Monday, October 28, 2013

The worst Classic Comics/Classics Illustrated adaptation of all time--"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1943)


Yes, the worst of all--and I love it.  The above images were scanned from my copy.  Not sure, offhand, what edition I have--the HRN (highest reorder number) is 28.  There's a copyright year given, but the fourth digit is illegible--1944?

Anyway, this 1943 inanity is often cited as the first-ever horror comic (or first stand-alone horror comic, or something like that), and it's great fun throughout, and I love Arnold L. Hick's gorgeous artwork, but... fangs and fright wig on Mr. Hyde?  A lovesick Dr. Jekyll?  Hyde making like Batman across rooftops?  Dialogue like (see above) "Get away from me!..." "I can't!... I AM YOU!"?  Or the priceless, "He's swinging up on something!" (Cop, watching Hyde scale a building)? Or, "Kill!... Yes... Kill!"?  A chapter entitled, "Murder Rampage"?

And Jekyll's written confession: "I discovered that by taking a certain drug I could change to the evil being you know as Hyde.  Temptation became too great.  I tried again, then couldn't stop myself"?

William B. Jones, Jr. (Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History) reports that Evelyn Goodman was responsible for this laughably bad adaptation, which he describes as "an overstated clunker afflicted with the endemic crudeness of the early issues." True.

The 1953 revision, drawn by Lou Cameron, is infinitely better, though I still like the carefree stupidity (and highly entertaining artwork) of this one.  But, as an adaptation, it really is the worst of all CI/CC adaptations, just utterly divorced from the source and less linear in its narrative than some of the comics I drew as a child.  But, somehow, classic in its own outlandish way.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween in Space Suite, Part 2!

Today, the last three parts of my Halloween in Space Suite: "Meteors!!" "Memories of Earth," and "Peacocks in Space."  This time around, I used a little MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) so I could record something slow and play it back rapidly, and I did a little pitch and time expansion/compression.  Otherwise, everything is "live."  As in, what you hear is what I played.

I'm pleased by how smooth, ordered, and premeditated the sections sound, because they didn't happen that way, except for "Peacocks," which came together in 30 minutes or so after I scrapped my original idea for it.  The chord in "Memories"--i.e., the chord form (C#, F#, B, F, Bb, Eb)--is straight out of Erik Satie, c. 1894. (Two perfect fourth chords, a tritone apart, played as one.)  Yet, by 2013 standards, it sounds jazzy.  Everything in music is context, I guess.

I think my suite nicely shows off the terrific tones to be found on the Casio WK-3800.  If only I'd held onto the list thereof, which was included as an insert with my 3800 literature.  But it's gone.  The 3800's chassis lists a portion, but only a portion, of the tone library, so I'm forced to do a lot of hunting.  Then, once I find a cool tone, I tend not to record its number, so... much of my time spent composing a piece is more like time spent searching for a sound I recorded but forgot to write down.  I never said I was organized, and, if I did, I lied.

To the second part of the suite: Halloween in Space Suite, Part 2

Memories of Earth
Peacocks in Space

Composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with assistance from Sonar X2 Essential and Magix Audio Cleaning Lab MX.

And here's a zip containing the whole suite, and nothing but the suite: Halloween in Space Suite, Complete

Danger, Thrills, and Monsters
Space Spooks
View from the Space Station
Memories of Earth
Peacocks in Space

Composed and played by Lee Hartsfeld on his Casio WK-3800, with assistance from Sonar X2 Essential and Magix Audio Cleaning Lab MX.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ghost Cat Presents... Madness! Part 2

Ghost Cat, in real life, is Whitey.  Whitey lost his tail several years ago--it had to be amputated after an injury (it got pulled out of place, I recall--Dr. Mike, our vet, said a fall was the probable cause).  That makes him an honorary Manx.  It took a while to get used to the sight of Whitey, minus his large, fluffy tail.  Tail loss seemed to mellow him out for a while, but he quickly returned to his bullying ways, menacing other cats just to be doing it.  That's his way.  Another Whitey hobby is running around as if pursued by invisible demons.  Maybe it's his guilty conscience after him.

And we have Madness! Part 2.  The fun starts with the insanely inflated lyrics of Oh, That'll Be Joyful, which is actually an oldie called The Peanut Song, whose history I wrote up in 2008: The Peanut Song Story .  The Peanut Song was a standard glee club/college song number by the late 1800s, showing up in print under a variety of titles, and who can say when it originated?  Not Ghost Cat.  It could have been a folk number.  Or a published pop number whose copyright was ignored later on.  ("Gosh, we didn't know that one had an author"--Publisher.)  I do not know.

Also in today's slaylist--a number of deluded souls auditioning for an extended stay in the booby hatch, including the storytelling bus rider in Torero, the smitten-with-a-mannequin narrator of Glendora (a cheap knock-off of a Perry Como hit), the highly successful lover in his own mind whose fantasies are documented in Barcelona, and, of course, Baby Jane, who wonders whatever happened to herself in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,  a ? song title printed on the label without a question mark.

Bob Merrill's Cleo and Meo is a long-time favorite of mine, though this is my first time blogging it.  One of Mitch Miller's most imaginative and effective productions, and one of Bob Merrill's most surreal songs.  It's a tall tale gone crazy, with no explanatory tag (i.e., no suggestion that the whole narrative is a dream, or that the singer has been drinking, etc.).  Cleo and Meo is totally, classically insane.

What else?  Oh, Vince Edwards' Squealin Parrot Twist (which I should have included in a "Stupidity!" slaylist) is routinely cited as Squealin' Parrot Twist, but there's no apostrophe on the label.  So there.  Inane celebrity novelties like this one are often misfiled as "oddball" efforts, but they're actually pretty common.  If Time/Life ever decides to do a "Best of Celebrity Oddball Records" collection, they'll have enough titles for a hundred-CD set, plus "bonus" tracks.  All for one hundred "easy" payments of $16.99.  And, if you order now, you'll avoid ordering later.

Click here to hear the madness, all ripped from 78s, 45s, and LPs in my collection:

 Madness! Part 2

Oh, That'll Be Joyful--Bobby Wayne, Gene Baylos, 1954.
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte--The Capettes (of Capital University)
The Looner Fluter--Jon Kenny
Cleo and Meo (Bob Merrill)--The Four Lads and Jill Corey, w. Mitch Miller, 1954
Squeelin Parrot Twist--Vince Edwards, 1962.
Torero--Julius La Rosa, 1958.
Glendora--Bud Roman w. the Toppers.
Barcelona--Billy Murray w. the International Novelty Orch. (Dir. Nat Shilkret), 1926.
I've Been Waiting for Your Phone Call for 18 Years--Beatrice Kay, 1947.
Ah-Ha!--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1925.
March of the Lunatics (Pennario)--Leonard Pennario X2, 1960.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (L. Heller-F. De Vol)--Music by De Vol, 1962.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Madness! Part 1

More Bill Molno art from Charlton Comics.  I cut and pasted three images from the same story (a guy with a replicating machine who goes mad with his potential power) into a single image, added a black background, then turned the whole thing black and white and purple.  It works better in purple tone.  The captions are mine.

And today's slaylist is as mad as our lab-coated friend (who zapped himself out of existence when he hit the wrong button on his magic machine--I hate it when that happens).

All from 78s, 45s, and LPs in my mad collection.

Click here to hear: Madness! Part 1


Hooray, Hooray, I'm Goin' Away--Beatrice Kay w. Hugo Winterhalter, 1947.

Love You Like Mad--Lionel Hampton and His Orch., vocal: Lionel Hampton, 1952.
The Neurotic Goldfish (Alec Wilder)--Whittemore and Lowe, 1944.
Crazy Mixed Up Song--Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy, 1954.
Gobble Duet--Gudrun Carlson and Johaness Herskind, 1906.
I'm Mad--Willie Mabon and His Combo, 1953.
Laughing Over My Grave--Ray Stevens, 1964.
Barney Google--Georgie Price, 1923.
My Friend the Ghost--Jill Whitney, 1954
I Love Me--Billy Murray, 1923.
Madcap--Henri Rene and His Orch., 1954
Crazy Violins--Helmut Zacharias and His Magic Violins, 1959.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hold yer hearses! More slaylists on the way....

"Mad, Mad, Completely Mad!" is on its way.  Looks like it will be a two-parter.

At Frankie's request (that's him on the right), I put a green tint on the above image.  Which is to say, we don't have anything on my bedroom ceiling that looks (or acts) like a green vortex, swirling or otherwise.  Still, I might try to submit this to SyFy or the Chiller Channel, since they don't discriminate much, if at all, between fact and nonsense.  Maybe it'll end up on Fact vs. Fiction: Who Cares?  or some other such "reality" show.

If SyFy and Chiller pass, I'll try the Hitler Channel, where the ancient astronauts scam is enjoying new life.

So, park your hearses--music's coming.  Mad music.  (As if the slaylists to date have been sane....)


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween in Space, Part 4!!

More Bill Molno art, this time from Space Adventures, No. 54, 1963, Charlton Comics.  I love Molno's stuff.  I'm quite impressed by his abstract style and general gift for composition.  His eccentric approach to comic art, though, seems to have gained him a reputation as a hack, or worse.  Oh, well.  We like who we like.

And I hope you like today's playlist.  (The Lame Segue Police are coming--I can hear the sirens.)  These are mostly LP rips (from the Mostly LP label), with two rips apiece from 78s and 45s.  I recycled Purple People Eater and forgot the source.  It's a cheap-label cover version, and could be from Colortone, Tiara, Parade, Promenade, or elsewhere.  Or from all of the above (the cheap labels re-re-reused their own stuff).  Anyway, it's fake--that's all we need to know.  Your ears will hear that it's not Sheb Wooley.

And what Halloween spacelist is complete with the late, great Ferrante and Teicher in three selections?  Or Billy Vaughn's version of Telstar?  Or a goofy Tops label children's track (The Rocket Ship)?  Or the Bacharach-David novelty, Moon Man?  Or one of the "break-in" answers to Buchanan and Goodman's The Flying Saucer?  Or Mantovani's own Poem to the Moon?  Answer: not this one.  We've got 'em all, and a couple more.

To the, um.... to space!!

Click here to hear: Halloween in Space, Part 4

The Answer to the Flying Saucer--UFO--Syd Lawrence and Friends, 1956.
Moon Man (Bacharach-David)--Gloria Lambert w. Richard Maltby, 1959.
The Rocket Ship--Tops Orch. and the Tops Cast
2001 Space Odyssey Suite--Hugo Winterhalter and His Orch.
Barbarella (Fox-Crewe)--Ferrante & Teicher, 1969.
Telstar--Billy Vauighn and His Orch., 1962.
The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor--Joe South, 1958.
Poem to the Moon (Mantovani)--Mantovani and His Concert Orch., 1948.
Theme from Star Trek (A. Courage)--Ferrante & Teicher, 1978.
Main Title from Star Wars--Ferrante & Teicher, 1978.
Purple People Eater (Fake version; forgot the source!)