Yogi Bear - Original TV Soundtracks! (Colpix, 1961)

Whereas yesterday's Warner Bros. LP included stories specially made for record, this product is literally what it says: TV soundtracks.  In other words, audio lifted directly from four animated shorts, with limited interruption from an overdubbed narrator to help move things along, saying things like, "Look out, Yogi! You're going to hit that tree!" as if that helps very much...he's going to hit the tree anyway.
If your mom ever made audio cassettes of the television for you to listen to on car trips as a kid (What? Mine did....I can't be the only one!), then you will take right to this record. Which, by the way, looks like it was issued on CD at one time, but is available only as an import now.  If I'm wrong, will some kind soul please drop me a line, and I'll take it down.


Bugs Bunny & His Friends (Capitol, 1961)

Things aren't rosy here at The Sphinx.  Apparently one of the last LP's I discussed is available as an official CD, so it was pulled....which is totally my fault, and I will be researching the official availability of items from now on.  That said, it's hard for me to imagine anyone getting bent out of shape over a crackly old LP rip.  It's like me walking up to you on the street, and handing you a blotchy photocopy of the Declaration of Independence...it's not the real thing; it's an image of the real thing.  If you wanted the real thing, you would go and buy it...and, maybe the photocopy I gave you would encourage you to actually DO that, after all!
That said, I am always willing to INSTANTLY remove anything that doesn't need to be here.  Of course, I have to be asked, which is the least the offended party can do.
That's strike two.  Next time something like that happens, and I bind up somebody's panties, it will be the end of any vinyl rarities on this blog, and we can just talk about collecting Godzilla stuff all day.

Okay, rant over. Here we have a neat old LP that is pretty rare (and unavailable on CD, I will hasten to add).  This is a Capitol album issued in 1961, with some neat Chuck Jones-era-styled artwork, that is actually a compilation of 78's that were issued much earlier, in the 40's and 50's.  All of this wouldn't have mattered to any kid in 1961, because by then, television had made the Warner Bros. cartoons even more accessible, and part of any child's mindset.
While many records of this ilk can be pretty sparse and occasionally dull, these stories actually come close to being audio cartoons, because some of the same writers, artists, etc., worked on them; because of the presence of Mel Blanc and June Foray, and because their running length is equivalent to an animated short.  

Enjoy these, in the spirit in which it is intended!


How To Realize Your Ambitions in the Amazing Automotive Service Industry (Earl Nightingale, 1960)

You know, when I find records like this, I am attracted to them for a variety of reasons--the covers, the inordinate amount of superlatives,  the promises of how they will change your life (see below), and, let us not forget, the potential for lots of great samples.
While all these things are true, and while the long title is pretty comical and random, this turned out to be a pretty solid piece of a vinyl pep talk.  
Earl Nightingale was a prolific motivational speaker, and there's a good Wikipedia article that chronicles his career, which included voice work (you will see why he worked as an announcer when you hear him).  As a teen, he was on a ship at Pearl Harbor, and was one of 12 marines on board that survived the attack.
His message here can be summed up pretty basically, and you have heard it before, no doubt:  we are what we think, so therefore we become what we think about, and the amount of reward or success we receive depends on that thinking, as well as, inversely, the amount of service we are willing to give to others.
Some of those promises I mentioned.
At first, it seemed like little more than "positive thinking," but I thought he made some good points.  What struck me the most was how unpopular this message would be in today's climate, where hard work isn't regarded in the same way it was in the past.  
More of the text I was talking about...$5 was a lot for a record in 1960, wasn't it?
Also, sadly, the concept of service is even farther away from our modern thinking.  It's something that everyone wants--even EXPECTS--but how many times a week do you really experience good "customer service" anymore? More so, how often do you hear somebody complaining about the lack thereof?
Either way: if you need some positive reinforcement, or if you are just looking for some sampling potential (and I always am), OR if you are just attracted by an amusingly random title (and I always am) then it's here. Enjoy!


Two MONSTER Record Reviews (1963 and 1965)

Today, what you can regard as a ridiculously late Halloween post (or ridiculously early for next year).  We have two vintage LP's with similar themes, that would technically be filed in the same categories, but couldn't be any further apart in terms of content.

First up  is an LP issued by Wonderland Records in 1963, in conjunction with Famous Monsters magazine.  The gimmick was that you would get to hear two of the most famous monsters in history speak.  You may cringe when I report to you that both sides are basically monologues, and that there is only one major voice actor on the entire record, but amazingly, he pulls it off.  What is keeping me from describing it very thoroughly to you is the fact that I am still reeling from how disturbingly frightening this record was, er, is.  I mean, this is basically a kids' record, and it was 1963, but don't let either of those stop you.  One the first side, we hear the actual voice of the Frankenstein monster--cleverly framed using the device of an auditorium of scientists who have assembled to hear this historic recording--and we get to hear the monster bemoan his state of affairs, make murderous promises to his creator, and then go on a destructive rampage of smashing and killing.  There are a couple of points where the scientists have to "change reels," which allow the listener to catch their breath, before it's back to the action, which concludes with the castle burning down, as if you didn't know.
Side two is even more gruesome.  A condemned man types out the story of his encounter with the actual Dracula, who, he accidentally discovered, is real.  As we experience his horror first-hand, the gory high point comes when Dracula entices a young girl into a London alley, bites her, and sucks her blood...although the more accurate word is SLURP.  This sounds sort of comical, but the whole thing is done very straightforward in a tone of sheer menace.
The sound effects are top-notch, and I am left to conclude that there are therapists somewhere who became quite wealthy because this record existed, and because unknowing parents sent young Freddie to his room to listen to records, so they could "look at" television. 
And then we have this.  "Frankie Stein and His Ghouls - Monster Sounds And Dance Music."  Notable for being a very early product by Power Records, in 1965, the same Power Records that is connected to Peter Pan and brought us all of those awesome superhero stories.
It's incredibly easy to poke fun at this record......so I'm going to do it anyway. Yes, it's another record for kids, and yes, it's another monster record, but one at the opposite, polar end of the spectrum.  This is one of those "dance" records of generic, mid-60's pop music, and is intended for kids to use at their "dance party."  In fact, the track listing claims that there is a different dance you are supposed to perform for each track.  You have seen these types of things before, and the difference here is that there are scary noises distributed throughout the tracks, such as screams, moans, and.....the slide whistle.  Yes, I said slide whistle.  
The problem is, it's going to be a very short dance party, as both sides clock in at 11 minutes each.  By the time you learned exactly how to do the "Frug," without getting arrested, it would be on to the next song.  A couple of numbers come dangerously close to infringement--I swear they are a hair's breadth from breaking into "Tequila" a couple of times, and one track on side 2 is The Beatles "All My Loving," for all intents and purposes.  But hey, who's counting. An interesting moment comes in the middle of side 2, where one song begins with a false start, some banter, and they just leave it in.  It's like nobody's taking this very seriously, so I won't either.
Besides, I  need something else to think about, other than the Famous Monsters record, or I will be sleeping with the lights on all weekend.


THE LONE RANGER (Wrather Corporation, date unknown)

I love OTR (Old-Time Radio), which as Stan Freberg always says, can accomplish things that television never could.  I get sucked into a good story in a matter of seconds, and when I saw this LP with its lovely cover painting, I knew it was for me.  I loved watching reruns of The Lone Ranger as a kid, after all.

I can't find much information about this record.  It was put out by The Wrather Corporation (who owned the property at the time), and the text on the back is a little misleading--in trying to say this is the first album (and I can't find a trace of a second volume in this series), they sort of make it sound like this is the "first adventure," but this isn't true.  The hit radio show began in 1933, and lasted for an incredible 2,956 episodes (you read that right)! The actor who voiced the Lone Ranger in these particular two episodes was Brace Beemer (I love that name, it's like Dash Riprock or something), and he took the job in 1941, and kept it until the series ended in 1954.  So these two episodes fall into that time period, and that's the best I can do.

One more note on the scratchiness of the recording--sometimes, when I apply pop-reducing software to certain recordings, it squashes or flattens them beyond recognition.  This happened here, so I left well enough alone.  I think it's because of a double whammy--the original recording was that way, and then made into a record, which became even MORE that way.  In any case, it won't interfere with your enjoyment of this classic show. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear!

Fun Factoid of the Day:  In my research, I learned that (since they had the same creators) the Lone Ranger is the Green Hornet's great uncle! How cool is that?


Original Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots (Marx, 1960's)

I spent the past two nights cleaning and restoring a vintage, original "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots" by Marx.  It was among my late uncle's items, and had been in a storage building for ten years.  Unfortunately, it wasn't even protected very well, it sat at the top of a box, uncovered, and had accumulated years of grime.  To my amazement, I discovered it was not only intact, but working, so I set out to restore it to its original luster!
 I've cleaned up a lot of old toys in my time, but this was one of the worst! When a can of compressed air wouldn't even budge the filth, I ended up using an old toothbrush, and innumerable paper towels and cotton swabs.  The photo above shows a "before and after" shot of the progress.

But the finished results were worth it! And, it looks pretty nice sitting on top of one of my bookcases!


King of the Monsters vintage handbill (1956) and more!

 Here are a few items I've picked up lately--first, a vintage handbill poster for GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS from 1956! This one is going to be custom-framed and put straight on the wall...somewhere!

And finally, one of those discoveries that just knocked me off my feet.  When we were going through my late uncle's things, I was going through a random box of papers and trash, and right there in the middle of it was this:
It's an oversized postcard from the now-defunct "House of Cash" museum, around 8"x10", and I can only assume my uncle was at a personal appearance there or something.  All I know is, it's another treasure that is going in a frame, to be cherished until I can hand it down someday!