Did You Know “The Baby-Sitters Club” Had Their Own Album?

That’s right – those baby-sitters and their Stoneybrook-based club had an album!

One Great Idea After Another…

I’ve been (nostalgically) going back through the Baby-Sitters Club book series since last August. My inspiration came from it being the 30th anniversary of the first book. The series has captivated me as much as an adult as it did when I was nine years old. I know it seems strange to enjoy the adventures of teenage girls navigating through life and running the ultimate business, but I always liked how wholesome the stories are, and how well they hold up. While the covers of the books feel dated, the stories are timeless.

I read the first eighty-eight books between 1992 and 1995, when I decided it was time to leave this important part of my elementary school life behind. I was starting seventh grade, and I guess I felt it wasn’t “cool” to read the books anymore. When I started reading the books, I was young enough to be a baby-sitting charge, but by the time I stopped reading, I was older than the club’s two youngest members (though I was in the same grade as them). I was also baby-sitting myself by that time – I watched my own version of the Rodowsky boys, but thankfully I didn’t have a Jackie Rodowsky on my hands!

 

Of Course, The Baby-Sitters  Club Had a TV Show

Because one great idea deserves another!

Like other popular books series of the time (think Ramona Quimby and those Sweet Valley Twins), the baby-sitters also had their own show – it ran for 13 episodes across one season. It also had the distinction of having the most catchy theme song of them all…

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

This song, I should mention, is now stuck in your head. It’s so catchy!

I’ll definitely have to go into more depth with the television show at some point – I own the episodes (and I’ve written recaps for several), but I gotta talk about the soundtrack.

Songs For My Best Friends

The Baby-Sitters Club: Songs for My Best Friends is a 12-song soundtrack featuring nine tracks specifically written for the series, as well as the ultra-catchy theme for the TV show, “Say Hello To Your Friends.” The album was released on October 13, 1992, featuring the vocal stylings of “The Baby-Sitters Club,” featuring Kelly Sachs. Tracks 1-9 were written by Sachs, Jeff Barry, and Lisa Spiro, while “Say Hello To Your Friends” was written by Glen Roven. It’s also not the version from the TV show, but a remixed version.

The tracks are a flowery assortment of happy, perky tunes, mixed with love, friendship, and empowerment tunes, a reminder that education is important, and of course, the show’s theme song (though a different arrangement of the one heard on the TV show).

Just look at this track listing! Those titles!

1. Dance

2. Good Time

3. In Your Shoes

4. Him

5. We Will Inherit The Earth

6. Dear Diary

7. Telephone Talk

8. School is Cool

9. Slumber Party

10. Say Hello To Your Friends

So…how does it sound?

It’s So 1980s Dance!

The songs have a very Debbie Gibson/1980s teenybopper-esque sound. Considering that this was from 1992, that’s probably not what your average eight-year-old in 1992 liked.

Me, on the other hand…

If I had known this existed, it would have been in regular rotation in my Walkman, right alongside my Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. That’s my eclectic music taste for you! I’ve always had it!

So you know it is awesome!

Why didn’t I know this existed?!

Of course, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share my new music find with you?

Uploaded by Larry TGroce

Say hello to your flowery, perky earworm!

More Baby-Sitters Club Reads…By Me!

Oh, and if you want to see some of my Baby-Sitters Club recaps over on my blog…

I celebrated my 500th blog post by recapping Claudia and the Mystery of the Secret Passage, Halloween with a not-so-Halloween (but still, Halloween-esque) recap of Dawn and the Haunted House , and Christmas with an actual Christmas episode recap (The Baby-Sitters Special Christmas). I also wrote about a Valentine’s Day-themed novel, and my first Goodreads review on my most recent read from the final series of books.

But this is the post that got this whole crazy train of BSC excitement going!

Say hello to your girlie nightmare, friends!!!  :-)

 

Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Hope Nicholson

The Spectacular Sisterhood Of Superwomen!

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a 240 page tome by Hope Nicholson. While it is a fact that I have had the pleasure of reviewing some really great books lately. The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen however is not one that was sent to me. This actually came from one of my co-workers at the Arkadia Retrocade. She felt it might be a great idea to get the word out about the book. She is certainly correct on that!

In fact The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen was published on May 2nd. But I must say when my friend handed me the book this was the first I heard of it. Which is an absolute shame. Hope Nicholson has crafted a fantastic compilation of some of the most well known as well as obscure female superheroes. Adding in interesting facts and where one might be able to find the essential reading for each character.

Hope has separated the characters she has selected by decades. With an introduction for each decade explaining how the comics industry was changing. Furthermore she has provided candid commentary on the legacy of the chosen characters. As well as how many of the featured characters have been altered over the years for good or for ill. In addition Hope has selected an icon for each of the decades.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen

Case in point on the candid nature of Hope’s commentary. An excerpt from her entry on Wonder Woman:
“But no one knows how to define Wonder Woman – what her true essence is. She’s what we female comics readers regard as or icon of strength and power, and yet she’s slippery as water to pin down.

And really why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should identity be solid, when everybody changes? Why lock down a character to just one version? And why exactly must there be only one, single, iconic, heroic female figure in comics, when there is no one major male comic book figure?”

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen takes a look at over 102+ female comic characters. Giving we the readers a nice history of how female heroes and characters have changed. Ranging from 1930’s Little Lulu up to Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) as the icon of the 2010s.
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Ms. Marvel

Of course I would be remiss to not mention how happy I was to see some of my favorite female comics characters chosen for the book. For example in the chapter for characters of the 80s, we have none other than Amanda “The Wall” Waller of Suicide Squad!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Amanda Waller

Additionally with this many characters you will discover some you’ve not heard of before. In my case I was delighted to learn of the likes of 1954’s Tomboy, 1966’s private eye Tiffany Sinn, 1985’s Sunflower, or 2013’s Bandette!
Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen - Bandette

If you love comics as much as I do, seek out The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen. Hope Nicholson has really done an outstanding job with this book. It is an absolute joy to read and provides a wonderful history of female characters in comics. I certainly hope she is absolutely thrilled and proud of her work.

With Wonder Woman finally getting a movie worthy of such an icon. Perhaps The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen will help to shine the spotlight on equally deserving characters?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

If you are in the mood for equally engaging female heroes you might want to check out my review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Assassin’s Creed: Heresy!

The Battles of Tolkien - David Day

The Battles Of Tolkien By David Day

The Battles of Tolkien was sent to me a couple of weeks back by Thunder Bay Press. I will say right up front that reviewing David Day’s book on The Battles of Tolkien has been a joy. Day is well known for his previous books on the literary works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Including Tolkien: the Illustrated Encyclopedia, Tolkien’s Ring, as well as The Hobbit Companion.

The subject of that last books is exactly how I was introduced to the works of Tolkien. All thanks to the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated adaptation in fact. The Hobbit was the perfect television special, it certainly helped to fuel my interest in fantasy. To say nothing of ingraining a love in me of all thing regarding Dwarves!

[Via] kierst love

Of course I would have to wait a couple of more years before I actually dived into the books of Tolkien. However thanks yet again to adaptations such as 1978’s The Lord of the Ring and 1980’s Return of the King. I at the very least had a basic understanding of the highlights of the books themselves.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings Poster

Naturally my love for the tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings grew after I had the chance to read the actual books. I dived into them headfirst and spent a month of my youth reading them cover to cover. Although I would certainly have to wait quite a bit longer before tackling The Silmarillion.
The Battles of Tolkien

What author David Day has done with The Battles of Tolkien is create a companion book. A 256 page guide to the battles between the forces of light and darkness in the Middle-Earth. Exploring the real world history as well as other mythology that influenced his writing. Through the 37,000 years of Arda, the name the author chose to represent Earth in his works. You will learn of that tactics of the armies of Middle-Earth and of course the outcomes of those famous battles.
The Battles of Tolkien - The Battle of the Five Armies

I will add these are of course divided up into their proper ages. Beginning with the Valarian Age and through the First, Second, and Third Ages. In Day’s The Battle of Tolkien you will learn of The First War, The Battle of Unnumbered Tears, The War of Sauron and the Elves, and the Disaster at Gladden Fields. To name a few. In addition to the history that Day has included are an artist’s rendition of the maps to these epic battles.

The Battles of Tolkien - Comics Grinder

Image courtesy of Comics Grinder

Furthermore throughout the book are some incredible pieces of artwork from the most memorable moments in the Tolkien books. I realize it is rather odd to point out the beauty of the book itself. But in this case I must. The Battles of Tolkien is beautifully binded in a faux-leather cover. It is much a joy to hold as it was to read.

The Battles of Tolkien is the perfect gift for any fan of the author’s work. David Day presents the useful information plainly and clearly. I would add you don’t have to worry about it being stuffy or the like. It is available for purchase right this second by following the link to Thunder Bay Press or you can as well just head over to Amazon. It would certainly make a great Father’s Day gift!

In closing I should add that in it’s favor. The Battles of Tolkien doesn’t skimp on the battles of the majestic Dwarves!

For a little more fun with Tolkien’s The Hobbit you might want to check out This 1966 animated version by Gene Deitch!

Visit The Kretcher Motel In The Horror Anthology ‘Forever Vacancy’!

In literature, the horror anthology is one of my favorite things. In particular I enjoy the buffet like quality that a horror anthology can offer. Case in point, Forever Darkness where we are introduced to The Kretcher Motel. A seedy type of establishment that one would do well to avoid when visiting Atlanta . Certainly there are those who are drawn to the special…amenities…that the Kretcher Motel offers. Those lost souls down on their luck or those seeking souls as a matter of fact.

The Kretcher offers cheap rates because the motel has a unique hunger. As does its proprietor, the beautiful and equally dangerous Sybline Kretcher. Quick to lend a helpful hand as well as manipulating guests, letting them find their deserved punishments. Moreover the proprietor in some cases even offers redemption. Yes, indeed, Sybline has been tending to the motel since the early 1960’s…but she has been around for a lot longer than that. A lot longer than you might imagine.
Horror Anthology - Sybline Kretcher

Sybline Kretcher as well as the Kretcher Motel are the two constants in the new horror anthology from Colors in Darkness. Forever Vacancy collects 13 diverse stories, ranging from hauntings to the wickedly humorous. All manner of characters find their way to the run down Kretcher Motel and their tales are the perfect fit for an anthology. Having said that I will add that I’m rather fond of the format in general. In addition to books I have similarly thrilled to those horror anthology in film and TV format however few they might be in number. A few of my favorites being 1972’s Tales from the Crypt, 1982’s Creepshow, and 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat of course.

Are you a fan of Creepshow? You might want to take a moment and listen to when we covered it on the Saturday Frights podcast!

With 13 different styles of stories presented in Forever Vacancy a few naturally stand out. While it all comes down to a matter of taste, I found Karma Suture by Tawanna Sullivan, The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion by Sumiko Saulson, and A Devil Of A Deal by David O’Hanlon to really shine amongst the other fine stories presented.

With Karma Suture, we are introduced to a location scout named Stephanie. Actually she has desires to be an actress but has taken a position with her ex-boyfriend, helping him on a film he is producing. For Stephanie the Kretcher Motel offers a bit of comeuppance for those that have wronged her…or she feels have wronged her.

A Devil Of A Deal I found to be the most fun. David O’Hanlon has crafted a rowdy as well as bawdy leading man. Or fallen angel in the case of Mr. Scratch. A raconteur who finds himself mixed up with a young woman who is being extorted by an unsavory character. There are all manner of surprises for Mr. Scratch and the reader. By the time you finish the story you just might find you have Sympathy for the Devil…or devils in this case.

[Via] The Rolling Stones HQ

The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion is hands down the most moving of the stories. In it we learn of the grief of Jess whose love Jacob was killed in a train-car collision. Deep feelings of survivor’s guilt due to not joining Jacob to attend his class reunion haunt Jess. But can forgiveness be found in a place like the Kretcher Motel?

While this anthology collection from Colors in Darkness is the first to feature Sybline Kretcher and her motel. I can only hope that we will be given new chances to…temporarily…visit that establishment. The setting is absolutely perfect and if you too are a fan of the horror anthology I highly suggest you pick it up. You can grab your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble in addition to the Colors in Darkness website.

I would also like to thank author David O’Hanlon. As he was the one who contacted me on the Saturday Frights Facebook page, asking if I would be interested in reviewing Forever Vacancy. Furthermore we were both delighted to learn that we had something in common beyond our love of horror. As a result of providing my mailing address we learned that we live in the same neck of the woods, a mere ten minutes away from each other in fact!

With Forever Vacancy being such a great horror anthology. Is it too much to hope for a television adaptation in the near future?


Additionally I believe I have fond the perfect actress to play the role of Sybline Kretcher!
Horror Anthology

Apt Pupil - Novel

Remember The 1987 Apt Pupil Film…Wait, What?!

At first you might be thinking I’m joking about an Apt Pupil movie from 1987. In this case though I certainly am not. While there was of course the 1998 feature film by Bryan Singer. Starring the late Brad Renfro as well as Sir Ian McKellen. The fact of the matter is we came very close to a 1987 adaptation of Stephen King’s Apt Pupil.
Apt Pupil

Apt Pupil was a 1982 novella by King. Published in Different Seasons. The story concerns a young man named Todd Bowden, who has realized the terrible secret of Arthur Denker. This secret turns out to be that Arthur is in fact a Nazi war criminal known as Kurt Dussander. Soon Kurt and Todd’s friendship results in murder.

Both unknown to the other are stalking the homeless community in an attempt to rid themselves of nightmares. Things spiral out of control for both Todd and Kurt, thanks to not just the homicide but the web of lies and distrust the two spin.

Bryan Singer’s film in my opinion does a remarkable job of capturing the feel of the novella. The darkness of Kurt’s past of course as well as Todd’s acceptance and desire to feel the same. Some critics even made note that Singer’s adaptation managed to make King’s story even more darker by changing the ending. Having said that, I am in the camp that feels the ending doesn’t live up to the source material.

I was working at the Razorback Theatre back when Apt Pupil was released. I can tell you that it played to mostly empty auditoriums. It seems to have been mirrored in it’s theatrical run elsewhere as well. Regardless, as I’ve already mentioned in spite of the ending, I do like the film.

So imagine to my great surprise yesterday when I learned that there was a 1987 film adaptation. As much as I wish I could point you to a finished product at the present time there is none. Bear in mind, Apt Pupil wasn’t scuttled in the pre-production phase. Quite the contrary, as Director Alan Bridges had already been filming for ten weeks. I have read that nearly 40 minutes of footage had been shot.

So I’m guessing at this point you must be wondering why the film was never finished. It turns out the production company ran out of finances. And when after a year had passed Apt Pupil was ready to resume production, the actor who was chosen as Todd had aged too much to match the previous footage. Now who might you ask was the young man who becomes seduced by Kurt’s evil? Would you believe me if I told you it was Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons?

I tell you it’s all true, friends. Now what about the role of Kurt Dussander? Before production began Apt Pupil had an embarrassment of riches in regards to the actors approached to the play the part. Salem’s Lot James Mason was asked to play the role but passed away from a heart attack before filming. Then you had the likes of Richard Burton, who I believe would have been amazing, but he died from a cerebral hemorrhage before signing on.

The actor who in fact played the role of the escaped Nazi war criminal was Nicol Williamson. Who I bet you film fans know best from his role as Merlin in 1981’s Excalibur!

So I will leave you with this. That 40 minutes of footage is of course not readily available. Although it has been said that Stephen King once saw the footage and thought highly of it. Perhaps in the future we shall be lucky enough to see what was filmed for 1987’s Apt Pupil?