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.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

The descendant of Synthetic Plastics certainly don't fool around! Though I don't suppose they'll ever make any of this stuff available digitally.

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

You'll be shocked to know, it is! It's on Amazon, and is also in their mp3 store. That was my bad...from now on, I'm looking there as well as Itunes. For example, I was about to waste my time on the Disney "20,000 Leagues" story album, but I just found out it's on Itunes, so screw that...however, I do have another 20,000 Leagues that isn't anywhere!

Dave said...

Sorry for your troubles. I've been having these same issues for 7 years now myself. Ever since sharing the Disney "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House" LP as my very first share in 2005. Tha ks for the great shares.

Dave W.

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

Thanks for the kind words! Nice to know I'm not alone. Amazing about the Haunted House LP....I bet I downloaded that from you though, so small cyber-world!
I'm going to press on for now; it would be a shame to have to undo all this work.