC said...

This took a while because I had to locate the links again:

The alleged current copyright owners of Peter Pan/Power Records who are "currently...restoring the legacy music from their vaults, and [the recordings are] being digitized to be available on iTunes, eMusic, etc." are here:
http://www.peterpanmusic.net/

The original owner of Synthetic Plastics in New Jersey had commented that all recorded music had been sold to Pickwick International when SPC ceased operations.

One of the new Peter Pan reps has gone around leaving comments with their new website address on kiddie record blog posts, but doesn't demand that the posts be removed (they probably know they don't own the copyrights).
I doubt there are master tapes anyway, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're downloading everyones' copies to piece together clean versions.

Here is a discography for Peter Pan at Forbidden Eye:
http://forbiddeneye.com/labels/peterpan.html

And Wikipedia also has an entry with links to more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pan_Records

I can't find the entry at BSNpubs.com that states that all masters had been sold to Pickwick International.
(So, don't take down any posts if someone tries to intimidate you. The other posts where they left comments are still up and running.)

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

Fascinating! Thanks for your research. I am glad these are being preserved for posterity, and I wouldn't doubt it either if our collective efforts are being utilized!