Duke Stern - ABRACADABRA Is My Game (Incubus, no date)

 I am spamming my own blog, I know, but The Sphinx is about to be closed for vacation (don't worry; I'll leave the front door unlocked) and I have lots of new stuff to include before I go.  Here is a pristine copy of a pretty rare LP that I found.  It didn't even seem to have been played before, and needed no de-clicking whatsoever.
You probably know how it is...you go months without really finding anything interesting, and then suddenly, in the space of a couple of weeks, there's more than you can get posted.  ("Life's like that." --Vivian Stanshall.) This one is so fresh, I haven't even listened to it yet myself.  

There isn't much information on Duke Stern on the Internets, and no Wikipedia article about him.  What I did find was that he was well-loved in the magician's communities, and very respected among his peers.  Oddly, this record has no date, but seems to come from circa 1972 or 1973, when Sterns passed away.  The back cover does promise more LP's to come, which apparently never happened.

This excellent copy also included a two-sided cardstock insert, detailing instructions and diagrams for the eleven magic tricks described on this album.  Since I haven't even heard this yet, we will let the label on the back cover speak for itself:


The Return of the Rock-afire Explosion!

I was pretty amazed to uncover this 45 in a pile of trashed Guy Lombardo, Melanie, and Strawberry Shortcake Read-Along discs last week.  It was pretty fried (well-loved), but I was able to restore it to its original greatness. This is the third single available by the much-missed Showbiz Pizza band, and oddly enough, there isn't the slightest hint at a writing credit for the Beatles cover (or even acknowledgement of any licensing, for that matter)! This is actually the more valuable 1983 reprint, according to the official website, but since it had no artwork present anyway, it doesn't matter.  
I got to see the excellent documentary last year, and it made me miss these guys even more...but it did give me a real appreciation of all the hard work that existed behind them, that us wide-eyed kids never knew about! Enjoy, and go beg your dad for a roll of tokens!

By the way, here's the original 1981 sleeve artwork, and also the 1983 reprint:


Creepy Clown Pictures Cavalcade!

Let me just say, I love thrift stores.  I spend as much of my time as possible in thrift stores and various places of such repute.  I will dig through the scummiest crates or shelves in the lousiest of flea markets, looking for treasures.  Once, in a dingy hole in a bad part of town, I thrust my hand under a pile of stuff and stabbed something (I will never know) so far under my fingernail, I ended up having to get a tetanus shot. I have dragged Children and loved ones regularly through garage sales, estate sales, and auctions, but my favorite prime slices of Americana are thrift stores.  

That said, I have noticed of late that there is a disturbing amount of Creepy Clown Paintings that are appearing in the places I frequent.  At first, I stopped to photograph one in particular, because it is the scariest thing I have ever laid eyes on.  But yesterday, I had to take some more pictures, because the sheer amount of these things showing up lately may be a sign of the collapse of civilization.

I bet I've seen fifteen of these things lately. In different places......so where are they coming from? And why? Did Red Skelton's private vault explode? I will probably never know, but I'm determined to document this phenomenon from now on.  
I hope you are ready for the most terrifying thing I have seen in years.....you have been warned.  Look at this. Batten down the hatches.  Hide the children.

This is so wrong on so many levels......I'm a little queasy at the moment, and I think I have to stop typing.


"Actual Wild Turkeys Recording" (WE Record, circa 1961)

I'm going to let this record speak for itself....there's not much I can really say that won't make me look like I need to be in a padded room somewhere for buying this...
What I can tell you, though, is what the PURPOSE of this record was. Apparently, there was a thing called a "Call of the Wild Record Player," made by Wightman Electronics in 1961.  This was a portable children's record player in a steel case, and only took 12 or so D batteries.  You can imagine how heavy it must've been.  The idea was, a young, intrepid explorer would haul the thing into the woods, plug in a speaker, hang it in a tree or something, and use the recordings of real animals to...well, that's where my story breaks down.  What WAS he supposed to do? Call herds of wild turkeys in to attack him? Shoot them with his Red Ryder BB gun? Train them as his own personal army and attack the schoolhouse? You've got me.  I did find some photos of the actual record player in various places, and here's what it looked like:

You have to marvel a bit.  This was the era of wood-burning kits and lawn darts....but then again...today we have toys designed to make children sound like "T-Pain."


Godzilla Movie Poster Collection (part four)

So what do you do when you only want one-half of a Double Feature framed? Just fold it the way you want, and it looks like this:
I was about out of wall-space, anyway!